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The Code February 12, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in fiction, literature, Other, Philosophy, Science Fiction, speculative fiction.

Both my son and I were sick this weekend with some sort of stomach/intestinal plague that’s going around.  So yesterday I went to the video store to find something to stare at for a few hours.  He used to be interested in Dinosaurs, a phase that lasted only about four or five years.  So when I saw that Dinotopia, a miniseries, had been released on video, and that it was in the “Family” section of the store, I hoped that he might retain enough interest to agree. 

My interest is not in dinosaurs so much as utopias, although I certainly don’t mind dinosaurs.  I love reading utopian novels because the authors self-consciously attempt to make a whole society fit together.  These tales tell every bit as much about the author as they do about the society the author lives in, and they stretch “systems-thinking” to its limits (usually they go past the author’s ability to think about social, economic, and environmental systems, and that is sometimes their charm.)  Utopian novels, of course, also delineate the authors view of contemporary problems, which is also fun.  Speculative fiction often does these things, too, but speculative writers are usually too narrow in their interests to make a good case for social change (and often they are writing about technological change as their primary interest anyway).

Anyway, he agreed to watch it, and I think he enjoyed the four-hour-long set of two DVDs.  I certainly did.  The original Dinotopia novel, by James Gurney, lays out the foundation of Dinotopian society as a code.  I love it when utopian writers codify their thoughts so concisely.  In the novel the code is:

  1. Survival of all or none
  2. One raindrop raises the sea
  3. Weapons are enemies even to their owners
  4. Give more, take less
  5. Others first, self last
  6. Observe, listen, and learn
  7. Do one thing at a time
  8. Sing every day
  9. Exercise imagination
  10. Eat to live, don’t live to eat
  11. Don’t p..

Late in the miniseries you find out what the 11th rule was, and it’s kinda dumb, mystical.  But I prefer my own interpretation, which for this weekend was: Don’t puke.

Rules to live by.


1. Kaitlyn - February 13, 2007

Sounds like your watching was a lot better than my reading (see my most recent post “bad bad unicorn: a review”).
We’re under the plague banner too–but so far just one child. I think I was up approximately 107 times last night. Best of luck with it.

2. caveblogem - February 13, 2007


I was trying not to be too critical, because I remember when I was a kid I actually enjoyed Land of the Lost (for one season, at least, and then began to make fun of it.)

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