Friday, November 30, 2012

The Best of Me: Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright

After a long hiatus, I have decided to resume my series of companion introductions/fic recommendations for classic who.

The Best of Me: Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright

The original human companions, Ian and Barbara were teachers at Susan's school who followed her to the Totter's Lane junkyard and were kidnapped by the First Doctor. Because of One's rather crusty manner, most modern viewers will more easily identify with them, not the Doctor (I actually confused Ian for the Doctor several times in Unearthly Child). But they have an important role in his character development.

Awakening He shouldn't be having these thoughts.

Lies Told To Children The Doctor explains why he travels with humans, or possibly just spins a tale.
Lost in Translation The TARDIS's translation circuit is sabotaged by small, furry aliens. Then it all goes downhill from there.
RelaxA nice day out ends with a mad dash back to the TARDIS.
What's in a Picture? While exploring the library, Ian stumbles upon a painting that evokes some rather strong emotions from the Doctor. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wizards vs Aliens: Fall of the Necross

Well, I’m not as impressed with this episode as “Friend or Foe,” but it does incorporate complex issues, so I have hopes it will continue to improve. When Benny’s attempt to knock out the aliens’ magic-harvester disables the whole ship, they have to chose whether to let the Necross die or try to help their enemies. Ursula shows a darker side, rejecting the Necrosses’ plea for help, while Benny and Tom try to help.
We have only two more episodes before the season finale—a pox on British brevity—but I’ll keep my eye on it next fall.

Once Upon a Time: Into the Deep

“You can’t, it’s far too dangerous!”
“I’ve faced you, it can’t be worse!”
—Regina and David, Once Upon a Time
Not only do we get a new episode of Once Upon a Time after two weeks, but I got to watch this one on the television itself! Yipee! There are advantages to going home over break, and this is one of them, even if I had to explain characters to my dad and put up with my brother’s insults.
I’m not a fan of Regina, by any means, but she’s making an effort, at least. I still think any scenes with Henry and David are absolutely adorable, and David’s decision to put himself under a sleeping curse was absolutely sweet. I hadn’t even considered a kiss in the neitherworld, so that part didn’t surprise me, but that whole scene was adorable…okay, this is a ramble, but a good ramble

The Eternity Clock

I am not a frequent gamer; I've never owned a game system or bought any non-educational games. Even so, I was thrilled when "The Eternity Clock" finally came out for PC. After all, what Whovian wouldn't be thrilled at the prospect of running around as River and Eleven?
The mechanics are good, easy to understand even if you're using a keyboard for controls. The graphics are smooth and of good quality. There were one or two points where the character froze and refused to move, as well as a moment of green tinting while escaping Stormcage when the trap lights affected the whole screen. I also have to log off via task manager, but that might just be me. The audio can be controlled, setting it louder or quieter, with subtitles as an option as well.
In single-player format, one switches between playing as the Doctor and as River. At first, one plays as the Doctor trying to escape the London Bank, but it switches to River in Stormcage. After she joins him, she becomes a NPC and the user plays the Doctor. The main difference between the two is that the Doctor uses his sonic, while River takes a more aggressive approach with her lipstick and gun.
It's a really fun game to play. I enjoyed breaking out of Stormcage, even if the method of disabling guards (the hallucinogenic lipstick) resulted in such thoughts as "stop running around and let me kiss you!" I'm also a Doctor/River shipper, and enjoyed some feels from the scenes with them together. I could just imagine River making sarcastic comments when I made a mistake controlling the Doctor: "Sweetie, why are you impersonating a gibbon?" or "Stop running around and give me a boast. I hate you sometimes."
It's only $10, which seems a reasonable price to me. Here's the US link

Wizards vs Aliens: Friend or Foe

I think Wizards vs Aliens hit a new high with last week’s episode, “Friend or Foe.” When Lexi decides to adapt a human disguise, she has only a few causal encounters with Tom before they are both kidnapped by (human) billionaire Stephanie Gaunt. Gaunt plans to use magic—and alien technology, once Lexi’s disguise is removed—to steal the crown jewels. I had to chuckle at that—Moriarty planned the same in Sherlock’s “The Reichenbach Fall.”  Meanwhile, Benny suggests teaming up with the Necross to get Lexi and Tom back.
By introducing another antagonist, we got to see a new side to both the wizards and aliens. It added complexity to the plot as well, in contrast to the monster-attack format of the second story or dangers-of-magic in the third story. I haven’t watched “The Fall of the Necross” yet, but I have hopes the show is finding its feet.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Wizards vs Aliens: Rebel Magic

After last week’s rather cutesy monsters, I was really impressed with the concept of “Rebel Magic,” even if some people thought the concept came off simplistically. Tom, still struggling with a desire to considered cool, comes across another wizard whose powers exceed his own.  The temptation to use this “grim” magic to finish off the Necross is strong—with no aliens to worry about, Tom could go back to using his spells for homework and soccer. 
Ursula is developing as a strong character, with certain similarities to Sarah Jane’s role in the Sarah Jane Adventures. Tom’s dad isn’t as well-rounded yet, but he’s got a tricky position, as the only “Unenchanted” in the family. He’s taking the reasonable position that Tom needs to learn to do things without shortcuts, but that view is hard to support in a children’s show. 
In my last review, I commented that it would be interesting to see further developments of the magical system. Well, in this episode, we see mind control—one character blocks 12 hours of memories—and a magic-generated pound note that dissolves. Are most of the enchantments in this system short-term or long-term? I would love to see more of these challenges at some point.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

NaNoWriMo Update

50948! I won! I even managed to figure out how Sarah Jane Smith got her memories back, so that makes me very happy indeed!
And then I decided to go watch "Forest of the Dead," which made me the opposite of happy, but River/Doctor!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

NaNoWriMo Update

I don't have any really good passages from today's work, so I'll just leave you with a wordcount: 41802.


 "He showed you who you are, didn't he?" Imraldera said. "And he showed you who you could be."

One of my favorite new authors is Anne Elisabeth Stengl. Her Tales of Goldstone Wood combine the wonder of fairy tales with strong, intriguing characters. In Starflower, the fourth book in the series, readers step back in time, thousands of years before Una, Rose Red, and Lionheart were born, to learn the secrets of Earnin and Imraldera.

Previous hints have been dropped at a past between the two, and in Moonblood, Lionheart identifies her with Maid Starflower, a legendary heroine of Southlands and the mysterious "Silent Lady."  In Starflower, readers meet a much younger Earnin, still dashing, who is infatuated with King Iubdan's sister Gleamdren. When she is captured, Earnin sets off to rescue her, but his quest is interrupted by the discovery of a Mortal in the wood.

Eanrin grimaced at the sight and almost put her down again. After all, a princess with dreams like those probably had a tale of woe to match. She would certainly wake with expectations of a handsome hero to aid her. As far as Eanrin was concerned, a dash of heroism was one thing, but commitment to a cause? Never. Rushing off to the rescue of Lady Gleamdren was different, for he had determined that she must be his wife and the sole inspiration to his life’s work. Besides, he loved her.
This creature meant nothing to him.
But blood oozed from the abrasions on her wrists. And her body, mortal and vulnerable, lay in his arms. Eanrin rolled his eyes heavenward as though to seek some holy aid. Then he braced himself and wiped the mud off her lips with the edge of his cloak. She frowned in her sleep and stirred, but did not wake.
“Nothing for it,” he muttered. Closing his eyes and trying not to smell her any more than he must, he leaned in and kissed her . . .
Our favorite poet is not inclined to be a romantic hero--at least, not for anyone besides Lady Gleamdren. But his softer side gets the better of him, and he becomes entangled in Starflower's adventures. From pursuit by black Dogs to the mysterious Hound, they are pursued by strange, frightening forces.

I really enjoyed seeing how my favorite characters became who they are in the later books, from Earnin's hidden depths to Imreldera's origins. The writing was rich and captivating, easily pulling me into the world the author created. I also appreciated the spiritual elements, which added depth without becoming preachy or cliche.  In an epilogue, the author acknowledges the influence of the poem "The Hound of Heaven" on this book. I'd highly recommend that poem for a further insight into this work.

Five of Five

A Year with G. K. Chesterton

I doubt whether the best men ever would devote themselves to politics. The best men devote themselves to pigs and babies and things like that.
--G.K. Chesterton, A Miscellany of Men

I appreciate the works of G.K. Chesterton for his humor and wit. Even though his works are nearly a century old, they speak to the modern situation with vigor and joy. He inspired such authors as C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. Works such as Orthodoxy, Heretics and The Everlasting Man are apologetic classics that still speak truth to hearts and minds.

This book, by the author of The Quotable Chesterton and Defiant Joy, serves as a one-year introduction to the works of G.K. Chesterton  Each reading has a Bible verse and a passage from one of his books. Some of the days even include longer passages, labeled by origins.

My only problem with this book is that all the passages aren't labeled clearly. Sometimes I read a passage  and wanted more of it, but I didn't know where to look for it. But that's only a minor concern. The book is a wonderful introduction to Chesterton's works.

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

Wizards vs Aliens: Grazlax Attacks

I've been a bit behind on posting this review. I could blame in on NaNoWriMo, but I also didn't find this episode as good as the premiere. Tom tries to distract himself from the alien threat by hanging out at Benny's place. Benny's parents...well, they're the stereotypical green, cultured folks that embarrass their kids by just being alive. I hope they get some more character development.
The monsters are rather...cute. Fluffy blue things with very large teeth--the sort of thing you'd hug and walk away from sans arms. The solution to them was rather clever, almost sonic.
I was also amused by Tom's grandmother accidentally transforming Benny's house into a gingerbread mansion and bouncy house before efficiently cleaning all the alien gunk (yeah for alien gunk!) Maybe after NaNo, I'll analyze the magic system with some details.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

NaNoWriMo Update

40k +91.

And, a passage that I'm particularly proud of:

“She was alive,” Harding said quietly. “Can you imagine, what it’s like to have something you’re so familiar with stand in front of you, wearing flesh and skin? Can you imagine how much it hurt, seeing that flesh dissolve into cold oils and pigments?”
The Doctor stared at him.
“You might think I’m a silly old man, in love with a painting on a wall.”
“No,” he answered.
“You think I’m an idiotcrying over a mirage.”
“No,” he looked Harding in the eye. “I think you were very, very lucky.”

Thursday, November 8, 2012

NaNoWriMo Update

And I went to a write-in at the public library yesterday, so that was kind of cool.

Monday, November 5, 2012

NaNoWriMo Update5


The Hunted Hare by Fay Sampson

The Hunted Hare by Fay Simpson, the first in her Aidan mysteries series,  is a haunting blend of genres. The main characters, Aidan and Jenny, take their daughter Melangell to her namesake community, Pennant Melangell in Wales. But the trip has an additional significant--Jenny is dying of cancer and hopes to visit the healing services there.

Although this book is classified as a mystery, I came away from the reading with an overwhelming sense of place. Pennant Melangell is based on a real place, with a few fictional settings added. This technique adds details and emotional background rarely seen.

Without giving away the plot, I will say that the mystery was well-managed, rejecting easy solutions to the crime and maintaining suspense all the way through. The balance between exterior conflict and Jenny's internal struggle kept the plot from becoming sentimental or too action-focused.

I recieved this book through Kregel Blog Tour but was not required to write a positive review.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

NaNoWriMo Update

23,584 And I switched stories too. Now I'm working on an AU of  "The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith"

Friday, November 2, 2012

NaNoWriMo Update 2

11,745. Not bad. And I figured out why Joel ran away and had my first death--in the backstory, so I'm not sure how much it counted.

NaNoWriMo Updates: Two options

I will be posting word count updates on this blog, but will also be posting in-story updates at "Notes from Naveyl." Here's the first one.