- 'There are plenty of good, valid arguments against the current western military action in Libya... But I do wish opponents of the action would stop resorting to the bone-headed type of argumentation that runs "Why aren't they bombing the crap out of Bahrain/Saudi Arabia/Syria/Yemen/Côte d'Ivoire?"'
- When the student asks you to write their essay for them, part 1.
- When the student asks you to write their essay for them, part 2.
- Charles Butler took Diana Wynne Jones for a balloon ride in 2005.
- My old friend Ivan Krastev on Turkey and the EU: "Until yesterday, the common-sense judgment of the EU-Turkey relationship could be summarised as “unpromising but stable”. The process of never-ending negotiations has seemed more closely to fit Germany’s dream endgame of “privileged partnership” than any other on offer, persuading Europeans that they had trapped Turks in something that resembles an unhappy Catholic marriage - no fun, no sex, but also no exit. "
- My good friend Nathalie Tocci: "The revolts in the Arab world have demonstrated the weakness of EU policy towards the region, particularly of what such policy had evolved into in recent years, through its lopsided emphasis on economic cooperation and migration management at the expense of democracy and sustainable development."
Extract from the 1982 Doctor Who annual:
I thought this was an excellent Seventh Doctor novel, achieving the rare feat of writing a decent Cybermen story, in this case by the guy who actually played the Cyberleader on screen in the 1980s; set in 2006 and unifying the continuity of the various Cybermen TV stories set in the twentieth century. The Doctor is separated from his usual companions (who are off having the adventure described in Birthright) and teams up with a feisty investigative journalist called Ruby Duvall; if Big Finish are casting around for more characters to revive they could do worse than her.
Produced just as Tom Baker was changing to Peter Davison, and featuring Adric as the sole humanoid companion, along with K9 for the earlier stories (this is presumably K9 Mark III, being run in before the Doctor sent him off to Sarah Jane Smith). The first two stories are rather memorable - one has Adric reduced to miniscule size and forced to take part in a war between inhabitants of a world which is actually a carbon atom; the other has the Tardis afflicted by the sort of spatial bending that crops up in both Logopolis and Castrovalva, this annual being published in the gap between the respective broadcasts of the two. As well as anticipating Wikipedia and the GPS, the factoids include a relatively balanced piece on plutonium and nuclear power which is just as relevant thirty years on. The two Fifth Doctor stories at the end aren't especially memorable, and feature head-shots of Davison based on his All Creatures Great and Small character. The art is otherwise pretty good.
One of the two Torchwood audio books just released, both I think by Goss (who I find a tremendously impressive writer) and read by Kai "Rhys Williams" Owen, set in the gap between Torchwood series 2 and 3. Ghost Train is told as a first person narrative by Rhys, who gets sucked into a peculiar alien invasion with added time travel paradoxes, and ends up pilfering from himself. It's slightly retconning to put Rhys, whose great virtue in the TV show was that he was a lightning rod to normality, as the central character in a tale of the creepy unknown, but the story is a brilliant mixture of humour and horror, and Owen is a great reader - his Jack is a little too drawly, but of course he is playing Rhys doing Jack rather than being Jack himself. I hope the other new audiobook, Department X, is as good.
An Eighth Doctor Adventure that didn't really grab me - the plot, involving an artificial cosmic doom threatening an entire solar system, very similar to the last book I read in this series, and Mortimore's writing rather undisciplined - I normally like his books and scripts more than I did this one. Poor Sam gets messed around with in mind and body.