January 13th, 2007

buzz

Klingons in the White House, and Doctor Who in Westminster

neohippie draws my attention to this congressional intervention accusing the US administration of being faux Klingons:



I wondered to myself, does this happen in other jurisdictions too? And it does:

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But we should not be restricted to Star Trek:

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Unfortunately the Oireachtas debates search engine won't let me fine-tune searches which include the word "who", so this is all just Westminster.
earthsea

January Books 7) Preacher [#3]: Proud Americans

7) Preacher [#3]: Proud Americans, by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon (.co.uk, .com)

I find myself strangely compelled to buy and read more volumes in this series, even if I didn't much enjoy the graphic violence of the first two. Volume 3 is a game of two halves, with the first part seeing our heroes bust their Irish vampire friend out of captivity in southern France, overcoming adversaries who, if this weren't a graphic novel, you would happily describe as "comic-book villains". But the second part of the book was much more interesting for me; a presentation of the Easter Rising as witnessed by Cassidy, followed by a melancholy meditation on immortality and watching his friends grow old and die around him. I winced a wee bit at the historical inaccuracies in the Irish bit, yet it is a decent effort to portray the story to an audience who would have been mostly utterly unfamiliar with it.

Top UnSuggestions for this book are a diverse lot:
  1. White Oleander, by Janet Fitch
  2. The purpose-driven life: what on earth am I here for? by Rick Warren
  3. The world is flat: a brief history of the twenty-first century by Thomas L. Friedman
  4. Confessions of a shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
  5. The devil wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
tardis

January Books 8) About Time: The Unauthorised Guide to Doctor Who, 1963-1966

8) About Time: The Unauthorised Guide to Doctor Who, 1963-1966, by Tat Wood and Lawrence Miles (.co.uk, .com)

This series of books about Doctor Who had previously been recommended to me by loveandgarbage here, scarlettina here, and strictlytrue here. A good call. The authors state firmly that they have provided "the most comprehensive, wide-ranging and at times almost shockingly detailed handbook to Doctor Who that you might ever conceivably need" and though it is a pretty large claim, I think they have succeeded. As well as description of each story, evaluation of how well it succeeded, and variably straight-faced attempts to reconcile continuity issues, there is some very good analysis of just how Doctor Who fitted into the BBC and British culture in general, and what its influences, both inward and outward, were. I should have spotted some of this - for instance, the foreshadowing of things later used in Blake's Seven in The Keys of Marinus; or the influence of J.R.R. Tolkien on The Daleks. I especially liked the embedding of long essays on specific broader topics in boxes inside the story-by-story narrative. This is a difficult trick to pull off, but they've done it well, including topics like the true history of the Daleks (twice), unpacking the classical roots of The Myth Makers, and explaining Z Cars.

Compared with the last two books I read about Doctor Who, I felt this volume was much less superficial than Kim Newman's, and made fewer grandiose promises but delivered on more of them than John Chapman's. My one regret is that, following leads from Newman and Chapman, I bought both the DVD of The Web Planet and the CD of The Celestial Toymaker while in London, only to discover that Wood and Miles have a very low opinion of both stories.Grr, when I think what else I could have got... I am about half a dozen stories behind in my Doctor Who reviews anyway, so it will be a little while before I publish my own views here.

BTW, my new userpic, for Doctor Who books, was drawn for me yesterday as a "welcome home" present by young F, aged seven and a half. I may not wander to quite such exotic places as the Doctor, but I do travel quite a bit.