Do you know when "canon," like as a concept, became like a standard nerd thing?
The amazing thing about
the term “canon” is that it didn’t bubble up from the undifferentiated mass of
fandom (who actually knows who came
up with memes?). We know exactly and specifically where the word comes from when used in this context: an
essay written by a Sherlock Holmes fan in 1911, who compared the wild and
crazy veneration that fanatical Holmes fans have for the original stories, to holy writ.
Another name for the books assembled in the Bible was the canon, as opposed to other books that, for various reasons, were
left out of the Bible and “didn’t count.” In other words, the term was
originally used ironically and in a self-deprecating way to talk about the almost religious intensity of Holmes fans.
Part of the reason the
term canon caught on was because, even in the 1910s, the public was so mad for
Sherlock Holmes that there were all kinds of illegal imitators and non-Conan
Doyle authors and knockoffs, and yes, there were even amateur works that were distributed by mail (what today we’d call “fanfiction,” some of which even survives today), so a crucial distinction began to arise between the stuff
that was “official” and the stuff that wasn’t. So, here we have the three
things that we need to even have the concept of canon as we define it: 1) a group
dedicated enough to actually care, who can communicate, 2) a necessary
distinction between “official” and not, particularly due to the presence of amateur works (what today we’d call fanfiction), 3) a long term property that could
sustain that devotion.
Now, of the three, which
do you think was the one that was absent from a lot of science fiction fandom’s first few decades? It’s
actually 3. Canon only matters if it’s something other than just a single
story, which the business model of the pulps discouraged. Like TV in the 1960s, every story had to be compartmentalized and serial storytelling was mostly discouraged.
One fandom, big from the 1930s to the 1960s was E.E. Smith’s space opera Lensman series. The Lensman stories were so popular
that it received 5 sequels, all of which were planned from the outset. Some Lensman
fanfiction from the 1940s is actually still available for reading. Part of the reason the Lensman stories were so popular is that it described a consistent world with consistent attributes: Inertialess Drives, aliens like Chickladorians, Vegians, Rigellians, pressor beams, space axes, Valerian Space Marines, superdreadnoughts, “the Hell Hole in Space,” the works. It was way easier to get sucked into this than it was with the usual “one and done.”
Take for example, this amateur guide to the Lensman series, with art by Betty Jo Trimble.
Canon “policy” as we know it today, as a part of a corporate strategy, started with Star Trek: the Next Generation. Before that, there was no “multimedia property” big enough to necessitate it; Star Wars just didn’t care, which is why pre-Zahn “expanded universe” stories like the Marvel comics were so bonkers. There was no reason to believe that the Trek novels, including good ones by John M. Ford and Diane Duane, were anything else than totally official. Roddenberry, though, was deeply angry about losing control of the film series, and due to his illness (hidden from the public at the time), his canon policy was enforced by his overly zealous attorney. In Star Trek canon, for a long time, the only thing that counted was what was on screen. And not even that…the Star Trek animated series, for several decades, was decanonized. (It wasn’t until Deep Space 9 that animated references crept back in, and today, it’s as canon as everything else).
I don’t want to scare anyone, and this is hearsay, but I’ve heard from three people who were there that Next Generation writers, at least as long as Roddenberry and his attorney were around, were encouraged to not think of the original series as canon at all. References to Spock and even an episode that had an appearance by the Gorn were rewritten.
The Star Trek canon policy was so harsh and unexpected that rules were invented deliberately to kick out popular reference sources, like the rule that starships could only have even numbered nacelles, which meant much of the Franz Joseph guides, published in the millions and praised by Roddenberry and others as official, were vindictively decanonized.
Star Wars canon is interesting because it was entirely created by the West End Roleplaying Game. It was the only major Star Wars product printed in the Star Wars Dark Age, the 5-6 years between 1986-1991 when all toy lines and comics were canceled and the fandom was effectively in a coma or dead. The Roleplaying Game was the first place that information was collected from diverse sources like the comics and novels. Every single Star Wars novelist read the West End game because it was the only time all this information was in one place.
Marvel Comics canon is a very interesting example because it was a harbinger of things to come: superhero comics were one of the earliest places in geek culture where the “inmates started to run the asylum”…that is to say, fans produced the comics, guys like Roy Thomas (creator of the Vision and Ultron) who started off as a fanzine writer. Because of the back and forth in letters pages, there was an emphasis on everyone keeping it all together that didn’t exist at DC, which at last count, had 5 (!) totally contradictory versions of Atlantis.
The time stamp on the surveillance footage after all the citizenz of Mt. Weather have died is 8:24:20:55:37. August 24 8:55 (37 seconds) PM. This doesn’t seem to mean much right? Except….the date. August 24 is a pretty significant date in history.
August 24 is believed to be the day of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. The first place devastated by this event was the city of Herculaneum. While many of the citizens tried to escape to Pompeii. Those who had remained in Herculaneum died by burning or asphyxiation, much like the citizens of Mt. Weather.
The people in Pompeii that had decided to hole up and try to ride out the explosion, were killed the following morning when a cloud of toxic gas came into the city. We could consider Emerson to be like the people of Herculaneum that escaped to Pompeii as he didn’t die along with his people, but later suffered a similar fate to theirs. (What the flame did to him was very similar to what happened to the people in Mt. Weather)
August 24-25 79 AD is the day that Herculaneum and Pompeii became lost civilizations
Thousands of years later it would be the day another civilization, Mt. Weather, was wiped from the earth.
A Tour of Spaceflight Centers - From Michoud to Marshall
Lovers of history, spaceflight enthusiasts - I spent the first week of May traveling the southeast United States from Austin, Texas and stopping at Space Centers (among other locations of interest) with my significant other. This is what I experienced.
The first stop outside Texas on our first day of travel - Michoud Assembly Facility. This is not open to visitors and we knew this, but it was an extra 20 minutes out of a many hour trip.
There used to be a Saturn V S-IC, originally meant for Apollo 19, out front but it has been moved…
Just a hop and skip later and we ended up in Pearlington, Mississippi and Stennis Space Center’s visitor complex, the Infinity Science Center. There was a heavy emphasis on nature conservation and the environment as well getting students involved with experiments and hands-on learning. The highlight for me was the display of Wernher von Braun’s desk.
And the new home of that Saturn V S-IC that was at Michoud? Infinity Science Center. Recently moved, there is an ongoing effort to raise funds to restore and preserve it.
We drove most of a day to where I grew up, Saint Petersburg, Florida, where the first scheduled airline flight took place on January 1st, 1914. Tony Jannus flew a Benoist flying boat across the bay to Tampa in a trip that lasted a little over 20 minutes.
Walking around sunny St. Petersburg, we stopped at several museums including an old favorite, the St. Petersburg Museum of History, where they have a functional replica of the Benoist flying boat. An original Benoist pennant from 1914 flew aboard OV-103 Discovery on her final flight, STS-133, is also on display.
Following a stay with friends and family, it was off to Kennedy Space Center. There have been many changes since I had last been here, the new Astronaut Memorial and Hall of Fame being the most notable.
The Orion Capsule that flew EFT-1 was also on display, along with a CST-100 Starliner structural test article and Dragon capsule.
A trip though the rocket garden as always. The day had started as a torrential downpour but was now sunny. Florida, weird as always.
Of course, you can’t walk through the garden without getting a picture with the Saturn IB. She learned that you don’t really have a sense of scale to these without getting right up next to it. It was during this time that I learned my girlfriend has a fondness for the Mercury-Redstone - it’s what she pictures when she hears ‘rocket’. Quintessential!
OV-104 Atlantis is always my favorite stop. This time, I had brought my Atlantis flag, and with a friend who joined us we had a wonderful time with my favorite orbiter.
I have not been to KSC since the addition of the Challenger and Columbia display. It was an incredibly moving experience, seeing these pieces, as well as the displays of the Astronauts personal belongings that you see before entering this room.
We said our goodbyes and began a northerly drive up the Florida east coast, stopping in beautiful Saint Augustine for a night, seeing the Castillo and ancient city before going around the mess that is currently Atlanta, GA, and ending up in Huntsville, Alabama - Rocket City, USA. You can see that Saturn V, the only standing Saturn V, for miles.
It also happened to be Star Wars Day - what a lovely coincidence! It was quite a sight to see people dressed as Jedi, Sith, and Storm Troopers walking around a Space Center.
Of course, we were there for NASA, and I, to see Wernher von Braun’s legacy. I am of the belief that without von Braun’s vision, charisma and genius, we would have fallen so far behind on the dream of spaceflight as a nation, or at the very least, never made it to the moon at all. Look for an upcoming, detailed post on von Braun in the future.
Of course, there were many exhibits and displays of a historical nature, showcasing prototype gloves that were in development for Apollo, models of probes and satellites that have given us a more detailed look at our solar system, and Carl Sagan’s cosmic calendar to really get a sense of how vast the universe is (this is also shown on the newer Cosmos series, hosted by Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson). This History of Space Exploration timeline also gave perspective on the earliest efforts of rocketry by Robert Goddard, to where we are today. Comprehensive to say the least.
On display at the US Space & Rocket Center rocket garden is of course the Saturn V, a Saturn I, Mercury-Redstone, Juno I, among other military missiles.
We toured the Saturn V Center, enjoying the exhibits and displays, including one presented by IBM on the “brain” of the Saturn V, the quarantine trailer the Apollo Astronauts had to spend weeks in because of fears of “space germs”, and the Apollo 16 Capsule.
We concluded the day as it began to rain with a visit to OV-098 Pathfinder. Built in 1977, Pathfinder was a structural test article that weighted the same as the production orbiters would, and had roughly the same dimensions - she was used for fit-checking the various processing facilities that served the Space Shuttles. After her fit-check mission was complete, STA-098 was overhauled and made to look like a real orbiter (or as real as one could surmise), and was sent to Tokyo, Japan for the Great Space Shuttle Exposition in the early 1980s. After being brought back to the United States in the late 1980s, she was set up at the US Space and Rocket Center and given the honorary designation OV-098 and named Pathfinder.
We left as the rain began to fall, but not without stopping by for a visit to Miss Baker. It is customary to leave a banana.
A day later, we ended up in Vicksburg, MS and toured the Civil War battlefield, the USS Cairo gunboat, and stopped by some of the monuments and important sites. It was the last stop on our trip. We pulled into Austin, TX on Friday night, May 5th, exhausted and hungry. The next morning, after getting some breakfast, we visited a site we’ve been meaning to see - the Texas State Cemetery. Gene Cernan, Astronaut, Commander of Apollo 17, lunar land speed record holder, and last man on the moon, was first to be buried on the highest hill in the cemetary, closest to the moon. It was a solemn end to a long journey of history, spaceflight, celebration, tragedy, art, nature, science and exploration.
There are many more photos, and a lot more tales of this trip that aren’t directly related to spaceflight, but I hope my followers enjoy what I’ve shared and have tried to cram into a single posting. This was an incredible experience and it would not be possible without the support and patience of my fiancée, and her camerawork. Most of these photos are hers. Take a look at her blog, especially if you love history, live in Texas, or both!
Ladies and Gentlemen, Disney’s most underrated princess: Kidagakash Nedakh, Princess and later, Queen Of Atlantis. I saw the film Atlantis: The Lost Empire when i was very young and i find it to be criminally underrated. And Kida is a Top 5 Disney Lady [She’s also the oldest at 8,500-8,800.] easily.
Kida is a warrior, a linguist, a scavenger, a Queen in her own right and has a literal mental connection with the Heart Of Atlantis: She’s kind, brave, eager, vigilant, curious and desires to help her people rediscover Atlantis’s lost history which is a very interesting goal for a princess. She is shown to have moments of aggression but this is when somebody with ill intent tries to grab her and she attacks them. it makes sense in the particular situation not to mention several thousand years ago she would have done this on sight to anyone she didn’t know given back then her empire was at war with other countries.
Princess-no Queen Kida is an interesting character and both her and her film need much more recognition Disney!
Next Time: A look at a lovely smart blonde who was the star of her very own musical and feature-length film.
June 29th, 1995 - A precursor to what would become routine with the ISS, OV-105 Atlantis and the crew of STS-71 dock with the Russian Mir space station for the first of nine dockings of the Shuttle-Mir Program. Atlantis was to make 7 of these flights, with Discovery and Endeavour each docking with Mir once.
With the Shuttle-Mir program, the United States gained a valuable knowledge in long-duration spaceflight, useful for the future International Space Station.
Mir would continue it’s service life until 2001, after 15 years in orbit, was deorbited and allowed to break up over the south Pacific.
Humanity is an Experiment -- Earth is a Living Library
Humanity is an experiment. Humanity has been designed, as has just about everything else that exists within creation. Prime Creator began experimenting with creation a long time ago in this universe for the purpose of greater self- exploration, self-gratification, and self-expression. Prime Creator brought energies and essences of life-extensions of itself-into this universe and endowed those extensions with the gifts that it had. It gave willingly and freely of its capabilities. There are many other universes and many other ways of designing universes; this particular one was designed as a free-will zone in which all would be allowed.
Prime Creator said to these extensions of itself, “Go out and create and bring all things back to me.” This was quite a simple assignment, was it not? In other words, Prime Creator was saying, “I am going to gift you of myself. You go out and gift of yourselves freely so that all you create in this universe can understand its essence as my identity.”
These extensions of Prime Creator, which we will call creator gods, went out and began to experiment with Prime Creator’s energy as it existed within themselves. They began to create their own hierarchy, which in turn created other hierarchies. Each succeeding hierarchy created another hierarchy to endow it with its own essence and to assist in the development of this universe. Eventually, in one of the galactic systems, a plan came together to design Earth as an intergalactic exchange center of information. It was an incredible plan. Earth was a beautiful place, located on the fringes of one of the galactic systems and easily reached from other galaxies. It was close to many way portals, the highways that exist for energies to travel throughout space.
There was much scurrying and shuffling to create individual representation from all of the galaxies here upon this planet. Some of the creator gods were master geneticists. They were able through their hierarchies to tie molecules together, encoded molecules of identity, frequency, and electrical charge to create life. Many sentient civilizations gave of their DNA to have representation of their coding upon this planet. The master geneticists then designed various species, some human, some animal, by playing with the varieties of DNA that the sentient civilizations contributed to make Earth into this exchange center of information, this light center, this Living Library. The plan for Earth was a grand one.
The Original Planners of Earth were members of the Family of Light, beings who worked for and were associated with an aspect of consciousness called light. Light is information. The Family of Light created the information center they had conceived of; they designed a place where galaxies would contribute their information and where all would be able to participate and share their specific knowledge. Earth was to be a cosmic library, a place of incredible beauty that experimented with how information could be stored through frequencies and through the genetic process.
Outside the structure of time, 100,000 years can pass in what may be a year within the structure of time as you know it. These creator gods did not exist in time as you know it. A few hundred thousand years or a million years was nothing to them.
Different energies were brought into existence. There were species of humans on Earth perhaps 500,000 years ago who developed very highly evolved civilizations. We are not speaking of the civilizations that you call Lemuria or Atlantis; to us, those civilizations are modern. We are talking about civilizations that are ancient, civilizations that are buried under some of the ice caps of the far southern continent of Antarctica.
The project of the Living Library on Earth was eventually fought over. It looked enticing enough to be mined by some. During Earth’s early history, there were wars in space for ownership of this planet. Have you ever wondered who owns Earth? It’s a prime hunk of real estate. Do you think it would go ownerless in space?
Skirmishes took place, and Earth became a place of duality. Certain creator gods who had the right to do whatever they wanted-because Earth is a free-will zone- came in and took over. We call this “raiding” the Earth. It was like corporate raiding on Wall Street. These creator gods raided Earth approximately 300,000 years ago-the time period, historically speaking, that you would call the beginning of human civilization. This is merely the time period that you, in this present day, are taught was the beginning of civilization. In actuality, it was only the beginning of the later phase, the phase of modern humanity.
When this skirmish occurred, a certain group of entities fought in space and won the territory of Earth. These new owners did not want the native Earth species - the humans - to be informed of what took place. Uninformed, the species would be easier to control. This is why light is information and darkness is lack of information. These entities beat out light, and Earth became their territory. It gives you a new idea of light, does it not? There was great radioactivity and nuclear action, and much of Earth was rent asunder. The original species, human creation, experienced great destruction and was scattered.
These new creator gods who were the new owners were also master geneticists. They understood how to create life, and they wanted this territory for their own reasons. Territories are created and held by certain energies for many reasons, one of which is that there is consciousness within all things.
Consciousness communicates continuously. Consciousness vibrates, or can be led to vibrate, at certain electromagnetic frequencies. Electromagnetic energies of consciousness can be influenced to vibrate in a certain way to create a source of food. Just as apples can be prepared and eaten in a variety of ways, consciousness can be prepared and ingested in a variety of ways.
May 11th, 2009 - OV-104 Atlantis departs from Kennedy Space Center’s LC-39A on a final servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). STS-125 would be the only mission Atlantis would visit the HST - prior servicing missions were done by Discovery twice, with Columbia and Endeavour each once.
Upgrades to HST included the Cosmic Origins Spectograph, the Wide Field Camera 3 which can record different wavelengths of light, and a device called the Soft-Capture Mechanism, which will be used by a future craft to safely de-orbit Hubble at the end of its life span. HST is expected to continue to operate well into the 2030s.
STS-125 was unique in that it is one of a few missions that had two full Shuttle stacks on the launch pad at the same time. Any damage sustained from the launch that prevented Atlantis from returning home meant that she would be stuck in orbit with only three weeks of supplies. A rescue mission was specifically developed for STS-125, as the low inclination orbit of the HST meant that the International Space Station would effectively be out of reach of Atlantis and her crew.
In the event of Atlantis suffering damage, STS-400 would launch up to the crippled shuttle and extract the crew for a safe return home. OV-105 Endeavour was placed on stand-by at LC-39B until May 21st, after Atlantis was deemed safe to return home, and was released to begin processing for STS-127.
Atlantis and crew would return home May 24th, landing at Edwards Air Force Base - the weather in Florida deemed unsatisfactory for landing the orbiter. STS-125 had five successful EVAs, orbited the Earth 197 times, and featured the first Tweet from space by Astronaut Michael Massimino which read, “From orbit: Launch was awesome!! I am feeling great, working hard, & enjoying the magnificent views, the adventure of a lifetime has begun!”
STS-125 was another shuttle mission to feature an IMAX camera, used to document the life of HST and the views of the universe it has brought to us. IMAX: Hubble 3D was released in 2010 and features the launch of STS-125.
Lost artefacts from sunken cities dubbed the Atlantis of Egypt are to be together for the first time after laying submerged for more than a thousand years.
Enormous statues, golden jewellery and hieroglyphic tablets which were feared lost forever have been reclaimed from the sea, and are to be put on public display next year in a major exhibition by the British Museum.
The treasures belong to Heracleion and Canopus, cities built on the shifting ground of the Nile delta, which are now buried beneath three metres of silt.