Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Day and a Life

A Day and a Life by Penelope Wilcock is the ninth and final volume of her Hawk and Dover books. The series has followed the daily life and  is set in a 14th-century Yorkshire abbey, from events significant (the arrival of a new abbot) and mundane (the cook really isn't very good). After coming to know and love so many characters,  I picked up this book with a mixture of eagerness and regret. I was excited to read more, but this was it. There wouldn't be any more stories.
Unlike the short-story format of the first two books, or the slow development in Remember Me, A Day and a Life covers a single day at St. Alcuin's. Featuring most of the characters we've come to know and love--and introducing some new ones as well-- the book is a wonderful example of character-driven storytelling.
As with all the books in this series, I would recommend it for many readers, not just historical fiction fans. It's not a high-stakes, adrenaline-filled story, but the characters are well-written, and the stories wrestle honestly with the messiness of faith in everyday life.
I received a free copy of this book from Kregel in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Found families should stay found

Agents of Shield 4x03: Uprising

Honestly, that was just mean. (Okay, I am clearly incapable of rational plot analysis, preferring to bemoan the terrible fate of my fictional friends.) Like, once again, Jemma is not a medical doctor and should not be the one doing all the emergency medical treatment, especially now that they have access to legitimate trauma centers. I get the personal touch thing, but I don't think it's fair to her to make her go through all this. Especially with what they had to do--and like, that seriously could have gone wrong, and the guilt she would have had...

And Yoyo--so her life continues to get worse, poor thing.

And Skye--(Because she's not Daisy, sorry, ignoring that)--getting told to leave again, someone 'confirming' her worst fears about herself, oh honey baby,  Lincoln wasn't your fault, it was his choice, and you are a heroine, you are trying to do the right thing, and you're literally breaking down under the pressure...go back home. May misses you, Coulson misses you, and Fitz has it exactly right--they're all willing to help you get through this, you don't have to go it alone, hurting hero, heroic self depreciation, martyr without a cause, ---go home, you don't need to be a lone wolf. No one's a pollyanna, everyone knows what people can do, but they still have hope, they can still smile....

At this point, I think the only reason Skye would go back to SHIELD is if someone needed her. No, she wouldn't admit to needing help at any cost, but if Phil was captured (if she'd known May was dying), if there was some way to help the team that only she could do, she'd do it.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Thursday fiction update

TV shows by airdate:
Monday: </Scorpion>  season premiere on NBC. It's not really one of my favorites, but it's okay and my mom likes it. Honestly, I just keep thinking of Gabe as Not-Coulson, because that's basically his job with the team. It was an okay episode, nothing special.

Also Timeless on NBC, which is a new time-travel crime show.  I wasn't terribly impressed with the pilot episode. The main characters have nothing to distinguish them; it's female-historian, black Marine, and white dude who invented the machine. Okay, they did lay out why that team was chosen, but the lady seems way too comfortable with letting people die because it's in the past.
Now, that's not to say I don't understand the whole fixed-points argument, or that I don't like time travel shows (dude, I'm a Whovian), but since it's a blank-slate start (as opposed to Legends of Tomorrow or Doctor Who), there's no immediate hook. (Subnote, yes, I started watching LoT because of Arthur Darvill, but the team was witty and he had to stop something that had already happened for him).
The bigger problem is that time travel (into the past, at least, there's more leeway with the future) that risks changing things (and if time can't be changed at all, there's a different story) should eventually result in an alternate history, but most tv shows/film can't afford the time and setting development that would reflect the butterfly effect. So, yeah, a character was retgone at the end of the episode, but the world went as it had.

Tuesday: No Agents of Shield (Aggh) because of the VP debate. Quite disappointing. Still sulking over the new director. Sure, people can be blinded because of personal feelings, but those same feelings can also be used to help the team function better.  The whole idea that Coulson is too close to May and Skye to help them is bull. It's the exact opposite. Coulson has worked with May, he knows how she reacts, and he is the closest to family Skye's got.  As he told Sif in s2, taking her away from people who care about her doesn't help the situation.

The Flash season 3 premiere: Okay, so I have not seen s2 yet (waiting on the dvd at the library), but all I really needed to know was that Barry changed time so that neither of his parents died. It was disappointing that it got reversed at the end of the episode, but....okay, still mulling this one over.

Film/Audio/TV on dvd
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy tv series (from the 80s). Apart from the weirdness of watching a show that was adapted from a radio series with mostly the same cast (like bad dubbing, but in reverse), it was pretty funny, and the production values just made it funnier. But the 'meet the meat' scene was creepy as all get out. They didn't even attempt to make it look like a cow--just an actor in a costume that looks like slices of clay or fat.  Quite obviously a human in a costume, which is worse in some ways. And then it turned out to be Peter Davison, the Fifth Doctor. Eep!

Protect and Survive: A Big Finish Doctor Who audio featuring Hex, Ace, and Seven. Hex and Ace stumble out of the TARDIS into rural 1980s England just as nuclear war breaks out. Fortunately, an elderly couple allows the two travelers to hide in their fallout shelter. But this never happened...right? I've heard this one before, but it's still quite tense, especially when you can't just skip to the next installment.