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 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."