Wednesday, April 29, 2009

lost: the variable s05e14

Faraday Flashback for the 100th Episode! We learn that his mom's a bitch-- in many directions and at many different times in his life and her's. This one is all over the timeline, so bear with me.

Baby!Daniel is a piano virtuoso, as well as adorable, but mother says he needs to focus on science because his brain is too good to waste on piano. It's a distraction. Completely ignoring that piano is good for the brain that deals with math, and that it's what he wants to do.

Now!Daniel is leading the Losties around blabbing stuff all over-- that Miles is Chang's son, that they need to talk to the Hostiles, that his mom is one of them, that there's a bomb that can kill the EMP that the Hatch was built to keep track of, that Charlotte needs to never come back, that Chang has to evacuate everyone... It's refreshing. He thinks everything can be changed, whereas everyone else is always 'what's done is done' and that has been frustrating me, because, as I said in my last post, innevitability is boring, and even with all this cool shit going down and things starting to finally make sense, all of it is pre-ordained. They just didn't know the story yet. I really wanted Ben to die as a kid, and I really want them to be able to change things anyway. Jack's all onboard, being all Jack about it, but I'm kind of with Sawyer on this one: let it be. They all had craptacular lives before the crash, and they can just start over somewhere else on the island. What's another weird faction? And there's still, like, an entire coastline where we've never been.

Back to the story.

We see Daniel's life: his mom's a bitch at him when he graduates Oxford with bad Oxford hair and the youngest phD the place has ever given; he's all broken post-accident that turned his girlfriend into a vegetable who can't keep track of her own timeframe, and it's damaged his memory, made him simple and incapable of the math that got him that far in his life, made him emotionally fragile, and left him weepy and terrible in a delicate way that makes me want to hug him, rather than making me want to kick him, as when similar things happen to John or Jack; Widmore tells him he needs him to go to the island; his mom looks in on Penny and Desmond and we learn who Daniel's dad is (E totally called it), and that dear old mother might be yet another opposing faction; we see the context of Daniel down in the place where the Frozen Donkey Wheel is, but he doesn't do anything, and that disappointed me a little, because it seemed like he was working there before, and that would have been sweet; Widmore wants him to go to the island to further his research, but the plane crash footage is upsetting him and he says no-- until his mom is a manipulative bitch and tells him to go.

So he goes, and he runs around on his own mission, as he always has, and gets himself in trouble. He talks jack and Kate into getting him to the Hostiles to talk to his mom, gets Richard instead, and gets shot. And I almost burst into tears, because he was one of my favorites, and one of the few that I still cared about by this point. That just leaves Miles. 

I wonder if we'll get Mr Hawking's backstory, and why she's so awful? The story shows that she needed certain things to happen, but not why she was so terrible about it along the way. And she finally doesn't know what's going to happen, so maybe she'll be less awful now? 

And there's six hours until the Incident that Daniel was trying to stop / would have wound up the maker of, and three episodes left, and there's not been any Locke for a while, and there's only one season left after this. So! Onward!

books: imago, octavia e butler

This book is... not one of my favorites. It has all the things that should make it right up my alley, but it somehow didn't come across as the sort of thing I like-- and yet I couldn't put the thing down. Even with it's ugly cover and my copy's massive copy errors that kept kicking me out of reader mode and into editor mode. It was a short book. It shouldn't have had so many errors, mispelled words, repeated words, missing words. And it wasn't an advance reading copy, either.

Anyway, enough of that particular hobbyhorse.

Imago is the story of Johdas, half-human and half-alien, going through metamorphosis and becomign what he'd/ she'd/ it'd become as an adult. There's five parents, two human and three alien, various siblings, various normal and mutated humans. There's a post-apocalyptic vibe going on-- there was a terribly destructive war a generation or wo before-- mixed in with a preapocalyptic one-- the aliens will eventually leave the earth a broken and used-up husk. Johdas comes out of metamorphosis as an ooloi, the third gender that helps the aliens breed with the new species they encounter, as well as letting them correct genetic abnormalities, collect DNA of anything that has it, and being the lynchpins of their society. It wasn't supposed to happen in human-pairings; they were designed to be male or female, and a human-ooloi is not just unexpected and unpredictable, but also dangerous, they claim, because it could damage DNA without knowing it.

Sounds good, right?

But Johdas doesn't really damage much, and what it damages, it fixes. And never damages humans or plants or microbes, only alien-things like them, their ship and their town-beings. And he gets that under control with little enough trouble. His sibling has a rougher time, but he fixes that, too, with almost no trial and error-- which would have made the book more interesting a read. He goes looking for human mates, and that, even, is sort of uninteresting; there's lots of weird alien sex, but all of it so oblique as to be ignorable, and the people are put in a position of physical dependance on the alien presence of him: they're addicted to him and have no choice. And he knows it. And he doesn't tell them. 

Maybe that's my biggest problem: Johdas is kind of a jerk, his people are all jerkish, and the narrative is told from this jerkish point of view, where humans are constantly being called treasure and wonderful and interesting, and then being kept as breeding stock, too addicted to thin straight, even when they think they should be. There's so little choice in the whole story. It's innevitable, and innevitability is dull, even when the actual events-- preparations for leaving a dead world, unheaval in the alien societies, human resistance and how it's overcome-- are really pretty interesting ideas. It was constantly bothering me on fundamental reading and writing and plooting levels, and yet I kept reading it. I didn't even like it, and yet I kept reading it. It's like it was making me, like the book itself was that alien jerk, addicting me. And I have a problem with that-- if she could accomplish that on a dumb story, think what she could accomplish on a good one. 

People keep telling me to read Butler's books, and I'm not all that impressed with this one, but it had good ideas. Hopefully it's just an early one and good ideas don't always come out this annoying.

books: turn coat - book eleven of the dresden files

Book eleven! Though they've totally stopped numbering them, so I guess it's indefinite. Which I'm totally alright with. Because it's really becoming an addiction now-- I've caught up with him, and now I have to wait, and I think the only thing that will keep me from going bonkers is a combination of the fact that he writes a new one every year, and the fact that I can write my own stories to fill in the gap.


Harry's having terrible headaches that are never really incorperated into the story when there's a knock at the door and a bloody and beaten Morgan says he needs help. Harry, being Harry, doesn't tell him to bugger off, and instead decides that he'll fight for the underdog, even if the underdog is a right bastard and doesn't deserve it. It seems Morgan's been accused of a Senior Council murder (one of the ones we never had to deal with), and Harry doesn't think it's him, despite all the mountains of evidence against him. Let the craziness ensue while Harry shelters a criminal, Molly keeps getting herself almost killed, Mouse proves he's the coolest dog in the world, Murphy kicks ass and does it well, a skinwalker almost walks off with everyone's skin on multiple occasions, a minor criminal wizard named Binder turns out to be pretty fun, a new PI horns in on Harry's turf, Thomas gest kidnapped, Madeline is a vampiric skank, Lara is a vampiric mob boss, Harry has relationship issues with Anastasia, Morgan bleeds on everything and keeps picking fights, and the Black Council makes moves. Lots of moves.

I totally called the villain before the half-way point, but Butcher's good enough that I thought I'd miscalled and was surprised anyway.

New developments, characterwise: Harry seems to be feeling his age a little-- he keeps talking about how long he's been doing this, and he's finally starting to think ahead and think in new directions. He's also still crazy old Harry, forming psychic bonds with myterious old islands, throwing around Soul Fire and making bold challenges to everyone he meets. Which is how we love him. 

He hand Murph both said the L-word (not 'lesbian') and it almost made me cry-- both because it was sad and heart-wrenching and uncertain, and because it was totally not the sort of culmination of passion that I want. But it's still there, on his side at least. C'mon, Butch! Stop being all Mulder-and-Scully on me! It's been ten years!

Molly is nursing some serious demons, and she keeps slipping up. Sooner or later, this is going to be a plot, and it's so not going to be pretty.

The Senior Council is half made of jerks. But we knew this already. All of them, however, finally get a little character development, as well as Morgan and Luccio, and this is all good. But Morgan? Remember when we got backstory on Snape? That's all I'm saying.

The Pixies are getting bolder and more devoted to Harry and so much more organized that people are noticing. And Toot-toot is still the coolest.

I'm going to have nightmares about skinwalkers for the rest of my life now.

Thomas-- no! But I suppose the way things were just couldn't last, story-wise. It's been done, and it'd eventually get boring, though I hadn't reached that point yet. (note: one of the things I like best about these stories is how I can tell he's always got a mind toward what will make a better story. Poor Harry's been beaten repeatedly by everything under the sun, including his personal life, and there's still new stories to tell. And he's always unexpected. I've read eleven of theses books now, and I'm still greatly enjoying them and waiting with rapt attention for the new ones. Maybe I'll have to actually buy all the previous ones (I've been borrowing them) and re-read my favorites periodically)

And the plot thickens without once causing everything to get too dense. The Council denies there's a Black Council. Harry and McCoy decide to do something about it. Politics are all up in arms all over the world. Everyone's a threat! Nothing is sacred! And it's still an endge-of-your-seat compulsive read. I'm getting good at devouring these things in three days flat.

Monday, April 27, 2009

classic who: planet of evil

It seems the Evil is not really all that Evil. This is another mining episode-- 30,000 years in the future, the Sun is running out of power and on a world at the very edge of explored space, several galaxies away from Earth, they find these colorchanging crystals that happen to be the vagues antimatter ever, and six pounds of it will power the sun for centuries, making the planet basically inexhaustable.

The Tardis goes off course a little, and materializes here, and of course, the locals think they're spies, that they're responsible for the deaths of everyone (one at a time, because there's only the one dessicated corpse in the prop vault), and that they're trying to ruin everything. Much talking ensues, and I kept losing interest-- this is one of the episodes that has long recaps and alot of escaping and recapturing, which we haven't had to deal with in a while. 

Sarah Jane is particularly feisty and doesn't have to twist her ankle at all, but also doesn't get to do anything much but stand around with people in silly uniforms holding onto her arms. The Doctor is extra weird, but what's really strange is how... intense and non-silly he is. Like a flash forward to Six or something. The Captain is a jerk whose name sounds like Saladbar, the second in command keeps going along with him entirely and then disagreeing at the last second, and really there isn't much for anyone to do but yell and not agree with eachother. Oh, and there's a monster made of antienergy that's the actual killer-- and doesn't get enough of the story to matter. It is, however, a great use of the weird way blue screen makes things semi-see-through. And there's the scientist who was the last survivor of the survey team, the one who came up with the plan to steal the antimatter, who keeps drinking it and turns into a werewolf.

So, yeah, not that great.

In the end, the Doctor figures out that all the antimatter has to go back to the planet (that looks like a meatball) or it'll never let them leave, and he runs around risking his life to do that. He frees the scientist and makes him think he came up with a better plan while he's confused enough to be open to it, and they all live happily ever after. Or something.

books: small favor - dresden files book 10

Yay more Harry Dresden! This one is centered around a favor Mab is asking of Harry, one of the ones he owes her: save Marcone-the-mobster from the people who kidnapped him. Turns out those people are the Dinarians, the fallen-angel-demons from a few books ago. And then the story is all about them, with not much to do with Mab, which made me a little sad because she's so weird and messed up, but I see why she isn't there tangling up the already-tangled plot. Because in true Dresden fashion, there's not just fallen-angel-demons on his tail, but there's ever-larger and more powerful champions of Summer out to get him, too, because they think that he's tipping the balance too far by helping Winter in this matter. And there's the return of the Archive / Ivy, who I love and was glad to see, even though Butcher seems a little vague about how big an eleven year old should be (which can be overlooked, as she's not really a normal eleven year old, anyway). And there's a new mobster who's trying to snap up some of Marcone's territory while he's out of the picture, who mostly just messes things up and gets inconvenient. And there's a Mab-induced blizzard going all through the book. And there's the Carpenter family and the return of Sanya. And there's Murphy trying her damndest to get right in the middle of things, which, for once, Harry allows because by now, he should know that she isn't going to listen to him if he tries to protect her.

Here's the deal: The Nickelheads want Marcone to be turned, and will get all his power and influence for themselves. They also want to get Harry to call in the Archive so they can kidnap her and turn her-- getting all the knowledge in the world and unleashing the End Times that they so enjoy. Mab wants Harry to get Marcone back, and never really says why, escept that she's repaying debts. Summer wants Harry dead because he's working with Winter. The Nickelheads didn't know that one of their own was in on the raid on Arctis Tor that Harry came in after. The holy sword Harry's guarding becomes a major player, both as a bargaining piece and as something that's looking for a new weilder. Michael's life changes. Molly gets to be helpful a little, but comes to grips with the fact that she's no good in combat. We get to learn something about Ivy's history and maybe something interesting in how Kinkaid fits into it, though I'm hoping it's a red herring for my own personal amusement. Marcone isn't as much a jerk as usual. His guards might be in love, and Gard is seriously a bad-ass-chick-- she remebowels herself when she's disemboweled by a demon. Seriously. And Harry gets the attention of the other side, and a gift from an Angel. And there's the beginings of a new love life for Harry, though it annoys me that it still isn't Murphy-- I mean really, they both admit that they like eachother, and they're sort of in the same mindset now, but they still aren't together? What gives? Maybe jealousy will get through to her?


Overall, another enjoyable read, as always, and I devoured it in about four days. As per usual. I don't think it was as tight as some of the previous ones, but the looseness works for it, too, and there were some twists that I didn't even see coming, which is amazing. Usually I can spot a plot twist a mile away. There's alot of new plot going on: the good angels have joined the fray a little, Harry's got new powers, Michael's changed, there's romance, Harry and the Biggest Gruff reach an understanding, there's more to Ivy and Kinkaid than we knew before and more to come, I hope, the Dinarians aren't obliterated, one of them has gone rogue, maybe more, and Winter is on a sort of slow rampage, Harry is good at leading the lesser magics and being a Warden, and we didn't have to deal with Morgan at all. Never a boring day here, is it?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

fringe: inner child s01e15


A couple of construction workers find a hidden tunnel under a building they’re set to demolish—tunnels that aren’t on the blueprints—and inside, they find a kid who’s never seen sunlight. Liv and the team are called in because that’s weird. Meanwhile, and old case from before Liv was on the X-Files surfaces: a guy who sedates, kidnaps and kills women so that he can ‘improve’ them and turn them into public art.

The kid turns out to be an empath and he gets linked to Liv, so when she really needs to know something about the case, he’s the one who gives her the plot points. Normally, that sort of thing is annoying, but in a show about weird stuff, it works, and in this episode, it’s actually pretty touching.

I missed Fringe. It’s not a crazy obsession like other shows, and I sort of don’t think much about it when it isn’t on, but now that it’s back, it was a relief to have new developments and it was a solid example to come back on: Walter’s weirdness had a purpose, Peter wasn’t just a snarkfest, Liv was devoted to her job without coming across as a bitch. And Broyles was as helpful as he was opaque. And there’s new developments: the kid looks an awful lot like the Observer that was… well, observing him, and the ‘social worker’ assigned to him is actually a CIA agent that feels like he’ll be back—and he has an interesting way of working with Liv, which might be interesting later. Especially if they stay at cross purposes. Also, he said ‘we’ve got another one’ to whoever was on his phone, which implies that there’s more than just this one kid, and maybe that someone is making them on purpose.

So yay!

Monday, April 13, 2009

nu who: planet of the dead


Yay! My Who fix that I know will last all of about six and a half minutes before I start feining like woah. I mean, they throw me this delicious little bone, and then I have to wait until November, knowing that the last story is a two parter that will have a month—A MONTH—between parts.

But I digress.

Planet of the Dead starts out with a robbery and a Torchwood-ish escape-and-chase. Lady Christina-who-is-not-the-Bionic-Woman-and-is-cooler-anyway hops on a giant red bus to escape the cops, and our lovely Doctor waltzes in and introduces himself and his new hobby: following tears in reality. (I hope this hobby sticks around. Really, it’s so random and will be so useful for future stories if the right writer gets his /her/ it’s grubby hands on it) This one goes wonky and the bus falls through into Dubai where once a thriving society lived.

The Doctor is great in this one, sparkling and sparky and chattery and fun as all hell—and a little more honest then he’s been lately: he says at one point ‘the worse it is, the more I love it’, which just about sums up the entirety of the Doctor’s best traits, and in the end, he tells Christina to bugger off because he isn’t having any more companions. He’s finally gotten tired of losing them. (This is brilliant. Think how weird he’s going to be without anyone to reign him in! Think how dark and closed off he’ll be when he meets his first real companion as 11!) He’s gripy when no one’s paying attention to him, he’s genius when he needs to be, he’s absolutely batty, he talks to aliens in their own language, and he doesn’t quite tell people what he’s doing, and he has the most gloriously insane expressions through the whole thing, and it’s just wonderful. I’ve missed my Doctor so much, and I’m so glad this fresh story has the Doctor exactly how I love him. The Next Doctor was fun, but it was melancholy also; this one holds off the darkening until the end when the psychic sets up the plot for the rest of my love’s run: The darkness is returning, his song is ending like the Ood said, and when it comes, whatever it is, it’ll knock four times. Ominous!

And Christina is fun. I wasn’t all that thrilled with Bionic Woman, so I was a bit ick about her casting, but she’s fine. Strong, mysterious, cheeky, clever enough to keep up with the Doctor, confident and self-sufficient. She’s the sort of companion the Doctor needs—one who can keep up and have as much fun as he does as the world falls down around him. And he tells her no. Beautiful. Maybe he’s finally getting over his codependency issues, even if he is replacing them with a fear of intimacy. Ha! Our Doctor’s just a different sort of basketcase now.

I’d heard that the story was silly, but it wasn’t as bad as I’d expected. Maybe my standards just aren’t as nonsilly as others, but I found it pretty tight and well-put-together, even if they didn’t really deal with the fact that an entire planet was dusted. Or that the neat creepy bug-aliens (at least one of which had definite weevil body language and is probably the same actor) we very conveniently gobbled and gone. Or that UNIT was sort of a sideline that didn’t really need to be there and could as easily have been Torchwood or the usual cops, who must be getting used to this crazy by now. But I was glad to see them, and the nuBrig (who’s a captain) was appropriately badass, and Malcom is just lovely and so Welsh I could die.

Dear Moff: here’s a spinoff about a royal jewel thief in a flying bus for you. Also, here’s a lovely mad scientist who loves the Doctor like the very best fan; keep him around.

So! Next time, we’ve got a space station, which I always do love and get so little of in nu Who. And there’s people screaming and running down corridors, good good. As to be expected. And there’s water. On Mars. That seems to take over / come out of people. And it may or may not be an anagram for War of the Master, which would just make my year.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


There’s also the nu who redux: voyage of the damned coming up, and we’re due to go back to weekly classic who as well as reduxing series 4. And I’ve got a Conference report, a paper snippet, a game review for Shock!, Fringe is coming back, and if I decide to do fan-tangents (so that I can keep the number of blog-proliferations to a decent amount—there are already twelve that I write), I’ve got Castle, the Unusuals, and I suppose I can throw in The Mentalist (because of Robin Tunney –> The Craft) and Bones (because of David Boreanaz –> Buffy / Angel, and if you really needed that why are you reading a geekblog like this?). I sort of fear it might water down the scifiness, but I’ve already started on Raines, and really, fans watch tangentially-related shows too, right?

Plus, you know, it’s my blog. I do what I want. Midseason replacement shows and all the reduxes over the summer will save it. It’ll probably still be mostly Doctor Who anyway!

testing testing

This is me, making an exploratory post off Windows Live Writer to see if the little widget works as well as they say. If it does, hopefully posting will be easier and therefore more consistent.

PS: I’ve got reviews for Coraline and a Lost update waiting to get typed up, and very soon there will be a Doctor Who Special that will require attention. Bear with me?