Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Shakespeare Reference in Star Trek: Battlestations!

Lots of Shakespeare references have appeared in episodes of the various Star Trek television series and films (one of the films is even named after a phrase from Hamlet), so it came as no surprise to find a Shakespeare reference in Diane Carey’s novel, Star Trek: Battlestations! Carey writes: “He puzzled for a moment, then held up a finger. ‘Oh. You mean like if you fire an infinite number of shots at an infinite number of monkeys…’ ‘You’ll eventually kill Shakespeare’” (p. 60). That is a joke on the theory that if a monkey randomly pressed keys on a typewriter for infinity it would eventually produce Hamlet.

Star Trek: Battlestations! was published in 1986.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Shakespeare References in What Was Mine

I’ve been revisiting some books I enjoyed back in high school and college, including Ann Beattie’s What Was Mine, a collection of her short stories. Two of the stories contain Shakespeare references. The first of those, “You Know What,” contains a reference to Hamlet. Well, sort of. Anne Beattie writes: “At the end of that week I was paired with him in a scene. It was Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. I was Rosencrantz. We stood on the teacher’s sweatshirt, which was the boat, and as we talked, his eyes moved one way and mine moved another” (p. 141). So, it is really a reference to Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead, but of course that entire play is an adaptation of Hamlet. The play is mentioned a second time in the story: “‘Not that,’ he says. ‘The story about acting class. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’” (p. 149). Then, in “What Was Mine,” Ann Beattie writes, “It became a standing refrain between my mother and Herb that some deliberate merriment had been orchestrated just for them, like the play put on in A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (p. 172).

What Was Mine was published in 1991. The copy I read this time was a First Edition from the local library.