charamei: (EGS: Ellen Reading)
Every year, from June until September, it's time to feed the Muse. This isn't a choice: it's been part of my natural creative cycle since I was at least 17. Creativity slumps, productivity slumps, and everything old and familiar is boring. Not coincidentally, this is the time of year when I spend the most money on all forms of media, when I watch the most TV, and when I read the most fanfic. There's an itch in my spine for new stories.

Which goes some way to explaining how it is that I bought this book blind, and devoured it in two days, and why I now have three more books waiting to go and am seriously contemplating starting one of them right this instant.

'I want to go home,' she lied. )

A quick, compelling and excellent read.
charamei: Eighth Doctor (DW8: Eight)
I've been putting this off and putting it off, and you'll probably see why soon enough: it's long. This was the final 8DA story, by the way: the series has ended now. I hope 4DA fills the gap as admirably as I'm expecting. On the whole, I've enjoyed 8DA a lot more than Big Finish's main line, which I am now hopelessly behind on.

SPOILERS for all of 8DA, including multiple character deaths. Also spoilers for 'Waters of Mars' and 'The End of Time', if anyone has yet to watch those. )

An emotionally packed climax, some serious long-term impact for the Eighth Doctor's future, Daleks... there's a reason this took me so long to process, and that's that this finale was incredible.
charamei: Start writing and keep writing! (NaNoWriMo: Start Writing and Keep Writin)
Regan and Meredith Book 1 is go! Well, technically it was go a week ago, but since I'm only now getting past the first scene I can pretend to postpone the start date ;)

(I restarted. Again. This time there's no First Steps to get in the way, though... bouncing between politically-savvy, cyncial Regan and optimistic, two-hours-old Snail was doing my head in.)

I'm really feeling the rust that comes from not having started a longfic in two years: working out where I go next feels like an uphill struggle each time. But on the plus side, the characters are still feeling fine:

Ania: I'm not your patient.
Meredith: You threw up on my shoes. That makes you my patient.

The people in my head are awesome.

ALSO. Book review. If I sneak it in here, I can maybe trick my brain into writing one?
Doctor Who: The Nightmare of Black Island (Mike Tucker, Tenth Doctor Adventures) )
charamei: Doctor Who: Spoilers (DW10: Spoilers)
And then I promise not to comment on the rest of the series unless I actually like something, because I appreciate that my utter boredom with and distaste for Eleven does not make for compelling, entertaining or even non-whiny reading.

Cut for spoilers, capslock and rampant negativity. NO REALLY.  )

Gallifrey S04 starts soon and I only ever listened to S01, despite owning the boxset. I'm thinking I go back to that and completely ignore S06; I don't see an improvement in any of the aspects I disliked from S05, and now that I know they're coming I find them even more grating.

Wake me when Twelve comes around.
charamei: (Default)
Full review after part 2 comes out this month, but for now, kudos to Jake McGann! He conveyed actual emotion this time. It's good to hear him growing as an actor.
charamei: (EGS: Ellen Reading)
Because there are several of them and it's either sum up The End of Mr Y and Frostbitten in a few sentences or write an essay on them.

The Pirate Loop (Tenth Doctor Adventures, Simon Guerrier)


Sentient badger pirates threaten a ship full of decadent Mr Tickles. Nobody can die, but the Doctor nearly manages it anyway. Martha is awesome. Guerrier doesn't know the difference between Greek and Latin phonemes and makes the Doctor look ignorant rather than educated when he passes his ignorance on. Two minutes with a dictionary would have solved this. Book is awesome and Time is wibbly-wobbly.

The Road to Oz (L. Frank Baum)


Ozma, who has no respect for Aunt Em's poor heart, magically manipulates Dorothy into getting lost so she'll end up in Oz for Ozma's birthday. The Shaggy Man learns a couple of lessons about Real vs False Love. Father Christmas sends everyone home in a bubble, except Dorothy, who's far too sensible for air travel.

The End of Mr Y (Scarlett Thomas)


An incredibly impressionable, stupid, self-absorbed woman follows some instructions she finds in a book clearly marked as fiction and goes on an exciting, if metaphysical, journey into her own subconscious and the collective subconsciousnesses of every other human being. Then she destroys it because somebody told her to and she's incapable of thinking for herself.

Maskerade (Terry Pratchett)


The Bechdel test meets Phantom of the Opera and looks at it until it stops being so silly.

Tales of the Otherworld (Kelley Armstrong)


Fun, engaging stories about characters I love having problems that range from marriage to murder.

Frostbitten (Kelley Armstrong)


Somebody wants to rape Elena. Again. Her Stu husband saves her. Again. At some point, Elena tells me that she never usually has trouble with rapists and I scoff and mutter something about 'show, don't tell'. I wonder what happened to the good Elena from Tales of the Otherworld.
charamei: (R&H2001: Jeannie)
I finally bit the bullet and ordered the boxset of the original 1969 Randall and Hopkirk (deceased). I've seen bits of it repeated on ITV4, but you know how it is with repeats - I've seen two episodes lots of times and the rest none at all. Conversely, the 2000/01 series was my first venture into the world of geeky cult TV: it came out when I was 13 and has had its claws firmly into my subconscious ever since. I couldn't possibly watch one without comparing it to t'other.

Spoilers, by the way, for both episodes. And not just of the 'Marty DIES!' variety.

Afore the sun shall rise anew, each ghost unto his grave must goo. )
charamei: Doctor Who: Spoilers (DW10: Spoilers)
The Four Doctors wears its main attraction on its sleeve, of course. It's also a Dalek story, and a time-faffery story (as usual. I mean, how else do you get four Doctors into the same room?). And unlike the previous Christmas specials, they're saying it will never be released as a standalone; the only way to get it is to purchase a subscription to the main Doctor Who line that includes the December 2010 release (#142, The Demons of Red Lodge and Other Stories).

Whether that's worth it or not really depends on what you're hoping to get out of it, I think. )

The only thing that The Four Doctors fails to deliver is fanservice. Given the choice between a fanservice story and a well-told, moving one, I'll take what we have every time.

But... maybe next time we can have a bit more fanservice?
charamei: (DW1: Doctor Susan)
This Christmas in Who-land: airborne fish, time manipulation, and grumpy old men who won't let go of the past.

It's all relative. )

This Christmas special was compelling and soulful and funny and everything that the other Christmas special wasn't.

Four Doctors next, I suppose. Then I've only got, oh, six more stories to catch up on from the Big Finish main line?
charamei: (Default)
Finally got through this year's Sarah Jane Adventures, which I'll probably have something to say about at some point - mostly, I'm very glad that the series has moved away from the 'alien automatically means bad' mindset of S03 - and now I'm halfway through (read: two episodes into) Garrow's Law.

They didn't hold back this season, did they? Episode 1 was about the slave trade and episode 2 was about a sodomy trial. And our arc plot is 18th-century divorce! The writers are wonderfully stark about the whole thing, neither interjecting 21st-century moral soapboxing nor overdoing the horrific nature of what went on, and as a result the tragedy and drama shine through all the better. All of this serves to remind me that I must read up on the historical William Garrow at some point; I'm unsure just how much the need for good telly is getting in the way of the facts, but if even half of it is true then he was utterly amazing.

Episode 1 was mostly carried by Danny Sapani's incredible non-verbal performances - especially in the courtroom. It wasn't emotionally satisfying, but that probably means that it was historically accurate.

Episode 2...
"You will commit the crime again."

"Not until your release from prison."
This episode, you guys. All the more poignant because of how very true it was back then.

Meanwhile, the arc plot... oh, I love how Garrow's Law handles its chief romance. I assume that it's historically accurate because it's just not how TV does things - when was the last time you saw 'We love one another, but you're married, so we will never do anything inappropriate' appear in a TV show, let alone be stuck to with such determination?

It's a small pity that they're only making four episodes a year, but if it keeps the quality to this standard, I absolutely cannot complain.
charamei: (EGS: Ellen Reading)
It's snowing! It's snowing and I don't have to worry about getting into work until tomorrow and the flakes are really big and it's only three inches but that's an inch more than it was when I got up thirty minutes ago it's SNOWING, WINTER IS HERE, IT'S OFFICIAL - oh, wait. Sorry, Mr Scalzi, I'll stop upsetting November now.

No more am I confined by endless NaNo research to reading historical textbooks! I can get back to reading fiction, which is good, because I miss it.

Doctor Who: Wetworld (Tenth Doctor Adventures, Mark Michalowski)


I have a confession to make. I'm lazy and should have reviewed this four months ago, and as a result, I don't remember it too well now.

But I do recall that it's one of the good ones. )

I really shouldn't wait four months to review things.

Fortunately, I read The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms last night! So I'm not a completely hopeless case.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms: N. K. Jemisin


Read more... )

OMG BLIZZARD THE SNOW IS GOING ALMOST HORIZONTAL I'm going to have so much trouble getting into work tomorrow but SNOW.
charamei: (EGS: Ellen Reading)
Darkest Powers Trilogy (Kelley Armstrong)

There are plenty of writers I admire. But when I grow up, I want to be the unholy love child of Charlie Higson and Kelley Armstrong.

Okay, maybe not. Mostly, I want to be Armstrong, with all of Higson's horror and none of his overdescription.

Which isn't to say that Armstrong doesn't do horror, of course. She does, usually in the same breath as the action, mystery and romance.

And holy crap, did I just read a rape scene in a YA book?! )

Night of the Humans (Eleventh Doctor Adventures, David Llewellyn)

This is the Gyre - the most hostile environment in the galaxy. )

My Amazon order arrived today, complete with Age of Bronze 3: Betrayal. Ooooooo...

Also, finished that godawful chapter at last! Only one more to go!
charamei: Completely mad (DW10: Completely Mad)
"Just come out so we can talk... or sing about it."

Oh, Glee. Where would we be without you?

Meanwhile, in the land of fiction that at least takes a stab at being serious, I've just finished Sacrifice, the second part of Eric Shanower's Age of Bronze series. My review of the first, A Thousand Ships, can be found here.

Read more... )

I hope that the character designs are better differentiated by the time we reach the really big battle scenes, but even if they're not, the character parts of the plot - the majority - are more than worth the irritation of trying to tell Priam's eighty billion identical sons apart. This series just keeps getting better and better.
charamei: Geek (DW10: Geek)
I just opened Firefox, typed 'ch' into the address bar and hit the down arrow once to get my Dreamwidth URL up, appended '/update' to the URL and started typing. I am listening to Die Fledermaus (again) on Rhythmbox. If I feel like it, I can watch a DVD in a minute.

The impressive bit? Three hours ago, this computer was running a different operating system. And so was my laptop.

Ubuntu: Karmic to Lucid in an hour and a half. )

Yeah, that's it. I'm out of things to say about Lucid Lynx, except that I'm very glad I switched from Karmic and very happy with it so far.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go and play with Nautilus some more.
charamei: Books. Best weapons in the world. (DW10: Books)
Anyone who reads these things is probably aware that I've been grousing for a while about my inability to find Young Bond 5: By Royal Command on the shelves in my favourite bookshop, and that this is directly related to the absurd amount of Doctor Who I've been reading lately (because those books are kept directly above Young Bond on the shelves). Well, I still have a backlog of Who - I always have a backlog of Who - but guess what WH Smith's finally restocked a couple of weeks ago?

For King and country! )

If you only read one Young Bond, definitely make it this one. Although it reuses villains, it doesn't require too much foreknowledge of past events, and in terms of historical context, sheer complexity of plot and lack of Higson's more irritating traits as a writer, it's by far the best. Honestly, though, I would recommend the entire series. Except Blood Fever.

And, oh, did I mention that I have a backlog of Doctor Who? :p

Judgement of the Judoon (Tenth Doctor Adventures, Colin Brake)
'That wall-bursting thing could become a nasty habit.' - 'That could make me a crashing bore.' )

Not a fantastic book by any means, but it's saved from being utterly boring by a brilliant idea for a companion, executed decently.

I also got hold of one of the first Eleven books, Night of the Humans. I haven't read it yet - I'm working through the entirety of Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Power trilogy at the moment - but I was struck by how thin it is, even with the new larger page size. I did a wordcount, and it looks like the new books are 5,000 words shorter than the old ones: a Tenth Doctor book routinely counts to around 60k, whereas this one's only 55k. Easier to do for NaNo, I suppose, but I can't say I'm terribly in favour of the change. Wasn't 60k short enough?
charamei: Mystery Science Fiction 3000: These are just random sentences, folks. (MST3K: Random sentences)
I'm about five years late to the party, but after several long, hard months I've finally finished Atlanta Nights by the SFWA Travis Tea.

Like Jane Yolen, I stayed upright reading it. )

Atlanta Nights: A terrible book that certainly should never have been accepted for publication. But not as bad as The Eye of Argon. Not by a stretched columnar clastic rock deposition.
charamei: Doctor Who: Mine goes up to Eleven (DW11: Up to Eleven)
But first, a sign of the times:
Ubuntu's weather app says: 15 degrees centigrade, volcanic ash, clear sky.

So by episode three, we should be all settled down, accustomed to the new Doctor, and able to start making some comment about trends in the series.

Which means that by episode three, I have to say... I'm actually still not settled.

SPOILERS beyond this point. )
Hm... I might sit next episode out, at least for reviewing. I hate River Song, and although I agree that Blink is excellent, the weeping angels don't exactly terrify me. So if I review it, be it good or bad, I'm likely to just end up wanking about it. And believe me, you don't want to see an asexual wank...
charamei: Doctor Who: Spoilers (DW10: Spoilers)
Bernard, I have served eleven governments in the past thirty years. If I had believed in all their policies, I would have been passionately committed to keeping out of the Common Market, and passionately committed to going into it. I would have been utterly convinced of the rightness of nationalising steel, and of denationalising it and renationalising it. On capital punishment, I'd have been a fervent retentionist and an ardent abolitionist. I would have been a Keynesian and a Friedmanite, a grammar school preserver and destroyer, a nationalisation freak and a privatisation maniac; but above all, I would have been a stark, staring, raving schizophrenic. - Sir Humphrey Appleby

And this applies to stories, too! )
charamei: Doctor Who: Spoilers (DW10: Spoilers)
...but still not really in a reviewing mood. IMO, The Eleventh Hour was good - but it had too much work to do to spare time on being brilliant. I fully expect that to change now that we're over the initial hurdles of 'This is the Doctor, this is the companion, this is the companion's family, this is the arc plot, this is the alien threatening the world and this is the brand spanking new TARDIS'.

On the other hand, some things bear mention, and some are really bugging me.

Spoilers beyond this point. )

Kind of makes me wish I didn't RP on Saturdays.
charamei: Doctor Who: Spoilers (DW10: Spoilers)
I'm starting to think that Big Finish's whole modus operandi at the moment is 'fixing the plots that RTD screwed up'.

Well, that and 'tying up the bloody timeline in ever more ingenious knots'.

This month, it seems to have been the turn of Journey's End, Waters of Mars and End of Time, all at once.

Spoilers follow.

'[The TARDIS] could be anything in this hangar. That fighter plane, say, or that barrel of fuel, or it could even be hiding behind that stone ziggurat...' )

In short: get this one, yes yes yes. It probably works better with Survival of the Fittest to give it context, but it was moving and well-plotted, thought-provoking and, at one point, utterly hilarious. It ends on a somewhat bittersweet note, and I think I'll miss Klein as a companion even though she was only in the role for three episodes. It's not melodramatic, it doesn't rely on deus ex machinae or bombastic, overblown emo speeches (although there are a couple: the Doctor's always up for some preaching, and then Crichlow does one later). It's just a good story, with wonderful characters, beautifully told.

Ooh. It's nearly April. That's... let's see...

Sixth Doctor reunites with Jamie
Eighth Doctor Adventures restarts

And... that other thing...

Oh, yes...

ELEVEN.

April is going to be a good month for Who geeks, one way or the other.

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