Angel & The Screwfly Solution

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Wormwood

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Oct 30, 2001, 10:59:00 AM10/30/01
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Last night's "Angel" was great. A totally original idea... well, for
movies & television. Proof positive why "Angel" has become a so much
better show than BTVS. I wonder if the writer of yesterday's ep had
read the haunting, nightmarish SF horror story "The Screwfly Solution"
by James Tiptree Jr. (1978) and was paying some kind of homage to it.
In that story, malevolent extraterrestrials launch one of the most
horrifying alien invasions against mankind since Well's "War Of The
Worlds" -- they introduce a virus that sweeps the world like a plague
& does exactly the same thing that Billy did... brings out the
"inherent" woman-hating traits in human males, causing all men all
over the world to kill women, wherever they may find them. The
invasion is long-term, the unseen aliens are willing to wait a few
years for the human race to drive itself to total extinction before
moving in & taking over the "real estate." The story is told from the
viewpoint of a young mother & housewife whose scientist brother in-law
is doing genetic research on insect pests -- blowflies -- which
involves creating a virus that causes the male blowfly to try & mate
with the female's head instead of her vagina (hehe... boy-bug &
girl-bug naughty bits... try not to laugh, k?), thus eventually &
completely exterminating that entire species of pests. :-D Ain't it
great? James Tiptree Jr. -- revealed to be a woman in the latter part
of her career -- was a brilliant SF writer. Extremely dark & ironic,
much like C.M. Kornbluth. Nice to see "Angel" borrowing some
amazingly sophisticated ideas from these classic stories that
heretofore haven't been used in SF/fantasy television.

--worm

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jds1339

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Oct 30, 2001, 3:10:00 PM10/30/01
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Wormwood <tanta...@xoasis.com> wrote in message news:<r1httt03g182ql4kp...@4ax.com>...

I wondered the same thing--even to the scene where Gunn, knowing he's
about to be affected, tries to warn Fred. That's my favorite scene in
the original story.

Jeff S.

Ide Cyan

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Oct 31, 2001, 4:02:13 PM10/31/01
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Wormwood wrote:
> Last night's "Angel" was great. A totally original idea... well, for
> movies & television. Proof positive why "Angel" has become a so much
> better show than BTVS. I wonder if the writer of yesterday's ep had
> read the haunting, nightmarish SF horror story "The Screwfly Solution"
> by James Tiptree Jr. (1978) and was paying some kind of homage to it.
> <snip> The story is told from the

> viewpoint of a young mother & housewife whose scientist brother in-law

Husband. And the story was initially published by Alice Sheldon under
the pseudonym of Raccoona Sheldon, and later included with her Tiptree
stories in "Out of the Everywhere and Other Extraordinary Visions", as
well as in a bunch of other anthologies.

Someone has put it online @
http://www.mtsu.edu/~english/305/Stories/screwfly.html too, but you gave
away the ending with your post!

--
"I knew a girl at school called Pandora.
Never got to see her box, though."
- Spike, Notting Hill.

Wormwood

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Oct 31, 2001, 11:26:08 PM10/31/01
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On Wed, 31 Oct 2001 16:02:13 -0500, Ide Cyan <ide_...@yahoo.com>
wrote:

>Wormwood wrote:
>> Last night's "Angel" was great. A totally original idea... well, for
>> movies & television. Proof positive why "Angel" has become a so much
>> better show than BTVS. I wonder if the writer of yesterday's ep had
>> read the haunting, nightmarish SF horror story "The Screwfly Solution"
>> by James Tiptree Jr. (1978) and was paying some kind of homage to it.
>> <snip> The story is told from the
>> viewpoint of a young mother & housewife whose scientist brother in-law
>
>Husband. And the story was initially published by Alice Sheldon under
>the pseudonym of Raccoona Sheldon, and later included with her Tiptree
>stories in "Out of the Everywhere and Other Extraordinary Visions", as
>well as in a bunch of other anthologies.
>
>Someone has put it online @
>http://www.mtsu.edu/~english/305/Stories/screwfly.html too, but you gave
>away the ending with your post!

It's been quite a while since I read the story but I'm pretty sure it
wasn't the husband who was the scientist. As I recall, the husband
was a medical missionary off in some third world country helping
people who were infected with some kind of horrible worm or parasite.
Much of the story is in the form of letters between he & his wife, if
I remember correctly. Nah, I didn't really give away the ending, but
I *did* give away the "joke" at the end of an otherwise incredibly
grim & depressing (but *very* memorable) tale. Another unbelievably
horrifying, but extraordinarily well-written Tiptree short
story/novella that haunts me to this day was "Morality Meat" (1979)
the theme of which I can't even touch upon here because it will freak
people out. It puts even C.M Kornbuth's incredibly bleak "The
Marching Morons" to shame. "The Screwfly Solution" would have made a
great new Outer Limits episode.

Ide Cyan

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Nov 1, 2001, 2:41:46 AM11/1/01
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Wormwood wrote:
> Another unbelievably
> horrifying, but extraordinarily well-written Tiptree short
> story/novella that haunts me to this day was "Morality Meat" (1979)
> the theme of which I can't even touch upon here because it will freak
> people out.

I bought a copy of Crown of Stars recently. I'll have to read that story
next!

> It puts even C.M Kornbuth's incredibly bleak "The
> Marching Morons" to shame. "The Screwfly Solution" would have made a
> great new Outer Limits episode.

I thought A Momentary Taste of Being was, well, a skull-fuck.

There was one Tiptree story adapted to the small screen, btw. Welcome To
Paradox did The Girl Who Was Plugged In, but it of course paled in the
transition.

These days my favorite authors are Tip and JK Rowling. I love authors
who can be both hilarious and frightening.


Ide

Ide Cyan

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Nov 1, 2001, 4:38:05 AM11/1/01
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Ide Cyan wrote:
> Wormwood wrote:
> > Another unbelievably
> > horrifying, but extraordinarily well-written Tiptree short
> > story/novella that haunts me to this day was "Morality Meat" (1979)
> > the theme of which I can't even touch upon here because it will freak
> > people out.
>
> I bought a copy of Crown of Stars recently. I'll have to read that story
> next!

Just read it. I agree on all counts.

Wormwood

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Nov 1, 2001, 5:52:44 PM11/1/01
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On Thu, 01 Nov 2001 02:41:46 -0500, Ide Cyan <ide_...@yahoo.com>
wrote:

>Wormwood wrote:


>> Another unbelievably
>> horrifying, but extraordinarily well-written Tiptree short
>> story/novella that haunts me to this day was "Morality Meat" (1979)
>> the theme of which I can't even touch upon here because it will freak
>> people out.
>
>I bought a copy of Crown of Stars recently. I'll have to read that story
>next!
>
>> It puts even C.M Kornbuth's incredibly bleak "The
>> Marching Morons" to shame. "The Screwfly Solution" would have made a
>> great new Outer Limits episode.
>
>I thought A Momentary Taste of Being was, well, a skull-fuck.
>
>There was one Tiptree story adapted to the small screen, btw. Welcome To
>Paradox did The Girl Who Was Plugged In, but it of course paled in the
>transition.

And, of course, Terry Gilliam's "12 Monkeys" was *heavily* influenced
by Tiptree's "The Last Flight Of Doctor Ain." Let's face it, David
Morse's character *was* Dr. Ain. Glad you like "Morality Meat." :-)

Wormwood

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Nov 1, 2001, 6:27:56 PM11/1/01
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On Thu, 01 Nov 2001 04:38:05 -0500, Ide Cyan <ide_...@yahoo.com>
wrote:

>Ide Cyan wrote:


>> Wormwood wrote:
>> > Another unbelievably
>> > horrifying, but extraordinarily well-written Tiptree short
>> > story/novella that haunts me to this day was "Morality Meat" (1979)
>> > the theme of which I can't even touch upon here because it will freak
>> > people out.
>>
>> I bought a copy of Crown of Stars recently. I'll have to read that story
>> next!
>
>Just read it. I agree on all counts.

Another great, mysterious James Tiptree Jr. tale about unseen aliens
fucking with humanity in a particularly *nasty* way was "And Her Smoke
Rose Up Forever." Made me think of Spinoza, and Nietzsche's *scary*
theory of The Eternal Return <shiver>. Anyways, the best story of
it's kind since William Tenn's magnificent & darkly comic "The
Brooklyn Project" (1948). Roger Zelazny's short story "The Game Of
Blood & Dust" is virtually the flip side of AHSRF, told entirely from
the perspective of the aliens. Ahhh, how I miss these guys (and
gals)! *sigh*

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