Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bedlam: Season 1, Episode 6: Burning Man

Ryan and Molly are reading the tarot in the much haunted house. Later they'll have a séance, then get out the ouija board. A candle falls over and burns Molly. And yes, Molly is this episodes haunting victim. - and this is a fiery ghost! Sets fires in mirrors, to pictures – definitely a menacing one

Ryan plays den mother and we're getting foreshadows of a relationship between Molly and Ryan. Lots of hints, lots of eye contact and lots of getting close to each other. Molly wants to move in with him elsewhere. She discusses him being gay with Kate but it's largely stereotype laden. They come together in tender caring and concern and love, kiss and spend the night together. Isn't it nice that he found true love with a woman rather than those anonymous hookups in gay bars.

Research points to a man who burned his family to death – including his sister who was the primary target – and his sister's boyfriend. And the sister looks awfully like Molly.

Kate is her normal caring sharing self. Y'know if I'd known at the first episode what I do now, I would totally have been cheering on the watery ghost with the lost bling. Despite her being so wonderful, Jed tells Ryan about the texts he's been getting telling him to save Kate – from number 2439. A number Ryan recognises form his research from a photo of Jed's mum. He goes to that ward but his ghost sight sees nothing. Get some ghost glasses.

The Vampire Diaries Season Three, Episode Eight: Ordinary People

This episode was all about the original vampires, and may I say that it's about time that they started building this plot and letting us know who the big bad is on this show. It all begins when Alaric and Damon show Elena some carvings on the old Lockwood property carved by Rebekah.  Apparently, the carvings have been there longer than Mystic Falls has been a town.  Apparently, the original family are Vikings who settled in North America for a better life.  Can we all agree that a Viking settlement in the middle of Georgia in the 980's, which btw is when the Vikings traveled to North America is ridiculous?  I guess we are supposed to ignore the ridiculousness of this, the same way that we were expected to ignore the way that Katherine supposedly traveled across Eastern Europe to end up in the U.K. last season.  The fact that they were all speaking English as well, I suppose is just another one of those happy occurrences.

Unable to figure out what the pictograms mean, Elena approaches Rebekah in the hope that she will explain what is going on.  It turns out that Micheal is their father and Elena threatens to wake him unless, Rebekah tells her their entire history. Michael treated Klaus like crap and was emotionally abusive to him, because he is not his son, but the son of the nearby werewolves.  Elena is certain that Rebekah will tell her the truth, because she is a 1000 year old vampire who has joined the cheer leading squad.  I am going to take this as the writers acknowledging that they know that Rebekah concerning herself with petty things like cheer leading and trying to become popular is ludicrous.

Damon decides to free Stephan and take him out drinking because he has sensed that Stefan has actually given up.

When Elena arrives at Rebekah's, she asks Elena to choose which homecoming dress is the nicest. Again, why is a 1000 year old vampire concerned about how she looks at homecoming?  When Elena threatens her, Rebekah attacks one of the models she has selected and tells her, "You do not threaten me, you will learn what I want you to learn." Finally, Rebekah is acting like the thousand year old vampire that she is, it's just too bad that it will be short lived.

Alaric and Bonnie have a heart to heart when she brings him the necklace that she was unable to destroy.  Alaric tells her that things will get better, and that he has been a Jeremy before.  I suppose Bonnie was expected to feel comfort from the whole boys will be boys speech. From looking at the necklace, Alaric learns that one of the symbols on the wall means witch. This is the last we see of Bonnie for the episode because having fulfilled her work as the resident magical negro on call, she goes back into the plot box.

Back at Rebekah's, they engage in more bullshit history, when Elena points out that "this area of the world hadn't even been discovered yet." (note:  this sentence excludes the fact that Natives had been living there for a good longtime. But hey, what's a little thing like erasure on The Vampire Diaries?) But hey, problem solved because Rebekah's mother knew a witch named Ayana, "who had heard of a mystical land where everyone was healthy, blessed by the gift of speed and strength".  I wonder how Ayana managed to contact Esther to tell her about the prosperous land considering there was no mail or telephone service at this time.

We learn that the feud between vampires and werewolves began when Klaus and his younger brother Henric snuck out to watch the werewolves turn, though it was forbidden, and Henric was killed for his troubles. Esther begged Ayana to save her son, but she told Esther that there is no way, and that they must say goodbye to him.  Alright, so not only do we have a community of Vikings who don't belong there, but they decide to include a token Black  woman out of nowhere. Yep, when they need woo woo, it's absolutely necessary to include token Black characters. Also why bother with including any kind of historical accuracy when it comes to this story.  No need to mention that Blacks first came to North America as slaves, because that would call into question all of the ugly founders day celebrations that occur in Mystic Falls.

Their conversation is interrupted however, when Damon calls Elena to inform her that he has taken Stefan out of his captivity.  The first thing that Damon does is offer Stefan a pretty young blonde woman to drink from.  Damon tells Stefan that he likes the edge, but that his problem is his inability to resist falling over it. For his part, Stefan is convinced that like Elena, Damon has not given up hope on him.  We know that Stefan and Damon are brothers, but I fail to understand why they have to keep referring to each other as such throughout the scene.Ooops, I know, family drama is the theme of this episode and to ensure that the viewer gets this, the writers intend to used it like a battering ram on us.

Friday, November 4, 2011

What Do The Actors of Being Human Have to say About Their Characters?

Review of Evil Ways by Justin Gustainis Book 2 of Quincey Morris, Supernatural Investigation

Okay, I messed up and read the second book in this series which is Evil Ways first.  That being said, I didn't find the story hard to follow at all.  I loved every single minute I spent reading this book, and I cannot wait to go back and read the first book in this series.

The characters are rich and varied.  I must report that we do have absolute erasure of GLBT, and disabled  characters though.   While the erasure is frustrating, it really has become par for the course as far as urban fantasy is involved.  Gustainis did include a man of colour and I am happy to report that he is no side character and plays meaningful role in the plot.  This is a rarity, because in most urban fantasy, people of colour are often reduced to side kicks whose sole role is to service the White protagonists.

Walpurgis Night is fast approaching and with it, the very high possibility that Satan will be unleashed upon the world at the behest of a very rich man who seeks to have his life extended. In preparation, someone is killing all of the white witches. Though the witches have all taken a vow to do no harm, that does not that they are completely defenseless.  As you may have guessed, all the witches are women.

American Horror Story, Season one, Episode Five: Halloween Part 2

For the majority of this episode, it felt like the writers were channeling,  the 1987 flick, Fatal Attraction.  This episode was largely about Ben's chickens coming home to roost.  When he gets home from the hospital with Vivien, Hayden shows up and he promptly slams the door in her face.  I suppose one cannot have the little woman finding out about all the ways in which he has been naughty.  When he runs into Terry later on the property while searching for Hayden, he accuses him of being a conspirator to Hayden's plans to which Terry laughs and responds with, "you don't even know what question to ask."  Even though the Harmons have been haunted since their first day in the house they are not really aware of this fact.  All they know is that their lives are falling apart and feel powerless to bring about and end to all of the pain.

This episode answered a few question of where or not Tate is a ghost or a person.  Tate and Violet escaped to the beach and were making out in front of a fire when they were approached by kids whom Violet wrongly assumed were wearing halloween costumes.  They began by taunting Tate about never leaving his mother's house out of a desire to avoid them.  When Violet challenges them, they leave only to show up again outside of the murder house. The kids quickly discover that Violet does not know who they are and so they tell her to look it up.  When it becomes clear that they are going to hurt Violet, Tate leaves the house running to draw them away. Finally, when he can run no further, the kids surround him and demand to know why he did what he did. One girl tells him that she should be a thirty-four year old woman with kids and a family. It's clear that Tate killed these people and that he is a ghost himself. Can I just say that I feel vindicated, I guessed from the very beginning that Tate is a ghost.  

Before Violet can go running after him when Tate bursts through the front door, she is sidelined by Constance.  Constance takes her back to her place and tells her that Tate is her son but she cannot tell him that Adelaide is dead. It was absolutely heartbreaking to look at Adelaid's pale body lying in the cold morgue.  Once again Constance made it all about her as she talked about her lack of immortality now that Adelaide is dead.  I wanted to sympathize with her, but I found that I could not even as I watched her put makeup on Adelaide's face.  Now, only in death, is Adelaide allowed to look like the woman that she was.

The Race Problem on the Walking Dead

'365-026' photo (c) 2010, miss_millions - license:

It is hardly surprising that the AMC series The Walking Dead is so incredibly popular given that comic series itself is popular. Going into this series the one thing this show had going for it was an absolutely solid fan base. Part of the problem with developing a television show from an already popular text is that you are given two choices, stick to the script with limited changes a la Harry Potter style, or slightly alter the script adding new elements, while enlarging, or eliminating characters altogether, which is the path chosen by Alan Ball on his work on True Blood. The Walking Dead has chosen to go with the latter which raises the question about whether or not the changes have been positive or negative.

One of the most glaring issues with race we see is the contrast between the original comics and the show. In the comics there were several characters of colour who were active members of the group and in fact, at times, were put into leadership positions. The same cannot be said of the television show, however, and this is evidenced by the absence of Tyreese.

In the comic series Tyreese is a co-leader with Rick. He’s one of the main fighters of the group, he’s one of the people the rest of the group look up to. He is respected, he is honoured, he is a valued and highly contributing member of the group. In many ways he fulfills the role that Shane fulfills in the television series - only without the arseholery that makes us wish for Shane to become a chew toy every episode. Most importantly, Tyreese could be counted upon to share the burden of leadership with Rick, matching him walker kill for walker kill. Tyreese is so skilled that upon being locked in a gym with walkers, her emerges unscathed with scores of kills to his name.

So where is Tyreese? Well, he is very conspicuous by his absence. But we do have T-Dog who doesn’t exist in the comics. If we contrast these two characters we see a marked difference.

What has T-Dog done? Actually done the whole series? In season one, his single action was to be attacked by Merle, and then drop the key that would open Merle’s handcuffs. His one action the whole series was to be abused by a racist and then fumble. In season two? He has cut his arm, was saved by Darryl three times (twice physically and with medicine) and otherwise hung around doing nothing. His injury even rendered him unable to look for Sophia.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Jeremy and Bonnie from The Vampire Diaries Chat at Eyecon Atlanta

Bedlam: Season 1, Episode 5: Committed

Phone rings in the middle of the night – and we have a new haunted tenant, Mark, Jed's friend - he answers the phone and hears a voice repeating “don't leave me”. He hangs up and it rings again. He pulls the cord out of the wall... and it rings again. Did I mention that Bedlam does do the Spooky well?

Of course going into the empty flat next door where he hears scratching and they find “Don't Leave me” written on the wall. Did I mention the spooky? I did, didn't I? And the writing keeps on coming back, of course and his pictures are also showing up there. And the spooky calls? Coming from his own flat. Again with the spooky. We need to mention the spooky. And the spooky is – a ghost of a woman who committed suicide after being abandoned and betrayed by her lover – Robert Bettany – Kate's past relative.

Jed summons side-kick Ryan to do some grave robbing – to bring the two old lover's corpses together – but not soon enough.

Interestingly, this ghost touches on elements of stalking. I think there's something to examine here how they use ghosts to speak about other matters – mental illness, child abuse, stalking. It's actually pretty good how they can touch on these issues and their effects through this interesting lens. And the spooky. Let us not forget the spooky. And how it can be done with such a low budget.

Review of Bite Marks

Bite Marks amounts to 1 hour and 24 minutes of my life that I will never ever get back.  In fact, I am doing this review so that you will spared, losing any of your precious times watching this movies.  Grooming my dog, doing laundry, relining the cupboards, and moping the floors would have been a far more productive use of time and quite frankly 10 times more entertaining than five minutes of this movie. At this point you're probably thinking, tell us how you really feel Renee.

This movie is particularly frustrating because it was originally written for straight characters but the director decided to switch to gay characters in order to make it appealing to a gay audience.  This of course made room for all sorts of ridiculous tropes to appear.  Man sex on film does not suddenly turn a crappy movie into a good movie.

The film opens with Brewster attempting to have sex with his brothers wife.  I say attempt because in the middle of it he loses his erection.  He gets a call from his brothers Walsh's boss informing him that his brother did not show up for work and unless he covers his shift, he is going to be fired.  Brewster decides to go because his brother owes him two hundred dollars and he assumes that if he loses his job, that he will never get his money back.

The scene then switches to Cary and Vogel, who are boyfriends that are hiking across country in an attempt to grow closer together as a couple.  Cary wants a close monogamous relationship and for Vogel to be able to say that he loves him instead of me too, whenever Cary says I love you.  When they come to a highway, they decide to hitchhike for awhile because Vogel is tired walking.  Even though Brewster is headed in the opposite direction that they want to go, they hop in his truck when he pulls over.

Along the way, they stop at a truck stop and surprise, surprise, Vogel and Cary end up having sex in the washroom though you can hear flies buzzing about and they both claim the smell is horrendous.  Who the hell gets turned on in a bathroom stinking of human waste? Oh I know, gay men, because they are always horny.  When Brewster walks in to wash up before leaving, he sees Vogel and Cary having sex and is clearly tempted to masturbate, but instead returns to his truck.

Review: Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn, book 1 of the Kitty Norville series

Kitty is a werewolf. Though she has worked hard to keep it hidden from her friends and family – and certainly from her work colleagues at the radio station she late night DJs for.

At least she did, until one show got out of hand and suddenly she is talking the supernatural all the time. Her ratings spike and she grows ever more popular reaching out to people who want to talk about the supernatural – as well as a huge number of vampires and werewolves who want someone to talk to, to advise them and who understands them

Now as an ever growing and ever more famous personality who is openly supernatural she faces a world that is rapidly changing as the supernatural is revealed and acknowledged. Further she faces her pack – and the local Vampire Family – who are less than pleased with her independence and her public revelations.

There's also a travelling preacher moving from place to place – offering faith healing and a way to change supernatural creatures into humans. He seems legitimate to an extent – but none of the people who go for his cure are ever seen again

And there's the pack. The pack that is not pleased by Kitty's independence and is in turmoil from her increased dominance and refusal to accede to her alpha's demands – as well as jealousy from Meg, the alpha female who fears being replaced.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Alexandra Breckenridge AMERICAN HORROR STORY Interview

FX’s psycho-sexual thriller, American Horror Story, from executive producers Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, revolves around the Harmons, a family of three who moved from Boston to Los Angeles as a means of reconciling personal anguish and getting a fresh start. But, they quickly discover that their new home comes with its own kind of baggage, as numerous heinous and terrifying acts have occurred there, and the property itself seems to have a strange effect on its residents.
During a recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Alexandra Breckenridge talked about sharing the role of the Harmon’s housekeeper with Frances Conroy (all the women see Conroy, while all the men see her morph into Breckenridge), what a treat it is for her to be working on the show when she’s such a fan of horror movies, how the maid uniform helps her with the physicality and style of the character, and being terrified to work with the iconic Jessica Lange. She also talked about her role on True Blood this past season, doing voice-over work for Family Guy, and what she loves about photography, as an artistic expression. Check out what she had to say after the jump:
alexandra-breckenridge-american-horror-story-imageQuestion: How did you get involved with this? Were you looking to do another TV show, or were you approached about doing this role?

ALEXANDRA BRECKENRIDGE: I’ve been doing television for what seems like a really long time, but I just got the audition for it and I really liked the part because it’s something that I haven’t played before. It’s so creepy and eerily sexual, so I was really excited. I really, really wanted it. I read for it literally just one time, and that was it. I got really lucky with this part.
When you read the pilot, was it easy to see the mood and feel that they were looking to go for with this, or did that come more from talking to them about their vision for it?

BRECKENRIDGE: When you’re reading something, your imagination goes and you see it in your mind. Sometimes my instincts with that are right, and sometimes they’re wrong, but in this case, they were right. I think I visualized it in my mind and created the character in the way that they visualized the show.
american-horror-story-imageHow would you describe this show to someone wondering whether or not they should tune in?
BRECKENRIDGE: It’s so hard to describe. To me, it takes the best parts of my favorite classic horror movies and spreads them out over a season of television. It’s really high-quality television, comparable to HBO, in my opinion. It’s scary and it’s really twisted.
What do you think Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk bring to the horror genre that makes this show uniquely theirs?

BRECKENRIDGE: I just think they’re such complicated, creative people. They’re so intelligent. Their writing, their character development and their plotlines are so elaborate and so shocking. They know that what shocks and terrifies them is going to shock and terrify other people. Just the way that they weave all of those elements together is completely unique to anything that’s been on television.
How much were you told about this character and what her history is, when you signed on, and how much have you been learning about it as you go?
BRECKENRIDGE: I knew nothing. It was a very small scene that I auditioned for. They’ve been telling me character points, as I’ve been shooting the show. I did have some ideas about the history of the character that I can’t elaborate on, but I did have my own ideas and most of them were pretty much what they had in mind for the character.
American-Horror-Story-imageWith so many flashbacks in this show, will viewers get to learn about the history of your character and what her agenda is throughout the season, or is that going to remain a bit of a mystery?

BRECKENRIDGE: Luckily, with this show and the way that they write, you get answers to questions pretty quickly. You’re not going to be sitting around wondering what’s going on for six years, like with Lost or something. It explains things quickly enough, which I appreciate, as a viewer. I like to know what’s going on.
What’s it been like to share this role with Frances Conroy? Do you spend any time working on the character together?
BRECKENRIDGE: The thing is that we’re playing very different parts of the same character. Both of our intentions are completely different, so we don’t do a lot of character work together because it’s just extremely different. My intention is totally different from Frances’ intention.
Do you watch any of her mannerisms, at all?

Read the rest of the interview here

Review: Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia, book 1 of Monster Hunter Nation

Owen had an odd childhood. His father, convinced of various end of the world scenarios, brought him up to be a solver, a warrior and a fighter through and through. Owen had other plans. He wanted to be normal, to distance himself from all that – so he became an accountant. As normal as it was possible to be

And the plan worked. Until his boss turned into a werewolf and tried to eat him.

In the aftermath he was recruited by Monster Hunters Inc. A private company of dedicated hunters who go into the dark and blow it up. Then shoot it until it stops moving. Then shoot it some more. Then cut up the remains and burn them to ash. And they get to play with the best toys.

And never was he more needed. An ancient threat has returned, guarded by some of the mightiest vampires in the world and capable of literally destroying time itself. But they don't know where it is – or how to stop it. The only key they have is Owen, tied to monster, to try and shed some light on its plans before the world ends.

In the meantime Owen has to adapt to his new life, with his new companions, deal with daily evil – and contend with the growing antagonism of the federal government that has little time and less patience for independent monster hunters.

And of course there's a woman. She's beautiful, strong, courageous – and she's a complete expert with all kinds of firearms. What more could Owen want?

Wednesday Reboot: Twilight

On November 18th, Breaking Dawn will be released and the Fangs for the Fantasy crew thought it might be a good idea to review the series as a refresher.  This is actually a difficult undertaking, because so much has already been written about this series, but we will attempt to make it as fresh as possible.

For those who are unfamiliar with Twilight, I will simply say that it involves Bella Swan moving from Arizona to Forks, where she meets and falls in love with Edward Cullen.  Edward is a vampire, but he differs from other of his kind, because he survives solely on the blood of animals. The movie is largely based around their romance.

The Twilight juggernaut is aimed solely at a YA market, but it has managed to capture the imagination of adults. Bella Swan is written to be virtually a blank character, with the sole purpose of being easily identifiable, so that anyone reading the story or watching the movie, can picture themselves in her role. Unfortunately, this decision also means that she is easy to manipulate.  Edward tells her that she is like his "own personal brand of heroin" and that he has never thirsted so much for a humans blood, yet her response is that she is not afraid.  Bella continues with this position, even when he tells her that he is a monster and a murderer. 

Who doesn't run screaming at that kind of admission?  To be clear, we all have skeletons, but the idea that murder is just one of those things that is excusable, because we are dealing with a supernatural being is ridiculous.  Where are Bella's survival instincts? Instead of worrying that she could be in danger, when she meets Edward's family, she is more concerned that they won't like her.  Bella is so blank, that she might as well be as supernatural as Edward because she hardly reads as human.

Edward is that creepy stalker guy that most women want to avoid.  Charlie's behaviour towards him is almost threatening at times, but it really is cliche. Come on, cleaning his gun before meeting his daughters boyfriend.  Edward has given Charlie no reason to distrust him, and it reads more like Charlie is protecting his daughter from predatory teenage hormones. Yep, gotta keep the family vagina pure. This of course distracts from the point that Edward really and truly is dangerous. He stares at Bella like he wants to consume her continually, and he sneaks into her bedroom at night to watch her sleep.  None of this is romantic, and in fact falls into the category of needing a restraining order.  Edward is obsessed, rather than in love, and I think this point is ignored in much of this series.

Catherine Hardwicke, who directed this film, attempted to match the source material as much as possible.  This means that if you were already familiar with the book before seeing the movie, the film offered the viewer nothing new at all. It felt as though she didn't want to take risks with the story. I understand that at the time Twilight the movie was made, that the story already had a slew of fans, but that certainly does not mean that the source material was perfect - in fact, it was far from perfect. Hardwicke lost the opportunity to infuse Bella with a personality, and reduce Edward's creepy stalking behaviour.

Bedlam: Season 1, Episode 4: Hide and Seek

We begin with Kate and Jed sniping at each other – both kind of on the out of line side – I don't think the argument shows either of their stellar side. Jed lashing out at Kate because of what her dad did and Kate lashing out at Jed because she hasn't slept well, is in an arsey mood and is, well, Kate. Yes Kate is still sleepwalking and seeing women killed with bags over their heads – which I assume links back to the missing women we heard about from grace in the last episode.

Kate decides to blow off steam with her married lover (just in case we've missed the coding about Kate not being a very nice person – see, she's wearing a slinky red dress and going to seduce a married man?! Jezebel! Hussy!). Ugh, I don't like this I really don't. We've already established how nasty Kate and be, she's dismissive and insulting to Ryan and Molly, she's downright vile to Jed at times and in the last episode she was all kinds of nasty to Sadie. She's nasty, we get it. Now can we not use extremely sexist sexual coding to make her the devil woman. We don't need it and it leaves a bad taster in the mouth.

Kate's in a bad mood and Warren (Evil Dad) decides to cheer her up by showing her an old film of her granddad performing experiments on people. Kate, not being irredeemably evil, doesn't find this overly comforting. She does, however, go and scope his wife's lover – and reveal their affair without revealing herself.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fangs for the Fantasy podcast, Episode 39

This week we discuss:
The Walking Dead
The Vampire Diaries
American Horror Story

The Gilda Stories by Jewell Gomez
Death's Hand by SM Reine
Iron Duke by Meljean Brook
Evil Ways by Justin Gustianis

Where do the Bedlam Ghosts Come From?

Have you ever wondered about the real story behind the British show Bedlam? Where do these ghosts come from, and how tortured were they in life to lead to such an unhappy after life? Well, now is your chance to find out.

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher, book 13 of the Dresden Files

This was a heavy book with a plot that tied itself in knots - and my mind with it

Harry is dead. Shot with a high powered rifle, his body falling into Lake Michigan. Dead and gone – and his friends have had to spend the last 6 months without him, grieving and dealing with the world.

And the world is not a happy place. The Red Court is dead, one of the most powerful forces in the supernatural world. The power vacuum begs to be filled and dark powers from across the world are rushing in to fill the void, to raise themselves up to be the next great power. In particular, the fomori are staging a massive come back, hitting talents across the US. And for Chicago, dark times are darker by the lack of Harry Dresden. As a Warden of the White Council, and as a wizard who had faced down some of the greatest and darkest powers of the world, his mere presence made sure Chicago was safe. Now he's dead – and the dark things are coming out to play.

Except there has been a celestial irregularity. Someone broke a rule – allowing Harry to return as a ghost. Ghostly Harry lacks most of his powers and can't affect the real world, but he still has a mission – to find out who killed him.

Except Harry also has to see what Chicago has become in his absence. His friends are fighting a desperate battle, wounded by his loss and the war at Chichen Itza, they are fighting a desperate struggle and he can't abandon them. Dark things on the street are committing atrocities he would never have tolerated before – and he can't let that pass. And vast powers are rising over Chicago, over his city – and he can't stand by and ignore that either – not even to catch his murderer.

Enter To Win Blood Work: An Original Hollows Graphic Novel

The Fangs for the Fantasy crew are huge fans of Kim Harrison, and that is why this month we are delighted to give away one hardcover copy of:

Hot-as-hell, tough-as-nails detective Ivy Tamwood has been demoted from homicide down to lowly street-crime detail.  As if rousting trolls and policing pixies instead of catching killers wasn't baed enough, she's also been saddled with a newbie partner who's an earth witch.  It's enough to make any living vampire bare her fangs.  But when a coven of murderous witches begins preying on werewolves, Rachel Morgan quickly proves she's a good witch who knows how to be a badass.

Together, Ivy and Rachel hit the mean streets to deal swift justice to the evil element among Cincinnati's super-natural set.  But there's more to their partnership than they realize - and more blood and black magic in their future than they bargained for. 

Kim Harrison, author of the New York Times bestselling Hollows urban fantasy series, was born and raised in Michigan.

Those who already follow us through Facebook, Goodreads, GFC or Tumblr are eligible to enter. Simply leave your contact information including your email address in the comment section. Note: The email address must be in your response to be valid. Be sure to let us know where you follow us in your response.

This contest closes November 15th at 12:00 AM EST 

This contest is now Closed

Once Upon a Time Season One, Episode Two: The Thing You Love Most

This was an extremely interesting episode.  It was filled with commentary seldom scene on television, alongside some pretty normalized racial tropes.  Who knows, maybe the creator of this show intends to stretch Disney's version of what constitutes a fairytale.

Emma Swan decides to stay in Storybrooke because she is concerned for the mental health of her son Henry.  Regina Mills (Evil Queen) attempts to calm her fears and set her up by mentioning that Henry is in counseling.  When  Archie Hopper (Jiminy Cricket), Henry's psychiatrist,  the exchange is something I cannot ever remember seeing on television.
Emma: No, I'm here about Henry. Just tell me something, this fairytale obsession, what is causing it? I mean he thinks everyone is a character in his book, that's crazy.

Doctor: I hope you don't talk that way in front of him.  The word crazy is quite damaging. These stories they are his language...For the sake of the boy, be careful how you handle his belief system. Destroying his imagination could be damaging.
 Crazy as a pejorative is part of our everyday lexicon.  People think nothing of associating all sort of acts with being crazy without any sort of understanding of how this effects those who are neurologically atypical.  In Henry's case, though what he is talking about is far outside of the normal experience, we, that is the viewer, know that Henry is indeed correct. 

Outside of social justice circles, it is extremely rare to see such forthright consideration for the language that we use and the fact that terms that we have normalized have damaging consequences. Emma calling Henry's assertion that they are all fairytale characters crazy, was her was of dismissing him and it was reductive.  It is only later in the show that she learns to "speak Henry's language" and address his concerns respectfully.

Review of Lost GIrl Season Two, Episode Six: It's Better to Burn out than Fae Way

Last week, the network screwed up and re-aired episode 5, instead of episode 6, greatly upsetting many Lost Girl fans.  It was with baited breathe that I sat down to watch this new episode after the unintentional 3 week hiatus, only to be BORED. 

An artist is running around town spray painting dark fae secrets on a wall that feature The Morrigan and Bo's nemesis Vex. The Morrigan hires Bo to find Jason, after Vex accuses The Morrigan of hiring Jason to paint a picture of him killing a vampire and killing The Scorpion Man. To get Bo to agree to hunt Jason down, The Morrigan tells her that she is in love with him.  I have always known that Bo is not the sharpest tool in the shed, but really?  REALLY?  Why would a supernatural creature who has demonstrated absolutely zero respect for human life suddenly fall in love with a human?

While there, Bo finds out that in her day job The Morrigan works as a muse and an agent.  It seems that she purposefully inspires artists to create, and then uses Bianca, her fae assistant to get them to agree to turn over all of their profits to her.  The side effect of this is that the artist slowly turns mad.  Bianca is able to do this because she is an zenyatta - an Italian fae who can control humans inner motivations.  Despite the fact that The Morrigan finds her indispensable, she treat Bianca like crap.

Bo's little investigation quickly comes to halt, when she learns that Jason is violent however, her desire for self preservation is put on hiatus when The Morrigan offers her the key to free Lauren from The Ashe's influence forever.  Bo called it an offer she couldn't refuse.  Yes, a cheesy play on The Godfather, in an episode that was devoid of a single scene that was well acted. I really think that Vex's performance in this episode particularly should earn him at the very least a Razzie nomination for worst guest performance by an actor.

The entire story comes to a head when Bianca hires a sex worker to kill Vex.  Can I just say for the record that in reality, the person must likely to be subject to violence is not the john but the sex worker.  Oh but wait, who comes rushing to his recuse?  Why it's Bo and Kenzi of course.  Vex has only attempted to kill Bo repeatedly but yeah, rush in there and save his life.  Bo did have the pleasure of shaming Vex for the perfectly acceptable fetish of BDSM. Keep in mind that Bo feeds on people through engaging in sex, but Vex is a pervert for getting his groove on.  I suppose if you're not doing it for sustenance, you are a naughty, naughty boy.

The Winner of The Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus

Okay folks, today is the big announcement.  The winner of our latest giveaway


Jennifer Shaw

Congratulations and thanks for entering.  You will be contacted via email and from there have 48 hours to respond with mailing address.  If we don't here a response from you within 48 hours we will be forced to choose a new winner.  Please stay tuned for our next exciting giveaway.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sneak Preview of Episode Five of American Horror Story

I don't know about you, but I wanted more of Quinto after the last episode.  Are you curious to find out what happens to Ben and Vivien next? Check out this preview of Wednesday's upcoming episode.

Review of The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook Brook 1 of the Iron Seas Series

The Iron Duke is essentially set in an alternate reality during Victorian Time. Rhys is the saviour of England because he freed the people from invaders named the Horde by crashing into the tower. The tower held some sort of instrument which controlled the people through nanoagents implanted in their bodies through the consumption of food. These nanoagents allowed the Horde to control all emotions, movement and sexual activity. Mina, the female protagonist is the result of something called a frenzy - horde induced group sexual madness, in which her mother was raped. So devastated was her mother upon seeing her that she ripped out her own eyes.

Rape was a major feature in this novel because consent is clearly coerced throughout the story. When Mina shows up at Rhys' home because a body has been dumped on his property, this small interaction is enough for him to determine her his because he experienced lust for the first in a very longtime. Rhys' says to Mina, “I want to possess you. And if I want something I find a way to have it (pg 167)." I know that we are talking about Victorian times, in which women were the properties of their father's until their marriage; however, Rhys' determination of Mina as property when he had absolutely no claim on her whatsoever, only serves to drive home how little value Mina's personhood is really worth.

When her brother goes missing, Rhys offers to look for him, if Mina agrees to share his bed, with the full knowledge that her family did not have the resources to search on their own. "After paying the taxes, which were hardly lower than the Horde had demanded, and wages for the cook and two maids - far fewer than the town house needed, even with most of the rooms closed up - all together Mina's family earned just enough to scrape by" (pg 52). Obviously by any reasonable standard the family was not truly indigent however, what constituted poverty in those times, in specific circles, is quite different than today; this fact that does not make Rhys' proposition any less disgusting. On several occasions, he forces a kiss upon her, though she makes it clear that she is not interested in him. Mina even attempted to squeeze his genitals in an effort to force Rhys to keep his distance, but instead of causing the horror that she planed, it arouses him. She rejects him with words, with violence and even with a weapon, but Rhys is determined that he can make her want him. I do not know how many more times Mina could have said no, or how much more vehement she could be in her refusals.

Bedlam: Season 1, Episode 3: Inmates

So, we begin with Kate have a... vigorous work out with her married gym buddy. And yes, that was a euphemism. Now I'm leery about this – in the last 2 episodes we've seen that Kate isn't all that nice of a person by any stretch – but I wouldn't want this to be another not-so-subtle indicator of what an unpleasant person she is. Yes, she is knowingly having an affair with a married man (and talking about how hot it is that she might catch them) but he is the one cheating – I don't want this affair to be all about what a bad person she is when he is far more at fault.

And we're introduced to Sadie, this episodes ghostly haunting victim. She bonds with Jed over their mutual stay in mental health units as patients. I was actually leery of this given their past actions with mental illness – but it touches on a few issues quite well - how isolating it can be – how their friends dropped them when they became ill (or apparently ill, in Jed's place) – the fretting of family members over how you are – and doubting your own actions. Especially with the ghosts messing with her. It also calls out some of the spiteful jokes and behaviour from Kate (which is, again, raised to the next level this episode) which very much needed doing.

The whole haunting of Sadie has an extra level of being disturbing due to Sadie's own worry about how it could be related to her mental illness – whether the paintings were defaced by her, the boxes left by her – that doubt seems very real and very well portrayed.

I am leery for the reasons for this haunting – it feels a little like she is being attacked – being punished – for being tragically the victim in the past

The Walking Dead Season Two Episode Three: Save the Last One

This episode begins with Shane and Otis running from the walkers and Rick and Lori sitting vigil over Carl's sick bed.

In the trailer Carol is crying, as Andrea sits at a table trying to assemble a weapon.  Darryl clearly cannot sleep with the noise and so he gets up taking his clip from Andrea, saying that he is going to walk the road to look for Sophia.  Dale questions whether or not this is a good idea, because it is still dark but Andrea quickly cuts him off.  I thought this was a nasty thing for Andrea to do and Dale did have a point about safety issues.

When Andrea questions whether or not Sophia is alive, Darryl tells her that when he got lost as a child while his father was in prison, and his brother Meryl didn't even know he was gone.  He believes that Sophia has an advantage, because she has people looking for her.  When they run across a man who tried to hang himself to escape, but became a walker because he didn't know enough to shoot himself, Darryl asks her if she wants to live, Andrea answers that she does not know.  To keep his promise he shoots the walker with an arrow, and then complains about it being a waste of an arrow.  Is it me, or does Darryl not have a history of taking back his arrows after he uses them?  How is it a waste when he could have removed it from the walkers body?

It looks to me like they are setting up Andrea and Darryl for a romance, which is actually quite sad.  If you have read the comics, you know that Andrea and Dale really loved each other.  Their relationship was good even though Dale had insecurities regarding the large age difference between them.  Does anyone prefer Andrea with Darryl over Dale?

Back at the school, Shane crawls through a window and falls from about two stories to the ground hurting his leg. Even though IMBD says that Shane is going to be in all of the episodes this season, I kept hoping that he would fall on his head. No such luck, and Shane lives on.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Grimm, season 1, episode 1: Pilot

Oooh starts with Eurhythmics “Sweet Dreams are Made of This” I like it already. That's an extra fang right there. And I legitimately jumped out of my skin when the furry thing got her. So here's the start – good music and me nearly falling out of my seat – I'm impressed.

So we see Detective Nick who sees dead people monsters and his token black sidekick Detective Hank (ok maybe I'm jumping the gun, but let's see, my cynicism is rarely wrong).

I'm going to try and review without too much of a recap to avoid spoilers. Of course, if it's bad I'll have to recap so fit in more snark, it is known.

Nick has to confront his family legacy – yes he is seeing monsters. Seeing people morph into monsters, their faces transforming but only to his eyes. Passed to Nick by his aunt – who also tells him that his parents were killed – they didn't die in a car crash. Yes, dead parents.

Everything the brothers Grimm wrote about was real – and a Grimm is a human that can see the monsters that hide as people and now that legacy and ability has fallen to Nick, the last of his family now his aunt is in a coma. Along with the really nifty looking key and a collection of awesome medieval weaponry (though, hey, the gun worked. Just get a bigger one). His aunt works as a librarian – but after and attack she is hospitalised the nurse says she is covered in scars – a stark reminder of the cost of their ability.

A young woman has already been maimed – and now a child is missing. Nick jumps into action but we also see the limits of his ability – he leaps up and sees Eddie - a man whose face shifts into a werewolf (well, Blutbad) and leaps on him as the kidnapper. But just being a monster doesn't make you the monster. I have a feeling Eddie is going to be Nick's guide to all things supernatural, since Nick has only just inherited his powers and his Aunt's library without any training or knowledge

The Secret Circle: Season 1, Episode 7: Masked

Time for another adventure with the Scoobies! More love triangles, moooore teen angst, moooore Melissa scrambling after the others holding their coats and a plot line that takes us as many new and exciting places as a ride on a Merry-go-Round.

Cassie and Faye are in Wilson's Antiquities shop, buying Hallowe'en décor (Naturally you go to an antiquities shop for all your Hallowe'en needs. You could go to a costume shop but then there's much less chance of you picking up an actual magical/possessed book/artefact/doll which summons demons/explodes/kills you at the party. C'mon, got to follow the Hallowe'en horror script!) And they're going to have a Hallowe'en party (Mean Girl Faye is already in the spirit – wearing a scarf rather than an actual top. Of course this is totally not coding for revealing clothes = evil/nasty woman, right? Oh nooo) since Cassie's grandmother is away. Yes, that's right, several inexperienced teenaged witches together, unsupervised, in a house on hallowe'en. What could possibly go wrong? (For the answer, please check the Horror section of your local Blockbusters and rent... everything). For some reason Cassie and Faye are shopping together. Why? They don't even like each other very much – why would they do this?

The owner of the shop, Calvin Wilson, recognises Cassie's name! How spooky (or, y'know, small town) and when she hands him her credit card the mirror behind him shatters – damn Cassie, that's a seriously awful credit rating right there. Lay off the QVC girl. Calvin is Asian so lets take bets on the fate of this Man of Colour: A) he gets killed (preferably protecting Cassie & Co) or B) a villain. Cassie's grandmother confirms that he's a witch – another witch family. How many witch families are there in this place?

Cassie finds a shard of the blade used to attack her back in Episode 6. She decides to hold on to it and show Grandma – hah! No, of course she doesn't, that would be sensible! After all, she's just found out that complete stranger Calvin Wilson is a witch – she'll go show it to him instead! Evil!Jake (Nick's long lost evil brother who, we found out last episode, is a witch working with witch-hunters to kill witches, because his witchy family used magic that killed them just like witch-hunters do – yeah, it didn't make sense back then either) turns up and she tells him her plan.

Evil!Jake rushes ahead and threatens Wilson with magical death via a witch killing jar if he helps Cassie (oooh, option C – victim!). Shockingly, he fails to recognise his role in life and doesn't sacrifice himself to help her (hey, there's a whole series left, I'm sure he'll get round to it). But Cassie see's a blade like the shard and destroys some of his merchandise so she can take pictures for her own research (was that really necessary? What, there's a no camera rule in the shop?)