12 May 2006

Revenge of the cybermen

I have been reading Dr Kit Pedler's book The Quest for Gaia, Dr Pedler a research scientist and medical doctor invented the cybermen (next outing on dr who tommorrow) with Gerry Davies in the 1960s. They also scripted the BBC 1 eco catastrophe sf series Doomwatch...titles like The Plastic Eaters about a microbe that eats the stuff with usual results.

The Quest argues from Lovelock that the planet is a cybernetic system with feedback mechanisms that preserve life, that it is essentially an intelligent being and that industrial society is threatening its coherence, it will of course takes it revenge.

A cybernarchy, a soulless extra human computer political system is taking over (his politics is essentially the same as his literary output without the wobbly sets). Resistance is useless! Well, may be not...the book is an early genre of ecological poltics...if on the left you remember old style deterministic socialism this is the green equivalent, bracing and simplistic a distortion or a path (hopefully to) an ideology which is much more subtle and sophisiticated.

The book captures 70s ecologism pretty well, from Teddy Goldsmith to the Good Life and is a good example of green lifestyle suggestions, quite fun and instructive for a £ or a $ second hand.

Not interested in any form of social analysis the enemy is industrialisation.

Now I guess that Kit Pedler via popular culture with Dr Who helped sustain green politics with some emotive symbols in science fiction, just as Russel Davies and friends are doing now. So write a Dr Who script and change the world..

FOUND THIS which provides a summary...Christian response to Gaia
For a pragmatic response to Gaia see Kit Pedler: The Quest for Gaia, 1991. Pedler argues that the Gaia theory is a new revolutionary force that has been unleashed on the world. Technologists, he argues, have made the egregious blunder of assuming that nature was passive and neutral, a vast piece of blank paper on which they could draw their dreams. Instead, Pedler contends, the life process that surrounds us is characterized by an intelligence capable of self-rectification and regulation, an insight provided by Lovelock (Pedler 1991, 10). Unlike the Gaia theory originators, Pedler ascribes a hefty role to the human in living within Gaia. Pedler contends that we must reorient ourselves to live in harmony with Gaia, otherwise we face extinction. For Pedler, we are in Gaia. There is no way to extricate ourselves from it; we are neither above nor superior to it. He suggests that no sustainable future for humanity can be attained unless human concerns are placed second to Gaian concerns.


Kit Pedler
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Dr Kit Pedler (born 1928 - 27 May 1981) was a British medical scientist, a writer of science fiction and about science in general.

Kit was the Head of the Electron Microscopy Department at the University of London, where he published a number of papers.

His first contribution to TV was for the BBC programme Horizon.

He was also a science fiction writer who, in the mid 1960s, became unofficial scientific adviser to the Doctor Who production team. Hired by Innes Lloyd to inject more hard science into the stories, Pedler formed a particular writing partnership with Gerry Davis, who was story editor on the programme. Their interest in the problems of science changing and endangering human life had led them to create the Cybermen.

Pedler wrote three scripts for Doctor Who: The Tenth Planet, The Moonbase and The Tomb of the Cybermen. He also submitted the story outlines that became The War Machines, The Wheel in Space and The Invasion. In the years between Pedler's death and his own Gerry Davis frequently stated that, although Pedler produced some strong story ideas, he was not a particularly good scriptwriter and that he, Davis, would contribute a lot to the writing, even when not credited as doing so. This is impossible to verify and production office documentation neither confirms nor denies Davis's assertions.

Pedler and Davis also devised and co-wrote Doomwatch, a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme which ran on BBC One for three seasons from 1970 to 1972 (thirty-seven fifty-minute episodes plus one unshown) covered a government department that worked to combat technological and environmental disasters. Pedler and Davis contributed to only the first two series.

Pedler and Davis re-used the plot of the first episode of the series, The Plastic Eaters, for their 1971 novel Mutant 59: The Plastic Eater.

His non fiction book The Quest for Gaia gave practical advise on creating an ecologically sustainable lifestyle, taking the Gaia concept from James Lovelock.

He died of a heart attack while producing a series for TV on the paranormal.


* Mutant 59: The Plastic Eaters (1971) (with Gerry Davis)
* Brainrack (1974) (with Gerry Davis)
* Doomwatch: The World in Danger (1975)
* The Dynostar Menace (1975) (with Gerry Davis)
* The Quest for Gaia (1979)
* Mind Over Matter (1981)



* Fortean Times Issue 209, April 2006


External links

* Kit Pedler at The Internet Movie Database

United KingdomThis British biographical article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.

1 comment:

Daniel S. Ketelby said...

Fascinating post, thanks - I'll look out for his book. Like you say, worth a flutter at the right price.

From some angles, it does look as though this civilisation is running a race between ecocatastrophe on the one hand, and some kind of technological Singularity (predicted by Ray Kurzweil among other non-fiction writers, in various books and articles for magazines such as the New Scientist) on the other. In three hundred years, our descendents might be living hunter-gatherer lifestyles given the former, or some unimaginable posthuman future given the latter. (In some of Ken MacLeod's novels, some of those who were at uni in the 1970s get to live three hundred years or more!). Alternatively we could be 'the rats in the walls' if Artificial Intelligence takes over and doesn't like us much.

Check out this link, which opens out onto more on the Singularity and material on how Google might pitch for some of the Cybermen's world-conquering franchise (!); click here for more on Doctor Who, and how even the Daleks are being roped in to support some of the cynical sub-therapeutic cliches of contemporary telly.

When Keir Starmer was a Marxist.

Canvassing in Brighton back in 2017 to support Green Party MP Caroline Lucas’s re-election efforts, I knocked on a door and came acros...