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Monday, July 24, 2017

A Return to Buck Rogers: Jane Austen in the 25th Century

Earth culture of the 25th Century blends elements from all eras of recorded time (at least what the historians can piece together from surviving culture. Such is the formal dance performed in the novelization of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. As Richard A Lupoff (writing as Addison E Steele) describes in the novelization, the dance is a mixture of minuet and quadrille, ballet and free-form interpretive. As the dancers move, they pass along globes containing lit candles. The chandeliers dim as the dance reaches its climax, producing a fairyland of multicolored fireflies floating on the invisible breeze. 

The dance performed in the film "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" reminds me more of the formal style portrayed in Jane Austen dramatizations than it does Lupoff's description. Just as I like Jane Austen's novels and dramatizations, there's a strong love for her books and characters in the Science Fiction community. American Science Fiction conventions regularly host Regency Balls, in which participants attend in period dress. I'm not sure why SF fans like Jane Austen and cosplaying Old English societal norms, but her stories are timeless, and things like dressing up and drinking tea are always fun. It's nice that series creator, producer, and pilot co-screenwriter Glen Larson tipped his hat to fans of Science Fiction and Jane Austen in his film.

As the TV series progressed, Larson would lean more on Lupoff's description, and portray much more of a blending of styles and freeform interpretation in episodes containing dances. Sadly, those scenes never matched the elegance Lupoff envisaged, and seem dated by today's standards. But this dance in the pilot is elegant and impressive.

Dragon Dave

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