Burb Rocking
Monday, December 18, 2006
  "The Lost Room" hidden somewhere within Kafka's "Castle"?
SciFi - The Lost Room Promo

Has anybody seen this?

Siobhán recorded it, and I just finished watching the concluding episode a short while ago. Forced to rate it on a five-star scale, I'd conservatively award it 3 ½ and be strongly tempted to go higher.

Zap2it's Krause Gets 'Lost' With Sci Fi offers the basics of the premise without giving too much away. Do we live in a multi-sided universe with more than one history, as quantum mechanics suggests? Could such a universe have corners where some of the different sides intersect? If so, then the Sunshine Motel's Room #10 is one such corner.

Such a notion lies more within the realm of fantasy than science fiction, especially as laid out in this SciFi Channel mini-series. As I watched it, I couldn't help picking up echoes of King's Dark Tower series. And Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber (and, yes, even somewhat the farsical Illuminatus! Trilogy). But I was also reminded of a game which obsessed me once upon a time: Myst, Riven & Exile. (If unafraid of spoilers, try The Lost Room by John Joseph Adams, which touches on at least one of these connections.) That reality has a center hidden somewhere behind a locked door is an old and alluring notion. Some, for instance, reckon The Castle represents Franz Kafka's Quest for an Unavailable God. King's Dark Tower, Zelazny's Amber, and Shea's and Wilson's Illuminatus! Trilogy all suggest a powerful being (or beings) operating at this secret center, controlling much of what we experience in the world, responsible for glitches sometimes glimpsed by us, which cause us to worry that 'something is wrong' with reality.

Without getting too much into a favorite subject of mine, The Matrix also obviously taps into this idea: Namely, the reality that we see is but a mask for something deeper which, if we could see it, would empower us to throw off the shackles which hobble and bind us. Besides The Matrix, however, I haven't seen much on video which works this idea, or works it very well. For this and other reasons, when my objectivity relaxes even a little, I unhesitatingly give The Lost Room four stars.

The ending was not as conclusive as what I wanted. Neither is the ending of Kafka's The Castle, for that matter, nor the end of King's The Dark Tower (nor the poem by Browning which inspired King's magnum opus, "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came"). In this case, however, the open-ended last scene may have more to do with ambitions to turn the mini-series into a regular SciFi Channel offering rather than any ambiguity concerning the fundamental underpinnings of reality.

All the same, my respect for the SciFi Channel was reluctantly nudged up a notch by The Lost Room. Which kept me hooked right up through the closing scene, where the story doesn't exactly close, but leaves room for more.


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Illuminatus!: My favorite book of all time. Just had the wife read it. I'm overdue for a re-read.

Amber: Certainly in my top five. Used to be in the #2 spot before I discovered Neil Stephenson.

Dark Tower: I absolutely loved the first four (?) books of this series, but King waited so long after Wizard & Glass that my memories of those books faded, and I was afraid to pick up with the newer volumes without starting over.

You've got great taste in books, BTW.
Stephenson. Should've read this before posting another comment on your "Lost Room" discussion. I just went and mentioned Snow Crash there.

Maurinsky is the one who steered me toward Illuminatus!, so long ago that I don't like to think about how long ago it was. And for a long time, I think Amber was right at the top of my own list. (I'm also a fan of Zelazny's Dilvish the Damned, Lord of Light, Isle of the Dead, A Night in the Lonesome October, and...and, well, you get the idea.) He left us too soon.

As for the Dark Tower books, I didn't even get as far as you did. Only the first two. The first was so good and made so many promises that I think I was afraid to keep reading, worried they might not all be fulfilled by the end.

Anyway, thanks. Used to have decent taste in books till I stopped reading. Must get back to reading again. (Of course, that might involve less time spent on the Web, and sleeping, and doing things with the family, and...)
You know, that's the one thing about the internet that I sometimes regret: How much time it sucks up that I used to dedicate to reading actual books. Well, that and the fact that spending so much time reading blogs seems to have had an adverse effect on my attention span...
Its a great show forever and I have a link to watch it any time. You can also watch it from download The Lost Room tv show. The central protagonist, Joe Miller, who is excellently played by Peter Krause, introduces a deftly played brave-smart-everyman quality to this thriller which brings us quickly into the story. Kevin Pollak shows his true colors early as a fine actor playing the cool-mob-type bad guy.
Hinder34, right on both counts! Krause and Pollak were both excellent casting choices - and absolutely essential for the series to be carried off as beautifully as it was. Was kind of hoping SciFi would go back to the well on this one, but even so.

Thanks for the link - will be checking it out.
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