January 15th, 2021


Whoniversaries 15 January: Daleks' Master Plan #9, Day of the Daleks #3, Face of Evil #3

i) births and deaths

15 January 1934: birth of Richard Franklin, who played Mike Yates in four of the five Third Doctor seasons (1971-74).

15 January 1941: birth of Geoffrey Beevers, who played the Master in The Keeper of Traken and with Big Finish. Was married to Caroline "Liz Shaw" John until her death.

15 January 1948: birth of David Warwick, who played Kimus in The Pirate Plant (Fourth Doctor, 1978) and the police commissioner in Army of Ghosts (Tenth Doctor, 2006); former partner of Louise "Leela" Jameson.

ii) broadcast anniversaries

15 January 1966: broadcast of "Escape Switch", tenth episode of the story we now call The Daleks' Master Plan. The Daleks take Steven and Sara hostage and force the Doctor to hand over the taranium core. But the Doctor steals the directional unit from the Monk's Tardis. I incorrectly used a snap from this episode last week; here it is again.

15 January 1972: broadcast of third episode of Day of the Daleks. The Doctor travels to the future, is captured by the controller and the Daleks, and subjected to mind analysis (summoning images of the First Doctor and Second Doctor).

15 January 1979: broadcast of third episode of The Face of Evil. The Doctor and Leela are captured by the Tesh and narrowly escape being subjected to particle analysis (disintegration); the Doctor confronts the mad computer Xoanon.

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Friday reading

Gormenghast, by Mervyn Peake
The Lowest Heaven, eds Anne C. Perry and Jared Shurin
T.K. Whitaker, by Anne Chambers

Last books finished
At Childhood’s End, by Sophie Aldred
Out of Africa, by Karen Blixen
Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Volume 2: Hidden Human History, by Jody Houser
Into the Ashes, by Lee Murray
Midnight Blue-Light Special, by Seanan Mcguire
Gallimaufry, by Colin Baker
Kaamelott: Het Raadsel Van de Kluis, by Astier/Dupre

Next books
The Food of the Gods: And How It Came to Earth, by H. G. Wells
Greybeard, by Brian Aldiss

October 2009 books

This is the latest post in a series I started in late 2019, anticipating the twentieth anniversary of my bookblogging which will fall in 2023. Every six-ish days I've been revisiting a month from my recent past, noting work and family developments as well as the books I read in that month. I've found it a pleasantly cathartic process, especially in recent circumstances. If you want to look back at previous entries, they are all tagged under bookblog nostalgia.

One important point I missed last month: the departure of my German intern E and her replacement with American C, recently moved to Brussels with her Austrian diplomat husband. E is currently in Ukraine, montoring the ceasefire for the OSCE, after several years working for a humanitarian relief agency in DR Congo, South Sudan, Gaza/Palestine and other places. I remember taking them both to a very boozy reception hosted by the Welsh government, at which the late great Rhodri Morgan came over and chatted to us, very knowledgeably, about Somaliland. (He announced his retirement a few days later.) I had a nice picture of the three of us at the reception, but E prefers not to be seen, so this is me and C.

At the end of October, I travelled for the first time to South Sudan, or Southern Sudan as it then was, setting off on the evening of the 30th on an Ethiopian flights that stopped off in Paris before taking me overnight to Addis Ababa; the flight was uncomfortable and I spent the morning looking dazedly out of the window in the airport before my connection to Juba. Clémence Pinaud, whose cheerful book War and Genocide in South Sudan comes out next month, collected me at the airport and delivered me to the hotel where I think I slept for about 18 hours and woke up in November.

On the cultural front, I started my rewatch of Old Who. (Well, I started that in September too, but the first write-up was this month.)

I read 21 books in September 2009.

Non-fiction 6 (YTD 84)
An Empire of Plants, by Toby and Will Musgrove
Doctor Who: A Celebration, by Peter Haining
The Dissolution of the Religious Orders in Ireland under Henry VIII, by Brendan Bradshaw
The Meaning of Tingo, by Adam Jacot de Boinot
In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
Elizabeth the Great, by Elizabeth Jenkins

Non-genre 4 (YTD 51)
Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver
The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë

SF 7 (YTD 71)
Witches Abroad, by Terry Pratchett
The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny vol 2: Power & Light
Labyrinth, by Kate Mosse
Year's Best SF 6, edited by David G. Hartwell
To Your Scattered Bodies Go, by Philip José Farmer
White Crow, by Mary Gentle
Year's Best SF 7, edited by David G. Hartwell

Doctor Who 4 (YTD 60)
King of Terror, by Keith Topping
Imperial Moon, by Christopher Bulis
Superior Beings, by Nick Walters

Doctor Who - Slipback, by Eric Saward

Total page count ~8,200 (YTD ~88,900)
6 (YTD 60/305) by women (Jenkins, Hurston, Kingsolver, Brontë, Mosse, Gentle)
1 (YTD 16/305) by PoC (Naipaul)

The best of these was Brendan Bradshaw's detailed study of the Dissolution in Ireland, which you can get here (at a price). Several very disappointing books, the worst being Eric Saward's novelisation of the radio play Slipback, one of the worst Doctor Who books ever, though you can get it here. The Corrections did not live up to its hype; you can get it here. And To Your Scattered Bodies Go turned out on rereading to have been visited by the suck fairy; you can get it here.