SF

Livin’ in the Weird Weird West


The just-released SF anthology Straight Outta Tombstone has a lot of good stories in it, with a nice mix of authors. Good to see Phil Foglio working in prose again, and I particularly liked the fact that Jim Butcher’s story isn’t one of his usual “you’ll need to read this to understand the next Harry Dresden novel” (which is often used to sell anthologies full of stories I’m not interested in…).

As is usual for Baen, the first two stories can be read for free here.

Dragon Crush, Cock Twister, Heartless Regen, and Groundhog Day


DanSora 11

Good Lefiya: well, that certainly qualifies as “casting while moving”.

Bad Lefiya: just beg for a piece already, sheesh.

Bonus Lefiya: congrats, you finally ended up sleeping with somebody.

More and more, I wish they’d made Tiona the focus character. She’s the most interesting of Aiz’s gal-pals. There’s a novel in this series that’s focused on the Amazon twins, but we’re not going to get anywhere near it this season.

Eromanga-sensei 12

In which sinister dom Sagiri abuses Elf and Dere-Dere-Dere Muramasa in the service of her muse, leaves her subs to suffer as she discovers The Secret Rival, then finds a new ecchi hobby that she doesn’t know dick about. In the aftermath, Megumin provides definitive proof that she is both a virgin and a total noob, and Muramasa demonstrates that she pays attention in art class. Even with her help, though, Sagiri still has a hard problem to solve before she can really nail this new style. Maybe Elf can swipe some videos from her brother, although that might lead to other problems.

Also, bookstore-chan tries the just-kidding-only-serious method, which Our Hero is naturally oblivious to.

If this ends next episode, I’m guessing the big finale will be Sagiri setting foot in the front yard. By the way, if that’s the Aunt in the OP, she’s running out of time to show up.

Slight change to the ED this week, revealing more about Our Hero.

Doctor Who 10.11

The beginning of the end, with terrible Zathras impression. Also, more third-rate meta.

Could they have found a less-convincing way to stage Bill’s death? “Okay, I need you to stand right here so the Doctor can get into position to not help you, while we flashback and flashforward to complicate this very simple setup for turning you into a crude Cyberman. Now, be sure to keep standing for a long time after the blue guy blows a giant hole in your chest, because we really need to pad this out to make it a three-part finale.”

Dark Matter 3.4

I guess every writer and director has a Groundhog Day episode they need to get out of their system. While nothing can live up to the ones done by Xena and SG-1, this wasn’t bad, and made good use of Three’s character development and Anthony Lemke’s talents.

Quote saved to use on Rory:

“No. You can’t just make up your own words. You have to actually repeat the words that I say.”

$10 says Old Five’s future-spoilers turn out to be 90% nonsense that they threw out just to sound cool, and the other 10% are cribbed from the upcoming scripts for this season. Aside from that, since the time clock is lit up in the future, Android obviously didn’t destroy it when she shut it off.

Dark Matter (the series, that is)


I’m not sure why I’ve never mentioned watching the SciFi Channel’s series Dark Matter. I just caught up on the start of the third season, and I can’t really say anything to praise it, but somehow I keep watching. It’s shallow and clichéd and cheesy and Canadian, …and just as good as it needs to be.

Three, Five, and Six have plenty of sf-ghetto cred, and of course series regular Truffault goes all the way back to Forever Knight, making her time in service longer than Five’s life. Three did the best job of selling his character at first, but I’d say he and Six hit parity about halfway through the first season. Five is fun, but she suffers from having to be the genius teen who can do amazing things with technology (perhaps it’s no coincidence that Wil Wheaton has been a guest star…).

Two is a newcomer to the SF ghetto, moving from Canadian Idol and Broadway Éponine to “mildly-psychotic semi-superpowered space mercenary captain”, but she’s doing a solid job, and quickly grew out of the “badass eye candy” they wrote her as initially. Android is an acquired taste, but the actress has been able to have fun with the role.

If you’re counting, you’ll note that I’ve left out One and Four. While Four’s been driving the plot recently, so much of it revolves around him being King Of The Assholes that I kind of wish it was over (“dear writers, pleasepleaseplease kill off Misaki before her dialog and delivery kills me”); the more central his story has become, the less interesting he is as a character. One was Captain Whitebread from the Planet of Sensitive New Age Guys, so I can’t say that I object to his story being wrapped up abruptly.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the show is that the original pilot graphic novel had Two as the only female, which would have made things a lot less interesting. And a lot less decorative, even though Android rarely lets her hair down, and Five’s awesome bosom is generally concealed to pretend she looks like a teenager.

In the end, maybe I like it because most of the actors have managed to make their characters work. It’s no SG-1, where the entire cast hit the ground running, but it works.

[Side note: the gang’s handler Calchek hasn’t showed up nearly as much as Truffault, but not only was he a villain in Forever Knight, he goes all the way back to Friday The 13th: The Series.]

Vir Cotto, Sleeping In Light


R.I.P. Stephen Furst.

A clean sweep?


Over the past few weeks, a number of Doctor Who fan sites have claimed that nobody will be continuing to the next series. It’s not just Moffat and Capaldi; Missy and Bill’s actors are apparently departing as well. Nothing specific about Nardole, that I can find, but it’s generally being assumed that he’s also out.

If true, I won’t lose any sleep over Missy, but despite them not giving her much to do, Bill has been an interesting character. I’d be sorry to see her go before Pearl Mackie gets a chance to develop the character. Not my favorite companion (that would be Wilfred Mott), but she hasn’t really been given the chance.

I’m quite optimistic about incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall, though. The man responsible for the first two seasons of Torchwood and half a dozen Tennant/Smith episodes has a good grasp of the universe.

Who Needs Villains


So far, this season of Doctor Who has been… “unimpressive”. The set design mostly lacks imagination and scope. The stories feel like they were cribbed from better, or at least more ambitious, episodes in previous seasons. The Doctor’s monologs are being written by Captain Obvious and The Campus Socialist. The new companion got a decent intro, but has done little of note since. And as for the monster of the week, well, so far we’ve had:

  1. a puddle. (but an alien puddle)
  2. a swarm of nano-Legos.
  3. a strawman capitalist.
  4. a mama’s boy.
  5. strawman capitalism.

The ideas and characters in each episode are undeveloped. There’s no supporting cast to speak of, just the Doctor, Bill, and Nardole, and Nardole spends most of his time delivering ominous foreshadowing with the delicate grace of a firehose.

Dear Doctor Who…


Now that I’m caught up to episode 10.5, I have only one question:

Will the entire season be written by interns copying scenes from their favorite episodes?

Guardians of the Galaxy 2


They should have just called it “Tiny Groot Adventures”.

The movie is 2 hours, 16 minutes, and I don’t know if that counts the multiple before/during/after-credits scenes. It definitely doesn’t count the 20 minutes of trailers I had to sit through with earplugs in. I should have just showed up 15 minutes late; the theater was pretty empty at 10:40 AM on a Monday.

Without spoiling anything, I’ll just say that I don’t think it had 136 minutes of story to tell. The celebrity cameos felt forced, Kurt Russell’s performance turned to crap when he (spoilered), and the extended dance mix of (spoiler’s) (spoiler) at the end just went on and on. I was catching Pokemon for most of it.

Also, while the Stan Lee cameo in the previous film was amusing, his first scene in this one was a bit too wink-wink-nudge-nudge, and the second was just dumb. Howard the Duck’s performance was less annoying than Stan Lee’s.

Apart from the three major cameos, nothing really threw me out of the film, and those bits were short enough that I was able to forget them and enjoy the ride. I wouldn’t go see it again, even as a matinee, and I don’t think I’ll buy the Bluray. I’ll watch it again with friends when it comes out, but just the once.

Note: yes, that’s Ben Browder. And Ving Rhames. And Michelle Yeoh. And even Michael Rosenbaum playing someone bald…

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