Tuesday, July 23, 2002

"Who is 'The Loneliest Monk'?"
-MTV's Tabitha Soren in 1992, after an interview with then-candidate Bill Clinton, who had said that he would love to play saxophone with jazz great Thelonius Monk.

:: It's always funny when journalists and other media personalities inadvertently display their complete ignorance on any given topic. Sometimes you can't blame them, if they just happen to have stepped afoul of some piece of information that might not necessarily be common knowledge, but still, the effects are quite often hilarious. Take this sentence, from an otherwise unremarkable article about the computers used by film special effects companies:

"Digital Revelations is largely relying on Intel-based computers for the effects on Rendezvous with Rama, a thriller coming out next year in which a group of humans seek revenge on aliens that blow up Italy."

Now, perhaps Arthur C. Clarke's novel Rendezvous with Rama isn't as well-known as it used to be; it is, after all, at least thirty years old (although it is also a SF classic). What's funny is that this plot description is utterly absurd. The book opens with Venice being destroyed by a meteor impact, which leads to the deployment of an orbital weapons system for the purpose of blowing up any such future threats. The orbital system, though, detects something else entering the Solar System, something alien in nature. The object is code-named "Rama" and a team of astronauts is dispatched to, well, rendezvous with it. That's it. No aliens blowing things up, no interstellar war. In fact, if memory serves, the actual aliens themselves don't even appear in the book. This author has clearly never heard of the book and therefore conflates a couple of plot points into something that barely has any resemblance to the novel's actual storyline.

Thankfully, the record has been set straight by the good folks at AICN.

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