Saturday, May 25, 2013

Warehouse 13 Sneak Peak

Like Defiance, Warehouse 13 is also having a week hiatus and will be back on the 3rd of June. Until then, we have a sneak peak to keep you going

Save Me, Season One, Episode Two: Take It Back

Beth is sitting on the toilet and thanking God, saying that she is honored to be a prophet of God. She says that if ze is open for feedback that she is not sure that she is the best choice because she doesn't take direction and is not a religious person.  We get a flash to Beth dressed as a nun saying, "lord have mercy," as she is being spanked. Beth adds that they really hurt someone, even if she Carly is Tom's mistress.  Beth adds that she just want to learn from her mistakes with Tom and move on.  We get a flash of Tom visiting Carly in the hospital.  Beth asks God to stop talking to her and pick someone else. Emily walks in and is shocked to find her mother praying on the toilet and complains that it is constant before walking out.

When Tom returns home, Beth asks how Carly is doing and he replies that the doctors say that she is in a coma.  Beth responds that at least Carly is not dead because that would make it a felony. Tom says that Beth is a former weather girl who now controls the weather and asks her if she is trying to get her fifteen minutes of fame back.  Emily loudly announces that she is entering the room and asks Beth not to electrocute her.  Beth tells Emily that she hopes she is joking and that she wants her to feel safe in her own home.  Emily quips that her friends on Facebook have dubbed their home the house of horrors and that horrors is spelled with a W. Tom tells Emily that he is sorry she found out about his affair but that he is still dad to her, when she calls him by his first name. Emily tells Tom that she never said he wasn't her dad but calls him Tom again.  Emily leaves to hang out with a friend. Tom says that not only does Emily not want to hang out with them but that they have become the pariahs of the neighbourhood. Beth says that they have fallen from grace and brings up the potlucks they used to have.  Tom responds that this was two personalities ago before leaving the room.

Beth admits that Tom was right and says that this is when God told her to win back her family and friends, she would have to start by doing the right thing.  Beth then knocks on  Maggie's door and says that she is starting up their Sunday night potlucks again.  Maggie closes the door in Beth's face saying no thank you.  Beth knocks again and hands her the coffee maker that she borrowed.  We get a flashback to a drunken Beth hanging off of Elliot, Maggie's husband.  Maggie intervenes and tells Beth that it is time to switch to coffee. Beth heads into the kitchen and then steals the coffee maker. Maggie admits that she knew that Beth stole the machine and says that she doesn't want it back because she bought a cheaper version so that every morning her watery latte would fuel her rage against Beth.  Beth comments that this doesn't sound healthy but Maggie says that it provides her with a bigger jolt than caffeine ever could.  Beth barges into the kitchen and Elliot walks into the room saying that he is going to the gym.  Maggie warns Elliot to be careful and says that he is going to get hurt. Maggie asks if this is threat and Elliot asks who is going to hurt him.  Beth admits that she was told this and Elliot responds that he would be happy to make a referral for a psych consult.  Beth assures them that she is fine and tells them to give the potluck some thought before leaving.

Jenny is over at Beth's and she asks if it's a feeling or a voice.  Beth responds that after it's more of a feeling but that after he/she says something that she cannot ignore it. Beth adds that  it like when you dream of eating something and then cannot remember what it tastes like.  When Jenny agrees that she hates that, Beth takes comfort in the fact that Jenny is not scared of her.  Jenny admits that Pete is a little because their power keeps going out since the lightening storm. Beth admits that she is honoured that Pete thinks that she can control the weather. 

Tom is at the gym when he is asked how he knows that God is talking to Emily. Tom then turns to Elliot and asks if Emily knowing about his affair is going to permanently scar her. Elliot replies that the only scars he is qualified to speak for are the ones he can prescribe vanishing cream for. Tom replies that he wishes he could make this whole thing vanish. Elliot adds that Beth is sober now and that they are still together, so it should count for something.  Pete suggests that maybe it's the devil talking to Beth. Tom again protests that no one is talking to Beth.  Elliot brings up the fact that his father had an affair with their mailman and Tom immediately corrects him and says mail woman but Elliot again asserts mailman and says that the mailman woke up at their house.  Elliot says that he knew about his father's affair but even after his parents divorced, his father wouldn't admit it, or talk to him about it.  Ben asks Elliot if he wanted his father to talk about it and Elliot responds that it would have helped him process it better.

Beth is going through her recipe book and says that she is making a simple pasta.  Jenny agrees to make a salad, so Beth responds that a four person potluck is still a potluck.  Beth then turns, looks at the espresso machine and offers it to Jenny.  Jenny says no thanks because she is strictly a green tea girl and suggests that she sell it on ebay. Beth replies that she is supposed to be making amends and not a profit, so Jenny suggests that her church takes all kinds of donations.  Beth thinks this is perfect and asks if she can go with Jenny to church. Jenny says that she would love to have a church buddy besides Pete.

Beth brings the espresso machine with her to the church.  When she walks in, everyone is singing Praise the Lord I Saw the Light.  Beth says that she feels like she is home and gets up and starts to sing, even though she has never heard the song before.  Beth instantly knows the words.  After the service, Beth approaches pastor Jim with the esspresso machine but he says that one of their parishioners gave them a restaurant grade machine recently.  Beth then tells the pastor that Gods talks to her and he encourages Beth and says that she is special.  Jeremy interrupts and says that God talks to him as well and that Pastor Jim is going to live to be 240 years old.  Beth asks if when Jim said that she was special, if he meant like Jeremy is special and Jim replies that they are all God's children. Beth says that she is trying to be a better person and that she is going to need to hear that God's does not exist in Jeremy's toy dog.  Pete and Jenny walk up and Pete says that Jeremy once told him that he could perform psychic surgeries.  Beth calls Jeremy nuts and Jenny admonishes her not to be rude.  Jim adds that they don't cast judgement here.  Beth says that she thought churches specialise in judgement and that she needs to be separated from Jeremy because she is not the crazy one. Beth admits that God talks to her but not through a toy chihuahua but through her mind with a gender neutral voice.  The room goes silent and everyone stares at her.

Save Me, Season One: Pilot

The episode opens with Beth Harper talking about how she died on a stormy night, in a marriage which had gone bad. She stands over Tom with a hammer, after discovering his affair and quickly decides that killing her husband is no way to deal with a hangover.  Beth heads downstairs and raids the fridge but supposedly chokes to death on a sandwhich.

The next morning, Tom comes downstairs and sees a mess all over the floor but no Beth. She bursts in and tells him that she choked on a sandwich and thought she was dead but she is still alive.  Tom asks her if she is still drunk and Beth leans in and kisses him. Beth tells him that she has loved him since they day they met and is glad that she didn't bash his head in last night.

Beth decides to go for a run to celebrate still being alive but is forced to stop and puke in her neighbours recycle bin. We get a flashback to the night before of Beth partying on a coffee table, as the people around her stare. Beth heads home to dump the alcohol down the sink and her daughter Emily enters the room.  Beth asks Emily if she would like to go and see a movie and Emily tells her that she is now pretending to get a text message about something else she has to do and then pretending to feel really bad abut it.

Beth goes running again and says that she has become the source of Emily's teen angst.  Later that evening, Beth goes to Emily's room and says that she is going to do better. Emily tells her where the door is in case she needs directions. Beth tries again and tells Emily that there is magic in her and that she knew it the first time she held her.  All of a sudden, it appears as though Beth has read Emily's mind and brings up Ben, the kid Emily was making out with earlier.  Emily calls for help and Tom comes running.  Emily complains that Beth suddenly knows about Ben and that she calls all of her friends Jessica because she once had a friend named Jessica. Tom asks about Ben and Emily quickly deflects.

Tom goes to see Beth who is jumping up and down on the bed.  He starts to tell her that he wants a divorce but Beth cuts him off saying that what he really wants is an explanation for her behaviour. Beth spurts out that she choked on a sandwich and died Friday night and that is why she feels so different, so alive. Beth adds that ever since it happened, she knows things she shouldn't know.  Tom tells Beth that she has given him a lot to think about, as he backs out of the room to go and sleep on the couch.

When next we see Tom, he is in a hotel room with Carly McKenna explaining that he couldn't tell Beth about the divorce because she was jumping on the bed talking about how she had died. Carly suggests that Tom get Beth a catscan saying that if she is clean, it's an act, because no one just bumps their head and goes crazy. Carly adds that Beth has him just where she wants him and says that she has to run because her boss is kind of a knob.  Tom says that she is upset and Carly replies that she thought that today was the day they were going to start living their lives outside of the hotel.  Tom tells her to get the puppy they were talking about as a way to pacify her.

Back at the house, Emily wants to know how Beth knows about Ben and asks if she is spying on her or reading her text messages.  Beth tells Emily not to worry about it and adds that she wants to know all about it. Emily tells her that she is annoying and weird and that she is not going to just open up to her. When Beth responds that this is a start, Emily says that she is not going to do this with her again and pretend that everything is normal.  Tom walks into the room and asks Beth if she  cooked and Emily replies, "only in the very broadest definition of the word."  Emily leaves the room, as Tom asks what's on Beth's mind.  Beth answers that it turns out that God saved her and Tom points out that she has never even been to church.  Beth says that God has been talking to her and has told her to tell other people.  When Tom asks if she is a prophet, Beth says yes and that the label feels good.  Beth tells Tom that God is pissed at him because he is hurting Emily and that Emily can smell perfume on his clothes when he comes in at night. Tom asks if Emily told her that and when Beth does not respond, Tom asks if God is going to smite him now.  Beth announces that first thing in the morning they have to get a catscan to see what is going on with her and Tom quickly agrees.

Defiance Sneak Peak & Shinies

While Defiance is having a mini-hiatus and won't be back until the 3rd of June we do have some shinies to keep you happy until then

A Sneak peak of the next episode:

One word interviews: Characters of Defiance describe each other in one word.

An interviews with Grant Bower (Nolan)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Limerence (Obsession #2) by Claire C Riley


Mia’s life is going well. She has a job she enjoys, she’s madly in love with her fiancé, Oliver; he’s just found a new job that promises to pay well and be both intriguing and challenging. She has her family, she has her friends, everything is looking bright

Until Robert Breckt, Oliver’s new employer comes to tow. Rich, powerful – and a vampire. A vampire who quickly becomes utterly obsessed with Mia in a way that defies all reason or restraint. Breckts obsession consumes him in his pursuit of Mia, just as his powers slowly batter at her life, drying to draw her to him.

Mia has to fight to hold on to what she wants – what she truly wants – and walk a difficult maze between love and obsession.

This is a review that is going to be a difficult one for me. Because it’s exactly what it says on the tin, we know exactly what it is and it does that extremely well. But what it does isn’t something I’m a big fan of. While at the same time I am very impressed with the cleverness of what it does do.

The book is called “Limerence.” For those unfamiliar with the term, Limerence is a sexual obsession – it’s being romantically attracted to someone and having a complete and utter obsessive need to have that romance reciprocated beyond all reason.

And that is exactly what is portrayed. Actually, it’s a little disturbing that what this book very accurately labelled as “Limerence” in so many paranormal romances is portrayed as “true love”. It makes me wonder if the author is trying to make a commentary on the truly horrendous behaviour that is excused in the name of romance in the genre in general. Even if they haven’t, it does an excellent job.

Dead Like Me, Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot

In an interesting way to introduce the protagonist, George (Georgia) Lass narrates a myth about how death got into the world – with lots of fun snarkiness.  Then shows us her and her cynical, too-cool-to-care, but definitely sarcastic view of the world, being good, caring et al. Bad people are punished by society’s law (we see an armed robber get gunned down by the police) and good people are killed by murphy’s law (we see a woman trying to coax a cat from a tree, falling and dying).

Georgia is sat in a waiting room when Delores, her Happy Time Career Councillor (who is very happy indeed), comes to collect her. Georgia has a… thin CV with little experience or education (she has Food Management experience –apparently a fast-food worker). Delores comments on how less-than-sunny Georgia is especially since being so happy got Delores so far and Georgia returns with her cutting observation of how not very far that is.

At home we get a sarcastic run down of her family, her mother playing the “I told you so” game about Georgia quitting college and Georgia being snarky and passive aggressive and wilfully using the word “moist” which her mother thinks is pornographic.

Sarcastic commentary begins the next day when her mother chivvies her out of bed to go to the new temp job (with Georgia being lazy and fighting all the way). Her mother lays out clothes – Georgia says they’re funeral clothes and her mother says “there’s going to be a funeral if you don’t move it.” As the snarky narration informs us – those are the last words her mother ever says to her. Boy is she going to be sorry.

Turns out the temp job is the one Delores gives to people she hates and it involves spending all day in the bowels of a warehouse barcode scanning piles and piles of files. She quickly begins to slack to spite Delores but, even as she tries her best to do very little, everyone else was doing a lot less. And she drops a file down an elevator shaft – which takes talent. She faces the fate of spending the rest of her life in a dead end job. Literally. Though the rest of her life is only 30 minutes

On Amazon's Self-Published Fanfiction

'Writing' photo (c) 2008, Tony Hall - license:
Amazon is launching a new idea - self-published fanfic.

I can’t say I’m an expert in how it works, but it seems that certain people who control the rights to certain stories (and they’ve already got several, including The Vampire Diaries), give Amazon permission to license any author to write stories based on that original fiction and sell it for royalties.

In other words, you write your, for example, Vampire Diaries fanfic, self-pub it through Amazon and you get money as well as whoever owns the rights to Vampire Diaries (and, we assume, Amazon gets a big stash of cash as well).

This has caused rather a lot of kerfuffle, as you can imagine.

In fandom, there is a lot of concern about this changing the very culture and point of fandom itself I can understand some concern in fandom that the fanfics they now enjoy could actually just be a practice run for being published. I can see that, and I can see the sense of how the community is being exploited that way - as some kind of collective beta-readers or testing the waters. Except isn’t that already a risk? Look at 50 Shades of Grey - we’re in a world now where it’s apparently acceptable to re-name your fanfic characters and present it as an original work. Sure, 50 Shades is an AU (Alternate Universe) so more easily adapted - but the point remains, authors can already tweak their worlds and characters to present their fanfic as AU - or at least life huge chunks, like characterisation, from their fanfics to an original story. Or Stories.

I can certainly understand the idea of a changing culture - since fanfiction may be moved behind a paywall - and anything that you do for sheer joy does change when you do it for profit and gain. If it becomes prevalent, there will be a shift in fandom culture, in the culture of just doing this for fun, in the culture of just doing it for love. There will be people who look not for the fandoms they love, but for the fandoms that are the most popular, the fandoms they can be sure they will be able to make money out of. Once one goes from extreme love to calculated exploitation - even among a relative minority of writers - it’s going to change the culture.

But is it really going to be that widespread? After all, there are vast archives of fanfiction out there; are people going to buy what is so readily available for free? Again, I point to 50 Shades. There is a limit due to Amazon’s “no adult sexy times!” rule which is probably going to limit a... fair amount of Fandom. But I think we can’t think of it in just those terms - this is the first step and it’s possible Amazon will remove that restriction in the future - or another company may come along and decide on their own unrestricted version. Again, pointing to 50 Shades, there’s money to be made here which means this Amazon project may just be the first of many attempts to monetise fanfiction into published works.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hammer of Witches by Shana Mlawski

Baltasar Infante is a story teller in Spain at a time when Spain has finally united and actively seeking to purge it's borders of anyone who has not converted to Christianity.  Being a Jew puts him and his family in a precarious position but when his father, the legendary Moor sorcerer pays him a visit one night, it brings Baltasar and his aunt and uncle to the attention of the Malleus Maleficarum.  Baltasar is forced to flee the only home he has ever known and when he gets a prophecy from the Baba Yaga that a great force is traveling west to end the world as we know it, Baltasar knows what he must do - kill the great Amir al-Katib.

As much as this story is about folklore, magic and religious persecution, it's also very much about colonialisation.  Much of this story takes place on Columbus's famous voyage west in 1492.  When the Baba Yaga speaks of a force moving west to destroy the world, what she is talking about is how colonialisation will destroy indigenous cultures and wipe language and history completely off the map.  Even if a single battle had never been waged, the diseases the Europeans brought with them alone would have been enough to start the genocide which did eventually occur.  Being Spanish, Baltasar could not conceive of the fact that it was the Spanish who were the threat.  This is framed as is part of his optimistic nature rather than his Eurocentric view of the world.  

Mlawski drew on a lot of folklore to write this book and it is evident.  There were golems, unicorns, and many other fantastical creatures from a host of mythologies.  It helped to make the world Mlawski created not only diverse but absolutely engaging.  To use his magic, Balthasar had to rely on his ability to synthesize folklore and take elements from it. The magic was also different according to race and gender. The Ayiti having a different belief system than Balthasar showed that even though their culture was different and perhaps not at technologically advanced that they were powerful in their own right. Then there is Catilina who uses the Joan D'arc spell to present as male because there are thousands of stories in which women must become men or appear to be men to gain a modicum of respect.

The Walking Dead 2013 Special (Comic)

I think this comic - or, rather, 4 comics together - were both very good and very bad. And yes, I am that awkward.

From a storytelling style perspective, I wasn’t very impressed. Each comic consisted of someone monologuing. I have to say the justification of the monologues wasn’t terrible - Michonne and her loneliness, her need to connect causing her to speak aloud. Morgan trying to salve his own conscience and talk to Duane. The Governor almost gearing himself up to do what he thinks he has to. Tyrese... actually, even with a very sympathetic eye I can’t really think of a reason behind his monologue.

But they are monologues. And even the most justified monologue tends to be more than a little convoluted. There are just very few occasions - unless your character is laid back on a psychiatrist’s couch - where your character will talk about their history, life and emotions in such depth.

Now, from the perspective of a fan of the series, of someone who has read the comics and watched the show, of someone who likes these characters a lot and is fascinated in their story, this comic is excellent. Not much happens, but we see far more of the feeling and emotion behind these characters and what drives them - we have some history and depth behind the character actions in the comics. Some of them have been touched on already - but seeing them and hearing them in this context - the loneliness of Michonne and her need to remind herself that the zombies she’s bringing are not monsters, but were people, people she cared about once. Morgan’s final realisation that society is over, that it’s not coming back and it’s not going to be rebuilt - his grieving acceptance of a new world and reality while he moves on for his son. Tyrese and the fraught relationship he has with his daughter’s boyfriend (honestly, Tyrese’s storyline is pretty much pointless and doesn’t really add anything to the story or character development). Even the Governor and us seeing another step he took down the road that lead him from being a normal person to the monster he became.

They’re not long, they’re not in depth and they don’t add essential elements to the story - you could continue the story without ever reading these; but it’s a testament to the realness of the characters in this series that even without advancing the plot, I wanted to hear their story.

It’s also interesting that the characters followed and expanded on here are all POC. If I were being cynical I would say it’s because they needed more expansion - and that certainly would apply to the TV series, but the comics are considerably better at racial representation. The fact they are POC is a testament to the comics creating compelling non-White characters.

Grimm, Season 2, Episode 22: Goodnight, Sweet Grimm

“And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

In their hotel, Eric and Baron Samedi are having a great time preparing for the next night, eating a fine dinner and discussing their stocks of zombies. So intrigued is Eric by zombies that he simply has to have a demonstration – sacrificing a man he’s employed for 7 years so he can see the process himself.

Time for Nick and Juliette to have their awkward and difficult conversation over, well, everything. After some excellent acting and trying to address the hugeness of it all, they settl on they love each other

Elsewhere, Baron Samedi has decided to go all out for the full Voodoo appropriation ensemble. No idea why, he seemed quite capable of directing his zombies without make up and dramatic magic circles before. Maybe they thought they were being too “subtle”?

In Austria Frau Pech is cooking up a spell, including a “doppleganger” ingredient. Adalind, in her hotel, has her meal doctored by Frau Pech (who controls the waiter), knocking her unconscious and allowing Frau Pech to extract what looks like spinal fluid from her neck. Nasty.

And in Portland Rosalie has just made pie for Monroe and proving she can be just as adorably neurotic as he can before the sexual tension finally has them in each other’s arms.

Get your neckbraces because the show is zipping all over – Renard gets a call from his minion in Austria passing over all the details from the files he found – including the photograph-less passports, death certificates and body transport permits.

Got that? Good, zoom to next scene – Zombies on public transport! Zombies in the street! And they’re all fast zombies too which it totally cheating

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Fangs for the Fantasy Episode 123

This week we discuss the season finale of the Vampire Diaries. We also look at Game of Thrones and discuss nudity on that and Da Vinci's Demons. We talk briefly about Defiance and Orphan Black

Our Book of the Week is Tempting Danger by Eileen Wilks

Our next books of the week are:
20th May - 27th May: Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig
27th May - 3rd June: Shapeshifted by Cassie Alexander
3rd June - 10th June: Binding the Shadows by Jenn Bennet
10th June - 17th June: The Fury by L.J. Smith
17th June - 24th June: The Mermaid’s Madness by Jim C Hines

Untimed by Andy Gavin

Charlie is an odd boy who moves through life unnoticed. Literally. People don’t see him, people look away and even his own mother forgets his name. He is utterly forgettable.

Until he runs into and battles a clockwork man and finds himself falling through a portal to 18th century London – and meets a girl who can see him, a girl who can remember him, a girl who is out of time like himself.

But Yvaine has her own problems, a child, and a cruel gang she’s had to join to survive the streets of London who is not so quick to abandon her life to help him back to his own time. But more than their own stories, their presence has damaged the time, especially the accidental death of a young Ben Franklin. Now the future itself has been drastically changed and it’s a scramble to see if they can fix it, save Yvaine’s family and learn more about themselves

But there’s also a question of not just whether they can fix it – but also whether they should.

This book is definitely one to get your teeth into – a complicated time traveller world, leaping back and forth up and down the time line and trying to ensure the future stays right.

Of course, one of the advanced questions it asks is what is the right future, really? After all, how can any of them be sure what the time line is supposed to look like? Are the Tick-Tocks trying to bring about a change back to where they, their technology and their future is dominant – or are they fighting to bring back a future that was that other time travellers have already changed? Are they restoring the time line or changing it? Is it a time-travellers duty to change the time line? Is it their duty to preserve it?

It’s a wonderfully twisty, confusing world with lots of potentials and lots of excellent unknowns. We don’t know this, they don’t know the answers. The clues are scattered throughout time and need considerable research and translation to decipher the keys of history, to discover which individuals are pivot points on which all of time can change.

And the story isn’t about that

Oh, this complicated world certainly takes up a lot of the book. It influences everything and is part of everything and every decision has to consider it and a huge amount of it is explored. But this isn’t a book about philosophy or temporal musings with lots of dry info-dumps. This is the story of Charlie, clumsy new time traveller stumbling through the world and these revelations. Much of this he learns through trial and error and occasional insights and philosophies from people who, they themselves, have only a limited understanding. We get this excellent world show cased through the lens of a character and his more mundane wishes – trying to get home and his burgeoning relationship with Yvaine. In other books I’ve complained that an excellent world and concept has gone unexplored in favour of telling a clichéd romance – but in this book it works. This book needs the mundane to anchor the philosophical, it needs this basic, human story to balance the abstract of the concept and the world. It needed grounding so it isn’t all theoretical and concept dominated.

Podcast rescheduled for TONIGHT

Now that our technical difficulties have been resolved (or so it seems) we are rescheduling the podcast for tonight at our usual time of 6:30 EST

As ever, if you miss any of our podcasts, they will be available in our archives.

A reminder of our books of the week

13th May - 22nd May: Tempting Danger by Eileen Wilks
22nd May - 27th May: Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig
27th May - 3rd June: Shapeshifted by Cassie Alexander 
3rd June - 10th June: Binding the Shadows by Jenn Bennet
10th June - 17th June: The Fury by L.J. Smith

Warehouse 13: Season 4, Episode 14: The Sky's the Limit

Artie is watering Leena’s plants and begging them not to die. His mournful rant at the plant is overheard by Jinks and Claudia before he rapidly brings up a ping – 2 jockeys falling into comas after winning races outside of London. They won the racers despite being longshots, were in perfect health and their bodies were completely drained of adrenaline. Sounds suspicious – but no-one bet on these horses. Claudia can’t believe he’s not coming to England with them – but he has to talk to Mrs. Frederick about the Regents - which causes Jinks to have a guilty start, which makes Claudia very very suspicious. Especially since Jinks is a terrible liar.

And Artie wants them to bring back a tin of digestives. And rightly so.

There’s also a suspicious woman watching the warehouse from a distance. She says “I know where he is, and I know how to get to him.”

Pete and Myka are re-shelving inventory – which means Pete playing with Artefacts until Artie shows up with a job for them in Vegas. Where a man apparently fell out of the sky on a golf course.

To Vegas! Where Myka learns the dead man was already dead before he hit ground (well, golf cart) – apparently from altitude exposure. Pete has his ID – Luke Rose from New Mexico – and his hotel room which is the next port of call.

Inside they find three passed out men and evidence of considerable partying, half empty booze, a piñata. One airhorn blast later and they’re ready for stunned and confused interviews. Unfortunately after the tequila fountain everything’s kind of predictably fuzzy. Emptying their pockets they find fliers, matchboxes etc of the places they visited.

The restaurant, hotel and bar all remember the party as loud, obnoxious and terrible tippers. The strip club remembers them as good tippers – and the man talked about “floating” to the stripper. Pete suggests a long term investigation of the strip club, Myka gives him a look and they change it to a 20 minute mutual search.

Meanwhile outside it starts raining casino chips – until another body falls from the sky. I’m sure from that distance there’d be more… splashing.

Defiance Season 1, Episode 7: Brothers in Arms

A busy day at Defiance market when a Castithan man spots a human man who is apparently looking for him and we have a chase scene until the Castithan trips and falls. The man thinks he’s got him, points his gun – only to have the Castithan throw an explosive and almost escape. Until Nolan comes out of nowhere, pins him and cuffs him. The man who was chasing points a gun at Nolan for stealing his target then they recognise each other, Nolan calls him Eddie.

To the Lawkeeper’s office where Nolan takes his old friend Eddie’s guns (Defiance maintains a no weapons policy for visitors). Eddie’s a bounty hunter for the Earth Republic and the Castithan is wanted in Yuma. In the cell the Castithan is being treated by the Awesome Dr. Yewl and recognises her. He praises her for her amazing scientific achievements during the Pale Wars, but promises to keep them secret. In particular he mentions the “Biodyne project”. He tries to get her to let him out with strongly implied blackmail, Yewl tells him he has the wrong person.

Eddie just wants Nolan to deliver the Castithan, but Nolan wants him to stand trial in Defiance since his explosive took off a grocer’s leg. Which is when Tommy comes in to confirm who the Castithan is – Pol Maddis, the Castithan who invented that particular explosive. He’s a weapon’s designer, a very talented one, who made weapons during the Pale Wars. Eddie’s bringing Maddis in for warcrimes which Nolan cynically notes must be worth a lot of money to him.

To Need/Want for a drink and Eddie trying to make his seeking a pay day seem more acceptable. And Irisa arrives and isn’t that impressed with Eddie since he’s making disparaging comments about Irathients when she comes in – but he remembers her as a little girl and considers himself her uncle.

The argument doesn’t end – Nolan wants Maddis in prison but Eddie still wants his payday so Nolan gives him some money- for drink and a prostitute. Eddie has his eyes on Kenya and there’s an awkward moment when he realises Kenya and Nolan are together – but Nolan steps back and recognises Kenya’s choice to do her job.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Generation V (American Vampire #1) by M.L. Brennan

Fortitude Scott has a degree in film studies and unable to find anything in line with his education, he works in a little coffee shop and struggles to pay his bills, though his family is enormously wealthy.  He avoids seeing them as often as possible because Fortitude is a vampire who at this early stage in his development, is far more human than vampire and his beliefs and concern for humanity does not mesh well with his vampire family.  This means not feeding from his mother as often as he should and being a vegetarian but if it will stave off the final change, it's a sacrifice Fortitude is more than willing to make.

Unfortunately, not being fully transitioned means that Fortitude is far more vulnerable than he even realises at first.  When Luca enters his mother's territory and makes clear that he has a penchant for abducting and abusing young girls, Fortitude's far too human nature will not allow him to look the other way.  His mother is forced to hire protection for him in the form of Suzume Hollis - a crafty Kitsune.  Suzume turns out to be so much more as she helps Fortitude explore a world of supernaturals that he spent his entire life trying to avoid after his sister Prudence killed his human parents.  To rescue a missing child, Fortitude must immerse himself in super natural culture and face the reality that no matter how human he appears, he is indeed a vampire.

When I picked up Generation V, what I expected was the typical angsting vampire story that we have been treated to, especially because of Fortitude's desire to remain human.  This has long been a common trope in urban fantasy when it comes to vampires and it makes very little sense. Brennan deals with this by showing the cruelty of vampire nature as an absolute negative.  None of the vampires in Fort's family cares that Luca is a murdering pedophile and that is reason enough for me as a reader to see the coldness of a vampire nature as something to avoid, rather than to aspire to.  Brennan has also made other changes to what we have become accustomed to as modern day vampire lore.  Rather than being immortal for instance, vampires are simply long lived.  They reproduce by creating Renfields and then breed them with each other to produce a child.  This causes vampire reproduction to be very slow and in Europe, they are actually in danger of becoming extinct. They also become more vulnerable to the sunlight as they age.   So as you can see, there are just enough changes in vampire lore to keep it interesting. 

Movie Knight (Black Knight 2.5) by John G Hartness

This short story is really really short – and includes an excerpt from the first book as well. I admit, it was short enough that I almost had a little tantrum about it – but then I double checked how much I actually paid for it and put the tantrum aside – it’s also very very very very very very cheap. 

And it’s perfect for what it is – little introduction to the first book included. If you have not read the Black Knight Chronicles (and it is a series I recommend) then this story gives you a perfect taster. It would work really well in an anthology of other short stories to bring in readers – but as a cheap little introduction it’s also ideal for people to dip their toes in

Of course, the problem from that is that my review is also really really short. This is painful for someone as long winded as me.

It does everything an introduction should do. You get to meet the three main characters getting a basic sense of who they are, what they do and how they interact with each other. In a few short scenes we really get the feel of James’s voice, his hopes towards Sabrina and his deep friendship with Greg and his wryly amused, self-aware look at the world.

You also get some neat exploration of the world – the various creatures are hinted at, some of their contacts are touched on without taking up an undue amount of space or time. You can see how they generally move through the world, deal with whatever comes their way

It also gives a great sense of tone, humour and writing. It’s almost exactly like one of the full books in miniature giving you a great taster of what the main storyline is really like.

For people who have read the original books, I won’t say it adds anything in particular. It doesn’t advance any storylines, it doesn’t bring any new revelations. It does add, perhaps, a few more angles in some cases but, at the same time, it has a rather dodgy continuity error which was rather annoying (James was surprised by a revelation that he already knew about in a previous book).

But it is a fun little adventure, in a style I love and if you liked the other books in the series it’s a fun diversion.

Game of Thrones, Season 3, Episode 8: Second Sons

In the Riverlands: Arya & the Hound

Arya wakes up early and decides the best alarm clock will be a heavy rock applied with force to the Hound’s head. Unfortunately, he’s a light sleeper. Time for them to ride off and he warns her that there are men worse than him out there – she disagrees that there can be men worse than him and he points to his brother who is Not a Nice Man. He adds that there are violent people and rapists out there; and how he saved Sansa from the latter not long ago.

He’s also not taking her to Kings Landing – he’s taking her to the Twins to be with her mother and brother, for ransom. He also tells her about her uncle’s upcoming marriage.

Dragonstone: Mellisandre, Gendry and Stannis the also-ran.

Gendry is taken to Stannis who examines him and declares he is half-Robert and half low born. Gendry is taken away to be given a comfortable room and Stannis doesn’t see the point with lots of analogies to slaughtering a lamb. Looks like Gendry is headed to sacrifice.

In the dungeon, Davos is continuing to learn to read (and quite pleased by his progress) and Stannis drops in for a very awkward visit and belated condolences for his son. He also tells Davos about Gendry’s upcoming sacrifice – and Davos isn’t a big fan of Stannis killing his own nephew. Anyway Stannis has come to release Davos so long as he swears not to raise a hand against Mellisandre – he agrees, but adds he won’t hold his tongue and pushes further that Stannis doesn’t want to, why else would he release Davos just before the sacrifice of Gendry, knowing Davos would speak against it?

Stannis is still caught up in Mellisandre’s visions though – and of a battle in the snow.

Gendry is stunned by the wealth of his room and Mellisandre and he talk about the contrast between how they lived as poor people and the nobles; how he is unsure about every luxury, afraid he will have to pay for it. She instead turns to her religion and how to “draw” his power from him using the rituals of her god – which naturally involved nakedness and sex. The Lord of Light also requires kinky bondage and all this sex to happen with her fully naked and him with his trousers on. Oh and leeches. Yes leeches – and she brings in Davos and Stannis to watch.

Mellisandre is into some very very unusual kinks.

Taking the3  leeches full of special powerful king’s blood, Stannis casts each into the flaming brazier each with a name – usurper Robb Stark, usurper Balon Greyjoy and usurper Joffrey Baratheon.

Kings Landing Sansa, Shae, Tyrion and a whole lot of angst

Sansa is being primped by a stony faced Shae when Tyrion comes to visit. Feel the tension in the air. It’s their wedding day and Tyrion tries to reassure her that it wasn’t his decision but she won’t be a prisoner – though he reflects being married to him is a different kind of prison. It’s not great reassurance but it’s sincere. After much flailing, he promises her that he will never hurt her.

Meanwhile, Margaery is playing super-duper friendly to Cersei who Does Not Like It but has to put up with it. Cersei tells a passive aggressive little story about House Rain that was the second-wealthiest in the land, just like the Tyrells, and how it challenged House Lannister and how the Lannisters slaughtered them. What a pretty little story. She adds that she will have Margaery strangled in her sleep if she ever calls Cersei sister again. Well, that was overt. It seems Cersei has given up the subtle manoeuvring against the Tyrells. Hey, Margy, you’re marrying her son, you could always call her mother!

Sansa emerges – and Joffrey steps forward to give her away (they could not possibly make this wedding any worse). One long walk past all the assembled dignitaries to Tyrion’s side, where he removes a stool. The ceremony begins, which includes Tyrion putting a cloak (offering her his protection) across her shoulders, causing tittering across the crowd because Tyrion isn’t tall enough to reach Sansa’s shoulders without the stool that Joffrey removed, she has to kneel.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Podcast Cancelled


Due to technical difficulties, and talkshoe, again, not providing the service it's being paid for, we're going to have to cancel the podcast tonight.

It's frustrating to say the least. We will reschedule it for one evening this week as soon as talkshoe is working again. We hope this will be soon.

Until then, join us in swearing profusely in immense frustration.

The Originals: Claire Holt, Joseph Morgan, Danielle Campbell & More

Tempting Danger (World of the Lupi #1) by Eileen Wilks

Lily Yu is a sensitive – she can sense magic. It’s a useful skill and certainly helps her a lot as a detective on the San Diego police force, though it hardly replaces good ol’ policing. Certainly not when a brutal murder seems to have been committed by one of the Lupi – a werewolf.

The culprit seems immediately obvious – far too immediately obvious and an alibi addition certainly points to him being framed and, perhaps, the lupi being discredited. But the bodies start piling up, the evidence mounts and Lily isn’t sure who she can trust. Especially as dark ancient forces who everyone thinks are 400 years gone are muddying the waters

Then there’s her disturbing relationship with Rule, the accused werewolf. The compelling, supernatural bond between them is certainly a distraction.

Lily is a police detective who actually does detective work and thinks and reasons and plans it through. It seems odd in a genre that is full of PIs and cops and protagonists who work with the cops that these traits should be so rare, but they are. Far too many detectives in this genre rely entirely on their woo-woo to do all the work for them – or they just make a nuisance of themselves until the big bad tries to kill them

But Lily investigates, she uses police procedures, she cares about chain of evidence, she cares about warrants and laws and legalities. She uses logic and thought and deduction and police work. She faces office politics and has to navigate it as well as her genuine connections with the police on the force. Yes, she has woo-woo, but it’s not sufficient to replace police work, it enhances and adds to her abilities as a cop but doesn’t change her from being a detective to being a magical deus ex. And yes, she doesn’t exactly solve this present case through official channels, but she does work within them and exhaust them first.

Other interesting elements include federal agents who aren’t the evil clueless ones: not that I have any problem with police being less than saints, especially ones who seem to work with vast power and little accountability, – but I do appreciate a skilled detective working with the forces of law rather than showing them up with their super special specialness of extra special – especially since there is still that hope of legality and respect for at least the appearance of procedure. It’s interesting for sheer uniqueness if nothing else. It’s quite refreshing to see the federal woo-woo department arrive and not say “aha, we shall now squabble like children over the case!” but actually work together.

The world is excellent – it’s huge with many layers that are referenced and touched on. There’s information elegantly woven into the story so we actually get a really good idea of these different creatures and realms and gods and how they fit in. All of this has enough detail to actually give you more than just a name, but not so much as to actually derail the plot with lots of irrelevant information.

Orphan Black, Season One, Episode Eight: Entangled Bank

Art is looking at a Beth's ID picture and comparing it to the pictures of Sarah.  He asks Angela if she believes in doppelgangers and when Angela says no, Art then asks about twins.  Angela asks if Sarah ever mentioned a twin sister and Art slams the photo of Beth on his table in frustration. Angela reminds Art that they identified Sarah Manning as the Jane doe and says that they have to make a house call. Art grabs his coat and asks Angela to keep it between them until they figure out what is going on.

Paul and Sarah are lying in bed and he says again that they cannot go back to the townhouse. When she doesn't respond, Paul adds that by now Olivier has told Dr. Leekie about what he knows.  Sarah gets up in frustration and says that for a second, she forgot she was a clone.  Paul reminds her that Olivier believes she is the one killing the clones.  Felix enters carry a latte for himself and says that he couldn't afford them for Bonnie and Clyde. Paul tells Felix that Sarah is going to have to stay there for awhile and Felix asks if he needs a place to stay to, to infringe on his creativity and shag in his bed.

Sarah's phone rings and it's Allison and Felix quips that they should invite her too, so that they can all cuddle up and watch Grey's Anatomy.  Allison tells Sarah that she came back early and that Cossima filled her in on what is going on. Allison adds that she is taking a break from Cossima and Sarah because she needs to get her house in order. Sarah points out that this is what marriage counseling is for. Allison tells her that she is divorcing Donnie but that she is fine with it and that it was her decision. Sarah says that she is worried but Allison replies that she can take care of herself.  When Sarah heads towards her door, she sees a shadow. Sarah reminds Allison that she does not know who her monitor is but Allison says that she is reclaiming her life and asks Sarah to respect that.
Aynesley Norris let's herself into Allison's home and Sarah catches her looking through her mail. Aynesley is surprised that Allison is home early and says that she just popped by to water the plants.

Kiera is painting when there is a knock at the door. Before she can answer, Mrs. S stops her and sends her up to her room.  When she opens the door, it's Art and Angela and they want to know if she is the legal guardian of Sarah Manning. They inform Mrs. S that Sarah was shot dead.  Mrs. S asks when and they tell her November 25th.  Mrs. S points out that this was two weeks ago and Angela replies that identification took some time. Mrs. S asks again if they are sure that it was Sarah and Angela nods her head and asks if Sarah had any problems with anyone, and women in particular. Mrs. S asks why they would ask that.  Art replies that they cannot be sure of much about the investigation right now.  Angela asks if Sarah lived there with her and she tells them that Sarah moved out years ago when she came of age and that they weren't close.  Angela ask if Sarah had a sister and Mrs.S tells them that Sarah was an orphan and if she did indeed have a sister, it would have been news to the both of them.

Sarah is on skype with Cossima and tells her that neolution is bullshit but Cossima believes that it is an applied philosophy with profound implications for what she does.  Sarah asks if Cossima goes around black bagging her subjects. Cossima assures Sarah that it was mistaken identity because Olivier thought she was killing the subjects.  Sarah tells her that  Dr. Leekie is on the way and asks if she can expect the same sort of treatment. Cossima reminds Sarah that she brought Helena into the mix and Felix yells that this all happened because she got the science wrong.  Cossima insists that she didn't but Sarah tells her that they knew she wasn't Beth from the examination and reminds Cossima that she said their DNA was identical.  Cossima asserts that their DNA is identical and suggests that it was Sarah's sunny personality which gave her away.  Sarah asks Cossima whose side she is on but before she can respond, Felix says, "hang up, she's a freaky Leekie."  Sarah closes the connection between her and Cossima and says that Cossima drank the purple kool aid. Felix replies to hell with Cossima and adds that they can still save Allison.  When Sarah suggests that Allison is fine, Felix tells her that Allison is not fine and reminds her that Allison is divorcing Donnie. Sarah says that it's everyone for herself but Felix suggests that divorces do really strange things to normals and that they lose themselves and come downtown to find themselves. Sarah says that Allison is obsessing that one of her "bitchy friends is her monitor."  Felix believes that Allison's monitor is indeed Aynesley.

Aynesley is sitting on Allison's couch and Aynesley asks how the kids are taking the news about divorce. Aynesley expresses surprise about the divorce and comments that she knew Allison was unhappy.  Allison points out that everything Aynesley knows is by asking questions and prying constantly. Aynesley gets up and offers to coach figure skating tonight, so that Allison can relax.  Allison is not the least bit open to this offer and says that figure skating is her schedule and that whether her daughter is in attendance or not, she will be there.  Aynesley tells her that she needs some me time but Allison demands her house keys back. Aynesley replies that she knows Allison is in pain, so she won't ask for her house keys back and promises not to abandon her. Allison opens the front door and the minute Aynesley walks through, she closes the door, cutting off Aynesley in mid speech.

Olivier is at the hospital with Paul and the doctor says that he cannot restore Olivier's tail  because it was too badly damaged. The doctor says that it's a fascinating case but between the blood loss and the risk of infection in that area, he expects to keep Olivier a few days to a week. Paul thanks him and says that he will stay with Olivier until he regains consciousness.

Delphine gets into Dr. Leekie's car and he asks where she is with Cossima.  Delphine says that she is closer and says that Cossima made a pass at her.  Leekie leans into Delphine and says that Cossima's safety is at stake and adds that he needs to know which subjects she is in contact with.  Delphine reminds Leekie that Cossima needs to initiate disclosure and Leekie says that Delphine has to dig deeper and faster because this is a direct threat.  Delphine then gets out of the car.

Helena is eating candy and she pulls out an envelope addressed to mummy.  When she opens it, she fins pictures of Kira and a letter, which she reads.

Felix is sleeping when Sarah puts her foot in his face.  Felix warns that he is not going to hole up with her if she cannot sit still. Sarah gives up trying to call Allison but her phone rings and it's Art again.  Sarah does not answer saying that Beth doesn't live there anymore. Mrs. S enters Felix's apartment and comments that Sarah is alive and tells her about Angela and Art  notifying her of Sarah's death. Sarah says that she doesn't want to lie to her and asks what they said.  Mrs. S replies very little and adds that if whatever is going on, gets one stop close to Kira, that Sarah needs to yell fire.  Mrs.S says that they will burn the house they built for themselves in this country if they have to.  Sarah says that it's a promise.

Art goes to see Angela, who says that the facial reconstruction of the Jane Doe is going well.  Art then hands her a report saying that Sarah Manning jumped in front of a train.  Art tells her to check out the time of death and Sarah realises that this is four days before Sarah Manning was shot.  Angela says that Jane Doe cannot be Sarah Manning but Art reminds her that the prints match.  Angela says that twins brings it close enough to flag a match, even though environmental factors can usually differentiate. Art reminds Angela that Mrs. S said that Sarah had no relations but Angela says that Sarah is an orphan and Angela theorizes that they were triplets, separated at birth.  Art says that there is only one left to clear it up, just as Sarah walks into the station.

Sarah asks what this is all about and Art tells her that some questions came up about her work on the Jane Doe case.  Art says that she said there was no print match and Sarah asserts that there wasn't.  Art says that they ran it again and got a match.  Sarah feigns surprise and Angela walks in and hands her a picture of Sarah Manning. Sarah asks if this is a joke and Angela asks if she has ever seen her before.  Sarah answers in a mirror.

Allison is at the arena when a mother approaches to say that if she needs anything to just call.  Allison keeps walking without comment and walks straight up to Aynesley and Chad.  Allison asks Aynesley what she is doing there and Aynesley responds that she has this covered and that Allison is in no condition to be coaching kids.  Allison says that she is perfectly fine and tells Aynesley to leave. Aynesley reminds Allison that she is mad at Donnie not her.  Allison tells Aynesley that she told her to stay away but Aynesley is convinced that Allison is not herself. Allison warns Aynesley that if she wants to mess with her life, she will mess with Aynesley's before walking away.

Back at the station, Angela accuses Sarah of burying Jane Doe's fingerprints to hide her connection. Sarah asks what connection and brings up the fact that she doesn't have a sister.  Art says that Sarah Manning was an orphan and Angela adds that she had the same prints as Jane Doe but she killed herself days before Jane Doe was murdered. Art calls Sarah Beth and says that he just wants to know where she fits in.  Sarah asks to see the file but Angela reminds her that she is a civilian. Sarah quips that this is what Angela has always wanted. Sarah asks Art if she needs to lawyer up and Art replies, "I don't know Beth, do you?"  Sarah gets up and leaves and Art grabs the photo that Beth touched so that forensics can run her prints.

Allison walks out to her mini van and notices Chad, who is smoking a joint in his.  Allison sneaks up on Chad, who begs her not to narc to Aynesley because Aynesley will go ape shit.  Allison picks up the joint and takes a drag from it and says that this is the first weed she has had since college and asks Chad if he has anymore.

Book of the Week

Every week on the Fangs for the Fantasy podcast (archives here) we read a book and discuss it on the show. The review for the book of the week always goes up on a Monday

Our podcast now broadcasts at 6:30pm EST, which is 11:30pm GMT

To give people a chance to read along with us, every Monday we’re also going to 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 May - 20th May: Tempting Danger by Eileen Wilks
20th May - 27th May: The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
27th May - 3rd June: Shapeshifted by Cassie Alexander 
3rd June - 10th June: Binding the Shadows by Jenn Bennet
10th June - 17th June: The Fury by L.J. Smith

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Da Vinci's Demons: Season 1, Episode 6: The Devil

 We rejoin Leonardo dealing with his various visions with Al Rahim – particularly how he could have seen himself hanging in the cave when he was a boy. Al Rahim explains this with cryptic stuff which I interpret as a big ball of wibbly-wobbly... timey-wimey... stuff”.

Lorenzo is in Urbino, watching the rough and tumble Duke of Urbino fight several other men to prove how tough he is; which is useful since Lorenzo is there for mercenaries.

Back in Florence, Guiliano is moping over Becchi and Clarice Orsini, his sister-in-law wants to make sure he joins her for the upcoming party since, even if Lorenzo is home, he avoids them. She’s also flirting – if you call putting a hand on his thigh flirting – Guiliano ducks away and talks about finding the spy (though Clarice is convinced Becchi is the spy).  She goes in for the sexy shoulder rub. She’s interrupted by her physician bringing her an awful potion intended to ensure she will produce a male heir and she reflects on how the lack of male heirs may reduce the value and standing of the Medici name.

Back to Leo and Al Rahim points out the obvious, a land mass and direction “west” is not really going to get you anywhere. But he adds that the map is just a copy of a more detailed (and cryptic) original. To read it they need to find the cartographer who copied it, Solomon Uqbai, the Abyssinian. Unfortunately Uqbai is held prisoner by a savage warlord to the North while working for the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. And only Leo is smart enough to free him

Uh-huh, Tepes I take it? Leave Florence to go visit Dracula? Yeah, good luck with that then.

Al Rahim spins a coin which causes Leo to appear riding next to Uqbai who agrees that he “will” be captured. There is a brief moment of confusion explained by further “big ball of wibbly-wobbly… timey-wimey… stuff”. Leo accuses them of being cryptic which is freely admitted but it’s not like Leo isn’t at times. Cryptic cryptic and more cryptic, vague allusions to hell being evil being more overwhelming than hope and how special Leo is. He comes out of his little trance on horseback travelling with Nicco and Zoroaster.