Sunday, March 20, 2011

We see Benny head for his job as a staff writer for Incredible Tales of Scientific Wonder, a pulp science fiction monthly similar to many that published in this era (its name even suggests several other magazines.) The other staff writers are based very loosely on actual science fiction writers of the time. Colm Meany (O’Brien) plays Albert Macklin, a tongue-tied writer in a tweed coat whose specialty is stories about robots (Issac Asimov might be the model, though Asimov had an opposite, outgoing personality.)

Alexander Siddig/ Siddig El Fadil (Dr. Bashir) is Julius Eaton and Nana Visitor (Kira) is Kay Eaton. They are a husband and wife writing team. Though their DS9 characters were never involved with each other, the actors were in fact married to each other at this time, adding another level of correspondence. The 1953 characters are believed to be based on writers Catherine (C.L.) Moore and her husband, Henry Kuttner.

Armin Shimmerman (Quark) plays Herbert Rosoff, and Rene Auberjonois (Odo) plays the magazine’s editor, Douglas Pabst. Rosoff and Pabst clash early and often, mirroring the relationship of Quark and Odo. In this case, Rosoff is a progressive advocate of individual rights and workers versus the bosses, somewhat of a reversal from Quark. Pabst is the boss who serves another boss, the unseen publisher, protecting his profits.

The first topic of discussion at this meeting is the publisher’s decision to run photos of the writers. But they will not include Kay Eaton—because of an assumed prejudice of sci-fi readers against women writers—and Benny, because of an assumed prejudice against “Negro” writers. (In the 1950s, Negro was the accepted designation for African Americans.) Though the other writers grumble, in the end they accept this. So the basic reality of the times dealt with in this episode is set.

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