Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab(Preview)



A Darker Shade of Magic (Preview Excerpt)

V.E. Schwab


Pub Date: Feb 24 2015


     Kell is a traveler.  One of the last.  He is a magician who can move through parallel dimensions.  He is little more than an errand boy for the powers that be.  Whether it’s the Royalty of Red London, where there is magic to spare, the wastes of Grey London where magic is almost just a memory, or the war torn White London where magic is drained from people as if they were vampires because it is so precious.  But in these strange places there is something even worse coming.  Something to do with the Final London; Black London.  Where the magic ran so chaotic and rampant that it destroyed everything.  How is this all connected?  What does it have to with Kell?  And what part does the thief Lila have to play in all of this?  Well, I guess we will have to read the Darker Shade of Magic to find out.

     I read probably about one hundred pages of Darker Shade of Magic and I have to say that it one of the most engaging books I’ve read this year.  I found it very difficult to put down and I couldn’t help be completely lost in the worlds of the three Londons.  I love the mysteries that seem to lie just out of the reach of the reader.  The sheer talent that oozes from every page of this book, speaks to the master writer who created Vicious.  Given Victoria Schwab’s obvious talent; it isn’t hard to imagine that this book will be even more of an adventure than it has already hinted at.  I cannot wait until February to read to this book, which this preview read has made this book my #1 Must Read book of 2015!  It should be yours as well…

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

And Now for Something Completely Different(Doctor Who Season 8 and some History)(Spoilers for Season 8 AHEAD)


    When I was young, there was no internet, no cellphones, and very few TV channels.  I think back then we had around 100 channels on our cable when we had cable(it was rather expensive).  But back then we had Doctor Who.  Yes, it was on PBS and they were all reruns.  In fact, I don’t think I’d seen any Doctor but Tom Baker, until I was around 12 or so.  I watched it rather religiously, or at least as religiously as you could when it was on half of the year, every other Saturday night at Midnight.  Which is when I would use my VCR to tape them.  Anyway, back then the Doctor was incredibly niche and looking back on those shows now; they were horribly campy.  I probably would not be able to sit through an original Doctor Who episode all the way through, these days;except maybe Tom Baker(you’re awesome man).

    However, our little article here concerns Tom Baker and the history of Doctor Who coincidentally.  I recently watched the latest episode of the Doctor and it just broke me.  Not because it was so bad, but because it was SO GOOD and the rest of the entire season has been so horribly awful in comparison.  I don’t have BBCA or BBC, so I have to buy every episode or buy them all on BluRay(which is VERY EXPENSIVE).  So I buy them on a season pass from Amazon(about half the price of bluray).  So when I speak about the quality of a show, please ladies and gentlemen who don’t pay for each episode(LUXURY), don’t give me platitudes about how hard I am on this show or other…

     The season finale part 1, was one of the best episodes of Doctor Who I’ve seen this year and for that matter the one thing it did that made me most excited was that it reintroduced the Master.  But perhaps, the showrunners don’t understand what they have done here.  The Master did appear in a couple of strange appearances in first couple of seasons of the new Doctors.  I mention this because the New Doctors have DEFINTIELY taken some liberties with the core story.  But hey, they are the ones who now say what’s canon; so far be it from me to complain(except I usually do).

     That Master, lasted I believe two or three episodes and he killed himself.  That gentleman is pictured below…

      He wasn’t much of a villain, mostly because he was insane.  Which was a trait from the original Master.  Except that the original Master wanted to destroy all the Time Lords and become the ruler of the entirety of Space and Time.  Which I believe he thought was possible somehow.  The new Doctor’s version, I believe wanted to rule the earth and then decided maybe he would rather destroy all of space and time.  Not as interesting…

     The original Master was incredibly intelligent and had his own crazy cool Tardis.  It could camouflage itself into the environment and back then there was also mention that he could control how and when he regenerated.  He was usually trying to either kill the Doctor or get him to join his cause.  Which he felt made sense, as the Doctor stole his Tardis and became a rogue to the Time Lords.  He certainly wouldn’t have given a rat’s tail about earth(all his stories were set on earth, which is the new Doctor’s envogue place to be).There was also some mention of the Master and the Doctor knowing each other back at the Academy on Gallifrey.  The Doctor explained that the chameleon circuit in his own Tardis was busted and that he liked the Police Box anyway.  He never mentioned the regenerating but this too appears in a New Doctor episode with Matt Smith and River Song.

    What wonderful lore, right?  Well the man pictured above had none of these traits.  He was just crazy and had some inexplicable powers and even though with the second appearance they tried to back pedal with this a little the damage was already done and the Master was just a minor bump in the road for the new Doctor.

     So that brings us to the season 8’s Season Finale Part 1.  We find out at the end that…


      It is spectacular and cool.  But yes, folks we are still on Earth and like I said, what does the Master care about earth?  No idea…  Anyway, the episode wasn’t most well done Doctor Who ever(I miss Matt Smith).  And their first interaction is a little strange and disjointed which I guess points back to his insanity.  But it is the first sign of life in this meandering train wreck that has been more about Clara’s love life than about “Righting the Wrongs of the Past!”  Which was what it was supposed to be about.  I frankly love Jenna Coleman, I think Clara is an awesome character.  But I think Danny Pink is boring and unnecessary in a season which had no real high points except in a couple of philosophical question shows that felt absolutely so contrived that you could read,”We have a moral for the story.”  In the end credits!  That’s not Doctor Who people, I’ve been watching Doctor Who for around 20 years now and I can tell you that Doctor Who is primarily:

     Other worlds

     Non-violent solutions to problems

     Cool and sometimes cheesy monsters

       (And recently)

     Awesome Companions that are more interesting than the Doctor himself sometimes


     Peter Capaldi seems to be a master of holding back.  He is such a good actor and he is being used so poorly here.  He and Jenna have virtually no chemistry and you can see it from the very first episode.  Although that episode was definitely in the top 3 episodes of the season.  What were my favorites in this bad season?

      Deep Breath(episode 1)

      Deep Water(episode 11)

      Mummy on the Orient Express(episode 8)

    Exactly in the order!  Mummy would have been a bad episode in a regular season but at least it wasn’t some world ending catastrophe that had a very lame and blunted conclusion(just because).

     So what am I saying with this?  I cannot believe we just had a 11 episode season of Doctor Who with 2 good episodes and on that was just OK.  And another 8 episodes that were just crap!  What is going on with this show?  I thought things were going to get better but they just stayed the same.  There are critics that want the show to move away from it’s roots.  But if they move ANY MORE AWAY from their roots the show won’t be Doctor Who.  It will be “Some Alien guy and some human fly around time and space and do stupid stuff.”  Because frankly people, that is what it is starting to become now.  Doctor Who needs to embrace it’s roots and get back to themes that Matt Smith and David Tennant had in their stays as the Doctor.  Because those were epic shows, that here and there had a misstep.  Not all missteps with shots of brilliance occasionally sneaking in.  I have loved the show overall, and everyone has a bad season.  But I just don’t understand the direction that this season was heading in; what was the purpose?  For me to care about Danny Pink or for me to care about his relationship with Clara?  Or for me to care about her feelings for him?  Sorry didn’t work…

    Well, I guess there is always the Christmas episode, right????