Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fanfiction Spotlight: Garmonbozia

Today's Featured Author: Garmonbozia
This author has an amazing series with an original character known as the Little Ghost. The first story opens with the Doctor taking a scone as a companion on a bet from Amy and Rory, and only gets better from there.
Recommended for:
People who can't wait for next fall for more great adventures.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Twas the Night before Otherstide

As Christmas approaches, Whovian homages are appearing everywhere. Just for fun, here's some I've stumbled across
BBC America Blog
BBC America Sweepstakes
The Night Before Christmas Who-Style



And just in case you're wondering, "Otherstide" is a Gallifreyan holiday from the Expanded Universe books

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Because You're Still....Breathing

I learned from here that Amy and Rory will be leaving as companions sometimes during season seven. Since the first episode I ever watched was "The Eleventh Hour," I have a special affection for Amy as my companion, just as Eleven is my Doctor. Rory is also one of my favorite companions, the amazing Lone Centurion.
I really enjoy the Two Who Waited, and they have some great banter with the Doctor, such as the conversation in "The Doctor's Wife
Rory: He'll be fine. He's a Time Lord.
Amy: It's just what they're called, it doesn't mean he actually knows what he's doing.

As for the Doctor...he seems much more upbeat than Ten, but so many moments suggest he thinks otherwise. After all, the first major thing he does is leave his future companion for twelve years. Some episodes in season five hinted at this, but season six blew it wide open.
Doctor to Dream Lord: I know who you are. There's only one man in the universe who hates me that much.
After the revealation that the Dream Lord was physic pollen feeding on him
But those things he said about you. You don't think any of that's true?
--Amy's Choice

While Rory's being erased from time
Amy: Tell me it's going to be okay. Make it okay.
The Doctor: It's going to be hard but you can do it. Tell me about Rory, huh? Fantastic Rory. Funny Rory. Gorgeous Rory. Amy, listen to me: do exactly as I say. Amy please, keep concentrating you can do this.
Amy: I can't.
The Doctor: You can. You can do it. I can't help you unless you do. We can still save his memory.
--Cold Blood

The Doctor is poisoned and summons the voice interface:
The Doctor Hologram: Voice interface enabled.
The Doctor: Oh no no no. Give me someone I like
(Rose, Martha, Donna, and Amy are rejected as guilt, also guilt, and more guilt)

Amelia Hologram: Voice interface enabled.
The Doctor: Oh. Amelia Pond. Before I got it all wrong. My sweet little Amelia.

--Let's Kill Hitler

To Rita
Rita: Why is it up to you to save us? That's quite a God Complex you have there.
The Doctor: I brought them here. They say it was their choice, but offer a child a suitcase full of sweets and they'll take it. Offer someone all of time and space and they'll take that too. Which is why you shouldn't. Which is why grown-ups were invented.
The God Complex

As the Minotaur approaches
The Doctor: I can't save you from it. There's nothing I can do to stop this.
Amy: What?
The Doctor: I stole your childhood and now I've led you by the hand to your death. But the worst thing is I knew. I knew this would happen. This is what always happens. Forget your faith in me. I took you with me because I was vain. Because I wanted to be adored. Look at you, glorious Pond. The Girl Who Waited for me. I'm not a hero. I really am just a madman in a box. And it's time we say each other as we really are. Amy Williams. It's time to stop waiting.
--The God Complex

Amy: So. You're leaving, aren't you?
The Doctor: You haven't seen the last of me. Bad penny is my middle name. Seriously, the looks I get when I fill in a form.
Amy: Why now?
The Doctor: Because you're still breathing(...)
Amy: Even so, it can't happen like this. After everything we've been through, Doctor. Everything. You can't just drop me off at my house and say goodbye like we shared a cab.
The Doctor: What's the alternative? Me standing over your grave? Over your broken body. Over Rory's body.
--The God Complex

From what I can see, the Doctor is haunted by a sense of failure regarding Amy and Rory--even saying he "got it all wrong" with her. And especially when you add the Melody/River factor into the whole story...sometimes I wonder if he can look at her without his heart breaking because of everything that happened to her since she was Amelia, since the fish fingers and custard (I find the two uses of 'Fish fingers and custard' in season six significant--once from Amy to the Doctor to convince him to trust her, and once from the Amelia hologram, which convinced the Doctor to keep going.)
As far as story lines go, I think the time has come for the Ponds to leave the TARDIS. As much as I love them, I think they need an ordinary life, with time for Amy to mourn for Melody, the daughter she will never raise, even while she has River. Not that I want them to die, but in one of my stories from Amy's perspective, I wrote
Time travel will be the death of us. I cannot see Rory and I growing old anymore. Even the surreal Leadsworth of the Dream Lord is too mundane now. Rory's ponytail—if that was our adventure, a ponytail and a planet belly-was it foreshadowing that we can't leave the TARDIS and pick up where we left off?

As for replacement companions, my dream would be having Luke Smith from the Sarah Jane Adventures join the TARDIS. Maybe others of the gang, but definately Luke. The resulting adorkableness would reduce me to absolute babbling. Or if not Luke, maybe it's time for a proper alien companion. Maybe another species, but even a human from another planet would be cool.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Once Upon a Time

We have all read in scientific books, and indeed, in all romances, the story of the man who has forgotten his name. This man walks about the streets and can see and appreciate everything; only he cannot remember who he is. Well, every man is that man in the story. Every man has forgotten who he is. . . . We are all under the same mental calamity; we have all forgotten our names. We have all forgotten what we really are.

Before I reach the main topic, I thought I'd remind the readers that this blog isn't just about the Whoniverse, but speculative fiction in general. And to fill the long gap between Sarah Jane Adventures and the Christmas special (not to mention the gap before season seven,)I started watching ABC's new drama "Once Upon a Time."
The premise is fairly simply. The Evil Queen, seeking revenge on Snow White and Prince Charming, cursed the whole fairy-tale land and exiled them to a place with no happy endings. But before the curse takes effect, Snow and Charming's newborn daughter Emma is placed in a wardrobe and sent away, with a prophecy that she'll return and save the kingdom on her 28th birthday.
The story opens in the modern day, with the bondsman Emma lighting a lonely cupcake on her 28th birthday. Her wish to not be alone comes true when Henry (8-10) shows up at her door, claiming two very important things. One, he's her son. Two, she's prophesied to end a curse. Henry claims all the people in his hometown are fairy tale characters under a spell that makes them forget who they really are.
The episodes shift between modern Storybrook and the fairy tale land, letting us learn about the fantasy world along with the characters. The scenes are beautiful, and the storylines are an intriging retelling of old fairy tales.
Since this is an ABC show, I was curious to see how the morals would be. Of the episodes aired to date, most of them show nothing worse than some cleavage and a few swordfights. The newest episode "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" has a main character in a one-night stand, to which another character replies that there's nothing wrong with that. Two indivuals engage in premartial sex, but the guy keeps his boxers on and the woman wears a tank top. Because of those elements, and the plots of the evil queen, I wouldn't recommend this show to anyone younger than 14, at the least.
Those elements aside, I like the show for several reasons. Henry is absolutely adorable, and the repeated theme of another life results in some great lines:
Emma: Just because you believe something doesn't make it true.
Henry: That's exactly what makes it true

Mary Margaret: What do you think stories are for? These stories--the classics. There's a reason we all know them. There a way for us to deal with our world. A world that doesn't always make sense.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fanfiction Spotlight: Sigyn

Today's Featured Author: Sigyn
I recently joined up with the Whoniverse fiction archieve A Teaspon and an Open Mind, and Sigyn was one of the authors who intrigued me.
Warnings: Some of her stories involve sex, but the warning system at Teaspon is much better than FF because it allows content warnings
Recommended Reading:
The ones in her Sarah Jane and Leftover collections
Especially Find Me
Set during Rose's search for the Doctor, it beautifully builds on the Sarah Jane/Rose conflict from "School Reunion." Expresses my exact views on Rose.
Recommended for: People who like to savor their fics.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

More Lost than Found

More Lost than Found by Jared Herd attempts to address the problem of young people leaving the church as they grow older. I was expecting to find a list of reasons and suggestions to addressing them, but what I found was something different. The author begins with his own faith journey, but most of the book directly addresses those who have walked away from Christianity and attempts to meet their concerns.
While I do not fall into that category, I was interested to see how he would address those issues. He begins with the understanding that many people have misconceptions of Jesus stemming from their early experiences with Jesus—a point engagingly made in another book I recently read “Imaginary Jesus.” He goes on to make a case that Christianity is more than the structure and institution that has grown up around it. In the words of C.S. Lewis, he attempts to “strip away stained-glass and Sunday School associations.”
HIs success in this attempt is debatable. While I read the book quickly enough, I did not find it that engaging, and his main points are not that memorable. Overall, I thought it was interesting, but I think there might be better resources on the topic.

I received a free copy of this book from Booksneeze but was not obliged to give a positive review.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Three-Part Update

1. I finally got DWM #440. Surprisingly, most of the tributes made me laugh, not cry. It had a lot of amazing pictures and producing notes. Plus, there's a SJA audio that I simply must get now, called "Judgement Day," that sounds like an amazing finish for those stories.
2. I've been watching classic series 18. Romana II, played by Lalla Ward, is absolutely brilliant. I have a new favorite Classic companion. (Sarah Jane is favorite ever!)
3. I now have a Teaspoon and an Open Mind account as Vilinye. The site has stricter posting requirements than ff.net and better warnings. I plan to keep both updated as time permits.

Monday, November 21, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update Day 21


Night and the Doctor: Bonus Scenes from Season Six boxset

The five mini-episodes of Night and the Doctor are now availible online. All five of them are here
Warning: Last Night starts funny and then veers straight to heartbreaking.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update Day 20

Not bad, considering I spent all afternoon churning out a paper for Brit Lit.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update Day 17

Mostly from drabbles on the Time War

NaNoWrimo Update Days 15 &16

So Blogger wouldn't let me log in yesterday or Tuesday.
Tuesday total 70,681
Wednesday total:72,381

My current goal is 75k , probably to be passed and replaced

Monday, November 14, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update Day 14

I had homework, so I left the wordcount at the back of my activities.Even so, I got up to 68031, mostly thanks to a character's 809-word monolouge. Part of it is excerpted here, mostly because I'm not sure what I'll chop from it.

It's like opening a door when the room on the other side is very dark and all you have is a torch.. With the torch, you might be able to find the switch and turn it on. But on the far side of the room, you see another door. Most people would stop there, but don't. Find the next door and open it. Sometimes it leads to a hallway that twists and turns without you noticing. Sometimes it opens into a whole new landscape that you've never seen before. Sometimes it will take all your courage to keep going. And sometimes, it will take you to the most precious place in the universe--it will take you back home.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update Day 13

On the pre-November guide to NaNo, the Office of Letters and Light used to say that nothing happens on Nov 13. Well, they were wrong. I threw in a delicious scene in Remembrance of the Lost, wrote a drabble, and on a less literary note, found my watch and made sausage creole.
Word Count: 66393

Saturday, November 12, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update Day 12

I was a bit stuck, but it's coming along now. The Remembrance of the Lost is happening now, and we shall see what comes of it.

NaNoWriMo Update Day 11

Losterial, that adventure is now over, but considering what I have planned for him tomorrow, he might have rather stayed in the bubble.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update Day 10

And I am going well on my fanfics. Luke is still in the bubble, but at least he has company now.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update Day 8

I'm having fun here. Lots of lovely fanfic ideas and such.
And for those of you who read my fanfics, especially my SJA ones, I just stuck Luke in a giant bubble yesterday. Or was it today?

Monday, November 7, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update Day 7

And I think I'll take a more leisurely pace on the fanfics...maybe 2k a day.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update Day 6

Finished Three Dark Roses updates and moved on to Sarah Jane Adventures/Doctor Who updates. Current wip is Earth to Luke, which focuses on Bannerman Road events while Luke is traveling with the Doctor.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update Day 5

And I figured out how to redeem Joel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hilarious in Hindsight


The funny bit is 7:15 to 7:34 or so.

Friday, November 4, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update Day 4

So, total is 30282.
But what really got interesting is what happened during my 35-minute word war. I was trying to get my bad guy to tell me why he turned to the dark side, but he's like, why would you care, I don't want you on my side anyway, you aren't very menacing. So I sent my muse to borrow River Song, because she looks somewhat like me and is the sort of person he'd want on his side, but they just ended up fighting. Somewhere along the line a Dalek came in and so did the 11th Doctor looking for a fez. The only thing I got out of it was that the bad guys still don't know Abigail was Micah's apprentice. Yeah, that was absolutely the randomist thing this year.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update Day 2

New Total: 20048
Not bad, considering I had three classes, chapel and AWANA.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update Day 1

So, anybody want to guess my wordcount? Anyone?
I'll make it easy for you
a. 1667
b. 5k
c 7.5k
d 15k
e. 25k
(all k=1000)

WOOOT! I am also planning to take most of the month after finishing my original NaNo to complete a multi-series of Doctor Who fanfiction.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fanfiction Spotlight: NotAnOunceofLogic

Today's Featured Author: NotAnOunceofLogic
Writer of funny one-shots.

Recommended because:
It's short and funny. I paticularly like "Breaking University," a one-shot about the Bannerman Road gang at university. A lot of his other stories involve the Doctor stealing food from his old friends.

Recommended for: People who need a laugh. (And honestly, doesn't everyone?)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Voice

I requested The Voice New Testament expecting a paraphrase similair to the Message. What I recieved was....different. It claims to "represents collaboration among scholars, pastors, writers, musicians, poets, and other artists, giving great attention to the beauty of the narrative." As far as I could tell, that means they structured all dialouge as script and added a lot of "clarification," in little italicized phrases.
I am not really sure who this translation is intended for. The clarifications might help a new reader, but I do not feel this translation is suitable for normal study patterns. And while some of the renderings are beautiful--especially John 1--the notes are too intrusive for those familiar with the Scriptures.
I think I'd give it three stars because I'm not sure how to use it. So far I've been reading from it for devotions some mornings, but it doesn't feel like a study Bible.

I have been given a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson's BookSneeze program in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Link I think You'll Like


My Imaginary Jesuses

I shove Flannelgraph Jesus out of the way, nearly tripping over the rows of clones I had once cut out for my mom's kindergarden Sunday School Class. Art Jesus stood and watched, his head cocked in a way that made me want to give him my chiropractor's phone number. He held Christmas Pagent Jesus, a creepy-looking plastic doll that could only blink. I pulled away, ducking around Boyfriend Jesus' outstretched arms, frantically singing to myself to block out Lecturer Jesus's nasal voice.
Just as I thought I'd pulled away, a figure in tweed and a bow-tie pulled up alongside me. Great, I muttered to myself. Of course this one would be fast. He spends his life running around time and space.
"Hey, slow down. Don't you want a trip?"
I bit my lip and try to stay calm. But this is Sci-fi Jesus, a Jesus who looks amazingly like the Eleventh Doctor, and it is all I can do to look away from the green eyes without giving him a hug and going "Poor little Time Lord!" Aslan-Jesus roars somewhere in the distance, and Coffee-Time Jesus appears with a mug of Starbucks, which I quickly knock out of his hand.
I'm escaping my imaginary Jesuses.

Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos is currently availible as a free e-book on Amazon and elsewhere. I loved the zany combination of humor and theology, from the tagline "through space and time...and Portland" to the thirty-Jesus pileup. It will definately challenge your perspective of God.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Things I Do Not Like in DW fanfiction

1. The Doctor is not some Greek god who litters the earth with half-human offspring. His family was lost in the Time War, with Susan (possibly) and Jenny the SOLE exceptions. He didn’t have children with any of his companions.* **
2. No slash. I don’t read it, don’t review it, don’t approve of it. No exceptions. And for heterosexual romance, going beyond a kiss is going to turn me off.
3. No other Time Lords escaped the Time Lock besides the ones we already know about.
4. No word-for-word rewrites of the episodes. Dialogue borrowing is fine in moderation.
5. I’ll read self-insert companions if: a. I’m in the mood, b. They’re funny, or c. They actually have depth. Haven’t found any of C yet.

Companion Gripes
Rose: She is happy with 10.5 and stuck in a parallel dimension. If not, I’d rather see it as her fault then the clone’s.
Martha: Stop making her into a jealous ‘other woman.’—Granted, that is how the writers treated her, but that’s why she left: SHE DIDN’T WANT TO BE THAT WOMAN!
Donna: SHE CAN’T REMEMBER. As much as I would love that, she can’t remember. Dreams and flashes are fine, but no full-blown remembering.
Amy: She MARRIED Rory. She stays with Rory. Same goes for Rory.
River: Since season six, I’ve been seeing A LOT of new stories with her. Most of them are good.

I don’t have particular gripes about Classic characters, but in general, I like stories where characters are kept intact and developed along canonical lines. For example, I’m venturing to the edge of AU with “River, Pond; Melody, Song,” but I am trying to keep River as she would be onscreen.

Side grip about Sarah Jane Adventures:
Stop adding new kids to the gang. We have wonderful characters without adding new ones. What I’d really love to see is some stories developing Sky’s character.

*I have found one author who writes this well enough that I love it. I might read. But it would have to be very, very good.
** Because of his human aging, I will read Rose/Ten II relationship. But I'm not a huge romance fan overall. (Added in response to Losterial.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fanfiction Spotlight: TheDoctorAndSarah

So, Sarah Jane Adventures is concluded, no more Doctor Who till Christmas, and Torchwood ended months ago. What's the bored Whovian to do?
Read fanfiction!
--Yes, there is good Doctor Who fanfiction, and I'm going to promote some of it here. Possibily more than once, but I'm lothe to start anything new near the end of October.

Today's Featured Author: TheDoctorAndSarah
A husband and wife team, they write AMAZING Sarah/Doctor stories. Their current work in progress, "Be Careful What You Wish For" is a sequel to their story "The Long Road Home." Both focus on Sarah Jane meeting an amnesaic man shortly after she is dropped off by the Fourth Doctor.
They also have a few AU collections where Sarah Jane becomes a Time Lady.

Recommended because:
They write SO WELL!Even the AU's are thought-out and planned. They even take ideas I'd normally hate--such Sarah Jane having romantic feelings for the Doctor--and make me enjoy it. Same goes for minor characters--Lavina gets some good character development in "Be Careful..." And they're very good about replying to reviews.
Recommended for: Sarah Jane fans, anyone who can handle well-written AUs without being bent out of shape.

And if you like, tell them Vilanye sent you

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Man Who Never Was....and the Heroine I'll Always Remember

If you want a "real" review, go here and here. I don't want to this time. So this is just going to be a collection of thoughts.

I've been waiting since the trailers to see how Luke does as a big brother--full marks to him. I mean, I find it hard to appreciate the siblings I've aquired in the "traditional" sense--and while they don't hit it off right away, they pull together when it matters.

Clyde and Rani: offical couple. "Clani" has been apparent to me from season two or so, but I'm not a gung-ho shipper much. It shows that they've been growing up, and I would definately love to see how that goes in a few years--SJA tie-in novels, anyone?

The Light Sculpturers: So that was what that spoiler was about? So cool and different. But the real-world implications...youch. The stories this season are all very serious, very grown-up topics, but well done. Child soldiers in Sky, homelessness in "Curse" and slavery in "Man."

And Sarah Jane recruiting for UNIT...that was good. She still trusts them, just not completely. I can almost see her telling the Doctor "send some of your old companions to UNIT--they need some conversationalists"

After four years of her being "the journalist who never writes stories," we actually get to see Sarah Jane doing something normal and journalist-y. And obviously, she is very good with it! Just how she keeps throwing out these little zingers, to see if he reacts, and coming up with something else.

In addition, I liked seeing her editor. I can't remember if he was at her wedding or not...if not, that explains why.

I also love the ending montage...I didn't want a funeral scene...but that worked so well...still made me choke up, but not as much as a funeral.

The villan of this story just happened to be like Steve Jobs--not that I'm an Apple fan, but that was another unfortunite coincidence.

Now, what we need is a good lot of fanfiction about the Bannerman Road gang

--"Don't forget me." Sarah Jane, The Hand of Fear

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Final Adventure of Sarah Jane

Tomorrow, the first half of the final Sarah Jane Adventures story airs. I have actually been able to enjoy this series without thinking about it much, but that changed when I found the episode preview (warning: Grab a tissue first so your keyboard doesn't get sticky from blubbing.)

It was listed under "Tearjerker" at TV Tropes--no kidding! I have a feeling the trailer makers deliberately edited it to reinforce the fact it's the last episode. I'm planning to wait to watch it till I'm alone and somewhere with fast Internet so it won't be interrupted by loading clips.

Teasers I found:
What a clumsy clot you are, Miss Smith!’
‘When it comes to men, I prefer something I can grab hold of.’
‘I suppose we’re... sort of... brother and sister.’
‘I had to leave K-9 back at uni.’
‘How will you feel tonight when everyone’s walking down Bannerman Road, with their arms out, saying, “Serve the computer”?’
‘Believe me: if he says they’re fine, they’re fine.’
‘Sarah Jane, let me drink you in.’
‘You were already old-fashioned when I was new-fangled.’
‘Oi, Mr Smith – don’t be nasty.’
‘I’m delicate... in a very manly way.’

--But part of me is seriously concerned about the possibility of a main character death in this episode--maybe even Sarah Jane. Logically, though, I don't think they would have brought Sky in if they intended this to be the last season....but emotionally, I think this is going to be a wringer of an episode, no matter what happens.

The Curse of Clyde Langer Part 2

Well, I was able to find a link eventually--and man, was it worth it. Even though the totem pole theme in the first plot was rather cheesy, the second part brought home the despair of Clyde's situation. The actress playing Ellie was amazing too, as well as bringing out the softer side of Clyde. What really struck me about this episode was how grounded the details were--it kept the silly totem pole from undermining it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Companion or Not? Four Simple Steps

I was reading a post on Kasterborous site about the difficulties of distinguishing returning characters from companions of the Doctor. But I wasn't quite pleased with their test, so I decided to come up with my own?

A. Does the character travel through space and time with the Doctor?*
2 points
B. Was the character invited into the TARDIS?
By the Doctor? 2 points
By the Doctor's associates/invites self? 1 point
Did he/she die before the end of the episode in which he or she was invited? -1 point
C. How many seasons does the character appear in (specials go with following season)?
Episodes in per season( Adjust proportionally for Classic Who)
.5 if four or less
1 if five to eight
1.5 if eight or more
D. Bonus points:
1 point for each addition incarnation of the Doctor worked with.
1 point for each regeneration witnessed (even an aborted one)

Score of 4 or higher equals companion. Subject to reworking later.

Sample Calcuations:
Rose Tyler: A2 B2 C3.5 D3 Total:10.5
Mickey Smith: A2 B1 C2 D2 Total:7
Jenny (Doctor's cloned daughter)
Astrid A0 B1 C.5 D0 Total:1.5
Adelaide Brookes: A0 B0 C.5 D0 Total .5
Wilfred Mott A0 B2?)C2 D0 Total: 4
Amelia Pond A2 B2 C3 D1 Total: 8
Sarah Jane Smith: A2 B1 C6 D5 Total:14

Travel: Round trip
Space:outside Earth
Time: At least one week

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


So, if you are the BBC, and you have a show that is your number 1 export, you will do all you can to sycronize overseas release dates with original air dates. That way you can cut down on illegial downloading and minimize spoiler-caused arguments between foriegn and native fans.*
If you have spinoffs of said show, attempt to market them under the same principles: "You like show X? Well, Y and Z are set in the same world, with some of the same characters." In this case, show Y (a more 'mature' spinoff) ended up being a cross-pond production and released on this side of the Atlantic first. But show Z, a children's show(as in, the main cast are teens) is not broadcast here, and the gap between British and American DVD releases so far has been -1 month (ie, one month before), one day, two months, and one month. However, the first three series were put on iTunes, while the latter two were not.
All this to say...

I WANNA WATCH Curse of Clyde Langer part 2! AND I CAN'T YET! gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!

*Which, in general, they did well with this year.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Curse of Clyde Langer Part 1

One of the reasons I adore the Sarah Jane Adventures is because it doesn't talk down to kids. Much like the classic series, it doesn't have flashy special effects but focuses on character development. And "The Curse of Clyde Langer," we get to see some amazing stuff from Clyde. When an unfortunate encounter with a strange totem pole, he suddenly becomes despised by all his friends. As he is turned out by Sarah Jane, Rani, and even his own mother, I just wanted to go *SQEE* and hug him closely.
Amidst the heavy subject matter, Sky provides great comic relief, breaking lightbulbs in Haresh's office and giggling at a storm of fish. A brief mention to "the greatest medicine man" suggested the Doctor to me, but I'll have to wait and see.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

SJA: Sky

It's hard to watch the newest episodes of The Sarah Jane Adventures without remembering Elisabeth Sladen's death, but the season premier "Sky" provides plenty of delightful moments to entertian viewers. The title character is a baby dropped off on Sarah Jane's doorstop in the middle of the night. The resulting scenes are thankfully hilarious (I couldn't take another series opener that, say kills the Doctor in the first ten minutes!), as Sarah fumbles with an alien baby named Sky whose screams shatter lightbulbs. And you thought it's hard to keep a normal baby quiet! Surprsingly, Clyde is good with babies--much to his own chagrin, as he is left with the baby while Rani and Sarah Jane go off to investigate.

It turns out that Miss Meyers, the villianess of the week, has taken a page from Madame Kovarian's book--Sky is a weapon designed to destroy the Metalkind--but takes it one step further by making her a literal bomb. The first part of Miss Meyer's plan creates the part one cliffhanger, as Sky transforms into a twelve-year-old girl.
The second half of the story focuses on disabling Sky as a weapon. While the concept of a child weapon is rather dark for the show, Sky's naive keeps the episode from becoming too heavy. She (deliberately, I think) reminds viewers of Luke's early days, trying to figure out words like "dangerous" and "weapon." Not to mention her zinger of a question when Clyde and Rani are watching her outside the nuclear power station: "Do you always do what Sarah Jane tells you?" I'm looking forward to seeing more of her, especially in "The Man Who Wasn't there" with Luke.
I was also surprised to see the Captain and Shopkeeper reappear. I noticed them in the opening credits, but I thought they had just reused season four clips. I hope that we learn more about them in the remaing episodes.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

School Reunion

"Some things are worth getting your heart broken for."
--Sarah Jane Smith

In light of tomorrow's Sarah Jane Adventures' season five premiere (which is not availible *cough* legally*cough* outside of Britain), I decided to post a review of "School Reunion," which marked the return of Elisabeth Sladen to the show for the first time since the charity special "Dimensions in Time" in 1993.
The plotline is fairly simple--an alien race uses schoolchildren to break the code of divinity--which allows a greater focus on the characters. Instead of frantic running or ducking Dalek blasts (although they run too!), viewers are treated to such beautiful scenes as Sarah Jane recognizing the TARDIS, the Doctor and Sarah talking, and Sarah's spat with Rose.
The climax of the plot is beautiful too--Mr. Finch offers the Doctor the power to rewrite reality. Not only is this tempting because of the Time Lords, but because he could have his companions with him "throughout eternity. Never age, never wither, never die."
But Sarah Jane--the one with the most to lose--pulls him back.
The universe has to move forward. Pain and loss, they define us as much as happiness or love. Everything has its time, and everything ends.

Originally intended as a one-time story, this episode sparked the spin-off Sarah Jane Adventures, as well as return appearances in the season four finale and the End of Time farewell tour.
I've watched this episode many times since April--and it makes me cry a little more every time. It also inspired me to go back and watch the classic series, beginning with Sarah Jane's first adventure "The Time Warrior." I have since seen every episode featuring Sarah Jane (except Dimensions in Time). She is undoubtedly my favorite companion.

The Wedding of River Song

It's not the Sun, it's you. The sky is full of a million million voices saying, "Yes, of course we'll help." You've touched so many lives, saved so many people, did you think when your time came you'd really have to do more than just ask? You've decided that the universe is better off without you. But the universe doesn't agree...I can't let you die — without knowing you are loved — by so many and so much — and no one more than me.

--River Song, speaking for every Whovian

Well, "The Wedding of River Song" is one of those love-it-or-hate it episodes. And despite the titular event, it has very little in common with the series five finale. Last season time was being erased, starting with the stars; this time, everything is happening at once. The delightful use of the timey-whimy ball has Holy Roman Emperor Winston Churchill riding into Buckingham Senate on a mammoth, while TV personalities interview Charles Dickens about his latest best-seller.
But the wonderful time stew is tainted by its origins. River refused to kill the Doctor by Lake Silenco, and now time is falling apart. In a wonderful action sequence involving pyramids, eyepatches,huge guns, and more, the Doctor's bowtie is finally used for something more than "cool." All through River's speech on the pyramid, I was absolutely tearing up inside. Several parts of this season leaned on the fourth wall, but River's speech here was so in-character, and at the same time so what every fan would say if he or she had the chance.
And the ending was good. Not quite as good as season five's, but happy at least. Not to mention Amy's face as it sunk in that she's the Doctor's mother-in-law! Some people may disagree with the use of the Tesselecta, but it had me fooled. The Flesh clone would have been too obvious anyway.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ascent from Darkness: A True Story

Note to self: do not read the biography of a former Satanist just before your professor assigns Marlowe's Doctor Faustus for class. It adds an entirely new layor of creepiness to the story.
Ascent from Darkness is the autobiography of Michael Leehan, who became a Satanist at age thirty-three. For twenty years, he was in bondage to Satan, until he accepted the mighty power of Christ over darkness.
This book exposed an area of spiritual warfare I have no experiance or awareness of whatsoever. I suspect many American believers would say the same thing. But although the descriptions were dark and graphic, I would still recommend this book for solid believers wanting more information about the spiritual reality we often forget.
Four stars

* I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Closing Time

Well, the Cybermmen are back as primary vilians for the first time since The Next Doctor (only the fourth story of the revived series). Viewers also see Cybermats for the first time in 36 years. It works very well for the storyline, especially since Cybermen have a history with the Doctor that has not been overworked.
The return of Craig (but not Sophie) also worked well, especially since Craig and Sophie have a baby boy named Alfie, who prefers to be called "Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All." Craig is genre savvy enough by this point to realize that a visit from the Doctor means trouble, and decides the safest thing to do is to follow him.
My favorite part of this episode was all the scenes between the Doctor and Alfie. This Doctor, the baby-face Doctor, is the one who can't stand to watch children cry, and his conversation in Alfie's nursery is absolutely heartbreaking.

But I am old, Stormy. I am so old. So near the end. But you, Alfie Owens. You are so young, aren’t you? And you know, right now, everything’s ahead of you. You could be anything. Yes, I know. You could walk among the stars. They don’t actually look like that, you know — they are rather more impressive. [uses his sonic to make a starry sky appear on the ceiling] Yeah! You know, when I was little like you, I dreamt of the stars. I think it’s fair to say, in the language of your age, that I lived my dream. I owned the stage. Gave it a hundred and ten percent. I hope you have as much fun as I did, Alfie.

But the most surprising bit was the last five minutes. I was not expecting to see River, and the Silents...It was bad enough when I thought young River shot the Doctor, but for it to be the River we know and love, forced into the suit and unable to stop herself(as it heavily suggests)---oh man!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook: Slaying the Living Dead Within

"Fear no zombies. Wear long socks. Kill no albatrosses."--My Lit Theory Professor

This week, my college campus has been overrun with zombies. And people swinging moonkey-faced flails made of socks or Nerf swords. In other words, we have a Humans vs Zombie Game here. A perfect setting to read this book.
This book consists of two stories: a fictional zombie narrative and a nonfiction
guide to 'overcoming the zombie within.' The vivid image of a zombie is used to illustrate the sin nature we all struggle with. While this interweaving structure is difficult to follow at times, I think it's very helpful, especially to people who aren't used to theological books.

In accordance with Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, I am disclosing that I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My opinions are my own, and I am not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The God Complex

Since I've forgotten this the last few weeks, I might as well remind readers that this contains spoilers, yadda yadda yadda.

Look at you. Glorious Pond. The girl who waited for me. I'm not a hero. I really am just a mad man in a box. And it’s time we saw each other as we really are. Amy Williams, it’s time to stop waiting.
--The God Complex

While I was expecting this episode to be frightening, I wasn't expecting it to be sad. Last week's episode was bad enough, but...poor Doctor, poor, poor Doctor.How can you have the universe in your backyard and still be pitable? Because in the end,his only certianty is being alone. I mean, he left Amy and Rory because he realizes that this is his only way to end it without death. I don't cry at TV shows easily, but my eyes were seriously twitching when he was talking to Amy in her room. The camera work was just beautiful, allowing us to see that in his eyes, she's still the little girl he abandoned for fourteen years, Amelia Pond who shared fish fingers and custard. And he had to break her trust, the only thing that kept her alive and (reasonably) sane, because it could kill them all....

Offtopic: I want an Amelia Pond action figure. Not Amy, Amelia. And an Eleventh Doctor one too.

Sarah Jane Adventures Returns October 3rd!

Sky (1&2)
Alien investigator Sarah Jane Smith is back on CBBC with a fifth and final series of the award-winning The Sarah Jane Adventures, starring the late Elisabeth Sladen.

Created by Russell T Davies, the hugely successful Doctor Who spin-off returns for a brand-new, six-part series, featuring three stories, each told over two episodes. The first is the spectacular two-part story, Sky.

In today’s episode, Sarah Jane finds a baby girl on her doorstep and tries to find out who abandoned her.

At a nearby nuclear power station, a beautiful woman appears out of thin air and uses alien powers to take control. She’s looking for something – and realises that Sarah Jane may just have it…

Sky (Part 2)
Doctor Who spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures is back with the second part of the action-packed Sky story, starring the late Elisabeth Sladen.

Today, Sky has undergone an amazing transformation, but in doing so has triggered a countdown that no one can stop.

As Sarah Jane and Sky find themselves trapped between the alien war fought by Metalkind and Fleshkind, Clyde and Rani face a race against time to stop the biggest bang in history…

The Curse of Clyde Langer (3&4)
Alien investigator Sarah Jane Smith is back and in today’s episode some very unusual weather hits Bannerman Road.

It’s raining fish from the skies, and Sarah Jane’s investigations lead the gang to the Museum of Culture, where the ancient god Hetocumtek may offer answers.

But when Clyde acts the fool once too often, family and friends savagely turn against him, and he is thrown out of their lives!

The Curse of Clyde Langer (Part 2) synopsis:

The curse of Clyde Langer continues in the second part of this gripping story from the award-winning The Sarah Jane Adventures.

In today’s episode, Clyde is alone and abandoned on the streets of London, living rough, cold and hungry. One person reaches out to him, but as they become friends, he’s warned about the legendary Night Dragon.

In Bannerman Road, Sky knows something’s wrong – why do Sarah Jane and Rani suddenly hate Clyde?

No details have been released about "The Man Who Wasn't There," except that it was originally the final story of the season.

Episode summeries accessed via Doctor Who TV UK

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Girl Who Waited

I originally expected this episode to be about Amy's intermedicuim period, but since that was covered in Let's Kill Hitler, I quickly picked up on the new plot quickly. Apparently simple: Amy is trapped in a quarantine facility with time compression. When the TARDIS locks onto the wrong timestream, Rory must chose which version of his wife to save.

First of all, kudos to Gillan for her performance. She quickly convinces us of the hatred that Amy-Now has been feeding for thirty-five years, as well as the pain of Amy-Then. Arthur Davrill also deserves high marks. This was his chance to shine, and he rose to the occasion. (Smith did well too, but this was techinically a Doctor-lite episode, although it doesn't come off as one at all).

It was also beautifully artistically, from the shots of the two Amys to the strange settings and small details, like the robot Rory and Amy-Now beginning to put on her lipstick before remembering that she's old. Another small tidbit that is great is the geek glasses the Doctor gives to Rory.

The strength of this episode was in the tearjerkers, though. Rory chose to become the Lone Centurian, with a hint of what he was in for history-wise, and a definate end in view, while Amy pushed the wrong button and was stranded alone with hostile Handbots for thirty-five years, always wondering if this was the day she would be rescued. A lot of her dialouge was heartbreaking, but her goodbye to Rory and last words nearly had me bawling. Not to mention when Amy woke up and asked "Where is she?"
Five of Five.

p.s. We also have a date for the season five Sarah Jane Adventures opener: October 3rd. with the second part airing the 4th! I'm looking forward to that weekend--after The Wedding of River Song, back to Bannerman Road for the last Sarah Jane Adventures...sniff

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fanfiction Cover Images

I got inspired the other day and made some cover images for Doctor Who fanfics I'm working on....

The first three are for my crossover 'The Last and the Only,' in which Luke Smith and K9 join the 11th Doctor in the TARDIS


For my Official Whoniversity of Fanfiction, a self-mocking spoof of bad fanfiction

Originally a one-shot, this story focuses on a clone of River who joins her and the Doctor aboard the TARDIS. Offically AU after "Let's Kill Hitler," I hope to keep the characters fairly close to the original.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Night Terrors

From the historic depths of the Third Reich, the Doctor returns to our screens to visit an ordinary block of flats, where an ordinary boy named George is so scared that his cry for help reaches the TARDIS.
In my mind, the most frightening part of it all was when we WEREN'T seeing the monsters, because that meant they could be anywhere. Not to mention that uttely creepy rhyme.
Tick tock goes the clock
He cradled her and he rocked her
Tick tock goes the clock
Even for the Doctor…

Because this episode was originally meant to be part of 6A, which means it has no references to River Song/Melody. Even so, the rhyme has serious implications.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sarah Jane Adventure Teaser

Let's Kill Hitler--Spoilers Included

"Mels, did you not understand the question? I'm asking why the Titantic sank."

"Because the Doctor didn't save it. Except you don't know about the Doctor because you're stupid. "

Well, that was worth waiting for. Although I am beginning to wonder how many times Moffat can fit a finale's worth of plot twists into one season.* From the opening shots of Rory and Amy creating a crop circle to the closing sequence, the episode is full of delicious lines and performances.

Viewers are introduced to Mels, an old friend of Rory and Amy that we've never met before--and there's a reason for that. In a series of flashbacks, we learn that Mels was even more obessesed with the Doctor than Amy was, and that Rory has had a crush on Amy for a very long time...absolutely adorable.

Another bittersweet moment was the scene with the emergancy hologram. It originally shows up as the Eleventh Doctor, to which he replies, "Oh, nononononono, give me someone I like!" It then preceded to switch through

Rose: Guit

Martha:More Guilt!

Donna: Is there anyone in the Universe I haven't messed up yet

Amelia Pond...who after a long repeatition of "I am not Amelia Pond" inspires him to keep going by saying 'Fish fingers and custard.'

The introduction of River's early character was very fun to watch--still the River we know, but much rawer and more insane...

* That's a compliment, by the way.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Love You More

Publisher’s DescriptionFollowing the invisible thread of connection between people who are seemingly intended to become family, journalist Jennifer Grant shares the deeply personal, often humorous story of adopting a fifteen-month-old girl from Guatemala when she was already the mother of three very young children.

Her family's journey is captured in stories that will encourage not only adoptive families but those who are curious about adoption or whose lives have been indirectly touched by it. Love You More explores universal themes such as parenthood, marriage, miscarriage, infertility, connection, destiny, true self, failure and stumbling, and redemption.

My ReviewTo be honest, I’m not entirely sure why I read this book. While I support adoption, it is not an issue I am currently involved with. Regardless, it really caught my attention. The author honestly addresses common adoption concerns, including ‘you won’t love them as much’ and ‘it’s not the same as normal parenting.’ A good read for anyone interested, especially pro-life advocated who wish to promote an alternative to abortion.

3.5 stars.

I received a free copy of this book from BookSneeze but was not obligated to write a positive review.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Children of Time

The Doctor likes traveling with an entourage. Sometimes they're human, sometimes they're aliens and sometimes they're tin dogs.

--Sarah Jane Smith, “School Reunion”

Besides the Doctor, the most important characters in the show are the people he travels with. From Rose Tyler to River Song, they travel with the last Time Lord, getting into and out of trouble on alien planets, satellites, and Earth.

Just as each fan has ‘his’ Doctor—one they feel best portrays him—many fans have a favorite companion. The bashing of companions, however, can be even more violent than debates about the Doctor. Every Doctor is ‘the Doctor,’ but it’s possible to argue that a companion shouldn’t have been on the TARDIS. While I enjoy most of the companions, I thought I’d go through the revived series companions* and express my feelings about them, complete with fanfic recommendations and romantic pairings. (There are spoilers)

Rose Tyler: First companion of the new series (Ninth and Tenth), she tends to be a lightning rod among fans. On her own grounds, I find her average—not especially stunning, but not a failure either. She also had a romantic attitude towards the Doctor, which was not going to end cleanly no matter what happened. I doubt that any Classic Doctor would have given her a second glance. When Nine met her, he was mired in survivor’s guilt and self-loathing—he needed someone who though he was fantastic, who admired him and didn’t know his past.

Then things got really tangled with her return in Journey’s End. I didn’t mind her brief appearance in the End of Time farewell sequence, but the Journey’s End bit felt forced, with a compromised ending that left nobody happy. If she’s brought back again, I think it will permanently spoil her earlier episodes.

Pairings: Slight Nine/Ten or Ten Duplicate…

Overall rating: Three stars

Fanfic Recommendations:

An Evening with the TARDIS

Fics I’ve written


Divided Hearts

Dreams in Which I’m Dying


Jack Harkness: Former Time Agent, now head of Torchwood, we first met him in The Empty Child/Doctor Dances. While he does shape up by Journey’s End, his blatant sexuality turns me off.

Pairings: I do not touch this area with a ten light-year pole.

Overall Rating: Two stars

Fanfic Recommendations: None

Mickey Smith: Rose’s unlucky boyfriend, he matures a lot during the series. Not much to say about him, but he technically is a companion.

Pairings: no preference

Rating: Two stars

Fanfic recommendations: none

Martha Jones: The second companion of the Tenth Doctor, she was handed the short end of the stick, with constant comparisons to Rose both in-show and by fans. Some people hate her for not being Rose, others adore her for the same reason. Wisely, she left at the end of series three rather then continue wallowing in her misery.

Pairings: no preference, but her crush on the Doctor is definitely one-sided.

Overall Rating: Three and a half stars

Fanfic Recommendations: none

Donna Noble: Extremely annoying in “The Runaway Bride,” she has one of the best-written character arcs of the new show. Her lack of romantic interest in the Doctor was refreshing after Martha and Rose. But her fate—‘The Rueful Fate of Donna Noble’—it was worse than Rose being trapped on the parallel world.

Pairing: no preference, but NOT the Doctor

Overall rating: Four and a half stars

Fanfic Recommendations:

Lucy in the Sky

Rosemary for Remembrance

Let Me Let You Go

Amelia Pond: The first companion I watched, I have a soft spot for her despite her flirty ways. She’s an interesting mixture of injured childishness and sarcasm. Has some amazing insights into the Doctor’s mind.

Pairings: Rory

Overall rating: Four stars

Fanfic Recommendations:

A Few Days Ago

Twelve Years and Four Psychiatrists

Yellow Alert

Fics I’ve written

Come Along Again


Something That Matters


Wilfred Mott: Winner of my Samwise Award for taking on the companion role in The End of Time, Donna’s grandfather is amazingly cool, with serious guts. His scenes with the Doctor in the cafĂ© and on the spaceship, not to mention the lock, are all tearjerkers.

Pairings: I think it’d be kind of cool if he met Sarah Jane.

Overall rating: Five stars

Fanfic Recommendations:

All it takes for evil to flourish

Fics I’ve written:

Cup of Tea

Grasshopper Duet

*Adam, Astrid, Jackson Lake, Adelaide Brookes, and Lady Christine are barely companions. Sarah Jane, on the other hand, gains most of her significance from the classic series and will be covered when I get to the Fourth Doctor’s companions. And River Song…well, she deserves her own post.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Bad Shot

Even a bad shot is dignified when he accepts a duel.
-G.K. Chesterton

While this shot was not aimed at me, I feel obiligated to respond. The article starts "If you write fiction, you may be ridng a dead horse," and states
Unfortunately this path is more likely to lead to oblivion than to success. Not only do sales continue to decline as mentioned, but competition with other serious authors for the few slots available is increasingly intense. Your chances of success in selling fiction are slim to none.
I will leave it to someone else to investigate the statistics, the amount of money made by icons like Stephanie Meyers and J.K.Rowling, much less those like J.R.R. Tolkien,who makes more money than a lot of people who have the distinct advantage of being ALIVE.
I wish to comment on the assumptions behind this writing. The author clearly defines 'Sucess' with dollar signs, name recognition, and a spot on the top of The New York Times bestseller list. But some of us don't agree with that. We may want to be sucessful, but sucess might be finally finishing the novel in progress, getting paid for a short story, touching a person's heart.
And as a Christian, I define success as touching someone's heart for God, regardless of fiscal results (although those are nice too. Isaac Asimov said once 'I write for the same reason I breathe- because if I didn't, I would die." But more important is a quote by one of my favorite authors, Bryan Davis, "Write to plesae God, not to please the market. Write what makes you burn with holy fire, not what sizzles through the checkout stand."
So, thanks for the tip, but I think my 'dead horse' might just be a winged stead.

Christian Encounters: J.R.R. Tolkien

Christian Encounters: J.R.R. Tolkien

Publisher’s Summery
Christian Encounters, a series of biographies from Thomas Nelson Publishers, highlights important lives from all ages and areas of the Church. Some are familiar faces. Others are unexpected guests. But all, through their relationships, struggles, prayers, and desires, uniquely illuminate our shared experience.
J.R.R. Tolkien famously penned The Hobbit and the 3-volume novel The Lord of the Rings. Known as “the father of modern fantasy literature,” his writings have inspired many other works of fantasy and have had a lasting effect on the entire genre. In this Christian Encounters biography, learn how Tolkien’s faith was an intrinsic element of his creative imagination, one that played out in the pages of his writings and his life.

My Review
I have read much of Tolkien’s works, from the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit to the Silmarillion to Roverandom and the Lays of Beleriand, even Sigurd and Gundrun; I have a firm basis in the primary texts of Tolkiendom. But I haven’t read many biographies about him. So when I saw this book on the Booksneeze list, I jumped at the opportunity.
My first surprise about this book was the size. It’s only a little wider and taller than a mass market paperback, and a good deal thinner—easily carried in a purse or backpack. The flexible end-‘papers’ make excellent bookmarks in a pinch, and the text, though small, is easy to read.
The content was also excellent, a well-rounded perspective on one of the great minds of speculative literature, if not the patron saint of Christian fantasy. Covering Tolkien’s life from his childhood in South Africa to his rough courtship with Edith and into his creative life at Oxford, this book is accessible for Tolkien-philes and newcomers alike. It even ends with a chapter covering his legacy among modern culture.
Four of Five stars

Although you probably don’t care, I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson as part of their BookSneeze program in exchange for writing and posting an honest review. I was not required to praise the book.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

You Were Born for This

Publisher’s InformationHis New York Times phenomenon The Prayer of Jabez changed how millions pray. Now Bruce Wilkinson wants to change what they do next.

Anyone can do a good deed, but some good works can only happen by an act of God. Around the world these acts are called miracles–not that even religious people expect to see one any time soon. But what would happen if millions of ordinary people walked out each morning expecting God to deliver a miracle through them to a person in need? You Were Born for This starts with the dramatic premise that everyone at all times is in need of a miracle, and that God is ready to meet those needs supernaturally through ordinary people who are willing to learn the "protocol of heaven."

In the straightforward, story-driven, highly motivating style for which he is known, Wilkinson describes how anyone can be a 'Delivery Guy' from heaven in such universally significant arenas of life as finances, practical help, relationships, purpose and spiritual growth.

You Were Born for This will change how you see your world and show you what you can expect God to do through you to meet real needs. You will master seven simple tools of service, and come to say with confidence, "I want to deliver a supernatural gift from God to someone in need today–and I expect to!"

My Review
Books on Christian living tend to fall into one of two categories: inspiring, but too vague to act on; or with too many steps and strategies to allow the Holy Spirit to work. This book avoids both traps, giving Scripturally-sound strategies to be deliberate about opening yourself to God’s work.
More importantly, I felt the book addressed the main concern I have with ministry. As an introvert, I have a sick feeling at the thought of sharing my faith. But two points struck me: first, we are the deliverymen for miracles, not the miracles ourselves. And secondly, fear is just the body saying “PAY ATTENTION!”
Four of Five stars

I received a free copy of this book but was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Be The People: A Review for July 4th

Publisher's Description
An insightful analysis of the forces of deception rapidly reshaping America's morals, social policies, and culture, with a call to specific action, written by a thoughtful and courageous Christian social scientist on the front lines of today's issues.

Cultural elites in the media, academia, and politics are daily deceiving millions of Americans into passively supporting policies that are detrimental to the nation and their own best interest. Although some Americans can see through the smokescreen, they feel powerless to redirect the forces inside and outside government that radically threaten cherished values and principles.

Drawing on her training in political science and law, Dr. Swain thoughtfully examines the religious significance of the founding of our nation and the deceptions that have infiltrated our daily lives and now threaten traditional families, unborn children, and members of various racial and ethnic groups-as well as national sovereignty itself--and provides action points for the people of this country to make the political system more responsive.

The book is divided into two sections:

Forsaking what we once knew
Re-embracing truth and justice in policy choices
It also covers key topics such as:

America's shift to moral relativism
America's religious roots
Abortion's fragile facade
Historical and biblical views on families and children
Erosion of rule of law, national security, and immigration
Racial and ethnic challenges
Reclaiming the future

Also includes a short list of suggestions at the end of each chapter, as well as appendices containing the 10 Commandments, The Bill of Rights, and the US Constitution.

My Perspective
The author opens the book with her goals and audience. She believes that America was founded as a Christian nation and provides evidence to prove it, returning to the original documents for support. The two sections of the book could be classified as "Abandoned" and "Reclaiming," as the Christian heritage of America is contrasted with the moral decay of our nation today.
The book is easy to read and compelling,with some startling claims that require more thought then might appear on first reading. One of these areas is covenant theology: the belief that America has a covenant relationship with God in modern society, just as Israel did in Bible times. While Christians may disagree with that perspective, it is hard to dispute that America is seen--even by its enemies--as a primarily Christian nation.
Even if you don't agree with the author's worldview, she has practical suggestions on moving forward, as well as a clear presentation of her ideas. Not only is is a good reminder for Christians, it might help those on the other side of politics understand where Christian conservatives are coming from. Overall, I give Be the People 3.5 stars.
I recieved a free copy of this book through Thomas Nelson's Booksneeze program but was not required to write a positive review

To close, I would like to share a prayer reprinted in the book. This prayer was originally given to the Kansas House of Representatives in 1996.

Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask Your forgiveness and to seek Your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, "Woe to those who call evil good,," but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.

We confess:

We have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it Pluralism.
We have worshipped other gods and called it multiculturalism.
We have endorsed perversion and called it alternative lifestyle.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.
We have abused power and called it politics.
We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.

Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent to direct us to the center of your will. I ask it in the Name of Your Son, the living Savior, Jesus Christ.


Monday, June 20, 2011

The Time of Angels: A Game

I put my MP3 player on shuffle among my Doctor Who soundtrack, to see what kind of answers the titles would provide

Are you male or female? “Doctor Who Season Four Opening”

What do people feel when they are around you? “Slitheen”

Describe your current relationship “Kiss the Girl”

Where would you like to be right now? “Honey, I’m Home”

What do you feel about love? “You Must Like It Here”

What's your life like? “Midnight”

What would you wish for if you only had one wish?
“Cassandra’s Waltz”

Say something wise: “After the Chase”

If someone says "Is this okay. . ." You say? “A Noble Girl About Town”

How would you describe yourself? “All the Strange Strange Creatures”

How do you feel today? “A Pressing Need to Save the World”

What is your life's purpose? “Into the Museum”

What is your motto? “New Adventures”

What do your friends think of you? “Father’s Day”

What do you think of your parents? “With Love, Vincent”

What is 2+2? “A River of Tears”

What is your life story? “River Runs Through It”

What do you want to be when you grow up? “Voyage of the Damned Suite”

What will you dance to at your wedding? “Chicken Casanova”

What will they play at your funeral? “Little Amy: The Apple”

What is your hobby/interest? “Paint”

What is your biggest fear? “Evolution of the Daleks”

What is your biggest secret? “Doctor Who XI”

What do you think of your friends? “Finding Jackie”
What will you re-post this as “The Time of Angels”

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Good Man Goes to War

Sorry for the belated response, but I am trying to have a life outside of the laptop, you know :)
To give you some idea of my immediate response, here are my real-time notes (spelling corrected)

One Point:
That’s all human and delicately
All running about
then he was dead, then he didn’t exist, then he was plastic

little baby

Little baby
baby time lord
not weapon
wedding night hijinks

Last Few Minutes:
The baby is flesh
Or is it Amy
No no no nooooooooooooooooo

not another ganger
please don’t let amy be another ganger

is Lorna River?
that can’t be right

River? Where the hell have you been
You could have tried

good spat
Not him
please not him
I don’t get him
Tell me
tell me

Water in the fores

Even if viewers weren't pleased with the content of River's revelation, the reveal was brilliantly written. (Apologies for the subtitles. It was all I could find)

Now we are left to go AGHHHHHHHH and ponder theories till next fall.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Giving our Deaths

People often say that someone who died in war or as a martyr "gave his life" for the cause. In one sense, that's true. But while reading Urchin and the Rage Tide, I came across a beautiful passage about this. (paraphrased)
You've already given your life for the island, every day. Now you're giving your death.
It's all about living sacrifice. If you don't give God every day, every moment of your life, why give him something he has control over anyway?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Dragons of Chiril

Originally published under the (in my mind) more fitting title The Vanishing Sculpture, The Dragons of Chiril is the first of Donita K. Paul's second book in her new series.
Because I originally read the sequel, Dragons of the Valley first, I already had some idea of what was going on, but I found the book much more inviting read in its proper order. The characters are amusing and delightful, and the plot is well written.
Four and a half stars.

The Quotable Rogue

What makes America exceptional isn't her politicans; it's her people
--Sarah Palin

In the midst of all our political backstabbing and mess, it's easy to overlook the people who do their part to make America great. But once in a while, there's someone who is both an exceptional person and a decent politican.
I happen to think that Sarah Palin is one of them. Feel free to disagree, but this is not a politics post: it is just a review of a book that happens to be political. A collection of Palin quotes, The Quotable Rogue is exactly what it claims to be--a handbook of soundbites from one of politics' most polarizing personalities. It might even make you interested in picking up one of her two books.
Four stars

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Final Summit

The Angel ((Archangel, yes Mr. Gabriel, I understand there's a difference) Gabriel summons Winston Churchill, Joan of Arc, Abe Lincoln, the WWII spy Eric Ericson, and a modern businessmen to provide a two-word answer to explain how the world can avoid the apocolypse. No, this isn't a joke. It's the plot of The Final Summit by Andy Andrews.
I did not enjoy this book at all. First of all, the opening chapter is spent on a minor character we never see again. Secondly, a plot entirely consisting of discussion, no matter how well done, is bound to come off pedantic. Finally--and most seriously, there is nothing remotely Christian in this book. Apart from a brief mention of "barely slipping in," there is no mention of faith or belief required to entire heaven. Personalities like Socrates, Anne Frank, Edison, and Franklin just hang out together. But the worst part is the answer. What must humanity do to avert disaster?
Do something.
That's no help at all, not even remotely. Do what? Where do we start? Hitler and Stalin did something, for that matter, and they thought they were doing right.
No stars
I was given a free copy of this book by Thomas Nelson's BookSneeze program in exchange for writing an unbiased review.

Quick Contest Link

Go to here for a link to a contest

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Almost People--HUGE SPOILERS!


That is my reaction to The Almost People in three words. It was one of the first episodes that actually kept me up at night afterwards--not because it was explictly frighting, but because of the fridge horror.
Amy's been a gange for all of season six. And the only hint was the occasional glimpses of Eyepatch Lady.What makes us so sure that we aren't all gangers? And for that matter, that we actually are in the same physical condition? GangerAmy wasn't pregnant (which was what confused the TARDIS) but real Amy was. When she woke up in the prison cell, suddenly giving birth, I nearly had a heart attack.
And that's apart from the Holocaust-echoing piles of defective gangers and the slowly rotting eyes patched on the wall. Watching, just watching, and fully conscious all the time.
Then, after watching the trailer for the next episode, and the prequel as well. Blue dude has it right:"God help us if you've made him (the Doctor) angry!"
What will Moffat do next?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Post Apocalypse

Some believe the end of the world will come in fire, smoke and poison, leaving none alive. Sometimes, I wonder if it got one detail wrong. Maybe the apocalypse already happened, and we’re living after the end. It’s hard to distinguish the beginning of the end, but I suppose if you wish to be Biblical and use a seven-year timetable, 1938 will do.
By then, the Nuremberg Laws had already been in place for three years, laying the foundations of the Holocaust. And seven year later, over six million Jews had burned like firewood in the crematoriums of death camps. A memoir of death-camp liberators I’d read recently contains gut-wrenching descriptions of the concentration camps. I thought, if ordinary people, supposedly civilized people, can do such things, can the end be far away?
The world today is, though less obviously so, a place where the horrible is becoming increasingly mundane. Think about our indifference to those suffering from starvation, religious persecution, and abuse. The world might end without our notice.

The Rebel Flesh

On this season's theme park-adventure, we've already faced the roller-coaster, the ghost train, and the live show. Next up, the house of mirriors, with strange reflections staring back at you.
After an unsuccessful attempt to drop Rory and Amy off for fish and chips,the Doctor lands at an island with an absolutely beautiful 13th century monastary. Judging from an unearthed pipe marked "corrosive" and echoes of Dusty Springfield from the towers, the Doctor deducts that they are not in the 1200s, and, more importantly, are about to be greeted by "almost people."
What follows has been dubbed "Avatar meets the Thing." From the first preview I saw, I was intriguged by the premise. After reluctantly watching Avatar for a class project, I found the implications of such a project more interesting. What if an avatar gained a will of its own? Would it resent the controller, even if they were meant to be the same? The Rebel Flesh begins to answer those questions.
Sarah Start, who plays Jennifer and her ganger, deserves special credit. The original Jennifer is suspicious and angry, while the clone is absolutely heartbreaking in her confusion.
Of course, this wouldn't be Doctor Who without mystery and terror.Eyepatch Lady makes another apperiance, and the "flesh" itself is potent nightmare fuel, especially when the gangers become unstable...4/5
Oh, and they DIDN'T kill Rory

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Little Bit of Fun

There's a lot of tag-games where you name twelve characters and answer questions based on the numbers. Well, I thought I'd do one for the Doctor.
1-11 (Respective Doctor)
12. The TARDIS (yes, it's a box. But it's also alive)

Here we go...
1) Would 6 or 11 make a better college professor?
11 already looks the part, and he is so funny sometimes. He wouldn't always make sense, but who says that's important?

2) Is 2 nice?
I've only seen him in The Five Doctors, so I'm not sure

3) 12 sends 8 on a mission; what is it and does he succeed?
The TARDIS sends 8 back to Gallifrey to fight in the Time War and eliminate the Daleks. He succeeds (well, at least he thinks so at the time...) but the fight also wipes out the Time Lords and many other species (Hey, lookie, that's almost canon)

4)What is Nine's favorite book?
Hmm...I'm just going to say Last of the Mohicans because the title almost describes him.

5)Would it make more sense for 2 to swear fealty to 6, or vice versa?
I haven't seen the episode where they met, but I think 2 to 6.

6) 5 is looking for a roomate: should he room with 9 or 10?
I know what 10 would say--MEE! On the other hand, I don't know if 5 could put up with 10's fanboying for a long time.

7) 3, 7, 12 are going out for dinner. What happens?
3 adjusts his velvet frock and invites 7 into the TARDIS. 7, a vegetarian, gets angry when 3 orders a steak. Meanwhile,the TARDIS loses power temporarily from trying to connect with two Time Lords at once.

8)3 challenges 10 to a duel. Who would win?
Well, 3 knows martial arts, but 10 can be awfully handy with that sonic. Can I just say The Doctor would win?

9) If 1 stole 8's most prized possession, how would he get it back?
Well, it might be the TARDIS, but since 1 already has his, I will take the humorous route and say 8's shoes. 1 would quickly return them, however, when he realized they didn't fit.

10) Suggest a story title in which 7 and 12 achieve their desire?
Well, I haven't seen much of 7, but for the TARDIS, the title would be The Time We Talked.

11) What kind of plot device would you use to get 1 and 4 to work together?
Oh, easy. The Time Lords imprision 1 before he can escape with his TARDIS. 1 manages to send a message to his future selves, but only 4 recieves it.

12) How would it go if 7 visited you for a week?
I'm not sure. I haven't seen his seasons yet.

13) If you could command 3 to perform any service for you, what would it be?
I'd ask him to introduce me to Sarah Jane and then take us to Florena. Maybe a quick fly by Gallifrey, too, if I could coax him.

14) Does 11 like to write or draw?
I don't think so. He's too busy with other things.

15) If 2 had to decide between 4 and 5, what would he choose?
I think 5, just because 4 is so crazy.

16) What might 10 say while charging into battle?

17) What song would best describe 8?
Oh, that's hard... "This is Home" by Switchfoot because of the Time War? And he doesn't remember things at first

18) A good pickup line from 2 to 10?
When I say run, run!
To which 10 would say "RUN!"

19) What would 5 be arrested for?
Shrinking his duties as President of Gallifrey

20) If 11 and 9 were racing, who would get there first?
Sheesh, I don't know.

21) What is the lowest point of 1's story?
Probably when Susan leaves him.

22) 1 and 9 team up to save the world from the threat posed by 4's secret organization. 11 volunteers to help them, but they learn he's actually 4's spy. Meanwhile, 4 has kidnapped 12 in an attempt to force their surrender. Following 5's advice, they seek out 3, who gives them what they need to complete their quest. What title would you give this fic?
Oh, the Time Lords must be crazy to allow so much crossing of the Doctor's personal timeline. But I definately could see 4 and 11 working together. Maybe I'd call it "My Own Worst Enemy is Me (x2)"

Monday, May 16, 2011

Three Fun Sites

As summer begins, it hopefully offers new opportunities in many areas of life. I thought I’d do my part to contribute to summer laziness by listing three excellent blogs for writers: one with writing advice, one with discussion of topics, and one fun one.
Wordplay/ is the blog of K.M. Weiland, and has many tips for writers of all genres—practical, straightforward ones. I even won a free copy of her writing type CD once.
Another good site for writers of speculative fiction is Speculative Faith, a group blog that discusses theological and craft issues in fantasy and sci-fi, as well as reviews of some works in that area. One of my favorite bloggers on that site is Kaci Hill, who co-wrote Lunatic and Elyon with Ted Dekker.
On the other hand, Come in Character, is a fun blog where authors answer questions from the perspective of their characters.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Doctor's Wife

Thought you were safe in the TARDIS? Think again. The madman in the box has been locked out, and even the matrix has been removed, leaving Rory and Amy trapped in the House-controlled TARDIS. Corridors with threatening messages scrawled in blood, time-warped seperations, and disappearing lights would be terrifying enough in any circumstances, but this is in the TARDIS, which turns ordinary nightmare fuel into the H-bomb of terror.
Even worse, this is not a Steven Moffat episode, but Neil Gaiman's episode "The Doctor's Wife," in which a little white box lures the Doctor to the junkyard in the bubble universe, on a senient astroid occupied by the green-eyed Ood Nephew, the patchwork couple Uncle and Aunt, and the mentally unhindged Indress, who babbles about kissing, thieves, and a big, sad, word.
While past episodes have hinted at the TARDIS's senience, "The Doctor's Wife" brings those suggestions to a gloriously satisfying conclusion for fans, not to mention providing rich fanfic fuel by creating a living embodiment of the TARDIS.
The TARDIS and the Doctor--the Madman with a Box--two nearly inspirable icons of the show. In fact, the chamelion-circuit challenged police box became so well-known that the BBC could take the rights away from the police. And now, almost fifty years after we first met her sitting in a Trotter's Lane junkyard, we get to hear the TARDIS's perspective.
Even with the obligatory snarky remarks, verb tense difficulties, hyperactivity, and biting, the actress beautifully shows the view from a new perspective. Lines such as “I took you where you needed to be,” show the brilliant inanity is mutual. But of course, it can’t last. Putting an 11-dimensional interface into a human body is only slightly less harmful than holding the Time Vortex in a human head or being the Time Lord mind/human body half of a biological metacrisis. In one way, the end is most similar to Doomsday, because the two minds are still alive, but separated by unyielding walls. But I found it even sadder, because Idris/TARDIS is still with the Doctor, watching everything he does, listening to him, but never able to answer. This was “the time [they] talked,” and despite the pain, it was worth every moment.
The saddest part was this conversation near the end. Idris had mentioned this several times, but I didn’t suspect what it could be.
Idris: I've been looking for a word. A big, complicated word but so sad. I've found it now.
The Doctor: What word?
Idris: Alive. Alive. I'm alive.
The Doctor: Alive isn't sad.
Idris: It's sad when it's over.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Curse of the Black Spot

I will be irregularly posting responses to series six of Doctor Who. I will be assuming that readers have already seen it--so no spoiler tags or plot summeries, yaddah yaddah yaddah

To paraphrase Moffat "We've done the roller coaster--now for the ghost train." And after the heart-twisting terrors of the coaster, it's actually a relief to face some good old-fashioned ghosties. Except she isn't. Not really.
Some people on the internet are getting their sails crossed about historical inaccuracies, which, in the face of a 900-year-old bowtie-wearing Time Lord, isn't really the series' greatest concern.
Poor Rory. This marks his fourth 'death' in his time on the show. Didn't expect that with the Sirien either. Makes sense, though. In fact, I saw a post online that explains why the Sirien took the TARDIS: It's always having trouble. It's sick .And what's up with Eyepatch Lady (seriously, that is her name in the credits)?
All in all, not as good as the opener, but a more restful episode. Not that it's saying much with Nightmare Station Fuel Attendant Moffat at the wheel.
Next week...The Doctor's Wife.
My guess is it will not be what we expect.