Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Resurrection, Season Two, Episode Four: Old Scars

A man with a leg brace rushes through the woods and he is being followed by a posse armed with a hanging rope, dogs and guns.  As he runs, he trips and falls repeatedly, clearly due to his disability.  When the posse catches up with the disabled man, they waste no time lynching him, as a young girl watches. Flash to present day where Margaret now stands beneath the same tree.  Was the young spectator a young Margaret?

Lucille gets out of bed, while Henry lies in bed looking at old family photos. Lucille sits at her dressing table to brush her hair as Henry watches.  Lucille makes her way silently towards Henry now dressed completely in black for him to do up her zipper.  Now outside, a clearly sad Lucille holds a G.I. doll in tears.  Lucille is joined by Margaret, who tells her to sit down and relax, reminding Lucille that she would not want Jacob to see her like that.  Lucille admits that she and Margaret didn't always see eye to eye and adds that this is the day Jacob died 32 years ago. Lucille says that each year on this date,  she takes flowers to Jacob's grave and walks by the river where Jacob died. While Lucille is happy to have Jacob back, it doesn't erase what it felt like to lose Jacob.  Margaret assures Lucille that nothing would make a mother forget this and suggests that they turn this day of sadness into a day of celebration by hosting a large dinner.

Bellamy is up and dressed and he and Maggie make small talk.  Maggie is curious how the government knew that the bones belonged to the returned and she questions whether or not Bellamy had any interactions with the still unnamed government agency.  Bellamy of course denies knowing anything about what went on.  Maggie then questions if her office is under surveillance. Bellamy suggests that they can still identify the remains because one was Black and the other had a knee problem which would have made him walk funny.  Aww isn't it nice that Bellamy is so helpful after he sabotaged Maggie?

Rachel and Janine run into each other at the market. Rachel tells Janine that Tom is planning to help her get her own place and that she won't have to worry about her anymore.  Janine then helps Rachel pick her prenatal vitamins and quips that she has never gotten as far in any of her pregnancies as Rachel.  Rachel then thanks Janine for allowing her to stay at her home, before collapsing on the ground in pain clutching her stomach. 

Fred is at Twian's Bar and Grill, when Margaret joins him complaining that the grill is as dirty as she remembers it.  Fred brings up the bones he found at the river and Margaret is quick to say that she has no idea where they would have come from.  Fred says that he believes the bones were originally buried beneath the old factory and questions Margaret again about her knowledge on the bones. Margaret suggests that there was an old cemetery under the factory but Fred is quick to nix that idea because the factory was already built when the bones were buried. Margaret then invites Fred to the family meal adding that Maggie has already been invited.  Fred tries to back away but Margaret makes it clear that she could be gone tomorrow and that this is what she wants.  Margaret refuses to take no for an answer.  Fred changes the topic to ask how living with Lucille is working out and Margaret replies that they are getting along famously.

Lucille and Jacob are washing the "good china" when Margaret enters to demand they use the Royal Dalton dinner plates and not the Wedgewood. Margaret then asks Henry to get the rest of the groceries out of the car while she has a shower and Henry asks Margaret not to drive alone because she doesn't even have a license.  I guess when your son is the sheriff that is something one need not be concerned about. Margaret then confirms that Fred and Maggie have both agreed to attend and a worried look crosses Lucille's face.

Bellamy is busy searching microfilm files (who the hell still uses microfilm?), while Janine and Tom stand over Rachel at Maggie's office.  Maggie explains that what happened to Rachel was perfectly normal. Maggie checks the baby's heartbeat and declares it strong.  When Maggie looks at the ultrasound however, a concerned look appears on her face.  Maggie declares the baby healthy but the measurements don't make sense because the baby is growing twice as fast as a normal fetus. 

Lucille and Jacob are setting the table and Jacob questions who came to his funeral.  Lucille confirms that the entire family showed up for Jacob's funeral.  Jacob then question if his aunt Barbara had a funeral as well, as Henry listens in the other room.  Jacob questions why Barbara isn't coming to dinner because he wants to apologise for not saving her.  Lucille tells Jacob that he has nothing to apologise for and when Jacob insists that he wants his aunt Barbara there, Lucille calls him petulant. Jacob then breaks a dish and Lucille orders him outside, when he offers to clean up the mess.

Henry rings Barbara's doorbell but quickly turns to leave; however, before Henry can get off the porch, Barbara opens the door. Barbara and Henry sit on the porch and Henry makes it clear that he is not judging her for her decision to cheat on Fred. Henry goes on to add that the Returned have a remarkable power to heal old wounds.

Janine, Rachel and Tom are back at the house and Rachel goes to lie down.  Janine tells Tom that it is not necessary for Rachel to find a new place to live, given everything that Rachel is going through before walking away.

Business Makes Strange Bedfellows by E. E. Ottoman

Dr. Gertrude Bowers is a scientist – studying the quasi arcane art of resurrection. She’s definitely making progress and she is even facing a conflict not of whether she can raise the dead – or whether she should

And in the middle of all that she pulls a terrifying tentacled monstrosity out of one of the bodies she’s experimenting on. That rather interrupts her work

When she hears of a series of brutal murders, she realises the monster is killing and she feels responsible. Her only choice is to make a deal with Vi, mysterious, capable, dangerous – and a vampire. And she doesn’t want money to pay for her services.

I find myself slightly frustrated by this book

I’m frustrated because there’s a lot about this book that is utterly fascinating. Dr. Gert Bower is a fascinating character. She is the heiress of a dead, wealthy family trying to pursue her career as a doctor in a deeply sexist period. She’s also exploring a quasi-forbidden and certainly highly controversial scientific/occult field of study. She is discovering the occult, discovering far more is real than she had previously expected and having whole new vistas opening up to her. But she’s strong willed, indomitable and determined to face any challenge. In fact, she’s outright intrigued by any challenge – including a vampire who wants to share her bed and blood

This character is awesome. This character is amazing. This character could do so much. This character’s story will be fascinating. Her daily life, battling her peers, her powerful curiosity discovering more about the world, her passion for her work – all of this adds up to a character that is amazing and I want to read a whole series about her. Just what has been hinted here suggests so much more to her series. She also have some interesting complexities of ethics – figuring out not just what she can do – but what she should do.

All of this hints to a much deeper world – different kinds of vampires, Lovecraftian monsters, a Frankenstein’s monster plot developing…

But these hints are what we get and, as far as I can see, this isn’t the first book in an ongoing series – it’s a stand alone. Aaaaargh – so much potential, so much that could have been done! So much I wanted to see, so much that could have been developed – it’s like watching an awesome film through pin-hole lens! There is so much potential here, such excellent characters and such an excellent world…

Once Upon a Time: Season 4, Episode 4: Apprentice

A flashback – Once Upon a Time has way too many flashbacks to way too many times and way too many places. This is to “a long time ago”, so it’s good that the time line is being carefully guarded with such precision.

An older man is clearing up rubble in impressive castle/tunnel/RPG surroundings when the Dark One arrives – the old man is a sorcerer’s apprentice and the Dark One is apparently just one of the Dark One’s he has fought – which he does with a great big sword. The Dark One chooses to use magic and the ability to throw people around the room is generally more dangerous than hand held sharp things. The Dark One – NOT Rumplestiltskin, so his predecessor –tries to claim the box the apprentice is guarding (the same nifty box Gold finds in the conveniently abandoned mansion) and is thrown back by an enchantment cast by this mysterious sorcerer. It can’t be broken by anyone “who has succumbed to darkness”. The apprentice also tells us that every Dark One tries. These guys should keep diaries.

Cut to the present and Storybrooke where Gold appears to have opened the box – or turned the box into a nifty wizard’s hat complete with swirling galaxy.

With such grand revelations, clearly we need to focus on Emma’s love life – and Henry pushing Emma towards the sexy Hook and the leather trousers he never ever changes. Lots of intense flirting, Emma asks Hook out and Hook insists on planning the evening. Without pillaging and plundering. Or possibly with.

Everything seems shiny – but there’s a suspicious puddle of water under Emma’s car while the rest of the town is bone dry.

Hook goes to see Gold (which is never wise) building on his previous blackmail (which is really unwise) to have his old hand reattached so he can have a romantic date with Emma and hug her with both hands. Gold warns Hook that his old hand is an evil pirate hand that will turn him back into an evil pirate who is evil and Hook laughs at the idea (strike three. Hook, you have done something irredeemably foolish, you now deserve whatever terrible thing Gold will do to you).

Time for a different flashback – the Enchanted Forest and Anna meeting Rumplestiltskin. Rumple, in addition to being his creepy best, reveals that Anna and Elsa’s parents visited him. Rumple makes a deal with Anna to tell her about the visit if she puts some unknown substance in an unknown man’s tea – and he has a contract. The old man turns out to be the apprentice from the previous flashback.

She returns to Rumple to claim she dosed his tea – when she didn’t. Which is unfortunate because Rumple poisoned him the day before and the dose was the antidote (Rumple is hilarious in this scene). The apprentice is turned into a mouse. Anna tries to outsmart Rumple and it’s painful to watch- he just pulls out awesome contingency plan after contingency plan until he has Anna facing the darkness inside and turning away; just what he needs to open the box. Damn he’s good.

He reveals that Anna’s parents were looking for some way to remove Elsa’s magic (worst parents ever, remember) and that no-one could do that – without the box and the hat within. The hat steals magic and Gold intends to use it to supercharge himself. All perfect – except the mouse jumps on his hand, bites it and makes him drop the dagger – which he just happens to be carrying – and Anna picks it up.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fangs for the Fantasy Podcast: 2014, Episode 20

It's finally time for our podcast! After much delay we've finally got back on track (curse those weremoose)

You can join us here and you can listen live on our youtube channel, here, or in our sidebar. All will also carry a recording after the show is finished. As ever all our previous podcasts can be found in the archive

The podcast begins at 7:00pm EST (technology willing)

To give people a chance to read along with us we include a list of our planned books of the week for the next few shows, so people can get the books, read them and join in the conversation.

13th October - 20th October: Allegiant by Veronica Roth
20th October - 27th October: Midnight’s Daughter by Karen Chance
27th October - 3rd November: The Prince Lestat by Anne Rice
3rd November - 10th November: Tempest Revealed by Tracy Deebs
10th November - 17th November: Under Suspicion by Hannah Jane
17th November - 24th November: Loki’s Wolves by K.L. ArmstrongM.A. Marr

The Walking Dead, Season Five, Episode Two: Strangers

The smoke from a now burning Terminus rises in the air, as the group gather for a respite.  Rick gets into a conversation with Tara and  Rick brings up her saving saving Glenn and the fact that Tara didn't want to be with The Governor.  Tara manages to earn his seal of approval and they end the conversation with a fist pound initiated by Tara.  On their next break, Tyreese and Carol talk about what she did at the prison and he says that Carl and Maggie accept what Carol did and that he is going to make sure that the rest of the group accepts Carol.  When Carol tries to say that no one has to accept it, Tyreese is adamant that the group does, he does however suggest that neither of them say what happened to the girls.  Look at the flowers Lizzie, just look at the flowers.  Apparently, Tyreese just wants to forget what happened. Of course, as they walk down the road, Rick takes point.  Why the hell is he still leading them after Terminus?  Michonne stops long enough to kill a walker and when Abraham sees this, he tells Rosita that this is why they are waiting for their moment. Hmmm what is Abraham up to?

That night, Rick meets with Carol to finally admit that he owes her everything. Carol pulls out Rick's watch which she stole from Terminus and Rick admits to seeing the guy get killed. Rick however still has reservations about what Carol did at the prison but he now believes that Carol knew something that he didn't. How magnanimous of the great sheriff and of course, Carol let's him off the hook by pointing out that Rick did say she could survive. Why doesn't Carol get to express reservations about being kicked out of the group? Rick now realises that he sent Carol away from the prison to this life on the road and so he officially asks if the group may join her. Carol smiles and nods and Rick says thank you.  Gotta say, if I were Carol, I would have answered everyone but you.

Later, Carol sits with Darryl and says that she doesn't want to talk about what happened because she needs to forget.  A sullen Darryl replies, " all right," then stands quickly when he believes he hears something.  Darryl did actually hear something because something or someone is in the bushes.

The following day, the group is marching through the woods with Rick once again in the lead, when Darryl reports that he didn't find any tracks when he went looking for the sound he heard the night before. Darryl however is convinced that someone was watching them.  Abraham and Rick agree to travel north until they find a vehicle when they see a road.  Sasha and Bob actually kiss a few times (hmm when did this become a thing?) as they discuss the things they miss. Sasha explains it to Tyreese as a little game she and Bob have started to play. Suddenly, they hear someone screaming for help and Carl demands they help, even as Rick hesitates.

 The group finds a minister on a tree stump trying to fight off three zombies and they makes short work of the Walkers.  Rick asks if he is okay and his response is to throw up and apologise.  He introduces himself as Gabriel Stokes ( fans of Teen Wolf will recognize Seth Gilliam, as Dr. Alan Deaton) and Rick asks if Gabriel has any weapons on him. Gabriel claims that the word of God is the only protection he needs and this is proved by the fact that his call for help has been answered.  Gabriel then asks for food because the food he was carrying hit the ground.  Carl offers up some plums, as Rick does his I am going to stare you down into oblivion thing. Rick begins his search of Gabriel and starts with his standard question: "how many Walkers have you killed."  He then asks, "How many people have you killed and why."  It seems that Gabriel has not killed any people or walkers because apparently, the Lord abhors violence.  This answer does not satisfy Rick, who then asks what Gabriel has done because he believes that everyone has done something.  Gabriel calls himself a sinner and says that he confesses to God and not strangers. 

Gabriel leads them back to the church and says that he hasn't been watching them.  He starts to play with them saying that he may be lying and leading them into a trap, so that he can steal all of their squirrels.  As you might imagine, this does not go down well and Gabriel says that members of his flock have warned him that his sense of humour leaves a lot to be desired.  They arrive at a church which is in a cleared area of the woods.  Rick demands the key for the church so that the group can take a look around first.   The group checks the church, completely ready for action and find it empty. Carol comes across a handwritten version of the bible and the words, "Thou Shalt Not Kill" are written in bold to emphasis them. Rick pauses and looks at all of the empty cans by the alter and Michonne and Glenn look at the artwork done by children.

Rick gives the all clear whistle and when they head outside, Gabriel says that he spent months in the church alone without going outside and that if the group had actually found someone, that would have been surprising.  Abraham reports that they found a bus out back which Gabriel does not want.  Abraham points out that there is a lot at stake but the group wants to take a breathe and get some supplies.  As they head into the church, Darryl snarks that the bus isn't going anywhere and that they will bring Abraham back some baked beans. Glenn pauses long enough to say that the group is doing what Rick says and that they are not splitting up again.  As they rest of the group enters, they affirm what Glenn had to say.  Again, why are these people following Rick? WHY?

Inside the church, Rick asks how Gabriel survived in the church for as long as he did and Gabriel explains that things fell apart as the church was running its annual food drive. Gabriel says that he scavenged after the food ran out and that he cleaned out everything nearby except for one place.  Gabriel explains that the place is overrun by 12 zombies and the group agrees to take care of it and Tyreese happily accepts the job of babysitting Judith.  Really Walking Dead?  Gabriel offers to draw the group a map but Rick demands that he accompany them.  Gabriel tries to protest saying that he won't be of any help and that they have seen how he reacts to Walkers but Rick will not be dissuaded.

Off to the side, Rick tells Carl that he does not trust Gabriel but Carl who still has faith in humanity replies, "everyone cannot be bad."  Rick explains that he doesn't trust Gabriel, which is why he is making him accompany them on the foraging mission and because of this, he asks Carl to stay alert while watching Judith, just in case Gabriel has friends. Rick tells Carl that he is not safe regardless of how many people are around, or how clear the area looks, or what anyone says. Rick reminds Carl that it only takes one second and asks Carl to promise never to let his guard down.  Carl affirms that they are both strong and suggests that they are strong enough to help people and handle themselves (yeah if they have Carol watching their back) if things go wrong.  Carl adds that they are strong enough not to have to hide or be afraid.  Rick again asserts that Gabriel is hiding something. You just know that they are going to make Rick to justify his leadership right?

Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth

With Evelyn and the factionless in control of the city, Tris and Tobias realise they’ve just exchanged the very limited choices of the factions to no choices at all. They quickly become involved in the new rebellion – only this time they are driven to find the truth. What is outside the city

They leave and discover the real truth of the world, the size of it, the history of it – and why their city, why Chicago, even existed. In doing so they learn everything they once knew, everything they once treasured is a lie – it’s meaningless, a manipulation for a completely alien goal.

But as they spend time outside the city with the Bureau, they find both some shocking revelations about their identity – and a new set of lies spread by a new dominant, governing force.

I have a huge problem with the writing of this book – it is told from the point of view of both Tris and Four/Tobias, each chapter topped with their name. This is essential because without that name there is no way to tell who is speaking. Tris and Four have exactly the same voice – which is terrible for two such very different people. There was actually a moment when I thought Tris was revealed as bisexual because it talked about her girlfriend before I realised we’d had a character shift. 4 pages ago. I read 4 pages assuming Tris was the protagonist when it was actually Four/Tobias. That’s… not good.

There’s also another whole load of names that I can only vaguely remember who they actually are

Equally, I found Tris and Tobias’s romance to be… so unnecessary. I can’t say, unlike the last book, that it was badly done. There is some interesting conflict there – I particularly liked the conflict over whether Tobias trusts/respects Tris; it not only analysed Tobias not listening to her or keeping things from her but also raise the counterpoint that “not doing what you say” is not the same as “not listening to you” and Tris’s habit of conflating people not agreeing with her as not trusting her.

I did like a lot of the personal revelations – like these people who have only known the city realising just how vast the whole world is and the culture shock of that. Or of finding out how so many of their precious ideals are just complete fabrications –it’s nicely done.

The meat of the plot, which I found the romance a distraction from, though was the rebellions. In Chicago Tris was rebelling against the Erudite take over in Divergent. Here she starts rebelling against the Factionless take over that happened in Insurgent. She ends up outside the city, learning the true, deep and fascinating history behind the lies she has been taught all her life and why Chicago and the factions even exist.

And there she finds another dominant faction and another rebellion. The dominant faction is “kind” in a patronising way, but over and over again it’s clear that the dominant faction abuses the weaker one, controls them and even while apparently having “kind” agendas to “help” them, is very much keeping them down – in part by destroying their own self worth. It’s also interesting in that it shows this, shows the blatant discrimination, the patronising dehumanisation, the lack of the weaker faction in any places of power, while at the same time having the legal fiction of equality – showing the limits of such legal equality, even while it is important.

Fangs for the Fantasy Podcast Returns!

After a summer hiatus our podcast is back!

We will be starting again tonight at 7:00pm EST (12:00am GMT). You will be able to listen to us on our youtube channel, or by the link in the sidebar or by the post here that will be posted. We hope to see you there

Like all  the Fangs for the Fantasy podcast(archives here) we read a book and discuss it on the show. 

To give people a chance to read along with us we include a list of our planned books of the week for the next few shows, so people can get the books, read them and join in the conversation.

13th October - 20th October: Allegiant by Veronica Roth
20th October - 27th October: Midnight’s Daughter by Karen Chance
27th October - 3rd November: The Prince Lestat by Anne Rice
3rd November - 10th November: Tempest Revealed by Tracy Deebs
10th November - 17th November: Under Suspicion by Hannah Jane
17th November - 24th November: Loki’s Wolves by K.L. ArmstrongM.A. Marr 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Links of Interest

Since we’re quite capable of losing hours to the internet if we’re not careful, we do come across some thoughtful discussion that are both relevant to Fangs and fire up the brain cells; here are some links of the past few weeks that have caught our interest

Please feel free to share your own links in the comments

This week we have a series of links about the vileness that is Game Gate, the misogyny that permeates it and the extreme lengths its going to.

A good summary for anyone who hasn’t been keeping up with this carnage

And another highlight just how horrendous this whole “debate” is.

This excellent examination shows just how little video game journalists actually talk about sexism - the petulant misogynists would have you believe it’s all consuming

And this is the lengths they will go to. This is nothing short of terrorism.

These two articles are both important as they have the words of two of the women who have been targeting - Brianna Wu and Anita Sarkeesian. Another prominent target is Zoe Quinn

We do not know the various writer’s histories nor can we guarantee that other posts on these sites won’t be problematic - but these posts definitely whetted our interest.