February 20th, 2010

totally_sane, suzie


I must be feeling contrarian today, because people all over twitter are gushing about the new Doctor Who trailer, and I actually think it's kind of lame. Not lame in an "Oh-my-god-Moffatt's-ruining-my-show-I'm-never-watching-again" kind of way, just kind of silly. Though I will say, the more I see of Matt Smith in the role, the more I like him. So in that sense, the trailer did it's job.

In further contrariness, many of the rules in this Guardian list of rules for writing made me want to stab either myself or somebody else with a pen. Particularly Elmore Leonard's rules, which seem to be good rules if you want to write like Elmore Leonard. Which is fair enough, I suppose - when giving advice about writing, one can only really be authoritative on how to write like oneself. There are lots of nuggets of good advice scattered though this article, as well as part two, though a lot of it won't be new unless you're not in the habit of reading writing advice. I was particularly amused by Phillip Pullman's contribution:

My main rule is to say no to things like this, which tempt me away from my proper work.

There's always one, isn't there?
evil_laugh, minimaster

Audio Review: Doctor Who: A Thousand Tiny Wings

A Thousand Tiny Wings (Doctor Who) A Thousand Tiny Wings by Andy Lane

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Big Finish's recent 7th Doctor stories are starting to challenge the conventional wisdom that Colin Baker gets all the best audio scripts.

A Thousand Tiny Wings is set in Kenya, during the Mau Mau rebellion. A small group of women have barricaded themselves in a remote farmhouse to escape the rebels. One of these women is Doctor Elizabeth Klein, whom we last met in the audio Colditz: the Nazi scientist from a timeline in which Germany won the Second World War, now marooned in our timeline and determined to put history back on the "right" course.

The women discover an injured alien in the forest outside the house, and then the Doctor turns up, and it quickly becomes apparent that they have more than the Mau Mau to worry about. While the plot is basically a "base-under-siege" story, it's enlivened by the unusual setting and the lively personalities of the characters. Lane doesn't flinch from portraying the unpleasant attitudes of either Klein or the British colonists, but he doesn't present them as caricatures, and manages the trick of making them at least somewhat sympathetic. The grudging respect that develops between Klein and the Doctor is particularly well-handled. When I first heard that Klein would be joining the Doctor for three consecutive stories, I was hard-pressed to imagine the circumstances that would lead the Doctor to take on a Nazi as a companion. This story manages to make it believable.

There are some flaws: I struggled a bit to keep all the characters straight in the first few minutes of the play. It still seems a bit coincidental that the Doctor and Klein both ended up in that particular time and place together. And without getting too spoileriffic, I'm not sure that Joshua's actions really make sense in retrospect - he seems to have employed a degree of subterfuge that was wholly unnecessary. But on the whole, this was a great start to what promises to be a very enjoyable mini-season.

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