Saturday, 30 June 2007

That Cube Movie

No, not those ones, I'm talking about the one produced by Jim Henson. What? You don't know it? Then take a gander... (It's more surreal than an episode of The Prisoner!)

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Friday, 29 June 2007

Temple of Death, Part Ten

Meet the Gang
After a hurried discussion about running away, the party enter carefully, Morf and Argorn with weapons casually held down... until the magic users and the Bard were in position. Some spells and a horn of blasting later and the mass hordes were quickly mass hors d'oeuvers, except for the Hill Giant. Which lasted a few rounds, but was also pounded (it being the lesser of the Giant races).

Continuing on, the party was about to start a 1/2 mile stretch when the thieves attack, one taking Marialena hostage! However, Kogaun's Wand of Paralysis finally worked (for the First Time Evah!!!), and they were thieves no more (just a thief: one ran away, the other run through).

Master of Mine
The big confrontation finally occurred! The heroes vs. the Master! And his Vampr! (Which everyone was surprised about, despite us keeping on mentioning it whenever we looked at the map.) The Vampire caused a lot of problems...ha! Cleric, Vampire. Vampire... run away!

With the big battle set, it all came down to one thing: who would get initiative? If the party, then Thaddeus could activate his pendant's one last charge and the party might not get slaughtered. If the Master... well, then the slaughtering would begin. After some minor contretemps over making sure the rolls were genuine, the victor was... the party! Woo, death to the Master! Or, at least, the Master's current body! (Yep, that ole magic jar getaway again.)

Faced with the prospect of possibly going through the entire castle to find the Master's new body, or just getting the heck out of Dodge, the heroes vote for running away, delivering the plans and Marialena to safety, and otherwise scoring major points for surviving. The Master could be dealt with later... dum dum daaaaah!

[This concludes The Temple of Death. We hope your stay was worthwhile. Please return all seats to an upright position. Copyright void where prohibited. These heroes to continue again some day if not cancelled by Fox. You have been warned.]

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Thursday, 28 June 2007

Temple of Death, Part Nine

Cell, a Bit
With eight guys making their sneak rolls (yeah right, fortunately the castle was not heavily populated), they crept around, through a large room without touching anything despite the tempting items on an altar and two Displacer Beast guards ready to react, and onto the first set of cells. Hey, look, there's someone in them! Two problems, not Elven, not female. The heroes free him anyway, and thus they are joined by Narellus, 7th level fighter.

The next room along was just too tempting to ignore, what with the large coffin and all. The party entered, are attacked by another Confusion spell, and some weird guy, but nothing stops Habenath from ripping the head off the old guy in the coffin (the man has priorities!). The weird guy fights on, starting as a mouse... then a man.... then a mouse... then a man.... then a dead!, and his soul is unable to transfer back to his original body (dead old guy) and so is sent back to the magic jar it originally came from. Despite a quick search, no magic jar was found, so the party proceeded.

Cell, a Lot
The next stop was a huge mass of cells, right under the castle. Unfortunately, the way was barred by a Diviner guard and two bugbears, and his cunning ability to switch the lights out. Fortunately, the party (but mainly Habenath and his dark-defeating infravision) had a Wand of Cold. Funny how these things balance out.

Inside the cells were two thieves that Narellus had encountered before, and one Elven princess by the name of Marialena. (Woo! Tick number two!) The party bravely prods the two thieves to run down into the dungeon area before them, then proceed at a more leisurely distance. (The logic being that the thieves would be killed first... or that they'd tip off the next section, whatever works.)

Next up, as it happened, was a torture chamber, with two guys (a guard and an Inquisitor) standing around, chewing the fat. While the Inquisitor became permanently less inquisitive, the guard held up the party surprisingly well (although it didn't help that Morf couldn't hit for squat, and got hit for more than squat). Employing a cunning 'slowly fallback move' (so cunning was it, that the party didn't even know he was doing it), the guard pulled back to a large cave. A large cave with twelve goblins, eight orcs, five bugbears and a Hill Giant! (Oh, my!)

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Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Temple of Death, Part Eight

O Master, My Master
The Master rises to the occasion and levitates into the empty room. The tigers are less magical, and just jump up there. The Master offers Argorn a tempting counter offer of employment in his service (with dental plan, one hopes), but before Argorn signs anything, Thaddeus speaks up. More importantly, he speaks the name of Rahasia (where the Elven Princess babes are from), and activates his Rahasia pendant, cancelling all evil majick, and rendering the Master more impotent than a bottle of anti-viagra.

The tigers set upon Thaddeus while Argorn tackles the Master. The battle is joined, with the Bard and Lotus leaping down into the fray, while the rest stay on the top and perform ranged attacks. After some severe kicking, the Master makes for the sky and quickly leaves (boots of levitation, natch!). This still leaves the tigers, but eight party members versus two tigers don't make for long odds.

Castle Crawl
In the Master's bedroom, the heroes find two very important bundles of paper. One, a set of complete maps for the castle, complete with numbering (as if it had been photocopied from a module book, for example) and handy GM pencil notes (don't notice the Vampr!). Two, a full set of battle plans which will enable the forces of good to overcome all odds... or at least know how they are going to get stomped. We presume the former, but you never know... (Still, one of the main goals of the game, tick!)

With the maps in hand, the party descend, and encounter the castle's major domo and his hawk (everyone should have a hawk). (Insert your own jokes about "clerical duties", an "office wizard" and "spell checking" here. We certainly did!) The hawk Hulks out as the cleric casts Grow Animal on it, tearing open its hood and smashing its stand. (Try not to imagine this. One player did and we nearly had death number two...)

Obviously the heroes won (they wouldn't be heroes otherwise), and decided to make for the obvious cells marked on the map, because they were supposed to free Marialena (remember her?) and time was marching on and people wanted to GET ON WITH IT!

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Tuesday, 26 June 2007

DW: Episode 3.12

Who is John Simm playing? Will that character please sign in?

Let's start off with the coolest thing about this episode: the drumming. The beat that everyone taps out as they play to the Master's tune. Way neat. Although I might be able to buy how it convinces everyone to vote for Saxon, how exactly does it hide the Master from the Doctor??

But, and this is the point, is this really the Master? The Master is after power, pure and simple. There is nothing about this 18 month plan that is either pure or simple. If this had been the Master (and, frankly, the Delgado Master moreover), he would have been able to bypass the Doctor's lock out and go roaming in time and space anyway. I don't know how long it takes for the "Paradox Machine" to work, but, again, if the Master was going to take over the world with the drone things, why did he need to be Prime Minister? Just something to pass the time? Hardly.

We do find out that the Time Lords resurrected him. Fine, that gets around a lot of problems, but they didn't create a brilliant mastermind, but really the evil twin of the Doctor. An incompetent evil twin at that. (At least RTD didn't give in and have the Master and Doctor as brothers.) I'm sure the Confidential episode (which I watch after writing these) will proclaim that this is the Master, but I'm not buying it.

As this is the episode before the last, it has the duty of ramping up the pace for the finale. Yep, but it surely takes it time doing so, and likes to undercut itself to. The Doctor isn't there?... oh wait, there he is. Will Marsha be fooled by her family?... oh, not really. Will they be captured walking around?... oh, never mind. And then they just stand around while the Master gets his way. Yeah, big heroes there.

I can see now why Bad Wolf had all that bit in the game shows and why Army of Ghosts spent so long getting to the "ghosts" breaking through. It's because RTD can't write a build-up. Skip on to next week...

Next Week: It's a big battle with the fate of everything at stake.... again!

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Monday, 25 June 2007

Temple of Death, Part Seven

The Skeleton Crew
The party recombines once again, mourns the loss of Excrutia for less time that it takes to read this sentence, then heads on! For a while, Habenath (aka Mr. Pointy Ears) has been hearing a horn a callin' and now it becomes obvious as everyone else hears it. The party decide to stop and wait, and all too soon a pack of spectral hounds come bounding down towards the group. The tension is high, and missile weapons are readied, but a handy Habenath fireball means that the fight doesn't go to the dogs.

However, there isn't progress made before there is a ship in the skies. A sailing ship of the aquatic kind. In the sky. (Fortunately this is D&D and no sanity checks are necessary.) An inviting rope ladder is lowered, and half of the party board to find the ship crewed by skeletons! Fortunately, Alrick learnt 'Speak with Dead' and so the party finds out that the Master graciously sent this ship to help sped the heroes to their final encounter. After the requisite bone and ship jokes, the party boards and they are on their way.

Tower of Troubles
The Master has some lovely lake front property, with a castle and surrounds facing out onto Lake Tross. The party see all this as they arrive to the top of the castle tower via the skeleton ship. Despite much talk about disabling the skeletons and crashing the ship into the castle, nothing eventuates from the all-talk, no-action wusses.

The top of the tower affords a lovely view of everything around them, such as the very long drop over the side, and the lack of any way off the tower top. Fortunately, Thaddeus finds a trap door, and he and Argorn descend into... an empty room! Score! They find another trap door, and open it to reveal a) a tiger, b) the Master, and c) another tiger, all in the Master's bedroom (Siegfried and Roy, eat yer heart out!).

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Sunday, 24 June 2007

Temple of Death, Part Six

Forrest and Relaxation
After hightailing it out of Magden, the party run their horses through the night before finally slowing due to horse-related problems. Deciding to travel by night, they head on their way, leaving behind the blacksmith in a convenient ditch without shoes, but with the full knowledge of where they are going. (Very useful, on both accounts, I'm sure.) And, unfortunately, during the kerfuffle, Emergency Rations (the dog) got away. Shame.

The party travels for a few days, before discovering they had the ability to warp time and space and arrive at the forest, a week's travel away. Forgoing the obvious benefits this ability would bestow on a potential courier service, they decide to enter the large, black, dark, foreboding evil-looking forest. 'Cos that's what they do, you know.

Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Character
Picking their way carefully through the forest, the group eventually comes to a clearing, at the centre of which is a large black obelisk. Excrutia, being at the front, makes her saving throw, but fails due to "unknown modifiers", and thus becomes spooked. Or rather, really spooky. All she wants is to run away, although various other party members are intrigued.

Giving into the warrior woman, they depart some distance, and set up a camp for resting. The group splits as Lotus, the Bard, Argorn and Thads decide to go "rabbit hunting", in the direction of the obelisk. This leaves Morf, Habenath, Alrick and Kogaun to suddenly fend off Excrutia's magic attacks! In the Confusion (yep, the spell), Excrutia takes to the skies and isn't seen again. (In fact, technically, she wasn't seen since the failed saving throw, as whoever escaped from the magic jar into her body definitely wasn't Excrutia.) [Score one party member death to the GM!]

Back at the obelisk, Argorn gets touchy feely with the obelisk, causing it to admit a stream of light into the sky, with the completely incidental effect of alerting all and sundry to where the heroes are. (Oops!) Deciding that discretion is the better part of valour, and that disintegration is the better part of discretion, the Bard blows a blast with his horn, and shattered the obelisk, disabling the lights, and providing nifty black stone souvenirs!

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Saturday, 23 June 2007

Temple of Death, Part Zero Redux

Last Time on... The Temple Of Death
We finally managed to get back together to finish off this module. And by "finish off", I mean hurry through to the final castle run and climactic battle with the bad guy! But it was all fun and games, and at one point we manage to break a player's mind with one too many ludicrous images as a result of clerical office work. Ah, joy.

So, anyways, before we get back into it, let's have a recap and a re-list of the all conquering heroes.

The party was gathered to infiltrate the hordes of the Master and find out his nefarious battle plans. After running The Gauntlet, they found themselves in the wee town of Magden. After learning the locale of the Master's hideout (the eponymous Temple of Death), they leave quickly under threat of being captured by the Diviners...

Roll Call
Excrutia, an 8th level Fighter. Red of hair, armour and heart.
Argorn, a 7th level Fighter. Never let thinking get in the way of attacking!
Habenath, a 7th level Elf. Currently looking for a position in the Elf Princess-consortery.
Thaddeus, a 9th level Thief. Likes his objects, oh yes!
Alrick, a 7th level Cleric. I poke you... with my staff!
Lotus, a 7th level Cleric. No, I poke you... with my staff!
Kogaun, a 6th level Magic User. Special abilities: tactical invisibility. Handicaps: "Useless stinking Wand of Paralysis!"
Morf, a 7th level Gnome (Engineer variant of Dwarf). Hammer in the mornin'.
The Bard, a 7th level Skald (mash-up of Bard systems). A song and a sword.

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Friday, 22 June 2007

SNS: Cruel Immortality

Next up in the SNS audios: Cruel Immortality by Nigel Fairs.

STEEL: I used to work with someone.
MRS P: Was she very pretty?
STEEL: Probably.

The main problem with Cruel Immortality, and this is a problem with all of Nigel Fairs' scripts, is that it comes across as severly padded. The first episode is something that should have been done in about five minutes. At least, this is the impression on a first listening. On a second listening, I can now see how Nigel is placing in all the elements he will use later, which is script writing as it should be, but one wonders if it should take two listenings to get it. (There are many stories that do require more than one go-through, but considering that most people only have hte patience for a first and only go-through, can they be successful stories, no matter how rewarding the second go-through is?)

The big "secret" of the piece is pretty obvious from episode one. There are still some twists, but the basic relationship is straight forward. It would be nice if Steel picked up on it as quickly as the audience does, but we have to endure a bad Wilde reference for an episode before it comes clear to him (the last 'twist' is the one that took me the longest to realise, but I got it around the same time as she did (he writes cryptically)).

(There are some other things that don't make sense no matter the how many times I go through this: Why 'Ted'? Why do the carers leave Steel and the Beast alone? Why were the Beasts the way they were? Hey ho...)

This story is a sequel to Water Like A Stone in some ways, and in other ways it follows up on Adventure 6 (the Cafe one). Some references are more overt than others (the music man was definitely one that I only got on the second listening). In true SNS style, some plot points aren't made entirely clear, but we finally get a hint as to what happened after the TV series.

I'm sure the actors in this are all well known and highly venerated, but I can't say I have heard of them before. They all perform well, but I can't gush like the producer can.

(There is a bonus disc included for subscribers, detailing behind the scenes of the "first 11 stories". However, as there are only 11 stories over the two seasons, I might just wait a while before listening to talk about the later stories.)

This script was penned by Nigel Fairs to quickly fill in a gap after Gary Russell pulled out. It has many of his usual problems with padding, but is far better after a second listening.

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Thursday, 21 June 2007

It's a Doctor Who X-mas!

If you've been watching the DW Confidentials, you'll recall last week's episode, Do You Remember The First Time?. David Tennant talked to, amoungst others, Jon Culshaw of Deadringers, and they showed a clip from a spoof "Christmas Day at Doctor Who's". If you felt like you missed out on seeing the whole thing... voila!

And if that ain't enough!

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Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Seperation of Church and NZ

"Big" news on Monday as the majority of New Zealanders say 'no' to NZ being a Chrisitan nation.

(I could comment on how a "majority of New Zealanders" were derived from 501 responses, but I'll let people with better statistical knowledge than me tackle that.)

Obviously this clearly shows that people are sensible! And no, I'm not bashing Christianity here. Official religions are not a good idea, and for why just look at America's struggle of seperation of Church and State (which some think is ficticious at the moment).

Presume for the moment that Christianity is the "official" religion. Now roll forwards twenty years. Looking at the results of the last Census, it is quite likely that Christianity won't even be the majority religion. In fact, as dangerous as it might sound, atheism might actually be up there.

And yet, Christianity would be the "official religion", but no longer reflective of the religion (as such) of the people. (I'm ignoring the impact that Christianity being "official" would have. No doubt some, but also likely to be purely beauracratic, too.) And then who knows what'll happen as several laws concerning the official religion would be in place, so most people would be breaking them, and then... well, the laws could be changed, but this leads to a discussion of morality vs law, and beyond my scope.

There was also discussion in that first article about schools teaching about all religions. Sounds like a good idea to me, but I'm not sure about the wording of the questions (available in the press release*). "Should schools be forced..." Forcing schools to teach certain information if they teach a topic is one thing, but forcing schools to teach that topic in the first place? Not so sure. But religious education, as opposed to religious indoctrination, is always prefered.

(* The link doesn't appear to be working, but it's the one from their site. I have a copy available.)

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Tuesday, 19 June 2007

DW: Episode 3.11

Hey, I got my Christmas Present!

What? I call foul on Jack's entrance! From watching Torchwood, that is not the impression one gets of how the TARDIS picked up Jack (the implication was that it landed in the Torchwood base), but hanging on the outside of the TARDIS? I don't think so. [That said, many fans will immediately recall Interference by Lawrence Miles, in which someone held onto the outside of the TARDIS...using Faction Paradox technology, mind!]

Hang on a minute, I've seen this story before... yep, I'm pretty sure Blake's 7 did this. More than once, too. That said, the plot is thin on the ground. This story is really more a clearing house, getting rid of various plot points and rehashing old ground so everyone is on the same page.

The problem with that is that I'm not sure the casual audience cares. They'd have to have been watching Series 1 to remember Jack in the first place, and anyone who has been watching that long undoubtedly knows what happened to Rose, so this is old, dead ground no-one cares about, can we move on please?

But this story is also major set up for Derek Jacobi. I didn't know it was him (not all that surprising considering I've never seen him before). Great performance (I was sure it was going to turn out that he mutated into a Future-kind), although slightly over the top at the end there. (How exactly did that happen, then? RTD is really ignoring continuity now.) And shame, RTD went for the obvious choice after all that. Yeah, it had to be him, but I would have had more respect had RTD done something different.

I have to admit that part of me is bouncing at the reintroduction, but it's the fan part of me. The viewer found this episode rather light on substance, and not one that will be remembered for a great story.

Next week: Ah, John Simm, what a guy...

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Monday, 18 June 2007

Be the day of B-Days!

Two of 'em in fact!

Happy Birthday TSV! (20 years old day.)

And happy birthday Paul Scoones (a mite older...)!

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She's no Oprah nor Tiger...

But Madonna does rank as number 3 on the list of most influencial celebrities!

In this case, "most inflencial" means the celebrity with the most money, as determined by Forbes, but even then, Madonna is only worth $72 million, less than a third of what Oprah's pulling!

Even then, the ranking isn't entirely clear, I have to say. It's some combined version of three different rankings. I'm not entirely sure what statistics are involved here, but, as it's based on opinion, it's not entirely objective anyway.

Still, just because they get a lot of money, does that really mean anything? Madonna is big on raising awareness about Malawi, and yet also believes that red string can turn nuclear waste safe. I'm not sure that's the kind of influence we should be encouraging...

(Thanks, Foo, for pointing me to this article!)

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Sunday, 17 June 2007

Five More Doctors

The Special Edition was never like this!

(Thanks to Peter for pointing me to these!)

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Saturday, 16 June 2007

All new Madonna!

No, she hasn't reinvented herself yet again (wait another year or so). However, the website,, has blinged itself up! Go there and see all her videos! (Woo!) As well as a gallery, link to a store, and you can even create your own Madonna shirt. And, of course, check out the latest Madonna news (no new album, natch), see her films listed (although there's no mention of A Certain Sacrifice ;) ), and even grab ringtones (now, if only my phone was sophisticated enough to let me load polyphonic tunes...).

Anyway, tons of cool stuff, so head on over!

(Note: the website plays about a dozen of her songs in order, so if you are at work and your sound is up (and your web browser can load ActiveX stuff), then be wary. Not everyone may like to hear her new hit, "Hey You".)

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Friday, 15 June 2007

What'd you see?

Time for one of those annoying "spread the meme" posts. The top favourite and hated movies have been announced, and a right rum collection of miscellany it is.

Rather than list every movie here, I will simply say whether or not I've seen it. This sounds far more impressive that it is, given that if you want to know what I've seen, you'll have to line my responses up with the actual movies themselves.

Top 100 favourite: Yes, Yes, No, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, No, No, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, No, Yes, Yes, No, Yes, Yes, No, Yes, Yes, Yes, No, No, Yes, No, Yes, Yes, Yes, No, No, Yes, Yes, No, No, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, No, Yes, Yes, No, Yes, No, No, Yes, Yes, No, No, No, Yes, No, Yes, Yes, No, No, Yes, Yes, No, Yes, No, No, No, Yes, Yes, No, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, No, No, Yes, Yes, No, Yes, No, No, Yes, No, No, No, No, Yes, No, No, No, No, No, Yes, Yes, No, Yes, No, No, Yes. (55 Yes)

Top 30 hated: Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, No, Yes, No, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, No, Yes, No, Yes, No, Yes, Yes, No, No, No, Yes, No, Yes, No, Yes, No, Yes, No, No. (17 Yes)

(Percent-wise, that's the same amount of good and bad movies. Nice to know I'm in balance.)

And you...?

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Thursday, 14 June 2007

Dear RTP (#24)

Every so often in the lifetime of a blogger, they must address a serious topic that weighs down on the hearts and minds of everyone concerned. However, in this post, I talk about the recent other DW fanzine!

RTP remains 50 issues behind TSV in numbering, but manages to score higher than the latter with only 20% of the issue devote to reviews! (And we forgive RTP for the reviews they do print as some of them are mine. And the others are interesting!)

Another bonus is a letters page, but one suspects that is merely a temporary omission from TSV. Of note is the missive from one Mr Mandate Poser, which has the potential to cause insanity in those that try to read it (especially late at night in poor light).

And speaking of himself, he supplies yet another entry in the tale of Cydonia, featuring those creations of man and machine. However, I can't remember any explicit reference to Cybermen on Mars(*), but their presence could be inferred from several stories. (In this case, I'm guessing during the war referred to in Revenge of the Cybermen.)

(*)Might this post be the cause of the first comment by the actual man?

Of other note is the interview with the Pulzar, whose presence is much missed from the Con scene (as are many others). Still, go to his website and check out his kicking beats, which are, indeed, kicking!

There is also the small matter of actual content in the form of some pieces by yours truly and one Dave Ronayne (and I have to confess that the Torchwood piece might have meant more if I could remember who those guys were!).

Go pick it up, and get the back issues as well! (You can see what you've been missing out on at the site that is Reversing the Popularity of the Blogsphere... or something like that...)

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Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Straight Outta YouTube

On Weird Al's latest album, the songs are:

White & Nerdy
Canadian Idiot
I'll Sue Ya'
Virus Alert
Confessions Part III
Weasel Stomping Day
Close But No Cigar
Do I Creep You Out (Not YouTube)
Trapped in the Drive-Thru
Don't Download This Song

Ten out of Twelve!

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Tuesday, 12 June 2007

DW: Episode 3.10

Post number 200 is 'Blink'in' bloggin'! (And a blinkin' good episode it is!)

Oooh, weird opening in a spooky house... please tell me this is a house on Allen Road! (And I can't be the only one thinking that.) [Note: As I write this, I have only seen the teaser, so no idea if this is true or not.]

Nice work with the creeping statue. Very easy to do, of course, but a neat atmospheric effect to achieve. One problem with an episode like this is that the audience is expecting the weirdness, and thus must suffer through the characters realising strange things are going on. We know it's bigger on the inside, can we move on please? (Hey! Is this the first actual instance of someone being their own grandmother?! And I don't want to think about the Sally Billy ended up with...)

What's the deal with the incidental music? It's oddly annoying in an electronic way. I've never been a big fan of incidental music, and this isn't converting me.

The Doctor's videos as an easter egg... they'd better bloody well be!

Stephen really likes writing characters more than story (as he gives the best moments to the characters, not the action). This is never more apparent during the Billy/Sally scene, during which the audience is also yelling out 'use the key, you stupid bint!'

The Weeping Angels... interesting race, but I can't help thinking they'd be more suited to Sapphire and Steel. (But then, I have been listening to SNS a lot recently.) But once the explanation really gets going about them...oh they become so much creepier (although the explanation itself it rather pants). (And it's impossible not to blink for long periods.) Oh, and while you can't kill stone... you can smash it!

At the end of the day, let us just remember: Carey Mulligan is extremely hot and gorgeous!

Next week: Ooh, it's Jack! And they're at the end of time. Again.

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Monday, 11 June 2007

One week later

This time last week was the last day of the Convention. It's now a week later, I'm back at work, and... well... what impact has it really made? There's still the website (although it still needs to be updated with the fact that it's all over!), and I'm sure there are people with memories (hey, I got a great piece of artwork in my Names of Magic tpb) and there are bills to take care of...

But, really, does it really matter? Does anything? Ignoring the cosmic angst, it's hard to prove that there was a convention at all. Certainly, being back at work makes it even more a distant memory, and given the hectic time I (we) had running it, it's not like I have a ton of memories to remember.

I suppose I'm asking if it was worth it. I guess it was, but...

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Sunday, 10 June 2007

47 - Order's Up!

Yep, TSV 47 is online. First off, check out the full wrap-around cover by Alistair Hughes, as most images only show the half on the front.

Who Killed Kennedy (note: no question mark!) has been available for a while as an e-book, and now the interview has been added to the archive. No doubt Alden will be adding a link between these two items when he thinks of it (or reads this entry!).

There are lots of reviews, of course, but also check out information on two books, Just War (with lots of detail from Lance Parkin) and The Discontinuity Guide (with the cut bits supplied by Keith Topping). [Both of these are, admittedly, reprints from other fanzines.]

But the more interesting piece is the NZ one, namely the information on the Cornflakes ad. Now, through the power of YouTube we can... ah, but I'm afraid not. Although if anyone does find a link...

Look also at Alden and Paul.

(Next time, check here for secrets revealed re the TV movie! But check here for the lead in to that event.)

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Saturday, 9 June 2007

Blogged the Bible

As a major project, David Plotz was reading the Hebrew Bible (aka Old Testament, but not necessarily in the order the Christians would expect) and blogging his summary. It's been a long time, but he's finally finished.

It has been interesting reading, and nearly makes me want to read the most read fictional book of all time (like my opinion isn't known). Certainly there have been the odd thing cropping up that explains where certain cultural references come from, but this has been a rather painless way of getting into what the Bible has to say.

David considers himself a Jew, but not a hardcore Jew. As such, he was taking the Bible in a lack way, not looking for great insight. I think, if push came to shove, it might have to admit that what's in there might not be that admirable, let alone believable, but this is religion we won't ask that question.

Either way, he's now preparing a book about this all, and is looking for someone to tackle the New Testament, but the work for now is complete and well worth the read.

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Friday, 8 June 2007

Freaking cool to the power of ten

Ever wondered just how things change on magnitude scales? Check out the video at the following link:

You can also check out the main website at Powers of 10.

(The YouTube version of the video was removed, but there's another version with Morgan Freeman narrating a Japanese version.)

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Thursday, 7 June 2007

SNS: Water Like A Stone

The third of the second season: Water Like A Stone by Nigel Fairs

SAPPHIRE: It's Christmas Eve.
STEEL: Is that relevant?
SAPPHIRE: Only if you haven't brought me a present yet, Steel.

Nigel Fairs presents us with a Christmas present of a Sapphire and Steel play, in the theatre tradition. Which, as far as I can make out, consists of badly written plays and awful music. And lots and lots of padding. Seriously. I could easily have hacked away at this and made it far tighter and fit on only a single disc. Episodes two and three could easily have been compressed, and thus be far less annoying.

And it's not really Christmassy either. Oh, it's set at Christmas Eve, and we get a quick burst of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", but other than that it could be able time of the year (or, if you must, any time during panto season).

I'm trying to think of a good way to summarise the story... the audio opens with setting up the stage... then there's lots and lots of padding, and then it abruptly gets tied up. Hang on, where was the storyagain? Frankly, skim lightly to episode four and that's about all you need.

Aside from the two, as ever, wonderful mains, we also get Lisa Bowerman (who is, I presume, contractually obliged to turn up in every line Big Finish produces) as the new element Ruby, with the power of... song, as far as I can tell. Seriously, just what is her deal? She's only really introduced so that... well, that would be spoilers. And we also get that other regular Nicholas Briggs, playing not to far from his usual role of rather uncomfortable typical man. Still, they have seriously meaty roles, and everyone gets to play something a little different.

The bonus on this disc are some outtakes and a chance to hear the singing without interruptions. Tha's a nice idea, but Dolly's song is something I personally need never hear again.

Overly padded, and not much of a Christmas treat, but... actually, no but. It's probably adequate if you don't realise there's not much going on.

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Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Behind the picture

Our convention made the paper (p3 of Monday's Dominion Post)! However, we were the 28th National Science Fiction Convention, not the 29th. And that's Blair Rhodes, master volunteer, as opposed to Organiser (although his quotes were better than those of the actual organisers).

The photo is better than the usual "photograph the wierd people dressed up in funny costumes". The masquerade was the previous night, and there weren't that many hall costumes around, so they were out of luck there. However, as it happens, for Conspiracy I, there was a photo in the paper of Steve with his remote controlled Dalek, so this one worked really well.

As the paper points out, this Dalek was the most expensive item in the auction. Angela Rosin was the GUFF fan from England, and we asked her to bring Doctor Who items with her. She had about six or seven items, and after seeing what they went for she commented that she should have brought over a lot more! (It's not so much the cost that's the problem, but the postage.)

The two aliens behind Malcolm were from Fusion car audio. I brought them for the con, but would have liked to have gotten them as spondership. And considering that they made the photo (although you can't quite make out the name), we really should have been given money by them!

I also had my photo taken, but obviously wasn't as photogenic. Oh well, at least it wasn't someone in a Star Trek uniform!

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Tuesday, 5 June 2007

DW: Episode 3.9

Now that's how to do an emotional story!

One of the cahrges leveled against Father's Day was that the emotional aspect was hammered into the audience. Paul Cornell drops it down a notch and manages to evoke the emotional voice without the didactism. (At least until the end, with the war tribute, where it goes completely off the deep end.) The John Smith and Joan moment was very well done, and stayed on the true side of schmaltzy.

And we get the war aspect really kicking in now, merely hinted at last time. There is a lot of "running from the monsters" in this episode, but the point is the boys fighting more than the running away. Paul can't resist (or possible RTD, as he's been known too as well) from having the lead monster espouse the moral for all and sundry, but it is better told through the actions than the words.

Speaking of words... this episode really shows the Doctor as, well, annoying. Swanning in with lots of technobabble and, in many ways, reducing the wonder of the wonderous things around him with a casually tossed off explanation. David Tennant certainly put a lot more into the John Smith acting than he did the Doctor, and it would have been nice to keep that side going for a while. (Still, I did like the ending line "he was being kind to us".)

Throughout this season (or series, if you must), Martha's been shown as more able to take on the lead position, so this story works perfectly in that character arc as there isn't a choice but for her to lead. That all said, aside from one moment in the Martha/Joan standoff, I'm not immediately not seeing Rose as easily fitting in here.

In all, a great story that works better on the emotional side that Paul's previous effort, but the ending went over the top a little.

Next week: I have no idea, but it looks different! (Is it a "breakout" episode?)

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Monday, 4 June 2007

So... very.... tired.....

It has ended. I am now home and am trying not to crash so I can have a proper sleep pattern, but it's not easy. While the hotel did have in internet connection, there were problems with it, one of which was that I couldn't log into my blog!

Still, it seemed to go quite well. Had a few comments about how good it was to have a packed program. I spent most of my time running around making sure that that packed program went off as planned. Apart from a handful of events, everything went off as planned, so that was great!

Our guests were lovely people. At least, they seemed that way from the few moments I said "hi" to them (see above re busyness). Quite happy to help out with last minute things, and they all said they enjoyed themselves, so I'm happy to believe them.

Already signed up for the next years con, Conjuction, as they have a pair of special guests. (I would announce that they are Kate Orman and Jon Blum, but don't want to steal their thunder.)

Anyway, I'm now back home, and, yes, on the internet already, making sure I can blog tomorrow about the latest Doctor Who episode. Although it might be posted a little later than usually. You might be able to work out why...

(PS. I might say more later, but as anyone who's run a convention will tell you, you don't get to see the events if you're busy running things...)

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Friday, 1 June 2007

Friday madness

Today it really starts, ready or not. One of our guests yesterday had a bit of fun with an unexpected stopover in Nadi, but is now with us.

Main thing today is the writer's workshops, and, of course, the opening ceremony. All speed ahead!

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