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bear by san

March 2017



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sf doctor dance


Hello, internets. I admit, I have been quiet of late, and expect to remain so for a while yet. I'm in deep post-novel ennui, you see, and the most ambitious things I seem capable of doing are making a lot of soup, baking spice cake, and catching up on two years of back television viewing. Actually, more than two years, as I'm finally also watching Third Watch, which I didn't get to see when it first aired because of a remote control dispute with my ex.

So yes, soon I will have up to date internet cultural references.

So far, Doctor Who series four is infinitely better than the wretched series three, though RTD retains the astounding ability to snatch defeat from the very jaws of victory (I propose a new set of metarules, wherin romance plotlines of any sort are banned from and Doctor Who related properties and spinoffs). I suppose I will actually watch S2 of Torchwood eventually, though I find it requires an extraordinary amount of loin-girdling even to contemplate that.

I have another 215 words to write before Thursday night to make my word coal for the year. "Lucky Day" is coming along (I love how fast stories write themselves when two people are working on them) and as promised, in January we will have an announcement about the start date of Shadow Unit season two.

Yes, this is the excitement of what passes for vacation around here.

In the meantime, to keep you occupied, I bring you a Scavenger Hunt!

Want to win four free books from some of SF/F's hottest writers?

Joshua Palmatier (jpsorrow), Diana Pharaoh Francis (difrancis), Elizabeth Bear (that's me!), and Jim C. Hines (jimhines) are teaming up to give away copies of their latest releases! One lucky winner will receive autographed copies of Whiskey and Water, The Vacant Throne, The Stepsister Scheme, and The Black Ship.

All you have to do is answer the following questions. Send your answers to jpalmatier@sff.net.

The deadline is January 25. We'll take everyone who got the answers right, toss their names in a (virtual) hat, and draw a winner.

Answers can be found on the authors' web sites:


Good luck!

1: What is the title of the first book of the German release of Joshua Palmatier's THRONE OF AMENKOR series?

2: What is the name of the five-year-old daughter who was killed by the Chorl in the excerpt of THE VACANT THRONE provided on the website?

3: What quote from Christopher Marlowe's Tamburlaine the Great Part 1 serves as the epigraph to Elizabeth Bear's INK AND STEEL?

4: What's the first sentence of Elizabeth Bear's ALL THE WINDWRACKED STARS?

5: Who attacks Princess Danielle in the first chapter of Jim C. Hines' THE STEPSISTER SCHEME?

6: Who is Jim Hines' favorite muppet?

7: CURSED BY SYLVETH was the original title of which of Diana Pharaoh Francis' books?

8: What are some of Di's favorite things, as mentioned in her website?


Third Watch, the first three seasons or so, is some of my favorite television ever. I especially love the way it portrays both veterans and rookies with nuance and understanding.
I wanted to watch it when it came out, and my then-husband was resistant to the idea. So now I am divorced and have my own TV.

You know the creator is the executive producer of Criminal Minds, and some of the directors, etc, have moved over as well?

I like them for many of the same reasons: moral compass, ethical quandaries, an understanding of how emergency responders actually think, and the way the good guys don't always win.
Torchwood season two is... well, an improvement, although still a bit of a mess. It definitely starts out on its high note and has nowhere to go but down...
You know I so wanted to like Torchwood. I liked the Captain Jack character in Dr Who, the action is set in Cardiff, so it ticks the Local Interest box, on paper the stories should interest me, but sadly it just doesn't work for me at all. :(
(I propose a new set of metarules, wherin romance plotlines of any sort are banned from and Doctor Who related properties and spinoffs)

THIS YES THIS. People are well capable of fabricating relationships from very subtle subtext. It doesn't need to be canon.

I suppose I will actually watch S2 of Torchwood eventually, though I find it requires an extraordinary amount of loin-girdling even to contemplate that.

I actually thought S1 was better. Not to add to your disinterest.
With Torchwood it's a case of when the episodes are good they're decent and when they're bad they're excrable.

My advice would be to treat season 2 as an assortment and pick various episodes rather than watching the full run. To my mind the ones that are worth it are:

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, Reset, Dead Man Walking & A Day in the Death (particularly that last one as Burn Gorman is phenomenal but the two preceeding it are a narrative arc and so worth watching in sequence) I also liked PJ Hammond's From out of the Rain but preferred his Small Worlds last series.

So 5 of 13 *grin*

I have to say that writing wise I think the children's spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures stands up better. But then I loved Doctor Who Series 4 - found Catherine Tate wonderful and loved that she made Tennant act.

Edited at 2008-12-29 03:56 pm (UTC)
Interesting. I liked "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang", but I found the "Dead Man"-"A Day in the Death" arc really annoying, I think because I wanted Torchwood to have the cojones to let the end of "Reset" stand on its own. (That ending is so much in keeping with the show's theme up to that point! Why angst it up?)

In general I think I preferred the first half of the season to the second half -- in particular I really quite liked "Adam" for its head-trippiness -- and felt that the episodes were at least all good. The second season vacillated wildly between really bad ("From Out of the Rain"; I loved the atmosphere but the plot was dull), campy but IMO fun ("Something Borrowed"), and good ("Reset", "Adrift"). "Fragments" is worth watching if only because we finally get some backstory on these characters! But I think one could reasonably take a pass on "Exit Wounds", the season finale.

At this point Torchwood is for me largely the Jack-makes-funny-off-color-comments Show. I'm going to give it this next season of specials and part of the regular season after that, and if it doesn't get any better than it was at the end of Season 2, I'll punt it. With Doctor Who, I disliked enough about the fourth season (Donna was an excellent character but the plots were terrible) that I'm mostly waiting for the showrunners to change and bring a new Doctor. I can usually find something to like about any given episode, but the harder I have to work to do that, the less the show appeals to me any more, and it's been making me work pretty hard lately. Ah, Doctor Who et al... All good things must, eh?
"Dead Man"-"A Day in the Death" arc really annoying, I think because I wanted Torchwood to have the cojones to let the end of "Reset" stand on its own. (That ending is so much in keeping with the show's theme up to that point! Why angst it up?)

It's possible to theorize that 'they' (as in showrunners or just Chibnall) gave Owen immortality which was the flip side of Jack's simply for that reason, but to my mind they hired Burn Gorman following his role as Mr. Guppy in Bleak House and then failed to capitalize on his acting promise in series one. So to my mind the three episode arc was, quite simply, a show-reel for his talents.

Then again, I think the most talented members of the cast are the ones that bowed out at the end of series two - Naoko Mori's 'death scene' as Toshiko being, to my mind a thing of beauty (and all in one take too apparently) - and the ones that get least screen time.

I adored the character of Jack in Doctor Who (the Eccleston series) but think he's hampered by a backstory that lacks consistency, and by an actor whose performance does seem to depend on who is directing as much as on the scripts themselves.

I lament that I have the soft spot for Torchwood that I do but I love it for what it could have been, rather than for what it is. I wanted it to be a show the caliber of Life on Mars let's say, and instead it's in a similar category to er Robin Hood.

Actually I wanted it to be alien/paranormal Spooks but the writing just isn't there. And yes they do seem to veer heavily to angst and melodrama.

Someone should remind that showrunning team that less is more.
So, y'all wanna stop spoilering me for a series I haven't watched yet, mm?

My apologies. I've been answering in the yahoo mail window and thus... was utterly pants.

My apologies. Really.
This year's DW Christmas Special wasn't too bad, all things considered. But, then, I have mostly seen some Tom Baker episodes and the RTD re-interpretation of Doctor Who.
In total agreement about banning romantic plotlines at least until they find writes who do them well. (However, I don't really see the Doctor as a romantic hero...)

I thought S2 of Torchwood was ok. It wasn't as good as S1 at its very best. (Granted, S1 wasn't at its very best very often.) However, it was much better than S1 at its very worst. (Sadly, S1 was here much more often.) The first episode of S2 is practically a reboot and is, if nothing else, exciting. Not all episodes live up to its promise unfortunately.

The Sarah Jane Adventures was a more consistently fun experience. (I haven't finished watching its second season though.)
Lots of comments on Torchwood, Season Two, I see. Personally I thought it just got wretcheder and wretcheder (it's a word now). I was hideously unhappy with how the season ended. If there's going to be a Season Three, I won't watch it. It hurts too much to watch something that could be so good be so bad so consistently.

Now, on the other hand, this year's Doctor Who Christmas special, "The Next Doctor," worked really well and was quite a lot of fun, including a treat for the clockpunk in you. My recommendation is to see it as soon as you can.
Saw it, and alas, I thought it was sort of meh and excruciatingly predictable. I have had enough of RTD's family issues.
Everything RTD has produced has had good bits and bad bits...

...okay, that's too sententious a sentiment even for me. I liked a lot of DW season 4, and a lot of Torchwood season 2. The new Xmas special, I liked some of that too. But I am over RTD's particular obsessions re DW storytelling. I am glad that someone else's turn is coming up.
What you said.

Also, I'm over his inability to make a plot hang together without holes you could drive a TARDIS through.
surprised at all the positive feedback on Sarah Jane. What an incredible waste of my time that was. T2 had some very good highs, and some really bad lows. Generally more uneven than T1, but still I liked the good bits better even if the end was annoying.
IMO, the best bits of Torchwood S2 are any episodes with James Marsters in. Cause he and John Barrowman together rock like a rocking thing. If nothing else, I would recommend you watch the first episode of S2 for JM's introduction and the extremely hot scene in the bar and for the blowfish scene, which is priceless.

I think the season as a whole was better than S1, (not that that was hard), but it does get *very* angsty and dark towards the end of the season.
That was a fun diversion!

Now I take a shower, take more pain pills, and take myself back to bed.
"I have another 215 words to write before Thursday night to make my word coal for the year."

This is the awesomest typo ever. I see you with a pickaxe and one of those miner's helmets with the headlamp, laboriously hacking words out of a rock face and dropping them into a basket to later empty into a word car to be hauled by ponies into the light of day.
Watch this space. Or the BBS.
Kretcher-Doctor/Yoda-Doctor was just unnecessary, however.

Great soundtrack though. Nice use of Scissor Sisters, too.
I already have W&W, so I don't need to enter this contest ;-)

I just picked up The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar. I can't help but think of you and your series when reading it.


You see, this is why I come here. Following up on the referral from a previous comment, I nipped out to watch Torchwood Season 2 Ep 1 featuring Mr. Marsters last night. Am still recovering from the bar scene. My. Oh my. Just...oh my.

I think I need a bit of a lay down. I'll be in my bunk.
Previous anonymous comment was me, sorry. I have login fail.
Any non-spoilery analysis on WHY S4 is better than S3?
The plots are less manipulative, and not as doorknob-dumb.
Ask, and ye shall recieve. I was hoping for more, ya know, in depth, but prompt is good.

Although I must say, with Torchwood and Who as exemplars, your romantical meta-rule is never going to be honored. For some reason, this production staff likes the Twu Wuv.