Lazy Luddite Log

24.10.12

Sanctuary


This entry is a sequel of sorts for this much older entry. It demonstrates that there is always more information on a given topic and that sometimes the only way to discover that extra information is by accident. It also shows how very flawed memory can be.

Let me re-cap what I discovered back in 2006. Exploring all of human knowledge via the Internet was still a new thing for me then and I suddenly was in the mood to get info on a kids TV show from my childhood. It was difficult as I had mis-remembered its name and words are the key to accessing information online. My memory had warped the name from Ark II to Ark 2000 (hardly surprising as in the latter part of last century "2000" as a suffix was a convenient short-hand for "futuristic"). I had also mis-remembered that the crew of the futuristic vehicle travelling in a barbaric wasteland included a talking chimpanzee. In my flawed memory the token non-human had become a robot! But there was more I had mis-remembered.

In the linked post I refer to Sanctuary as the objective of the Ark II crew but at the time I never managed to find any reference to that. That should have made me suspicious as I had looked at complete episode listings and Sanctuary was never mentioned. And now that I think a bit more the absence of such an objective makes sense. The Ark II crew were evangelists taking rational civilization to a barbaric world rather than pilgrims seeking a civilized haven in a barbaric world. Possibly I had imagined it so back in 2006 I abandoned my own search for Sanctuary. But then I stumbled upon it by accident last week while browsing YouTube.

The Sanctuary I found was part of another altogether separate 70s US science fiction television series. As a child I had somehow confused elements of Ark II (1976) with the television adaptation of Logan's Run (1977-78). And get this - the cast of Logan's Run included an android! Seems that rather than turn a chimp into a robot I had simply mashed two existing characters together. Incidentally an android is a cost-effective alternative to a robot in terms of costume design as all you have to do is get an actor to act. If you have spent all your budget on futuristic vehicles then this makes economic sense.

I have seen the original movie of Logan's Run (1976) and it refers to Sanctuary by name. In it humans live in a domed city safe from the ravages of a world that has been devastated by nuclear war. However to conserve resources the super computer that runs the domed city euthanizes everyone at the age of 30. Naturally some decide to escape from this fate ("Runners") but are hunted by a force of assassins ("Sandmen"). The destination of the Runners is a legendary haven called Sanctuary and in the movie the central character (Logan - a Sandman turned Runner) discovers that it is a myth and returns to the City Of Domes. I saw this as an adult and yet somehow overlooked the significance of the word "Sanctuary" (which to be honest is in lots of things).

In the television series version Logan escapes and travels the wasteland in a solar-powered land craft along with Jessica (another Runner) and Rem (the android). In Ark II a group of young scientists travel in something that looks like a cross between a motor-home and a space shuttle. Jonah, Ruth, Samuel and Adam (the talking chimp) are on a mission to bring civilized concepts back to a barbaric post-pollution world. Ark II in this sense is optimistic while Logan's Run is pessimistic. Keep in mind a key difference between these shows - the former is for children while the latter is for a wider audience.

And what of Sanctuary? I had remembered from childhood that the protagonists find it to be fake. Well I can now relate how, in the Logan's Run episode The Collectors, they find a mirage rather than an oasis and the illusion is the deliberate stratagem of aliens who wish to study human specimens. Yep - aliens. The movie concept of Logan's Run was free of any such thing that would detract from the one oppressive thing of the City Of Domes regime. However in the television series they explore a host of science fictions concepts. In The Collectors we see the true faces of the aliens as something akin to the impressive latex mask-work seen in the Cantina of Star Wars fame (made at the same time).

Episode listings tell me that the protagonists in Logan's Run never find true Sanctuary. This is possibly because television shows simply discontinuing rather than concluding was a common problem in past decades. Possibly they were supposed to find Sanctuary and it would be the same lovely water-garden shroud community of comfort and personal freedom. Or possibly the answer given in the movie version that "there is no Sanctuary" (uttered by the creepy holographic mind-probed face of Logan) also holds for television.

Nonetheless the Sanctuary image and the concept behind it seems to have indelibly written itself into my consciousness. I am excited to have discovered the context of this memory but I also feel a sense of longing for the fantastic thing that never existed even in the context of a fantastic fictional future. It tempts and taunts me like conjurations of Paradise are supposed to. However I philosophically reject the notion of hoping to find refuge from a troubled world. I favour one in which the world is lived in and improved by the act of living in it. In that sense I prefer Ark II over Logan's Run. On the other hand indulging in a bit of fiction as a kind of temporary escapism is an important part of life. I wonder if I can get my hands on episodes of these shows.

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15.10.12

Bucket List

It have recently been using the phrase "Bucket List" but it occurs to me that I have been formulating such a set of aims for much longer. The concept is a rather morbid one - it is the list of things you hope to do before you "kick the bucket". However I think it can be given another twist - it is those things you hope to do as soon as you reasonably can because life has a way of distracting you from the good things. The focus then shifts from the ultimate 'then' to the relative 'now'.

I have never written this list nor do I intend to. It is an ever-changing incremental set of intensions. Besides a lot of what falls into my mental bucket list is retrospective. I never particularly regarded "singing a solo at a public performance while cross-dressed" as a life objective but once circumstances directed me into such an action I decided - yes - this was a fun and distinctive thing to do. It has now been added to the list of anecdotes I can recall with friends as we reminisce on shared experiences.

It is also a rather modest list and hardly one to crow from the rooftops. Heck - one of those items recently crossed off the list was to visit Hallam. Why? Well it was the one suburb within the Federal electorate of Holt that I had never visited during my time as a candidate there. The fact that I have now been there (on the same day as an interview in the area) makes zero difference to my political experiences but it does fulfil basic curiosity and a sense of completeness.

The imperative to "collect the set" is one instilled in children by toy advertisements. It definitely drove my accumulation of Transformers. It has also been a characteristic of my gathering of some experiences. However I am very mindful of limitations and so I am interested in a well-rounded set of experiences (rather than the often prohibitively difficult objective of having "everything"). So I have been to every state and territory even if in some cases I have only set foot in the capital city. My desire for the comprehensive rather than the complete was explored somewhat back in this old post.

I will end with just one thing I now think I should experience that I have to date always evaded - riding a roller-coaster. It surprises many that I have never done this and possibly I should do what so many others have done for the sake of a fleeting thrill. A visit to Luna Park with some friends may be on the cards.

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