Friday Flail of Yay

I am sleeping so badly this week. And I know part of it’s down to ridic anxiety with the world at large. Not even mental health related anxiety, since I really don’t think it’s irrational to be anxious given the daily news of what’s going on. As my dear friend Deb Stanish put it on the Twitters “… And yes, it’s a cliche, but it’s the biggest truth I know: Be a light in the darkness. So have a piece of #%@&^ pie.” I assume she means fucking pie and not shit pie, cause no-one wants shit pie. And also the pie is pecan or cherry or even apple and not bloody pumpkin pie, the monster of pies. Not the good sort of monster. The bad sort. ANYWAY, in that spirit, I’m going to try and do a regular blog post on Fridays of Yayful Things I’ve done or seen during the previous week.

1)  My YouTube gaming channel – I started making gaming vids. For it is most yayful and fun and I love talking about gaming but don’t really get a chance to do it all that much. My gaming friends are people what I game with and only game with, and that’s less about gaming chat and more about loot and killing stuff to get more loot. So, yes, this is me nattering away as I play some games. At the moment it’s a playthrough of Skyrim Special Edition, Dota 2 games where I’m trying to improve (I suck, but so much less than I used to; I now feel merely medicorely bad rather than stupendously bad), and classic DOS games from my childhood (also taking requests!). Please do take a look and subscribe if that’s your sort of thing!

2) Verity! talks animated Power of the Daleks – This week’s Verity! is a discussion of the brand new Power animation, and it was awesomely fun, and gosh, I bloody love Power of the Daleks. It’s such a good story. Top quality Who, and I hope more people get the chance to enjoy it now as the animated version is vastly more accessible than the audio or the recon.

3) Michelle Yeoh is a new Trek captain – So, despite not being a Trek fan, ahem, I am quite looking forward to the new Trek show. I’m not sold on the new movies, and having grown up in the Golden Age of Star Trek, I really miss having it on the telly. And the first bit of casting news out of the box is AMAZING. Michelle Yeoh. And then it turns out she’s playing a captain in the new show. I’ve also read that the star isn’t the captain this time but another character (who’s also a woman) which is fine. I care not. Michelle Yeoh. Who is AMAZING. Who is far, far better than we deserve tbh, and she’s going to be there, captaining. And don’t forget female captains are still relatively rare in the Trekverse. There’s only ever been a handful onscreen. And this is sufficiently good casting news that no matter what other nonsense comes out before we get to see the actual show, I am going to be totally rooting for it. Michelle Yeoh, people.

4) Margaret Hamilton, she who led the team that coded the software that got Apollo 11 to the Moon, has been awarded the USA’s Presidential Medal of Freedon.

5) This picture (it’s actually a few weeks old, but it is my favourite one I’ve taken of my local loch…those are starlings, I *think*):

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Despite it being actually freezing, I’m still going out running. Yesterday the loch was frozen over, and the poor local birdlife seemed rather put out at their home being suddenly solid. Also robins have arrived! From somewhere! I hadn’t seen any until this week, and now it’s impossible not to spot a few every day. If pretty rural Scottish scenery and swans, so many swans, are your thing, that’s what my Instagram is entirely composed of.

6) We’ve recorded new Down and Safe! So if you’re missing your fix of tasteful Blake’s 7 commentary a new episode will be with you this Thursday coming.

7) My sister, niece and nephew are doing a Jingle Jog for Parkinson’s UK. Nephew is but a year old so Quite The Challenge for him, but I’ve been assured he will be walking the whole way. If you can spare a pound or two for a good cause, please do consider sponsoring her.

8) There’s been a stupendous archeological discovery in Egypt, a new city! Over 5000 years old! Amazing stuff.

9) Though not QUITE as amazing as the NASA report released about the electromagnetic propulsion drive, which could be capable of taking us to Mars within 70 days. To sum up “it works, but it shouldn’t”. Which is awesome. And totally not giving me Event Horizon vibes. If I was in charge of stuff, we would be building a GIANT ONE anyway, and seeing what happens. Nothing could possibly go wrong. Probably.

10) I’m trying to talk myself out of buying this even though it would clearly be a very sensible practical purchase.

Ten is a very good round number. I shall stop there, and wish ye all a happy weekend!

Farewell!

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HamilWho

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Hello, lovely people!

I spent an hour or so of today engaged on a terrible enterprise. Hamilton, that wildly successful musical (I say, just in case you don’t know what the dickens I’m on about), has been mashed up with all sorts of other fandoms in all sorts of ways because Hamilton is kind of amazing (I say, even though I am not omg about it, I now really appreciate how good it is – even just reading the lyrics to the songs I hadn’t heard, they felt ridic alive and vibrant and good stuff like that, *and* it’s made American history sort of, a little bit, interesting to me. I may have to read more). My personal favs were the Hamilton/Star Wars pics that made the rounds on Twitter under #Force4Ham. Anyway, during our last recording of Down and Safe, Amal talked about Doctor Who and Hamiliton and how together they would be HamilWho, and when I heard the comments again while editing, I thought that sounded rather appealing, so my break was spent making these. (I made a Tumblr too.) If this sort of thing makes you yay, you should totally make your own and link me.

Also, you can now hear the Down and Safe crew’s smashing thoughts on Blake’s 7 episode Pressure Point, as we all wave sadly at Gan. For at least ten seconds. Maybe even twelve. (I feel TERRIBLE being mean about Gan, but oh, he was very much Just There. Poor Gan.)

Three Lovely Writing Things

Hello, delicious readers! I am currently rather excited as I’m off to The Americas next week, which will be full of convention (Gallifrey One) and friends and larks, but also HEAT. It is NOT FREEZING in California. Oh, for the joy of not dressing like a Yeti!

In the meantime, let me share three lovely writing things of mine that have happened recently:

1) My essay, Quest for an SF/F Grandmother, is now free for all and sundry to read at Uncanny Magazine. (Along with all the rest of issue eight.)

2) I participated in a Mind Meld article at SF Signal a few weeks ago, where I was asked what spaceship I’d most like to captain. I mean, it’s a TARDIS, obviously. But I tried to give answers that didn’t feel a bit like cheating too. (It’s like if I was asked what car I’d most want – Doc Brown’s DeLorean. It’s not precisely cheating, but it is a bit.)

3) I’ve written a book! (A short book, a non-fiction novella…there isn’t an actual non-fiction word for novella length, is there?) It’s for Obverse Books’ Black Archive range, and each book examines a single Doctor Who story in tremendous depth. Mine is on the rather wonderful classic story from Jon Pertwee’s first season, The Ambassadors of Death. It’s out in March, and available for preorder here.

Also the latest episode of Down and Safe just went up. Oh, Amal, we’re so sorry!

Happy New Year and all that…

Some might argue the New Year arrived about a week ago; these people are, of course, wrong. It was yesterday. That bit before doesn’t count because there were floods and I had fake flu, and I wish to start the New Year both well and not feeling faintly panicky every time it starts to rain. (Flood-wise I am smack in the middle of rising water, but not terribly affected since I live on the side of a hill, though travel has not been the best.)

So Happy New Year! Much delightful gubbins to one and all!

I’m sure I had resolutions, but I’ve forgotten what they were. What I do have is a shiny new episode of Down and Safe (we’re back to a regular fortnightly schedule after being quite rubbish in December, because holidays make scheduling intercontinental Skype calls quite tricksy). And with the new year, it’s a new series of Blake’s 7 for us, as we reach the opening episode of series two, Redemption!

On Verity! we’ve announced our Exciting New Theme for the year, which is Firsts, encompassing an array of First-y things related to Doctor Who. I – in a misguided, foolish moment of idiocy – suggested we should all read the first New Adventure and have a lovely chat about it. (The NAs were the first series of Doctor Who novels published after the show’s original cancellation. Many fans enjoy them; I do not. A lot) so we are quite possibly having some sort of horrid NA related episode at some point.

And here is my first published thingie of the year: Quest for an SF/F Grandmother, an essay what I wrote for those smashing people at Uncanny Magazine. If you buy the issue (and support the magazine, yay!) or are a subscriber, you can read it now, otherwise it is available for all to read from February 2nd.

I think one of my resolutions was about being better organised. And writing more. And proper sleeping hours. Those are generally my life goals. Also I have to drink all of the rest of the mulled wine because it is well past Twelfth Night and probably I am in violation of some serious Christmas Laws by having any of the stuff still around.

(And, yes, for anyone wondering where the rest of the Doctor Who review things are, those will still happen. Untimeliness for the win!)

Farewell, delicious readers!

 

Face the Ravenclaw

This week’s Verity! is out. I have not heard it yet, but I ASSUME they are all very excellent and correct about how great Face the Raven was. If not, I shake my head in fannish sadness at em.

Also, the first special ep of Down and Safe arrived safely on Monday. It’s almost two hours long, features LISTS of our favourite Blake’s 7 season 1 episodes, and is all totally, completely relevant. Sort of.

I’ve finished watching Jessica Jones, which was AMAZING. It’s so nice when I feel like I’m being pandered to, and that was one well of a pandering to me and my interests show, despite surface-wise seeming not my thing what with the detective-noir. I wish to write tons more about it, but for now I will say, give the first episode a try, and if you like it, and it wasn’t too dark for you then it only gets more and more awesome; and while horrid stuff happens, if you’re okay with ep 1, you should be okay with the rest of it.

Damn, it’s just so good to have a show where women are allowed to be pissed off and angry and virtually every conversation has at least one woman in it. It FEELS so good, like, watching it, I feel…I don’t know quite what the right word is…validated? Uplifted? Refreshed? All those things but more somehow.

Anyway…I’m giving The Flash a shot now, and I NAIVELY asked a comic book question or two on the Twitters and have got the exact response that I deserve. YARG.

I live on podcasts and wine, apparently

Yes, I owe this blog, um…four posts about Doctor Who. And I will make them. It’s just this has turned into a ridiculously busy time, and I’ve had to do a smidgen of prioritising, alas.

What I have found time for, however, is a few extra podcasts. So if you just have to find out what I thought about Sleep No More (Macbeth does murder sleep!), I scrambled for some thoughts before recording, mere minutes after the episode concluded, an episode of Incomparable’s TeeVee podcast with the smashing and very real Jason Snell (I have a problem, because I mostly hear him on Total Party Kill, so I do think of him as a little bit fictional). I’m also aaaaacting, daaaarlings, on this month’s Reality Bomb as the Spoiler Cops have returned in another ridiculously fun skit.

And, I just recorded an episode of The Cornell Collective last night which should be out this Friday. (Spoiler: it was awesome, also some super nifty behind-the-scenes tidbits from Jamie Mathieson.)

And there’s a special episode of Down and Safe, brought to you courtesy of our generous Patreons, that I have to source a couple of sounds for, and it will be with you tomorrow.

And in the interests of making this a well-rounded blog post, I shall mention something Non-Podcast Related: Adrian Tchaikovsky’s fantasy novel Guns of the Dawn has just come out in paperback. And it is amazingsauce. Think, if the Napoleonic Wars had gone on and on and Britian really needed to recruit women into the army and the Bennet sisters ended up going to war. That is basically what happens. And it is every bit as nifty as it sounds. And if you don’t think that sounds nifty, first, for shame, and second you should buy it anyway because I really really want a sequel and the only way to get one is if the first books sells well. (I mean, I do have an alternative plan, but, between you and me, I suspect it’s illegal, immoral, and likely to make Adrian terribly upset with me, so I’d rather not do that.) (Also, while you’re at it, may as well get Children of Time too…it’s proper good sci-fi, and a book I heartily recommend for consideration for Hugo nomination next year.)

Farewell, delicious readers! The word mines await!

Everybody needs good podcastings (sung to the tune of Neighbours)

This is a post about podcasts, which are aces, but first I need to make myself a GIANT NOTE so that next time I move my computer I’ll be less concerned about ‘workspace’ and ‘plenty of natural light’ (all those windows are doing is eating what little heat there is, dammit) and more concerned about exactly how bloody cold it’s going to be as soon as autumn hits. MY POOR FINGERS.

Anyway, podcasts, yes: Verity for the forseeable is covering each new episode of Doctor Who, which, unless you are living in a cement box at the bottom of the ocean, you’ll know if back on the telly. I wasn’t on this week’s ep, which I’m choosing to believe is a decision Deb made for the benefit of our listeners – who wants to listen to a high-pitched “eee” noise for fifty minutes? – so I’m hoping there’ll be time today for me to write up my very deep, layered thoughts for the blog, so you can enjoy/suffer my tots objective, factual opinions before the next ep appears and ruins my amazing theories of…stuff.

And on Down and Safe we are within spitting distance of double numbers of eps (technically, there are ten eps….but ep 0 doesn’t count) which means we get…some sort of prize, I’m sure. Maybe cake. And no-one has complained so far, so I think I managed to get all mention of dead cats, and the Murder House (subjects are unrelated to each other, in case you’re imagining some sort of cat massacre) out of the episode. Which sounds awful, but it reallly wasn’t. I mean, it was slightly, but mostly it was what foreign peoples sometimes call ‘British humour’ and anyway, it was my dead cat that accidentally became a running joke for the recording. IT WASN’T MY FAULT.

I’ve also started listening to the main Incomparable podcast (trying to save my precious remaining eps of Total Party Kill, the podcast of my heart) from the beginning, and I actually have enough thoughts that they deserve their own blog entry, but it’s really impressive how good it is straight-out-the-door. The eps I’m listening to are five years old, but very little has changed from the new ones I’m listening to now (which almost sounds like a back-handed compliment but noooooooo – it’s got it’s sense of style, it’s tone, all sorted out within like, two episodes; it knows what it is, despite the host literally saying he doesn’t, and runs with it). And before I would dip in and out  of eps, and only listen to the ones that covered stuff I was interested in, but because of a project I’m working on just now, I’m trying to be more open to pop culture stuff that might not instantly appeal to me. Besides, it’s quite exciting learning about New Things. And I bought a comic book! Novel…thing. After they recced it. I haven’t read it yet, but I have bought it. And possession is nine tenths of the reading.

I’m going back to the one warm room in the house now, for an hour of lovely cartoons.