May 1st, 2012

politics

Links I found interesting for 01-05-2012

doctor who

The Wanderer

God bless William Russell (real name Russell Enoch), who will turn 88 this year and is still doing well off a TV show he appeared in almost fifty years ago. Big Finish have served him up a testing Richard Dimmick script where he has to play not only Ian Chesterton but also every other character bar one, in a tale of alien intrusion into a Russian village in the early 1900s. The local старец is played very convincingly by Tim Chipping, of whom I had not otherwise heard, and though I worked out his identity as soon as the character was introduced it is well executed. Russell's version of Hartnell is a homage rather than a portrayal, sounding actually like a much younger man (but of course Hartnell when he first played the Doctor was almost thirty years younger than Russell is now). The plot is fairly standard stuff but it is done very well; non-Who fans may enjoy it because of the historical tie-in.
tardis

May Books 1) The Taking of Chelsea 426, by David Llewellyn

I see that I've written both good and bad reviews of David Llewellyn's books; this Tenth Doctor novel has both good and bad elements. On the positive side, it's got some interesting political points to make about society and propaganda and media, and conformity vs imdividualism. On the negative side, there are some very old-fashioned gender stereotypes among the human characters, the Sontarans and even more the Rutans are taken in a direction that isn't awfully consistent with what else we know about them, and the physics of locating a human colony on the surface of the planet Saturn may not have been completely thought through. (Located there for the hydrogen mines, you see.) So on the whole I'm afraid it's a thumbs down for this one.
buzz

May Books 2) Leviathan Wakes, by James S.A. Corey

It's always good to see a solid work of space opera with, y'know, actual spaceships on the Hugo shortlist, and Leviathan Wakes scratches that itch this year. It's a jolly good tale of political intrigue in the asteroid belt, with the two main characters an over-honest spaceship captain and a burntout detective from Ceres, getting involved in a complex plot of Big Business and alien biology causing interplanetary war. Not exactly groundbreaking but very good of its type.
tardis

Binary

A Third Doctor audio story featuring Caroline John as Liz Shaw, with, unusually, two guest actors (Joe Coen and Kyle Redmond-Jones) playing UNIT troops brought in to help her penetrate the mysteries of an alien computer, leading her to quite an interesting and well-played ethical dilemma at the end. A one-idea piece but the idea is a good one and Caroline John is in command of her material. Written by Eddie Robson.