March 21st, 2021

shocked and surprised

Whoniversaries 21 March

i) births and deaths

21 March 1915: birth of Ian Stuart Black, author of The Savages (First Doctor, 1966), The War Machines (First Doctor, 1966) and The Macra Terror (Second Doctor, 1967).

21 March 1923: birth of Peter Pratt, who played the Master in The Deadly Assassin (Fourth Doctor, 1976).

21 March 1936: birth of Roger Hammond, who played Francis Bacon in The Chase (First Doctor, 1965) and Dr Runciman in Mawdryn Undead (Fifth Doctor, 1983).

21 March 1944: birth of Hilary Minster, who had two rather minor roles as Thals - Marat in Planet of the Daleks (Third Doctor, 1973) and an unnamed soldier in Genesis of the Daleks (Fourth Doctor, 1975), but is of interest to me as the only person to have been semi-regular character in both Secret Army, where he played Hauptmann Muller, and Allo! Allo!, where he played General von Klinkerhoffen - a high ranking Wehrmacht officer in both cases.

21 March 1946: birth of Timothy Dalton, who played Rassilon in The End of Time (2009-2010).

21 March 1970: birth of Chris Chibnall, currently show-runner for New Who, writer of seven other episodes and head writer of first two seasons of Torchwood, first came to prominence as a Doctor Who Appreciation Society critic of the show in 1986.

21 March 1983: birth of Bruno Langley, who played Adam in Dalek and The Long Game (2005).

21 March 2002: death of Neville Barber, who played Dr Humphrey Cook in The Time Monster (Third Doctor, 1972) and Howard Baker in K9 and Company (1981).

ii) broadcast anniversaries

21 March 1964: broadcast of "Rider from Shang-Tu", fifth episode of the story we now call Marco Polo. The Tardis crew are unable to persuade Marco Polo that Tegana is the source of their problems, and he prevents their escape.

21 March 1970: broadcast of first episode of The Ambassadors of Death. An attempt to rescue a lost Mars probe is frustrated by a signal sent from a vacant warehouse; UNIT investigates and is attacked.

21 March 1981: broadcast of fourth episode of Logopolis, ending Season 18: last appearance of Tom Baker and first of Peter Davison as the Fourth Doctor regenerates into the Fifth, after falling from a radio telescope while preventing the Master from blackmailing the people of the Universe.

21 March 2009: broadcast of Fragments (Torchwood), the one with all the flashbacks.

My tweets


The Kappa Child, by Hiromi Goto

My next three reviews will be of the winners of the Tiptree, Clarke and BSFA Best Novel Awards published in 2000 and winning in 2001, starting with Tiptree winner The Kappa Child.

Second paragraph of third chapter:
The temperature inside our station wagon was unbearable. We might have cooled our bodies by turning on the heater full blast. Past the point of bickering, my sisters and I stuck helplessly to the vinyl, too hot to bother avoiding the gluey smear of skin on skin.
A complex novel of a Japanese-Canadian girl whose family moves from British Columbia to the harsher landscape of Alberta, trying and failing to farm rice there. The Kappa is a Japanese water creature; the protagonist becomes mysteriously pregnant; she and her sisters are oppressed by their father and by the heat. The plot threads overlap and I found it a little hard to keep track, but I did enjoy the vivid writing. You can get it here (for a price).

The Kappa Child won the James Tiptree Jr award in 2001. As far as I know, Goto was the first writer of colour to win it (I count half a dozen since). The other shortlisted works were all novels, unlike in some years: Dark Light, by Ken MacLeod; The Fresco, by Sheri S. Tepper; Half Known Lives, by Joan Givner and The Song of the Earth, by Hugh Nissenson. I am sure I have read the MacLeod and I have probably read the Tepper, but have not heard of the other two writers let alone their books. For what it's worth, The Kappa Child seems a more obvious Tiptree choice than MacLeod or Tepper. My next two reviews will be of the Clarke and BSFA winners that year, Bold As Love and Chasm City.