Drabblecast 227 – The Star

Discuss episodes and stories from the Drabblecast Main Feed and from Drabbleclassics
User avatar
strawman
Member
Posts: 5966
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2007 2:20 pm
Location: South Georgia

Drabblecast 227 – The Star

Post by strawman » Mon Dec 26, 2011 2:37 pm

Feature: The Star by Arthur C. Clarke
Drabble: Creator by Nathan Lee

Image

Saturday, December 24th, 2011
It is three thousand light years to the Vatican. Once, I believed that space could have no power over faith, just as I believed that the heavens declared the glory of God’s handiwork. Now I have seen that handiwork, and my faith is sorely troubled. I stare at the crucifix that hangs on the cabin wall above the Mark VI Computer, and for the first time in my life I wonder if it is no more than an empty symbol.

Episode Art: Adam S. Doyle

User avatar
strawman
Member
Posts: 5966
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2007 2:20 pm
Location: South Georgia

Re: Drabblecast 227 – The Star

Post by strawman » Mon Dec 26, 2011 3:26 pm

Read this one many years ago. The message seems to be that when the real wise men follow the star, they find anthropocentric Irony born in the manger, and the religious atheist's holy grail: Proof that God does not exist.

To complete the fantasy, by making a Jesuit the leader, we can witness the surrender ceremony. But Clarke didn't know the Jesuits I know. Jesuits don't surrender. They still are being routed out of caves on South Pacific islands.

The philosophically interesting aspect of The Star, IMO, is the premise that man, by virtue of his mere existence, has a warrant to judge such things. We've had plenty of similar temptations. Imagine a similar monologue by Ham following the Flood: "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
madness, starving hysterical naked...I'm with you in Rockland
".
Or the Shoah as "A light to the nations".

I would have liked to ask Clarke if he got the idea for The Star while scuba diving, navigating alien civilizations being such a similar experience to the alien worlds and extraterrestrials found underwater.

Scattercat's drabble is apropos, with the Creation/Creator dichotomy. Just how does that Escher thing with the hands drawing each other work in real life?

I'd also like to ask Mr. Doyle for an explanation of the episode art. Pretty, but I'm stumped.

User avatar
tbaker2500
Site Admin
Posts: 3604
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:03 pm
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Contact:

Re: Drabblecast 227 – The Star

Post by tbaker2500 » Mon Dec 26, 2011 5:21 pm

I didn't see this story as proof that god does not exist. I read it as god is not understandable. Any attempts to do so, including building a religion, are prone to failure at some level or another.

I am not an atheist, I am probably closest to a true agnostic. I think this story is a demonstration of limits of faith, not the lack of god.

It was a good story, I liked hearing it. A little downer on Christmas eve, but good! :D

The artwork is very emotive for me, I'm partial to Mr. Doyle's work. My take, is this is a summary of the overly rosy scenes portrayed in the historical information left in the vault. The children playing on the border of land, water, and light. It reminds my of the images of surfers riding the tsunami wave just before it destroys a village.
You're my quasi-ichthian angel, you're my half-amphibian queen...

The Dribblecast, we don't care if you sound like an idiot.

robertallencad
Member
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:35 pm

Re: Drabblecast 227 – The Star

Post by robertallencad » Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:40 pm

Wow that bring a tear to me eye! I be must finite and if you send Aljereein bank account and provide me our accout we can deposit 500 google in amerikan dollers to your EYE Phone eecount. Uncle Norm Touched me

User avatar
tbaker2500
Site Admin
Posts: 3604
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:03 pm
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Contact:

Re: Drabblecast 227 – The Star

Post by tbaker2500 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:28 pm

robertallencad wrote:Uncle Norm Touched me
Uh oh. That sounds like legal trouble. Did you go to Penn State, Norm?
You're my quasi-ichthian angel, you're my half-amphibian queen...

The Dribblecast, we don't care if you sound like an idiot.

shagin
Member
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2010 2:23 am

Re: Drabblecast 227 – The Star

Post by shagin » Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:25 pm

"The Star" is my favorite Christmas story and has been for years. I've read it aloud at gatherings, snuggled down to it many a Christmas Eve, and when I heard Norm's announcement that THE DRABBLECAST had picked up a Clarke story, I hopedhopedhoped it was "The Star"

And on THE DRABBLECAST, hope springs infernal. Or, in this case, heavenly.

I really enjoyed this episode, both the 100 word story and the main fiction. Have to admit the twabble fell a little flat with me, but it still suited the theme. Norm's reading seemed younger and more pensive than I typically think of the character (both from reading the story, aloud and to myself, and the television production on THE TWILIGHT ZONE), but that only added to the appeal. Add to this Norm's wonderful way with a microphone, and you have a great story.

CosmicAC
Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:03 pm

Re: Drabblecast 227 – The Star

Post by CosmicAC » Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:13 am

I liked the perspective in the story...a little bit like in "The last Question". It was dark and thought provoking. Although the argument is pritty much thes same like "Why do bad things happen to good people" it is bringing the entire thing to a bigger and even less barable scale. I have never thought about this but it is true: if we are not the only one out there, some (good) cultures might allready have vanished to no better reason then living around in the wrong neighborhood. A faith which might come to use one day too. Even if our sun is still in its youth...other stars around us are not. How far a savety distance to a super nova would you assume is needed to survive? And since we will not see it happen before its light arrieves us...we will never know what hit us. Can't prepare monuments on Pluto if you aren't aware you need to!

User avatar
bell
Member
Posts: 388
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:42 pm
Location: New York

Re: Drabblecast 227 – The Star

Post by bell » Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:26 pm

I like the Kim illl joke. Jokes like this keep me Jong.

The STar is a story I read a dozen times at least; I really like Norm's reading of it, though he does not sound like a Jesuit, or like my idea of a Jesuit. The story itself - sometimes it strikes me as an atheist's manifesto, sometimes a demonstration of the divine sense of humor - but it is a brilliant, effective example of short story at its best.

Unblinking
Member
Posts: 377
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 12:50 am

Re: Drabblecast 227 – The Star

Post by Unblinking » Fri Jan 20, 2012 7:12 pm

Like tbaker, I don't think this story is meaning to say that God doesn't exist. After all, if he doesn't the coincidence of the timing is too much to accept. No, I think it is saying that we can't understand God. Perhaps God only has one spacefaring race at a time, and he kills each one off to daisy chain a signal along to the next one. Maybe it wasn't meant to be a symbol for us at all. Maybe he just likes to see stuff explode. But it's likely none of these things, because God is supposed to be incomprehensible to us. so if we could understand his actions, then that would no longer be true.

User avatar
strawman
Member
Posts: 5966
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2007 2:20 pm
Location: South Georgia

Re: Drabblecast 227 – The Star

Post by strawman » Fri Jan 20, 2012 7:41 pm

There's a difference between understanding his actions and understanding his motives. His actions would be the set-up of physical laws, right? So understanding them is science. Who done that, and why, is the metaphysical part.
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

User avatar
Christi
Member
Posts: 158
Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2011 8:19 am
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

Re: Drabblecast 227 – The Star

Post by Christi » Fri Jan 20, 2012 8:14 pm

I guess that’s when faith is more powerful than science? When knowing how is not important, believing that there is a greater purpose, a purpose more important than the combined lives of an entire planet. The truly faithful don’t need to know why. We could never know why, so we try satiating our curiosity with how.

User avatar
strawman
Member
Posts: 5966
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2007 2:20 pm
Location: South Georgia

Re: Drabblecast 227 – The Star

Post by strawman » Fri Jan 20, 2012 8:42 pm

Yes, and the shamans pretend to explain why. That's religion. Suppose it's why "to devine" means "to guess". Actually, it isn't complete nonsense. If you study Starry Night, it's okay to speculate what kind of man Van Gogh was. And who has ever actually seen a neutrino? Okay, how could you see one if it's faster than light? And does that property reveal something about the nature of reality?

Sorry... massless thoughts overcome by centrifugal force.
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

User avatar
ROU Killing Time
Notorious Forum Hog
Posts: 4249
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:07 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Drabblecast 227 – The Star

Post by ROU Killing Time » Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:50 am

I think this story takes the ageless question of "Why is it that being given the gift of life comes along with the curse of death?" to a planetary scale. Also, why does it seem so important to think that we'll be remembered when we are gone.

I don't have the answer to either of these questions, (except to note that if we didn't die then it would be pretty crowded around here by now.)
"Never fuck with The Culture"
Sublime In Peace Iain M. Banks.

User avatar
strawman
Member
Posts: 5966
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2007 2:20 pm
Location: South Georgia

Re: Drabblecast 227 – The Star

Post by strawman » Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:53 pm

I run into this when I consider global warming. The calculation seems to be that if mankind can go back to the Stone Age, and severely limit the population through draconian measures, and give half our income to Al Gore, we can reduce warming by as much as 2°C.
This seems to be the 21st century equivalent of get-under-your-desk-and-hug-your-knees school drills in case of nuclear attack.
This must be implemented immediately, although you won't notice any temperature difference in your lifetime.

We have already decided to give our grandchildren as collateral for Chinese loans.
Don't call us Deniers. Call us Accepters, or Upyoursers.
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

User avatar
tbaker2500
Site Admin
Posts: 3604
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:03 pm
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Contact:

Re: Drabblecast 227 – The Star

Post by tbaker2500 » Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:39 pm

strawman wrote:I run into this when I consider global warming. The calculation seems to be that if mankind can go back to the Stone Age, and severely limit the population through draconian measures, and give half our income to Al Gore, we can reduce warming by as much as 2°C.
This seems to be the 21st century equivalent of get-under-your-desk-and-hug-your-knees school drills in case of nuclear attack.
This must be implemented immediately, although you won't notice any temperature difference in your lifetime.

We have already decided to give our grandchildren as collateral for Chinese loans.
Don't call us Deniers. Call us Accepters, or Upyoursers.
"Us" is too wide a net there. People argue the science, and claim that global warming doesn't exist. I'd still call those deniers.
However, I'd be glad to call you an Upyourser. :D
You're my quasi-ichthian angel, you're my half-amphibian queen...

The Dribblecast, we don't care if you sound like an idiot.

User avatar
normsherman
Site Admin
Posts: 1357
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2007 4:58 am

Re: Drabblecast 227 – The Star

Post by normsherman » Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:25 pm

tbaker2500 wrote:
"Us" is too wide a net there. People argue the science, and claim that global warming doesn't exist. I'd still call those deniers.
I think most scientists agree that there has been some warming, at least recently. The wishy washy and debatable stuff comes from questions like "How much?", "Compared to when?" and "Are we responsible?"
tbaker2500 wrote: However, I'd be glad to call you an Upyourser. :D
heheh


***

Regarding the story, I have other friends that take away from the end that the priest loses all his faith. I don't get that at all. In fact, I think the priest actually denies it, instead pointing out that it's just the nature of his faith has changed. The complete annihilation of a peaceful civilization in its prime doesn't bug him nearly as much as the fact that this diety he once thought he half-way understood did it to make some kind of spectacle or point, tying it in with the holy nativity/birth of Christ.

"Oh God, there were so many stars you could have used..."
"Give us all some Jelly"

User avatar
strawman
Member
Posts: 5966
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2007 2:20 pm
Location: South Georgia

Re: Drabblecast 227 – The Star

Post by strawman » Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:08 pm

The funny bit is that this turns the beings who ask the question into a bunch of Nancy Kerigans.

*Why ?!?!?*
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

User avatar
strawman
Member
Posts: 5966
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2007 2:20 pm
Location: South Georgia

Re: Drabblecast 227 – The Star

Post by strawman » Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:16 pm

tbaker2500 wrote: "Us" is too wide a net there. People argue the science, and claim that global warming doesn't exist. I'd still call those deniers.
My point is that it's nonsense either way. Due to a typo, that read 2°C. Should have read Point 2°C. I will stipulate that warming exists, and that it is partially caused by people. I just think that even if it were guaranteed to destroy the earth, people would not willingly pay the price necessary to stop it. In other words, it is exactly analogous to deficit spending.

Except that deficit spending is a reality. :wink:
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

User avatar
ROU Killing Time
Notorious Forum Hog
Posts: 4249
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:07 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Drabblecast 227 – The Star

Post by ROU Killing Time » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:12 am

More like smoking. You know it's bad for you, you just don't wanna quit. *cough*
"Never fuck with The Culture"
Sublime In Peace Iain M. Banks.

User avatar
tbaker2500
Site Admin
Posts: 3604
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:03 pm
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Contact:

Re: Drabblecast 227 – The Star

Post by tbaker2500 » Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:35 am

I'd argue that things are already starting to change in very beneficial ways. We had about 100 huge wind turbines go in around us here. Germany has had massive PV installations. The southwest has had massive concentrated solar thermal installations. There has been a large push towards efficiency. While all these things only affect a tiny percentage of our current energy deficit, it happening a lot quicker than nay-sayers and do-nothings would have us believe. And the cost of renewable energy has come down to significantly cheaper than nuclear, even when you ignore the cost of waste disposal! And we've probably offset about 1/4 of our energy usage here at the house with grid-tie PV solar. It all makes a difference.
You're my quasi-ichthian angel, you're my half-amphibian queen...

The Dribblecast, we don't care if you sound like an idiot.

Post Reply