Posts tagged ‘books’


Murder, Madness and the Love of Social Websites

I’m up to 1,300 words of my ‘The End of Time, Part Two’ review. Clearly what I lack in speed I make up for in size.


There’s also an atypicalreview redesign coming. If I had any sense of timing at all, it’d be ready on April 4, a date to which I’m not counting the days to at all, no sir, not me. But I almost certainly don’t, q.v. paragraph one.

Finally, and because there’s no way in hell I’ll get around to reviewing it, I’ll briefly mention The Surgeon of Crowthorne, a book about murders, schizophrenics and the English Dictionary. It’s a peculiar read — constantly interesting but not particularly engrossing, if that’s possible. You get a good perspective of the almost insanely daunting task of making a comprehensive dictionary, which would be pretty tricky today, but even more ridiculous without computers. But just as interestingly, you get a good idea of how horrible it’d be to be a bit mental1 150 years ago.

Linking to books is trickier than linking to movies, where IMDb is king. I’ve gone with above, but in future perhaps Shelfari will be a better bet. It’s kind of like a social networking site for reading. Is anyone else using it? I started importing my library from Delicious Library and got rather bored rather quickly.

In any case, the title didn’t match the cover for Crowthorne — which has clearly gone through some name changes in its time — but this may be fixed by the time you visit, as Shelfari allows you to suggest changes to its information a la Wikipedia, which is pretty neat. If anyone is inspired to sign up, I’m here.

  1. Not the technical term, as I understand it.

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Stop This Madness

Some presumably otherwise lovely people, including Douglas Adams’ widow, Jane Belson, have decided that what’s really needed in this world is a sixth Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy book.

There’s not enough “why” in the world to appropriately respond to this. Douglas Adams is quoted as saying

“I suspect at some point in the future I will write a sixth Hitchhiker book… I would love to finish Hitchhiker on a slightly more upbeat note. Five seems to be a wrong kind of number, six is a better kind of number.”

Which would completely justify a new book by Douglas Adams. Unfortunately, he remains irritatingly dead, and so now Eoin Colfer is going to write one, because clearly, what everyone really wants, and what Mr Adams would have wanted, is a new Hitchhiker’s book written by someone who isn’t him.1 No, seriously, who are these people? Where are their brains?

I guess I should count my blessings that Kevin J Anderson isn’t somehow involved.

  1. I’ve been reading the New York Times a bit and I love their super-polite “Mr” in front of names.

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Human Nature

Major Doctor Who geek-out post, here. You’ve been warned.

It’s been known for some time that Paul Cornell, writer of many Who books and the man who brought us the Time Dragons (I refuse to call them reapers) in season one, would be contributing a two-part script to season three.

Human Nature, the book Somewhat later, and I don’t know how, the rumour was that this script would be an adaptation of what was arguably his best novel, ‘Human Nature’. These rumours were stoked when the girl from Spaced was announced as playing a character called Joan — the name of the main character in the book. Now that a truckload of other actors have been named, all with the names of other characters, it almost seems certain.

This is awesome for at least two reasons. One; the story itself is a fantastic one, and quite an emotional one for the Doctor. There should be tears jerked, is all I’m saying. And two; the key child role in the story is being played by Thomas Sangster, the kid from Love, Actually. Which has instantly put to rest my fears of child actors. Robin Hood fangirls (and I know there’s one of you around somewhere) will be happy to note that it looks like Will Scarlett is in it too.

Adapting an old script has happened before; ‘Dalek’ in season one was in many ways a retelling of the same author’s audio play ‘Jubilee’. But that didn’t bother me as I’d never really been sucked into the audio plays. The books are different though — I like to think of them as having actually happened. In order to maintain my personal continuity, I’ve decided that something that happened in the Time War must have screwed around with time so that ‘Human Nature’ never happened in the first place, but now it will.


So, anyhow, look out for episodes eight (‘The Family of Blood’) and nine (title as yet unknown) next year. They should be great.

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Fandom, You’re Dead to Me

I had a moment on the train today that warmed the very cockles of my Who fan heart. A skinny little kid on the train was reading Doctor Who novels and trying to interest a cute schoolgirl in them. Fool that he was… he gave her ‘Last of the Gadarene’ by Mark ‘Idiot’s Lantern’ Gatiss. That’s not going to impress a girl. Girls like magic realism and postmodernism. Should’ve gone for ‘The Blue Angel’, kid. You live and learn. She read the blurb, had a quick look through it and handed it back, which I thought was a pretty impressive effort.

But now, I need to talk about something less pleasant. I don’t remember getting so irritated reading reviews of Doctor Who last year. It’s like internet fandom has taken a whole bottle of wanker-pills each. Oh yes, you can get wanker pills. Just a few things I’d like to clear up.

  • If you don’t know anything about science, don’t try to nitpick the science in an episode, or at least be hesitant instead of loudly proclaiming “Oh, and I notice Scooti didn’t explode in space! Hah! Wrong! I saw a movie one time!”

  • The Doctor is arrogant, he’s always been arrogant, he always will be arrogant. It’s always been funny in the past, how the hell has it suddenly become an issue? He’s also pretty awesome, have you noticed? Keeps saving the day. How many times does he have to save the day before he’s justified in his arrogance?

  • Rose is not a perfect human being. There’s less of them about these days; even Jesus had his selfish moments. Saying something slightly selfish to try to get your neglected but loved boyfriend to stay with you is not grounds for h8, however you spell it. I dread to think how some of you people would cope watching Six Feet Under. There wouldn’t be enough h8 in your soul to cope with all the selfish stupid things people do on that show.

  • I take that back, that bit before. Stop spelling h8 with an eight. It’s silly. Unless it means ‘mild dislike’ when you write it like that, in which case I apologise.

  • I agree that the technical details of how the science works are not unimportant. I’d like it if all the episodes fitted together as neatly as ‘The Empty Child’. But in the grand scheme of weighting of episodes, this factor is not the plot and does not count for half the episode’s worth. Stop making it out that because the Wire doesn’t immediately make consistent sense that ‘The Idiot’s Lantern’ is below average.

  • Murray Gold writes the music — he does not mix the final edit of the show. If you don’t like the sound balance you’re blaming the wrong person. Probably.

  • Stop ignoring explanations given in the show so that you can go on to criticise the show for not making sense. The Clockwork Men in ‘Girl in the Fireplace’ were broken. That’s why they do crazy things. How can you in all seriousness start saying “Waiting for Mme de Pompadour to reach 35 years of age is just silly”?

  • When two people are happy, that’s not a justifiable reason to want to slap them. Seriously, it might be better if you didn’t leave the house until you work through your issues. That time with the werewolf, that was a bit off. The Queen called them on it. Making a joke when they leave the TARDIS before they meet anyone is not on the same level.

That’ll do for now. I hope this has been a learning experience for all of us.

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Number 1

My brother picked us Serenity #1 for me today. A comic book. Haven’t gotten me one of those in a while.

I’ll be using the fact that comics look a bit like books to put any review I do or do not do of these comics in the books section of grapefruit, which is frankly a bit paltry and could do with beefing up, anyhow.

The trouble with comics, of course, is how quickly you can read them. I idly intended to read the first page or two and before I knew it I was half-way. Silly little things.

And a minute later, I’ve gone and finished it. Damn.

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