eldritchhobbit: (Prisoner/Defiant)

Okay, it's always good to be a geek. But some days it's especially good.

* Kudos to The Onion for this gem: "Budget Cuts Force British Government To Shut Down Mysterious Seaside Village."

* The Interactive Lovecraft is coming!

* Speaking of Lovecraft, one of my very favorite podcasts, The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, is now posting a complete reading of Lovecraft's "The Haunter of the Dark" narrated by actor Andrew Leman.

* And speaking of podcasts, StarShipSofa now has a video introduction created by Maher Al-Samkari. It's good to be on the crew!

No.2: “We can treat folly with kindness . . . knowing that soon his wild spirit will quieten, and the foolishness will fall away to reveal a model citizen.”
No.6: “That day you'll never see.”
- "Dance of the Dead," The Prisoner
eldritchhobbit: (Prisoner)
Happy early birthday to [livejournal.com profile] adamantrealm, [livejournal.com profile] sneezythesquid, [livejournal.com profile] bibliotrope, [livejournal.com profile] hinluin, and [livejournal.com profile] m_stiefvater! May you have a wonderful day and a fantastic year to come!

The remake of The Prisoner is here! The new miniseries will air over three consecutive nights beginning tonight, Sunday November 15th, with two episodes each evening, from 8PM to 10PM ET on AMC. As you may know, The Prisoner is my favorite television series of all time, so I am looking forward to this miniseries with a mixture of anxiety and excitement.

Here are some related links:
* My review of the original The Prisoner series for Revolution Science Fiction
* The Prisoner Portal
* AMC's home page for the new The Prisoner miniseries
* The Prisoner in Pop Culture
* AMC's home page for the original version of The Prisoner
* Watch the original episodes of The Prisoner

And here is the trailer for the new miniseries:

“Unlike me, many of you have accepted the situation of your imprisonment and will die here like rotten cabbages.”
- No.6, "Free For All," The Prisoner
eldritchhobbit: (Prisoner/Defiant)
Prisoner fans, check this out! BrokenSea Audio has a new audio drama based on the Shattered Visage graphic novel, which picks up the story of The Prisoner years after the series' conclusion. I quite liked the graphic novel (which I posted about previously here) and how it explained the final episode of the series and the ultimate fate of Number Six; thus far, I am three installments into the audio drama, and I'm really enjoying it. You can download it here or via iTunes under "BrokenSea - The Prisoner."

In other news...

* R.I.P. to a literary pioneer, J.G. Ballard (1930-2009).

* Jo Walton interviews one of my favorite authors, Lois McMaster Bujold, about her Vorkosigan saga here at Tor.

* My neurologist's treatment proved to be made of epic fail, so I'm moving on to a new plan of attack for the recent health issues affecting my vision. Apologies if I continue to be slow to reply, but I'm still rather under the weather.

Number 2: What in fact has been created? An international community. A perfect blueprint for world order. When the sides facing each other suddenly realise that they're looking into a mirror, they'll see that this is the pattern for the future.
Number 6: The whole world as the Village?
Number 2: That is my dream. What's yours?
Number 6: To be the first man on the moon.
- from "The Chimes of Big Ben," The Prisoner
eldritchhobbit: (Prisoner)

Patrick McGoohan
Originally uploaded by reloutyf
As a writer, a director, an artist, and a class act individual of integrity and vision, he has been an inspiration for well more than half a century. And for many years he has been one of my few true personal heroes.

I have seen every production of his that I possibly could find, from his inspired and passionate Brand to his charming and tongue-in-cheek "The Computer Wore Menace Shoes." His work has made an incalculable impact on me.

I maintain that his masterpiece, The Prisoner, is one of the most imporant and influential, and to my mind the greatest, television series of all time.

He was a true and uncompromising original. Patrick McGoohan, Rest in Peace.
eldritchhobbit: (Prisoner/Never Broken)
There are times I am especially grateful that I'm a geek, and now is one of those times.

I just had a "Eureka!" moment. In the third chapter of the authorized sequel to The Prisoner, the graphic novel Shattered Visage, there is a funeral. And among the mourners, clear as day, are...

... Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and John Steed and Emma Peel of The Avengers, all appropriately aged (as the tale takes place approximately twenty years after the events in The Prisoner). I must go through the frames carefully and see who else is there, as the novel is dense with insider references. But it's official: Prisoner/U.N.C.L.E and Prisoner/Avengers crossovers are canon!

(The Secret Agent/Prisoner crossover was already established as canon, if you consider the fact that the official contemporary spin-off novels for The Prisoner identified Number Six as John Drake.)

That is all. Be seeing you.
eldritchhobbit: (Prisoner/Defiant)
And now to another installment of my fan fiction retrospective, with special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] seemag and [livejournal.com profile] st_crispins for their encouragement.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. seems particularly well suited to crossover stories with other universes. (I've previously discussed the Man From U.N.C.L.E./Professionals crossover story "Incident in a Stairwell," you may recall.) To my delight, I have found over the years two thoughtful crossovers between The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The Prisoner -- a brilliant series that, if I were forced to make a choice, I might well name as my very favorite of all time. (Incidentally, I'm very interested to hear that Powys Media is to be publishing six new novels based on The Prisoner in the near future.)

The fit is a natural one. Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin are agents of the international organization known as U.N.C.L.E. (or the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement); No. 6 was once a British secret agent, though his captors imprison him in the mysterious Village after he attempts to retire. There the wardens seek to break him by any means and obtain the information he learned during the course of his former career. The implication is chilling, that public servants might become the prisoners of those they served (or, perhaps, their enemies) if they survive and of do their job a bit too well.

I don't wish to oversimplify either of these stories by suggesting they are different sides of the same coin, but their commonalities suggest that I should discuss them more or less together. Both assume that the Number Six of The Prisoner is the man who was once John Drake of Danger Man (U.K.)/ Secret Agent (U.S.) (who likewise was portrayed by Patrick McGoohan). Both tell their tales from the perspective of a female U.N.C.L.E. agent who goes into the Village with Illya Kuryakin. And both include a bit of romance and action/adventure in the telling of their psychological tales. There the likenesses end. So without further ado...

Title: The Village Affair
Author: by Eva A. Enblom
Format: novella
Warning: violence, non-explicit past het sexual situation
Availability: Online at EvA's Fanfic Page.

In this dark novella, an U.N.C.L.E. agent named Sonya partners with Ilya Kuryakin to infiltrate the Village. Their purposes are twofold: to rescue John Drake, now Number Six, with whom Sonya has worked in the past; and to discover what forces are behind the the Village itself. This story stands out for several reasons. First, Enblom offers a wrenching portrait of a Number Six who fades in and out of awareness, at times very much the prisoner we know, at other times quite fey and mad. He has not broken as much as he has crumbled, and his present state is effectively contrasted with his past self through Sonya's eyes. Second, Illya is treated to psychological torture similar to what Number Six has endured, which conjures images of his abandonment by Waverly and his murder by Napoleon. (When Illya says "They are going to take my life.... Or my sanity," the reader believes.) Third, Enblom offers terrific insights in her characterizations, managing to give a mostly-absent Napoleon moments to shine, and both the past John Drake and the present Number Six truly memorable scenes. Enblom even makes Illya's unrequited love easier to swallow than it would be in the average "Mary Sue" tale.

The most impressive part of this novella is its ambiguous, bleak ending (in the tradition of The Prisoner itself). The agents determine that although the Village has THRUSH ties, it is not solely a THRUSH production. Those responsible for the Village are, like the Village itself, shadowed in secrecy and thus difficult to fight. Moreover, the agents fail to rescue Number Six, who in the final scene apparently has fallen deep into his madness, childlike and simple. Whether this is true insanity or just a clever performance might be debated, but either way, Number Six is very much a prisoner still, and the agents' failed mission has produced more questions than answers.

Read excerpt )

Title: "The Prisoner Affair"
Author: by Lin Cochran
Format: short story
Warning: violence
Availability: In the printed zine The Kuryakin File #15, published by NorthCoast Press. Currently in print.

Lin Cochran's vision in the end is more optimistic than Eva A. Enblom's. It begins on a dark note, however, with the introduction of Grace Templar, former U.N.C.L.E. agent (and widow of another), whose personality has fractured and split thanks to U.N.C.L.E.'s rather cruel and psychologically messy "detraining" procedure -- in itself, a form of the Village. Grace Templar, though a member of the walking wounded, joins with former colleague Illya Kuryakin to find Napoleon Solo when a coup within U.N.C.L.E. unseats him from the organization's head and leaves him imprisoned in the Village. Grace encounters Number Six and, after tense distrust on both sides, joins forces with him to rescue Napoleon and escape. The three U.N.C.L.E. agents flee successfully thanks only to Number Six's last-minute choice to sacrifice his own chance at freedom and distract pursuers.

Somewhat smoother than The Village Affair, "The Prisoner Affair" pulls out a happy ending at the last. Not only do the readers get to see a liberated John Drake, but they also witness a cleaned and righted U.N.C.L.E. that, under Napoleon's leadership, does away with the "detraining" procedure just as it destroys and empties the Village. If Enblom's novella ends on a note from The Prisoner, Cochran's story leaves the reader with more of an U.N.C.L.E.-esque flavor. Highlights of this terrific story include a sarcastic, painfully bitter Number Six instantly recognizable from the series, an original female lead who steals scenes with multiple personalities as fascinating as any character in the tale, and a compelling picture of an aging Napoleon who is alternately vulnerable and steely in convincing proportions and, once returned to his position, a worthy successor to Alexander Waverly.

Read excerpt )

(For past reviews, including stories from the Enterprise, Star Trek: The Original Series, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Man From U.N.C.L.E., and Professionals universes, see my LJ's Memories section.)


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