January 13th, 2013


Links I found interesting for 13-01-2013


Zoet Water then and now - replicating old photographs

F and I made two excursions yesterday and today to the clutch of restaurants around the Zoete Waters near where we live, to try and replicate the settings of various old photographs and postcards. The weather was not with us - the sun was mostly in the wrong place yesterday, and it was actually snowing lightly this morning - but I am fairly pleased with the results.

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A pleasant pair of excursions. I will be more careful with the sun next time.

NB - most of the photographs were given away by the local news magazine Achter d'Oechelen a few years back. The others are of cards on sale at delcampe.be.

January Books 1) The Doctor's Monsters, by Graham Sleight

The Doctor's Monsters
How much do monsters have a choice about being monstrous, and how much can they outgrow their natures?
Getting the year off to a good start with Graham Sleight's analysis of 29 of the Doctor's best known monstrous adversaries, and what they actually mean in story terms. Fellow fans will enjoy Sleight's take on the various creatures, whether we agree or disagree - for instance, he argues that if Kroll had been realised better on screen, The Power of Kroll might have a far better reputation as a story. But mainly he looks at the effect of monsters on the other characters in the story, on the viewer and to an extent on themselves. The people who will really get something out of this book are those with a strong interest in cinematic and television depictions of monsters, combined with a passing familiarity with Who, rather than the other way round.Having said that, the book looks very much at Who in its own terms without tying it particularly to other screen sf or fantasy, and jumps around quite a lot in historical timeline (which I think was a good way of getting the Whovian reader to think about it a bit more; the non-Whovian reader won't care). The Daleks get four separate chapters - original story, pre-Davros, post-Davros and New Who - and the Cybermen get three - up to Return of the Cybermen, Earthshock to end of Old Who, and New Who. 

My copy unfortunately was marred by production errors, including a complete lack of page numbers. The material deserved better from the publisher (I.B. Tauris), but Who fans and media fans more generally will enjoy it anyway.

January Books 2) The Indestructible Man, by Simon Messingham

Indestructible Man
"You're not the Doctor. It's a trick. You're one of those doubles, Mr Mackenzie told me."
"I don't know who this Mr Mackenzie is, Jamie," said the Doctor. "But I assure you that I am definitely me."
"You're dead." He looked the Doctor up and down. "You're not the Doctor. I want to go back."
A slightly unusual Past Doctor Adventure here: the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe end up in a future which is based very strongly on the work of the late Gerry Anderson, the Tracy family of Thunderbirds fame translated into the Sharon family with their Lightning rescue craft, and various other adaptations from parts of the Andersonverse that I don't know as well.But this future is a dystopia where society had collapsed globally, and which is under threat from the Myloki (who combine attributes of both the Mysterons and the attackers of Earth in UFO). It is lovingly drawn, and my lack of familiarity with the source didn't spoil my appreciation of the detail. Messingham also has the Doctor and companions go through hell - the Doctor so badly injured before the story starts that he almost regenerates, Zoe drawn into a doomed love affair, Jamie traumatised and distrustful - which is not at all true to the series of the time, but does take the characters to interesting places. However, though I liked the setting and what was done with the regulars, I wasn't really grabbed by the plot such as it was, and too many of the borrowed Anderson characters - especially the women - were simply background coloration.

A bare pass for the Bechdel test (and I think some readers would fail it). Zoe is often thrown together with some of the aforementioned cardboard women characters and it is suggested that they have conversations, which may not always be about men. (I am going to try and systematically tally this for all fiction I read this year.)