This is the first time I have listened to these ones as a coherent ‘season’ as I went in quite the wrong order last time – not that this especially matters, as they are mostly standalone stories. But there is a growing sense of impending doom that creeps up on you through the stories, with occasional fleeting (but ominous) mentions of Gallifrey, the Time Lords, nursery rhymes about a mysterious character called Zagreus, and most of all Charley’s indeterminate status as a living person. Over the course of several stories, she is beginning to realise that the Doctor might have done something terribly wrong when he saved her life.
Genevieve Valentine talks about the fallout that has occurred after she reported her harassment at Readercon – the positive and negative outcomes. Very important reading!
Justine Larbalestier talks about the problematic meme (in real life and fiction) of girls who hate all other girls, and women who hate women. The comments are really interesting because of how many women feel the need to defend their dislike of their own gender, and add a depth to the whole discussion because, of course, it’s more complicated than it seems on the surface.
Cheryl Morgan responds to the new Outer Alliance podcast (which I haven’t got to yet but I am keen to listen to) about changing the conversation when it comes to making conventions more diverse and welcoming.
A new review series at Tor.com – Mari Ness is looking at the Edward Eager Magic books, which I adore and am looking forward to sharing with my daughter. Starting with Half Magic, a children’s classic.
I’m relistening to the Charley Pollard audio plays from Big Finish! Charley was the first original companion that they created to travel with the Eighth Doctor when Paul McGann agreed to reprise his role from the 1996 Doctor Who TV Movie.
Played by the bubbly and plum-voiced India Fisher, Charley is a self-styled Edwardian adventuress, a jolly hockey sticks sort of girl who disguised herself as a boy in order to work passage on a doomed airship heading for Singapore. By saving her life, the Doctor created a paradox that would unravel over several years, and threaten the entire “web of time.”
So, let’s talk about Charley. In many ways, she is the perfect Doctor Who companion. She’s up for adventure, she’s flexible and adapts well to the TARDIS lifestyle (like Jamie McCrimmon she is a historical character who takes every science fictional concept well in stride, usually with some sort of clever metaphor, teleportation being “like the wireless telegraph” and so on), she’s brave and funny and she has no compunction about using sarcasm or mockery to puncture the Doctor’s ego when he gets too big for his boots.
Yes, I listened to most of these in the last fortnight. Because reasons.
The Emerald Tiger (main range)
The new range of Fifth Doctor plays with Tegan, Turlough and an older post-Terminus Nyssa are the ones I associate most closely with my transition from occasional listener to serious subscriber. Which is odd because while I have enjoyed them and what they had to offer, I haven’t adored them with the fierce passions I feel for the plays featuring Seven-Ace-Hex or Eight-Charley, Eight-Lucie, Six-Charley, Six-Evelyn and Five-Peri-Erimem. Instead, I’ve viewed them more as an intellectual enjoyment, revisiting one of “my” classic periods of the show.
Not so with this latest (the third) trio of this particular TARDIS team. I adored all three plays, enjoying the characters and their interactions, and the excellent, excellent scripts. Sure, Janet Fielding is still dialling up the ocker about 3 notches too high compared to her 80’s accent, but she’s still putting in a more restrained performance than either Old Tom or Paul Darrow in the Blake’s 7s, so I’m going to give her a pass on that.
Here we are again, my twice-yearly review of the “current” monthly releases from Big Finish that I have heard. As usual I’ve been listening to plenty of backlist titles too (I’m still not caught up on Jago and Litefoot and Bernice Summerfield, for example, as well as series like Graceless, so won’t listen to the current releases any time soon even if they are doing alluring things like casting Arthur Darvill), but given that I do listen to a lot of the current range as they are released, it’s nice to put it in some sort of chronological order.
There really are a lot of them, so I’m splitting the post into two quarters, or it would be the world’s LONGEST audio review. I may consider doing them monthly after this, which means fewer reviews as I don’t always manage to listen to everything in the month it’s released (I’ve only just been able to catch up with some plays of the last 3 months because my subscription had lapsed and I couldn’t afford to resubscribe for a while).
I watched Season 2 of the 1970’s Upstairs Downstairs quite by accident – I had ordered Season 2 of the 2012 version on Fishpond and due to an error, received the old show instead. And it had PAULINE COLLINS AND JOHN ALDERTON on the cover, so who could reject such a beautiful thing? I realised when watching it that while I remembered elements of this season, it was pretty much the only one I hadn’t revisited over the years – I had watched most of Season 1 on VHS, and read novelisations covering both the early and later periods of the show, but had missed out on this one, which is COMPLETELY BRILLIANT.
The awesome Terri started chronicling her crazy cupcake adventure from Continuum – she’s promised us a blog series about each Twelfth Planet Press book themed cupcake she made for the event, and starts here with Jason Nahrung’s creepy beach gothic novella Salvage, blue frosting and coconut.
Grant Watson aka the Angriest follows up on our Continuum panel “Where are all the wonder women?” by discussing Wonder Woman’s pants, and how it’s not actually the wardrobe that’s the problem.
A new Shortpacked comic addressing gender/feminist issues! This one is a mild but entertaining dig at the mansplainers of the world.
N.K. Jemisin takes on a topic dear to my heart, the over-regulation of magic in fantasy fiction. Considering how often things go wrong with technology and recipes in the real world, what makes people think that magic would always produce predictable results? (the answer of course is that like with creative writing, the methods that are easier to teach/communicate become prioritised over all the rest)
Hoyden About Town take on the idea of Shakespeare and the Bechdel test
The Mary Sue discusses a recent Kickstarter for Roominate, an inspiring toy/project designed to teach girls vital science/engineering skills.
Tor.com on demanding female heroes in adult stories that are equal to the female heroes found in YA fiction.
The Mary Sue on Amy Mebberson’s Pocket Princesses – smart and adorable!
Cheryl Morgan reviews the gorgeous book Ishtar, by Australia’s own Kaaron Warren, Deb Biancotti and Cat Sparks.
Tor.com on Big Finish, how awesome it is, and how to get started on your own Doctor Who audio crack addiction.
The ever-fabulous Narrelle M Harris talks about all the spectacular things that have happened in her writing career so far this year.
DC Women Kicking Ass on Catwoman 0, that cover, and the general art surrounding Catwoman in the New 52 – as compared to the version of the character we’re going to see in the movie.
The Daleks’ Masterplan is one of the most sprawling, epic, flawed, fascinating and utterly space opera-y Doctor Who stories of all time. It was the fourth ever Dalek story, screening as part of the third season of the show in 1965-6, and it marks the end of Doctor Who being a safe kids show.
I had heard so much about it in my years as a Doctor Who fan – I knew that it was the first story that killed the companion (and it did it twice), that it was twelve (and an extra) episodes long, not only a record at the time but for many decades to follow, I knew about the weird Christmas episode, and Nicholas Courtney playing a character called Bret Vyon, and all manner of plot details.
If you feel knowing all the plot twists & who dies in The Daleks Masterplan would spoil enjoyment of the story (it doesn’t, honestly, it can only help) then please look away now.
This is the first of my posts for Doctor Her, a new feminist Doctor Who blog. It’s an exciting project and I’m very glad to be part of it. I think we’re going to have some great conversations over there. I’ll be cross-posting most of the big pieces I write for them, because it’s not like talking about Doctor Who is a NEW thing for this blog. Depends on the pieces, though. I recommend you check Doctor Her out over the next week or two as everyone starts putting up their first posts. We’re still feeling our way into it but hopefully it will be a hub for all that crunchy feminist Doctor Who chatter.
I’m a Big Finish fangirl, plain and simple. So, there’s that. I imagine a lot of my posts here are going to be about the audio plays they produce, not only because I enjoy them (and it’s one way to justify the amount of money I pour into subscriptions) but also because they provide me with a lot of interesting and crunchy feminist material to chew over. Like all the awesome stories they have provided for Classic Who companions, and entire spin off series which allow those companions to shine as protagonists in their own right.
But also, very much so, with the new companions they have created to travel alongside various “classic” Doctors. Lucie Miller (Sheridan Smith), one of the audio companions created for Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor, wasn’t by any means the first of these, but she was the first of the companions created after Doctor Who came back in 1995, and the “New Eighth Doctor Adventures” which featured her character were a standalone series of short, punchy stories that were designed to appeal to the fans of New Who. They were broadcast as radio plays as well as being available for purchase from the Big Finish site – and there’s a Lucie Miller sale on THIS WEEK including a free download of her first episode, which is why I wanted to get this post up today.
Lucie Miller: It’s my superpower. I am Sarcasmo, woman of sarcasm. My enemies are struck down by my barbs of steel.’