January 12th, 2021


Whoniversaries 12 January

i) broadcast and production anniversaries

12 January 1974: broadcast of first episode of Invasion of the Dinosaurs, billed simply as Invasion. The Doctor and Sarah land in a deserted London under martial law, and are attacked by first a pterodactyl and then a tyrannosaurus rex.

12 January 1980: broadcast of fourth episode of The Horns of Nimon, ending Season 17 prematurely. K9 rescues the hostages and the Doctor and Romana blow up the Nimons' complex.

12 January 1982: broadcast of fourth episode of Castrovalva. The Portreeve turns out to be the Master, and the whole of Castrovalva based on Adric's computations. The Doctor rescues Adric and leaves Castrovalva to fold in on itself, trapping the Master.

12 January 1983: broadcast of fourth episode of Arc of Infinity. Omega attempts to transfer across to our universe, but the Doctor prevents him; and Tegan rejoins the Tardis.

12 January 1984: broadcast of third episode of Warriors of the Deep. The Doctor kills the Myrka, but the Sea Devils take over the base.

Also 12 January 1984: filming of the regeneration scene from the Fifth Doctor to the Sixth.

12 January 1985: broadcast of second episode of Attack of the Cybermen. The Doctor helps the Cryons attack the Cybermen, and Lytton, dying, kills the Cyber-Controller.

12 January 2020: broadcast of Orphan 55. Not everything is as it seems at Tranquility Spa — why is the staff so worried about oxygen levels? What are the monsters stalking the corridors? And why does the planet on which they're all standing bear the ominous name of "Orphan 55"?

ii) date specified in canon

12 January 1898: death of Florence Sundvik (in The Curse of Fenric, Seventh Doctor, 1989)

My tweets


Palimpsest, by Charles Stross

(Accidentally posted in draft form yesterday - this is the real thing.)

Second paragraph of third chapter:
"Good afternoon, honourable students."
When I first read this the year it was a Hugo finalist (2010), I wrote:
didn't really grab me I'm afraid. It is a tale of time police and overlapping universes and histories, broken up by some reflections on the evolution of the solar system presented in rather odd powerpoint format. I wasn't really convinced either by the astronomy or the mathematics of deep time, and they appeared to be the point of the story.

On the other hand, the story does get my approval for being the only one presented to Hugo voters in a format that my handheld can read without a conversion process.
I should note that despite my ranking it sixth, it actually won the award, proving once again that my tastes do not always align with those of Hugo voters. I voted for the Scalzi story, which lost by 11 votes.

Rereading it ten years on, I'm again struck by how different it is from most of the author's usual work (and usually I like Stross's work much more than Scalzi's). I think I am more sympathetic now, though. It's a real Big Picture story, packed into a few dozen pages, with a grand sweep of time-manipulating narrative but characters who are pretty human. You can get it here.

This was (I thought) my top unread book acquired in 2014 (directly from the author, I think - my copy is signed), but it turned out I had read it before. Next on that pile is Symbiont, by "Mira Grant".