Saturday, June 8, 2013

Wolf Lake, Season One, Episode Two: The Changing

Sarah is wearing a pendant and she is strapped to a bed and is clearly in pain. Vivian enters the home and asks is there is any blood or if  Sarah is in estress. Vivian orders a bathtub to be filled with ice but before that can happen, Sarah jumps out a window after hurting the man who was watching over her.

John is sitting in a diner and he is listening to a scanner using his computer, when Sophia approaches and offers him more coffee.  She asks to hear what he is listening to but he says no, believing that her father the sheriff would not approve.  This of course peaks Sophia's interest and John says that he is thankful that he doesn't have a teenaged daughter.  When Sophia leaves, John goes back to listening to the scanner and hears the police asking for a perimeter because they are searching for a suspect.

Miranda  sits down next to John and asks if it has occurred to him that nothing interesting happens in well lit places.  Miranda then dips her hand in his pie and John continues to listen but stands up sudenly when he hears that the suspect that the police are looking for is on the run.  John tosses some money on the table to pay for his pie and coffee and Miranda picks some of it up.

The sheriff is in pursuit and John is following behind on his motorcycle.  He pauses to look at a map when he hears that the suspect is headed for a creek and hears wolves howling. John shows up at a Joe's farm and then heads to the barn were the suspect was reported on the scanner. John turns on his flashlight and enters the barn where he finds a necklace with a pendant, with same markings as his girlfriends.  A girl is up in the haystack and he hears her but is attacked from behind by the cops and is dragged outside.  He threatens to kill Donner and Donner tells him not to threaten him one more time.  John says that he knows Ruby is in there and Donner says that he is sadly mistaken, as the deputies drag John to the squad car.

The next morning, Donner tells Willard Cates that the girl is at station 12 and is safe. Donner then says that John showed up on the scene and they were able to extract him before he got a visual.  Donner adds that five seconds later and it would have been the lead story at 7 o'clock. Tyler enters the room and Donner is not at all pleased to see him.  Willard tells them the story of the day his father died and asks what he is supposed to do.  Donner says that John is breaking the law and Willard points out that it's their law.  Donner argues back that it's his law.  Willard says that they all respect that Donner wanted to abandon his blood but the rules remain the same as they have been since the beginning. Willard tells Donner to bring his quarrel to him.  Donner tells Willard that Tyler is selling drugs to high school kids and when Tyler denies this, Donner says that Tyler is using an intermediary to sell drugs to high school kids.  Tyler asks if Donner is making this up as he goes along and Donner points out that the man in question has not been seen or heard from in over a week. Tyler asks if Donner is implying that he is a murderer and Donner responds that all he said is that the man is missing. Willard asks Tyler if he knows the whereabouts of this man and Tyler says no. Willard then asks Donner if he can substantiate his claims against Tyler and when he says no, Willard tells Donner to back off and adds that Tyler is to keep his nose clean.

Sophia and Luke are sitting down in a lab and she asks him how old he was and he replies 13.  Luke tells her that the first time is freaky because you don't know what to expect. Sophia asks if it hurt and Luke replies that it's all about the way your mind chooses to interpret it. Sophia then asks Luke how it was for him and replies that it was like somebody ripping the bones from his back. Brianna then enters the lab and starts to massage Luke's shoulders noting that he is tense. Brianna asks Sophia if she is making him tense and she grabs her things and leaves.

Donner is sitting down with John, who is in a cell and tells him that he interfered in a police pursuit, impersonated a local officer and resisted arrest. John asks where Ruby is and Donner tells him that what happened last night has nothing to do with Ruby Cates.  John shows him the necklace he picked up and asks him to explain it.  Donner blows it off as just a necklace but John says that it's a pendant, which just happens to match a pair of Ruby's earrings.  John asks what the odds are and Donner says that two girls from the same town with the same jewellery would never happen in a million years. John is not put off and asserts that the girl last night must have been Ruby. John suggests that Ruby is being held against her will and adds that she must have gotten away and that the local police force are tracking her down. Donner asks John if he has any idea of how crazy he sounds.  Donner then tells John that he is free to go as a gesture of good faith.  John argues that Donner had no reasonable grounds to hold him any longer.  Donner again says that it wasn't Ruby.  John asks who it was and Donner replies that it's none of John's damn business. John then asks what a runner is but does not wait for Donners reply.

In a medical facility, Sarah is in a cell and is screaming.  John is back in the diner on the phone and he tells Walter that the symbol reminds him of that wiccan case they worked.  John then asks if he is on forced sabbatical and Walter replies that the young co-ed is continuing to press charges. Walter says that the weird letters are called ruins and promises to run them down if John sends him a jpeg.

At another table, three teenage girls are gossiping about another 16 year old who is still a virgin. Sophia arrives at the table to deliver more food and she tells them that the girl they are gossiping about cannot stand Randy.  Sophia says that she could have taken care of urges herself and Brianna calls it gross and suggests that this is something Sophia should think about.  Sophia slams the food on the table and walks away.  John walks over to see Sophia and asks if the girls are giving her a hard time. Sophia tells him that if he is spying on her then he has really gotten desperate.  John claims that it was impossible not to overhear.  Sophia shakes her head and calls the girls cows and asks why they can't leave her alone.  John asks if the girl from last night was named Sarah and Sophia affirms that it wasn't Ruby. John asks if Sarah is in trouble and suggests that he might help but Sophia says that she has a four top waiting for coffee.  John stands and hands Sophia his phone number in case she changes her mind.

Follow the White Rabbit (Beautiful Madness #1) by Kellie Sheridan

When Alice was last in Wonderland, 150 years ago, she ushered forth an era of change.  Wonderland has never been the same  and now that a new Alice is about to make her appearance, the residents of Wonderland  are trying to find a way to control what is going to happen for their own benefit. All of the prophecies regarding her return which were once believed to be nonsense and a waste of time, are turning out to be far more accurate than once thought.

Coming in at 100 pages, Follow the White Rabbit is a novella and the introduction to the Beautiful Madness series.  I am not a fan of a writer using a novella to start a series.  It makes me feel like a beta reader, testing whether or not the idea is viable enough for a book. Due to it's format, Follow the White Rabbit falls prey to the predictable problem of nothing and I do mean nothing at all happening. Essentially, Sheridan used this first hundred pages for world building.  Considering that most people are quite familiar with Wonderland, thanks to Lewis Carroll's 1865 novel all we learned was who the White Rabbit is and who the Cheshire Cat is.  I am not convinced this much world building was necessary in a story which is familiar to the masses.

In essence, what Sheridan offered was a glimpse at a world which most readers are already well familiar with.  It's clear that there are going to be political machinations but beyond that, I have no real sense of what the ensuing plot will be.  I cannot even tell you for sure who the protagonist is because little time was spent with Alice and there were several characters who received equal treatment.

Sheridan has set up Wonderland as a matriarchy, with the world being divided in two and run by a white queen and a red queen.  The white queen is new to her position and full of ambition.  In the 100 pages of Follow the White Rabbit, she moved from being unsure of her self to confidant.  The problem is that we were given no real reason for this rapid growth.  We learned that the red queen is calculating but really, what else would you expect from the red queen?  Other than being a matriarchy, thus far, most of the characters were women and all had different strengths.  

If there should be a follow up book to Follow the White Rabbit, I would absolutely read it because while this is essentially a revamp of a story which most are familiar with, Sheridan's writing is engaging and very descriptive.  It was easy to get lost in the world building and Follow the White Rabbit left me wanting more because it felt like the story was just about to start in earnest when it ended.  

Follow the White Rabbit had no GLBT characters, and all White characters.  There was no exploration of any ism but at the same time, it was only 100 pages long.  The length alone does not preclude such examinations but at this point, it feels early to judge where this story is going and how inclusive it's going to be.  There is a lot of potential in this fantasy series to go fantastic places, so at this point, all I can do as a reader, is hope that this is the direction that Sheridan plans to head in.

Follow the White Rabbit is a great way to spend a rainy afternoon, but be forewarned that because it is a novella, the ending will leave you unsatisfied.

Editors Note: A copy of this novella was received from Netgalley

Friday, June 7, 2013

Mirrorfall (Require: Cookie series) by Grace McDermott

Stef, or Spyder, is a hacker, computer genius and an all round geek. Who has just been given a job that is compelling, fascinating and almost impossible – decipher indecipherable code. Code that resembles nothing on Earth. Code that she can almost comprehend and is driven to solve. Code that may not even be from Earth – nor her employers

At least until guys with guns show up and everything  becomes very confusing very quickly.

She’s always wanted to see magic and things beyond the norm – and now she’s plunged into the middle of it, torn between loving every second and running in terror of not being able to meet the challenges of her new world – or her new job as a field agent for the Agency. Police, facilitators – she’s joined the organisation that tries to bring some semblance of peace and order to a very chaotic supernatural world.

And her boss may be an angel. He certainly saved her life before.

In story terms I think there are 2 stories pushed together here. One is Stef discovering the world beyond the one she knows, being recruited for the agency and then actually joining up and becoming Ryan’s protégé. This is a good story and needed a lot of growth. Then there is the Mirrorfall which feels kind of rushed, addressed only in passing and to be made up of a whole lot of bad decisions and not very well explained. I feel the Mirrorfall could have been a separate story and we could have just focused on Stef joining the agency and proving herself and establishing he bond between herself and Ryan – things which badly needed doing.

I didn’t dislike the stories but they needed more development, and to move faster. We spend so much time on Stef’s internal dialogue and doubts with occasional lectures that not enough happens or develops. Which is a shame because with some development this could go from a good story to an excellent story. With some development the intriguing relationship between Stef and Ryan could have become powerful and fun and interesting and not a little rushed and with Ryan’s affection being understandable – but excessive in the brief period he’s known her.

Which is a shame – because Ryan, the man who is never remembered, connecting with the child he saved, the child he broke all the rules for, the child he would not die who then grew up and actually remembers him is poignant and powerful without the angsty monologues that are so often used to try and convey strong emotion in the genre. Throw in him not being seen as human or living by most people who see his true nature, but Stef’s unique outlook caused her to not only see that but embrace it joyfully and you have a powerful foundation. Or Stef and her past and thought processes negotiating this new world, bringing to it the unique perspectives of her mind and hobbies and how this brings new strengths and richness to her role and makes her a far better field agent than anyone expected. These are great stories, these are excellent stories and there are wonderful cores of them there – but they’re not developed to their full potential before we head off to the Mirrorfall and a whole new story setting.

There is very good ongoing presentation of Stef as neurologically atypical person. Her thought processes are extremely good and representative of that, how she thinks, the odd places her mind goes, the unusual way her mind works is really well expressed. Several of that bleeds over into her actions – things she does, things she can tolerate, things she can’t abide and odd behaviour that is explained a lot when you can see into her head. This is compounded by her upbringing and her father who wouldn’t tolerate his daughter and her different mentality, his cruelty and his harshness has left Stef with an extremely low self-esteem and zero sense of her actual self worth.

This leads to a lot of insecurity on Stef’s part. She is constantly going to Ryan assuming she’s not good enough, assuming she’s too much of a horrible person to be tolerated, assuming she’s too criminal or too useless or too embarrassing to keep around

And Ryan is very good in both acknowledging her mental illness and realising, along with                              , that accommodations need to be made for it. It’s all realistically and powerfully portrayed.

The problem is that Stef does have strengths – but they’re not shown, or rarely. Her main ability is that she is a technological wizard of extreme skill. Great – and he makes her a field agent. Great if he has seen some potential in her or that her way of thinking would be an asset in such an unorthodox setting– and in her testing it seemed like she did have.

Dead Like Me, Season 1, Episode 3: Curious George

Another day another reap – and today finds George and Rube outside a petrol station that keeps a real live bear in a miserable small cage as a tourist attraction. This is being protested by some warmly wrapped people with signs holding hands and trying to convince people not to buy petrol. George claims not to need a chaperone but, given her last two performances, Rube decides otherwise – and gives her some other hints as well, like makeshift plastic covers from binbags for when the deaths are messy. He unveils his not-very-cunning plan for finding out who the person is (calling their name) and she gets to reap his soul with a simple handshake.

It’s how they simplify things without convoluted, difficult plots that really makes it seem more like a daily activity for them more than anything else.

Then the graveling moves in – and the guy gets mauled by a bear, spraying them with blood. Nasty. Which is when Mason arrives (with his own plastic slicker), late, to tell the bloodstained George she really needs one. Ok what really makes it seems more like a daily activity for them is how gloriously  casual they are around violent horrible death. Rube points to another of the dead protestor’s – Mason’s target – whose ghost now has graphic facial scars. This is why souls are reaped before death. Time to lead the souls away with both of them lamenting how they never told the other how hot they were in life – all that time they could have been having sex. Ah, wasted opportunities.

George goes to work – apparently working for the temping agency – and has some wonderful snark about office politics she doesn’t care about, office events she’s indifferent to and office cliques she doesn’t understand and forming little groups so they can demean and attack people who aren’t members. And she has some extra insightful snark about how she feels disturbed by Delores being in her cubicle – disturbed at her in her territory and disturbed by how quickly she felt territorial about a cubicle! She’s late but covered in blood – which lets her play on Delores’s sympathy for the day off! Except she doesn’t get paid if she goes home. Time to work in borrowed clothes – but at least she got to bond with Delores by explaining her password, “rimjob.”

Of course, because Dead Like Me snark has to have some depth to it, George has gone from “silly cliques” to wondering which group she actually belongs to when she arrives at the Waffle House and Roxy and Betty have their usual awesome dinner conversation. And Rube still tries to draw her in, awww. Mason has hockey tickets – from a dead person’s widow of course. I kinda love how they fit in their casual grave robbing into the conversation so easily.

At George’s old home, Joy is wrangling George’s little sister Reggie who wants to go to school on picture day wearing the dress she wore to George’s funeral. And in her wardrobe are George’s pyjamas.  Poor Joy makes a desperate attempt to talk to Reggie with a her shaky relationship with her own mother. George is watching outside as Joy tries to give Reggie a sweater and ends up dropping it in the drive when Reggie refuses to take it. And even while acknowledging what a bad idea it is, George lets herself in to her old home, finding old pictures and toys precious that once she had casually ignored. And she does Reggie’s maths homework for her, since she knows she hated Maths (one of the few things she learned about her).

She goes into her old room - now all packed up – to claim some of her old clothes, and falls asleep on her bed, smelling her old scene (another comment on things you miss). Which means she’s still in, losing track of time, when Reggie, Joy and Clancy return (Clancy talking about missing dinner again – and he makes an unfortunate comment about letting the “girls” use his office before catching himself).  George sneaks out a window and throws the discarded sweater to the house – meaning Reggie sees it has moved.

The Possibility of Achieving Inclusive Conventions

'Great Costumes at Dragon*con 2010' photo (c) 2010, vladeb - license:
There has been talk on the internet about the issue of fandom conventions being overwhelmingly White (and, frankly, depending on the convention and fandom - overwhelmingly straight and male as well) and how to change that to be more inclusive. That’s an excellent discussion to have and we’re really glad it’s happening.

And there are a lot of good ideas being presented - on harassment policies, codes of conduct, on creating safe spaces and islands, on ensuring panels are diverse (beyond the odd single name) and the marketing is directed more broadly. There have been some awful ideas as well - like encouraging people to bring their POC friend to a convention which reeks of tokenism - increasing the diversity of the convention by dragging POC in rather than making the convention something POC would want to attend.

While these are great ideas, we can’t help but feel that these are addressing only part of the problem.

I envisage going to a convention as a kind of hurdles, with 3 jumps that need to be got over along the way. The last jump is making sure that the convention is welcoming and safe and not succumbing to tokenism. And that jump definitely needs to be made lower and easier - but it’s not going to solve the problem if people are already backed up behind the other 2 jumps.

Jump #1: Inclusion in the Source Material

Speculative Fiction in general - urban fantasy, sci-fi, fantasy, dystopian, supernatural horror, steampunk et al - as genres have a problem with inclusion. From white-washed covers to erased story after erased stories sprinkled with the odd token or stereotype.

Naturally this is a problem with most media out there, but it seems often that speculative fiction is especially stubborn when it comes to adopting decent inclusion and is less likely to face comment or criticism for being heavily erased.

Alternatively, aliens, vampires et al are expected to be the stand in for marginalised people as the eternal Other, allowing privileged viewers to engage some marginalised issues without the discomfort of having to deal with real marginalised people and the real life issues and applications that come with it.

Needless to say, that is off putting. While plenty of marginalised people consume - and enjoy, media that erases them or contains tokens there are equally a number who are put off by it and angered by it. Especially when confronted with offensive or stereotypical tokens. Often it’s easier to find supernatural creatures that have been lifted from POC cultures (like the endless Wendigo popping up everywhere) than it is to find actual POC. This erasure is a barrier not just for POC - or any minority - participating in conventions but in the genre itself as the message told, in so many cases, is “these are not stories about you.”

The lack of inclusion also sends a message about who these books are aimed at, who these books are supposed to appeal to and who is going to be part of the fan community. If we have a genre that is overwhelmingly dominated by White characters (backed by a few token POC side kicks and the very odd author who actually aims for decent inclusion) then readers have every expectation of the subsequent fandom of being an overwhelmingly White place. The erased nature of the genre creates an idea that POC are the Other, even invaders, and that the fandom is not their space.

The first hurdle to jump will always be the erasure of the source material. As long as the anchor of fandom - and conventions - is massively, overwhelmingly White, there will be a continued signal that this is not a POC space.

Jump #2: Fandom Attitudes.

Having vaulted the first jump on the way to the convention, the second jump has to be investment in fandom. Conventions are, after all, an extension of fandom and fan community. They develop out of a wish to see the creators, to spend time with fellow fans, to connect with people who love this genre as much as you do. All the shinies, the panels, the signings et al that come with conventions are based on a solid base of fandom, of mutual love of a work or body of work, of wanting to spend time with people who appreciate it like you do.

Which means, on some level, you want to be part of or involved with fandom. Unfortunately, sometimes fandom more closely resembles this:

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Cursed (The League of the Black Swan #1) by Alyssa Day

Rio (of varying last names) is an inhabitant of the Bordertown, that section of New York that is the doorway to the other lands, to faerie and the demon realm. A part of town where nearly everyone has a quirk of some kind, a part of town where the fae and the demons and who knows what else walk around freely

And a part of town with little in the way of laws, since it’s largely free of mortal authority and no-one has stepped forward to replace the last sheriff. And Luke Oliver won’t accept the role. A powerful wizard and the cursed immortal son of Lucrezia Borgia, he isn’t willing to get dragged into it.

But nor did he wanted to be dragged into loving Rio, especially not with his curse. And there’s a lot to be dragged into as Rio approaches her 25th birthday and suddenly all the movers and shakers of Bordertown are after her. Whatever’s going to happen is going to be big – and everyone’s determined to have Rio in their hands before it does.

There’s a lot I loved about this book – world, characterisation, world, the story, world, the different side plots and, did I mention the world? Because I really liked the world.

The writing, while generally good, can get severely derailed in places with description. Particularly of each other – which can go on and on and on and on. And you get a scene where they’re doing something else then it’s back to describing how very luscious the other is and how things are becoming wet/turgid and omnomnomnom. It’s distracting and pretty unnecessary and drags out the plot

In fact, the whole book would be so much better if the romance were curtailed, reduced or at least rendered less dramatic. We don’t have a love at first sight – because they already saw each other before the book started and they fell madly in obsession with each other for no apparent reason. He cut her off and drove her away because he has a Curse (*sigh* get me a bottle) which he thinks could hurt her and destroy him so he has to Drive Her Away For Her Own Good. Which is even more odd because when they finally get round to revealing the curse it doesn’t seem to be all that relationship or love interest destroy-y. It's annoying because he decides, after centuries of flings, that She Could Be the One based on... based on? I mean it's not like he gets to know her before making his decision - so based entirely on his lust he decides he'll fall madly in lover with her so must avoid her? As for her, she has a sad past that has left her with abandonment issues which causes her to flounce out in tears at one point – seriously I had to re-read the page 4 or 5 times before I could figure out WHY she was so upset and decided the whole thing was over. And that's asideHe is extremely protective to the point of actually blowing shit up because he’s so angry and frustrated with his need to protect her (of course, he randomly blows stuff up for funsies when he’s in a bad mood anyway, but we most commonly saw it when protecting Rio or being frustrated in his urge to protect her). Then there’s her deciding she needs to leave him for his own good because… REASONS.

When they were actually together and not tripping over convoluted conflict, they actually bounced off each other well. But that conflict was annoying.

It’s a shame because, once you put that bit aside, the book is extremely good. Not perfect by any means – I think Rio makes a lot of dubious decisions (instantly accepting Kitsune for one, when it looked so much like a trap. Trusting the man who appears later claiming to be family is another major one) that only didn’t blow up in her face due to pure luck. I also thinks there are moments in the book which are a bit too… convenient. The Oblong of goblins supporting her, the troll – it seems she does very very little to get such sudden, instant friends. And I’m still unclear at the end exactly what Dalriata wanted and what he hoped to achieve.

The Walking Dead Vol. 2 Miles Behind Us

This volume, Rick and his gang (Andrea, Dale, Glenn, Allen, Donna, Sophia, Carol, Lori, Karl, Billy and Ben) head out, away from Atlanta looking for shelter. Along they way, they run into more survivors, Tyreese, his daughter Julie and her boyfriend Chris. After a brief stop in a gated community, which turned to be full of angry zombies, Carl is injured and they find themselves at Hershel’s farm, along with Hershel’s children (Lacey, Maggie, Arnold, Billy, Rachel and Suzie) and neighbours Otis and his girlfriend Patricia.

Carl heals quickly, but tensions flare between Rick’s group and Hershel, over Hershel’s barn o’zombies and Rick & co have to leave, leaving Glenn behind with Maggie. Rick & co arrive at the prison. And Lori is pregnant.

I think the main theme for this book is a kind of wary acceptance. Having moved on from Atlanta, there’s a greater sense of threat from the group, after the joy of reunion and the shock of the attack there’s less of a sense of hope of things getting better. Rick tries to hold onto the positive - but he does it with naive hope (Carl being able to sleep until the dystopia ends) and by refusing to look at the negative (encouraging everyone to congratulate him and Lori over her pregnancy). He even goes as far as to deny the possibility that the father of Lori’s baby might be Shane. But the general mood is one of fear and acceptance - Lori and Carol worry about giving birth without any medical attention. Even Tyreese warns his daughter, Julie, about the risk. Lori worries about raising a child in the dystopian world.

This volume isn’t about the world getting better, it’s about finding a safe place to survive - and being burned out so much that even the prison - living in a prison - seems like a good option. And it’s also about beginning to find a reason to survive, characters begin to have sex and partner off; embracing life and relationships in a much smaller population.

In a great moment of increasing inclusion, Tyreese joins the cast. Almost from the beginning, Tyreese is a productive and useful member of the group - partly by being so physically fit and a strong, capable fighter; which is pointed out repeatedly and gratefully by the group. They do not take him for granted. In turn, this leads to some extremely belated gratitude to Glenn, for the risks he took keeping them supplied, when they are forced to deal with hunger for the first time and learn the deprivations Tyreese's family had to endure on the road. It’s late and they really should have said it sooner, but at last his achievement and risk has been acknowledged

But Tyreese is more than a big, strong Black man, even at this early stage, Rick frequently considers him to be his natural peer. Tyreese is the one he goes hunting with, Tyreese is the one who leads the second group whenever they split up. And when Rick is hasty or angry, Tyreese is the voice of reason. Beyond reason, he is the voice of compassion - after Otis shoots Carl by accident, it is Tyreese who reaches out to him.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Revolution, Season One, Episode Twenty: The Dark Tower

Monroe and Miles are at a standoff pointing guns at each other when Miles spots someone behind Monroe and shoots the man.  Miles signals Monroe at the two join forces together to fight off the resident of the tower.  They get swept into rushing water and right out of the building.  Nora tries to follow Miles but is unable to.

Randall is walking around the facility and he take down the picture of Bush, breaks the glass and takes out a swipe card

Arron is asking how turning the power could destroy humanity.  Grace warns that Rachel could give the wrong command and it would be catastrophic because the nanites are in everything, including the air they are breathing. Rachel points out that they are malfunctioning now and replicating out of control.  Grace argues back that they don''t know what wrong the first time. Rachel, Aaron and Charlie are informed that Bass and Miles are gone and are warned that they can stay as long as they don't make an attempt to get to the twelfth floor. They are told if they try to turn the power back on they will be killed.

Tom has taken over Monroe's men.  Mark tells him that Monroe is not going to let him get away with this and that Tom is only in charge of  100 men out in the wilderness.  Tom tells Mark that he is going to let him go because he is not the man that Monroe is because he is not brutal or capricious.  Monroe orders a man to get a horse for Mark then picks up a gun and stages Mark shooting him in order to justify shooting him.  When Jason enters the tent, Tom tells him that he was trying to be a nice guy.

Miles and Monroe wash up outside and as soon as Miles regains consciousness, Monroe attacks.  The two get into a fight which is brought to an end when they are shot at by one of Monroe's soldiers.  Monroe calls or the soldier to hold his fire and when he identifies himself, he is shot at again.  Miles uses this chance to escape.

We get a flashback to ten years after the blackout and Monroe brings up Mile's 21st birthday. They reminisce about a one legged stripper. Suddenly the building they are sitting explodes. When Monroe looks over, Miles is unconscious.

Aaron is working on the computer when he finds something and heads off to find Grace. He tells her that he found a code which looks a lot like a code he wrote at M.I.T. Grace admits that it is Aaron's code and that the university sold it to the D.O.D.  Aaron then asks Rachel if she knew about this and she shakes her head no. Grace then tells Aaron that he wrote the towers operating system and asks why he thinks that Ben found him in the first place. Aaron believes that they just stumbled across him in the woods.

Neville is now standing in front of the door and it is lined with explosives.  He explains to Jason that they have to stop Rachel from turning the lights back on. Jason asks why and Neville says he doesn't believe in handing that kind of power over to Georgia or the other republics.  Jason replies that his head is spinning from how quickly Neville switched sides.  Neville tells him that he needs to stop and adds that out there that Jason is the only one he can trust.  Neville admits to knowing how much Jason hates him but says that Jason needs to put it all behind them. Jason agrees but stipulates that Charlie and Rachel must live.  They are interrupted by a soldier who reports seeing Monroe.

Rachel goes to say Grace and brings up the day that Danny was born three months premature, with lungs that were barely functioning. When Grace says that it must have been awful but Rachel corrects her saying that it was the best day of her life. Danny didn't have a high chance of survival but Rachel fought hard for him and believes that she hasn't stopped fighting.  Rachel says that they have to stop the militia and set things right so that Danny didn't die for nothing.  Grace points out that Rachel wasn't the only one who lost a child.  Rachel replies that the chances are one in a billion and that she has faced worse odds.  Grace is adamant that it's too dangerous, so Rachel chloroforms her, then takes her swipe card away.  Rachel closes the door behind her and tells Aaron and Charlie that she is ready to go.

Miles is wandering through the woods and we get another flashback to ten years after the blackout. Miles awakens after the bombing to see Nora smiling down at him.  When Miles asks what happened, Monroe tells him that it was a rebel bombing. Miles asks what he means and Monroe tell him U.S. rebels who want to bring back the United States.  Monroe helps Miles out of bed and takes him to a window where the men are loading up five coffins.  It turns out only one man was responsible for the bombing but Monroe had his wife and kids killed also for messing with his family. Monroe did it to make an example out of him and Rachel and Miles exchange concerned looks.

Aaron stops Rachel to explain that he build a backdoor when he built the programm and now the back the door is open. Aaron says that he believes that the worldwide spread of the blackout is on purpose.  They hear a noise and hide but it turns out that it's just Nora.  Rachel asks about Miles.

Miles is still walking through the woods when Monroe attacks from behind. Miles quickly gets the upper hand and walks away. Monroe demands that Miles turn around and fight him but Miles says that he has more important things to do because Rachel and Nora are in trouble. He adds that Monroe has his own problems because his men are shooting at him.  Miles continues to walk and Monroe calls out that he is the one who tried to kill him and that he was the one who started all of this.  Monroe says that he never saw Miles attempt on his life coming and that he was going to ask if Miles was okay.  He continues saying that Miles never gave him an explanation.  Miles says that it was what he did to those rebel kids for one and Monroe explains that he did it for Miles. In fact, Monroe claims that everything that he has ever done was for Miles. Monroe admits that he doesn't care about the republic and says that the only thing he ever cared about was watching Miles' back.  Monroe points out that Miles tried to kill him for this.  Their conversation is interrupted when a helicopter starts shooting and the men are forced to run.  Monroe runs straight into his men and is quickly knocked unconscious.

The Shambling Guide to New York City (The Shambling Guides #1) by Mur Lafferty

Zoe moves to New York City to find work, after being forced to leave her old job, after being seduced by her very married boss into having an affair.  Like many job hunters, Zoe is getting the run around in that she is constantly either being told that she is either too experienced or does not have enough experience.  Having worked in publishing writing tour guides, Zoe decides to answer an advertisement for a new editor that she sees hanging in a coffee shop.  What she does not know is that interview is the first step to her involvement with the coterie.

Zoe goes from being an ordinary and mundane, to working with death goddesses, water sprites, zombies, constructs, inccubi, succubi and vampires.  Learning the rules of the supernatural community is a hard thing but Zoe is forced to speed her learning curve along when it becomes clear that someone is out to get her.  It begins with a construct with her ex boyfriends head and zombies running amok and killing people.

At first blanch I really thought that the Shambling Guide to New York City was a book that held a lot of potential.  It has a really unique premise and has a menagerie of supernatural characters; however, these factors alone do not a good book make. Mur included a lot of unnecessary problematic language in the book; in many ways it felt like Mur was trying to include social justice issues but just couldn't.

Zoe was told repeatedly that she might not fit in with her job because she was human. She defends her ability to fit in saying, "I don't care if Underground Publishing is catering to eastern Europeans, or transsexuals, or Eskimos or even Republicans. Just because I don't fit in doesn't mean I can't be accepting as long as they accept me."  Gee how progressive of her.  Also, who uses the word Eskimos anymore?  Then there is the use of the word transsexuals.  It's just a throw away offensive term because she sees them as weird.  Mur doesn't even have a trans character in the novel.

The Shambling Guide to New York City is yet another in a long line of books which has the supernaturals filling in for marginalized people. When Zoe uses the term monsters to refer to the supernaturals that she is working with, she is told, "'Monsters' is pejorative. Nonhumans go by the term 'coterie.'"  There are real marginalized people in this story but somehow they are never stigmatized based in their marginalizations.  Homeless people for instance must face classism on a daily basis but Mur has turned homeless people into undercover agents.
"Public Works agent" Josh said. "most homeless, and some gangs, work as spies.|"

"Yeah," Morgen said."They're ubiquitous and ignored, and if they talk about zombies eating a guy, people think they're insane so if there's ever a security breach, no one believes them anyway."
Right. So the homeless aren't really homeless and suffering. The predatory nature of the capitalist system which keeps so many impoverished, is all sham, so that humans can keep an eye on monsters, uh excuse me coterie (wouldn't want to be accused of being insensitive).

Warehouse 13, Season 4, Episode 15 Instinct

Boone, Wisconsin and a very excitable man charging into a police station to confess at the top of his lungs to a detective Briggs. The man’s lawyer arrives, not amused that a man with no evidence against him just apparently walked into a police station and confessed to a load of cops, she smells a rat. She’s not the only one – or so we can guess by H. G. Wells being the forensic scientist (I miss her!) She takes samples from the accused and notices that his skin is smoothing over, hair disappearing.

And in the Warehouse, Artie is interrupted in his reading (in a hammock no less) by an Earthquake. He reacts to this grumpily. At the Guesthouse , Pete is also grumpy because the person to run the B&B (and therefore cook him breakfast) is actually here to provide therapy for Artie. Myka tells him to cook his own breakfast since he’s sort of an adult.

Hmmm… I think even “sort of” an adult is stretching it

Claudia who, we recall, has been institutionalised in the past, is also not thrilled by having a therapist around. Pete asks Jinks to make scones and Jinks smacks him. Finally, someone gets smacked for their gross stereotyping. Abigail herself is also less than impressed by the scanty breakfast; which is when Artie calls about the Earthquake and asking if anything odd has happened (Claudia scoots over the electric shock she got last week). He calls them all in – Claudia tries to exclude Abigail but Artie overrules her. And Myka gets a call from HG – Helena.

Back to Wisconsin, Myka and Pete go to see Helena and she fills them in on her past – she wasn’t allowed to contact anyone when she had the astrolabe and when she returned it she wanted a new life, away from Artefacts. She tells them about Purcell’s confession and transforming into something else

While Pete briefly considers the case, Myka is more concerned with HG – H.G. Wells does not give up a life of endless wonder for a “normal life.”

Talking to Purcell – who doesn’t even know why he confessed. But insists Donny Schultz who was also accused of the crime is innocent but can’t provide his alibi for other reasons. When Myka asks what he was doing before he confessed he has a flashback and recoils in terror. Meanwhile Schultz protests his innocence and screams in the same chair we saw Purcell in in his flashback – he screams, denies he was there – and dies. His face changing as Purcell’s did.

They talk to the DA who is in denial of anything odd happening, even with Schultz’s body turning up from an apparent heart attack. Myke and Pete have also confirmed that he did have an alibi and couldn’t have committed the crime. He’s completely unco-operative and indifferent to the man’s death – it’s an election year he refuses to have any investigation make him look bad. They call Artie and ask if there are Artefacts than can scare people to death and the answer is yes yes oh yes. Loads of ‘em. To narrow it down they focus on the physical change – so need CCTV of when Purcell first arrived to see what actually changed. Myka has a plan to get the video while Pete goes and sees the victim’s family to see if it’s a revenge Artefact.

Y’know, this whole unco-operative thing is probably why secret service credentials aren’t the best ones to have.

Myka tracks down HG Wells who again says she doesn’t want to get involved – and in her house is also Nate and a child called Adelaide who has been taught Sherlock Holmes reasoning by H.G. and they know her as “Emily”. H.G. quickly gives a false history of she and Myka being at college together when Nate invites her in. Nate’s Adelaid’s father; H.G. has a family. Myka asks for her help and H.G. says she can’t – so Myka invokes Adelaid’s love of Amazing Adventure and how H.G. should have one more for her.

Yeah it didn’t make sense to me either.

Into the police station where the bisexual H.G. Wells convinces the cops to let her past claiming she’s giving Myka a tour of the station to impress her – as she’s sure the cops have done themselves in the past. With the CCTV they see Purcell as bestial, almost like a Neanderthal. They call Pete to tell him and he tells them that the victim’s family wasn’t all revenge happy but that a cop, Briggs, came to them and creeped them out with a big speech about getting them justice. Looking through more CCTV they see that Briggs had his cuffs out and was ready and waiting for Purcell when he came in.

They break into the cop’s house, guns primed but he’s not there. Artie tells them that a primal regression Artefact could change the brain as well – going to the brain’s limbic system and setting the flight and fight response to extreme levels (hence scaring people to death – or confession). The artefact could be ancient – even prehistoric and possibly incredibly powerful, which means the downside would be as well – especially if it’s making his brain more primitive, more predatory.  Myke finds a file – he has a lot of information on H.G. Wells

On that note, Briggs goes to see Nate and confronts him about H.G.’s secret identity which, of course, he knows nothing about. Briggs decides to use him to pass on a message to Pete and Myka to back off - and points the Artefact at him – causing a glowing orange predator skull to form around his hand and make Nate cower in terror. Until H.G. comes out of the house, beats Briggs to the ground and pins him and tells him how easy it would be to kill him. But Nate is suffering by his car and H.G. lets Briggs go to check on him. Briggs runs as Myka and Pete arrive and drops the Artefact which Pete and Myka bag. Nate can breathe again.

A quick search and Pete finds the Artefact – the jaw bone of a giant prehistoric Hyena that ate people; causing primal fear. The person he’s explaining this to is a very confused and lost Nate and he’s extra freaked out that H.G. Wells isn’t the Emily he knew. Pete says he can’t tell her secrets but does assure him that while she isn’t Emily, she is much more and that no-one will protect his family better. Meanwhile Myka is putting her foot in it – saying that H.G. has fixated on the family because Adelaid is the same age as her daughter, Christina. In “I can’t believe you said that” fashion, she tells H.G. she’s giving up who she is to chase a ghost.

Defiance, Season 1, Episode 8: Goodbye Blue Sky

We begin with an Arcfall – debris from the arcs the Votans arrived on falls through the atmosphere and rains down on Earth. On the ground, Sukar and his Spirit Riders drive to try and get out of the “razor rain” but one of the bikers is hit by debris. Sukar stops and runs to help him, pulling the shard of metal from the fallen Irath – and is hit in the neck by shrapnel himself. His people drag him to shelter and he looks up and sees Irisa. He tells her “what we must do is for the good of all.” Before he passes out – and a large bat winged creature flies pass.

Irisa wakes up.

At the top of the arch Alak is broadcasting his radio show with Christie but they’re interrupted by Amanda complaining about him not playing her record – and threatening to fire him if he doesn’t play Shiny Happy People. Oh dear Amanda, I didn’t think much of you before but I assumed you had some limits. And Christie wants to talk about a Castithan ritual Alak’s mother brought up – where after a wedding the whole family has a bath together. (Bathing seems to be important in Castithan culture and collective nudity not taboo). Christie is all kind of weirded out by it and not very reassured by Alak’s assurance she’ll have beads to wear.

And at the police station Nolan arrives in time to see Irisa packing and leaving to go save Sukar. She says she has a vision and leaves. Nolan mopes around for a couple of seconds before Irisa asks if he’s coming (awww, she forgives him)

At the McCawley household, Quentin is all mopey because he murdered someone. And Nicky arrives – that’s former-mayor-secretly-evil Nicky, claiming her car broke down and she needs shelter from the storm (but really because she’s after the shiny thing Quentin has that Luke once had). She babbles on about her man “Birch” and the biiiig family he has – that would be the man Quentin murdered, eventually making him run off, possibly to be sick.

At Need Want, Stahma Tarr arrives to see Kenya – not to collect her husband’s protection money, but to hire Kenya to teach Alak how to have sex with a human woman. Kenya looks bemused as Stahma describes how hard it can be (“it took centuries for your own scientists centuries to discover the G-spot”) and adds that she wants Christie to tell her father how wonderful it was. At which point Kenya cracks up at the idea of any human girl – especially Christie – talking about wedding night sex with their father. But Stahma takes offence at Kenya’s laughing at her – she recites a Castithan saying “seeming is being” by treating Stahma like a fool, it makes Stahma a fool. Kenya hurries after her and apologises and offers (well sorta demands) to buy Stahma a drink. Kenya’s extremely good at charming people.

In the Badlands, Nolan and Irisa find the Spirit Riders but after some posturing with guns, one of them recognises Irisa – and tells her that Sukar is dead. They offer to let Irisa attend the funeral – but not Nolan. But Irisa notices a shard of metal on the floor and realises the storm is Razor Rain – everyone in Defiance thinks it’s just a normal storm. Nolan realises he has to warn the town but Irisa wants to stay for Sukar’s “Sinking Ritual”.

At the Sinking Ritual there’s music, holy words and Sukar’s belongings are dropped into acid, before his body is lowered in – expected to be stripped down to its bones, the “three elements of the body”. Someone’s put a lot of work into designing the Irathient culture.

Sukar ruins the whole thing by sitting up in his acid bath – which has burned off his clothes but left his skin untouched. He roars and tells the crowd that “through this body flows the path to Irzu” an Irathient god. The gathered Irathient kneel, except for Irisa.

Back in the arch, Alak and Christie are still arguing about the bathing ritual, human modesty and who has to tell Stahma no. Their argument is interrupted – again – but a call, this time from Nolan who uses Alak’s radio broadcast to spread a warning about the Razor Rain. Amanda gets to work organising the town

At the Irathient camp not everyone’s accepting that Sukar is divinely inspired, some calling it a curse others questioning what is possible on the new planet. Sukar himself tells Irisa that they’re both on Irzu’s path and she needs to follow him; but she delays so he says he’ll go alone She follows asking where he’s going – and he says Defiance. Irisa follows

In defiance, the storm arrives, spreading a fair amount of destruction – and Nicky continues to pursue the avoidant Quentin. Quentin leaves again and Rafe is suspicious – not trusting Nicky. Nicky comes clean (sort of) and tells Rafe she’s looking for Birch who she sent to break into Rafe’s house to look for evidence that Luke was connected to the Volge attack. She adds that she thinks Rafe walked in on Birch and killed him. Then she tries to pass it off as a joke

Quentin examines the artefact while his hallucinations of Luke encourage him to kill Nicky. And Rafe comes in demanding answers. Quentin tells Rafe what happened, though eh claims he destroyed the artefact. Rafe is convinced Nicky has no proof – and Rafe has no sympathy for someone who broke into their home and tells him he’s proud of Quentin for defending their home and their family.

Teen Wolf Season 3 Episode 1: Tattoo

Isaac is confused and woozy – and has an injury on his chest and one on his neck. He is being dragged by a woman who uses a car battery to shock him awake. He’s still staggered and confused, not knowing what happened. She tells him that they claw the neck to share memories – and he doesn’t remember because they also do it to steal memories as well. She drags him to a bike and tells him to hold on as the drive off.

They drive off at speed, but Issac hears footsteps behind him, turning back there’re 2 figures in the mist running – and catching up with them. They actually overtakes them on the speeding bike and claw at the bike – both men look identical (the fabled twins we’ve heard so much about in the previews, I take it). Why do they keep hitting the metal part of the bike? It’d actually be easier to hit Isaac?

The chase continues until they hit a dead end and the two men – with red eyes like an Alpha – follow in the classic serial killer stalk (it doesn’t matter how fast you can move, when it comes to closing you simply have to slow down to a dramatic stalk. It’s a rule).  Unfortunately for them, the woman isn’t a helpless blonde woman in a horror story (if so, she would have to trip and fall when confronted with said stalk, it’s a rule as well). She turns the bike around and charges them as they pose for a dramatic leap – turning at the last instant before one twin smashes his hand into the tarmac where they would have been.

She drives them through a giant glass window (essential for any good dramatic chase) but Isaac starts to get woozy and lose consciousness, causing the bike to crash.

That was a pretty dramatic bike chase – extra points for the sparks and the awesome lighting.

The twins follow, stripping off their shits (ah  Teen Wolf, I missed you so)  and they… merge. Into one big Alpha, red eyes, claws and all. Wow that’s kind of… kinky… or disgusting. We could go with icky. Yes let’s go with icky.

It charges and the woman screams at Issac to get down and shoots it with a gun that fires an electrical charge, stunning the giant Alpha and making him switch back into the twins. When the light shows over, the twins have disappeared and she reminds Isaac she told him to hold on – and he passes out.

Away from all the action Scott is getting a tattoo – of 2 bands. An equals sign. No, really “=”. Even Stiles is bemused by him getting a tattoo like that that doesn’t mean anything beyond the fact Scott likes it. Scott goes ahead – and Stiles, having a needle issue, faints.

Driving off, Stiles nurses his sore head and Scott complains his tattoo burns – far more so than being stabbed repeatedly in the arm should. He takes off the bandage as it burns even more – in time for them to see his new tattoo fade and disappear. Werewolf healing vs body modification – werewolf healing wins. Which Stiles kinda thinks is a good thing since he hated it.

Lydia and Allison are in their own car driving out and giving us some recaps – apparently Jackson has moved to London – and reminding us of everyone’s relationship status (technically single). And coincidentally, Scott and Stiles pull up next to them at the red light, talking about Scott’s continued mooning after Allison and how they’ve been out of touch with each other. Scott gets to do that classic mournful teen-love stare thing that’s so sweet and/or makes you want to smack him upside the head. That could be just me. Both respond by trying to hide.

Stiles, being Stiles, decides to wind down the window so they can talk. Ah, yes, don’t we all have a friend we could cheerfully strangle at times? Lydia puts her foot down and drives off sharpish –because, as has been established, she’s a very intelligent woman.

There follows an almost slapstick depiction of teen angst. Despite it being a completely straight road with no turns, Scott says they can’t just follow Lydia and Allison, since it will look like they’re following. So Stiles stops. To which Allison decides they have to go back and talk to them. So Lydia stops.  So both cars are now stopped in the middle of the road, like some kind of modern art ode to teen angst.

And then a deer crashes through Lydia and Allison’s windscreen.

Awkward teenaged emotions called on account of suicidal venison! They run to see what happens and Lydia tells them she saw its eyes before it hit and it was crazy. I call shenanigans, bright though Lydia is, I won’t accept she is capable of reading deer emotions while it hurtles at her at great speed. Scott touches it and declares that it was scared – terrified even – and looks down the road to where the full moon hangs all ominous over the fog.

At the hospital Melissa McCall runs to Issac wheeled in on a hospital gurney – he tells her to forget him and check the girl. She does and the girl who was riding the motorbike keeps repeating she has to find the Alpha. Melissa asks why she wants Derek and the girl says not Derek – Scott McCall.

Next day and we get an insight into the new Scott McCall – he has a ton of books he’s actually read, he’s exercising (like anyone has his torso without regular exercise) and he’s even getting a word of the day. He’s all self-improving.

Allison is starting her day with some moping and her dad, Chris, offering for her to take some time off school to adapt.

And Stiles looks up car accidents involving deer while his dad tries to make him go to school. After refusing to beg, giving up on bribes and accepting he doesn’t have anything to extort him with, he physically pulls Stiles’s chair away.

Lydia starts her day by gussying up and walking away from the extremely hot man in her bed. Lydia has the best morning routine.

In school Scott notices 2 big expensive motorbikes (will become relevant – but since they’re identical and people like a theme I’m assuming they belong to the Twins), we see missing persons pictures of Boyd and Erica (explaining away their absence) and Scott wants to ask Derek how he got his triskele tattoo to stick. And they seem to have a new headmaster who is astonished at the damage caused last term – and the great big sword in his office. And Lydia is checking out all the freshmen (and artfully skewering Allison’s “it’s ok to be single” speech). Her eye is caught but… the Twins. There’s a distraction for you

In the hospital the twins are so distracting that the girl-who-really-needs-a-name wakes up. And Melissa examines Isaac’s wound and sees them closing visibly in front of her, which is going to be a problem considering he’s scheduled for surgery. Outside Sherriff Stilinsky (Stiles’s long suffering father) wants to know when he can talk to the girl about all the stuff she broke and the nifty stun gun she was carrying but Melissa says she’s sedated – we see the girl, conscious, holding her drip and letting the sedative flow down her arm not in it.

We need more teen angst! To Allison at school and the only seat left in class is one directly in front of Scott! The horror! And the new teacher gets their attention by mass texting them a line from a book they’ll be reading.

Um… is it just me or is it creepy that the teacher knows everyone’s phone number?

But Scott turning his phone off also means he’s not available to take the emergency call from his mother trying to find someone to help her sneak Isaac out of the building. And in the hospital a new suspicious looking nurse (we can tell the camera follows her) goes into Isaac’s room to dose him up with anaesthetic – and she has claws and red Alpha eyes.

Melissa eventually calls the school so Scott finally gets called out, though his teacher lectures him on attendance as well. And at the hospital, wolfy nurse finds the motorbike girl (these people need names!) has disappeared – leaving the deputy outside cuffed to her bed.

Rather than following that drama, we have to have Stiles staring at Lydia’s legs and noticing that she has a bandage – where her dog but her. Something she’s never done before. This is relevant because the cast are drawing attention to it so it must be. Stiles obsesses a little over it – dog bites girl, this is not news! And not the same as suicide venison! Lydia points out it means nothing signs come in threes

Oh you did not. You did not just say that

SPLAT, the window is redecorated in blood splatter. It’s a bird – one of an entire Hitchcock movie worth that batter themselves in a vast wave against the windows, attacking the students who cower on the floor being pecked and clawed

Ok, I call shenanigans. Huge deer charging a car – I will take that as sign one. Vast wave of birds bombarding a school – definitely a sign. Irate Pomeranian? Not a sign. That’s a really weak sign.

In the aftermath, no-one seems injured but there are dead birds everywhere.

In the hospital, Melissa reminds us how well Scott is doing turning everything around, and he heads to the second floor with a blind man in the lift who has “Alpha in disguise” tattooed on his forehead. The man delays Scott asking for help

And Isaac goes into surgery – then is kicked out of surgery for being perfectly fine – to be wheeled out by yet another werewolf, complete with easy-identifiable claws. Scott spits the guy wheeling Isaac into a lift and draws his own clothes for a flying leap just as the doors close.

The wolf fight doesn’t go well for Scott, the man he’s fighting is an Alpha and Scott gets battered against every flat surface – until the lift doors open and Alpha guy gets stabbed in the back by Derek – also an Alpha.

To the school while Stiles plucks a feather from their teacher – Ms. Blake’s hair – she’s utterly traumatised – clearly not from round these parts – and Chris Argent tells Allison she should have stayed home. Sherriff Stilinski asks if Argent’s seen anything like it – being an “experienced hunter” and all. Argent assures him he doesn’t hunt any more.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Continuum, Season Two Episode Six: Second Truths

This episode starts with the typical flashback. Kiera is called in on a series of murders that technology has not been able to solve because she has tested high when it comes to deductive reasoning.  When she looks over the case, she discovers that deaths matching the current one also occurred from 2009-2018. Most of the victims were child molesters and had something done to their eyes. 

In the present say Carlos and Kiera catch a murder case and the body has damage to the eyes.  It's clear that she is now working on the case that she saw in the archives in the future and comments that the case was never solved.  Carlos corrects her and says that it hasn't been solved yet. 

Alec and Emily are walking down the street together in the rain and they start to talk about time travel and paradoxes.  When he brings up Kardashians she has no idea what they are talking about. He leans in and kisses her and immediately  saying that he is not good at reading signals.  Emily is quick to assure him that he is doing fine and suggests they head to Alec's place. Alec tells her that he has roommates and therefore no privacy, then suggests going to her place. Emily quickly nixes her place and brings up the lab.  Alec tells her that the lab is a secret and adds that it's not that he doesn't want to be with her.  Emily tells him that she understands that he has secrets and adds that she has hers.  Emily says that as long as they don't get to close that they both get to keep their secrets. Alec tries to assure her that it's not like that and Emily cuts him off saying that the movie was fun, before walking away.

Carlos and Kiera show up at a recording studio to inform her that they are investigating her father's movements yesterday.  She tells them that he was in and out of the studio yesterday and that she does most of the work.  Kiera uses her tech on the woman's face.  Carlos continues to question her and she says that they lead separate lives.  She tells them that they work together but that was the extent of their relationship.  Kiera asks if there is a history of abuse and the woman is not at all pleased.  Carlos asks for a schedule of her father's movements and she promises to email it to them. When they leave, Carlos is not impressed by Kiera's questions and asks her if she missed sensitivity training.  Kiera tells Carlos that the young woman was lying and Carlos asks about what.  Kiera tells him that she was all over the map and Carlos says that sometime he is thankful her help but sometimes...

Kellog is waiting for Todd Sanchez who is leaving a meeting.  Kellog comments that the meeting didn't go so well and Todd replies that he was not what they were looking for. Kellog introduces himself and says that he is a big fan of Todd's work.  Apparently Todd plans to clean water and create electricity at the same time because he believes it could be the future.  Kellog assures him that it will be the future.  Todd says that in the meeting they only saw the cost because right now, the cost is greater than the return.  Kellog assures him that one day he will reduce the cost and says that one day, Todd's technology is going to be worth a lot.  Todd says that he likes Kellog's enthusiasm but brings up the fact that he has no investors.  Kellog assures Todd that he can make that happen for him and asks him to name his price. Todd says that he doesn't know and brings up the fact that he just met Kellog. Kellog pulls out his card and asks Todd why he should wait for the future when the future has come looking for him. 

Carlos and Kiera are at the morgue and are told that all the markers are the same from the previous cases.  Apparently a chemical was used to paralyze the victim before using a scapel to remove the eyelids. Coroner believes that it is the work of a surgeon but Kiera suggests that it could be someone with fine motor skills. When Kiera says that the victims are alive when they are killed Carlos asks her if she read the other files. Kiera says yes so the coroner asks if she knows that the killer suffocates the victims by forcing an unknown object into the throat. Kiera asks if he has done a biopsy of he trachea looking for toxic residue or cell trauma and the coroner tells her that blunt force trauma wouldn't cause that. Kiera asks the coroner if he is sure and he says, "yeah, pretty sure."

Back at the station Carlos is giving a lecture and he says that there is no connection between the current victim and the previous seven.  Carlos adds that the only consistency is the killers M.O. Kiera stands and connects the murders in a circular fashion but is quickly dismissed by another detective.  Kiera leaves and contacts Alec and tells him that she studied this case when she was a CPS cop.  Alec says that this is a good thing because she is ahead of the killer and asks about potentially warning the victims before the killer gets to them. Kiera says that she has no clear memory of who the victims were and this surprises Alec.  Kiera quips that she wasn't born with a CMR. Alec points out that she has one now and that she can help Carlos stop the murderer.  Kiera replies that she is worried because she doesn't know how she is going to explain it.  Alec reminds her that she always finds a way and Kiera responds, "you mean I always lie."  When Carlos approaches asking what is up with her drawing a circle, Kiera tells Alec that she has to go. Kiera says that it was just an idea and Carlos says that it doesn't make any sense. Kiera tells Carlos that she is trying to help him and asks about a history of sexual abuse.  Carlos quickly replies no and then adds that they have eight unconnected victims, eight drops all over the city and out of that she comes up with sexual abuse and a circle.  Carlos then brings up Kiera telling the coroner how to do his job and walks away in frustration.  Kiera calls out that she thinks that there is something to this.

Alec and Emily are talking about Ground Hog Day and he says that he is trying to learn the lesson about being more open but he's stuck behind a computer screen for a reason.  Emily suggests that he stop hiding and come out from behind the screen.  Emily then suggests that if this doesn't work to let her come hang out there with him.  Emily then tells Alec that his life is his to decide. Alec invites Emily to the lab for dinner and Emily says that she is intrigued.

Kiera heads back to the recording study to talk to Ms. Reynolds who says that she has a list of her father's activities. Kiera asks Ms. Reynolds to confirm that her father was a teacher and asks if it was at all possible if he was abusing his students. Ms. Reynolds says that she thought that her father was killed by someone who murdered other people and asks how her father's students can have anything to do with these murders.  Kiera uses her tech and asks Ms. Reynolds why she is so upset and Ms. Reynolds denies it and adds that what Kiera is suggesting is a horrible thing to say about her father. Ms. Reynolds tells her that the list is private and then demands that she leaves.

Kiera meets Alec at his new lab and she has him researching Mrs. Reynold. Kiera says that something about her just feels off. Alec points out that Patsy has a history with chemistry and could have made the drug that has been used to murder the victims. Kiera gets a call and it's Dillon who wants to meet with her.

The Registry by Shannon Stoker

The Registry is set in a dystopian America.  The internet is filled with American propaganda.  The boys are largely thrown out by their parents and forced to fend on their own.  Girls are raised by their parents and are little more than commodities.  On their 18th birthday, girls are placed on something called the registry and they are sold to the highest bidder. Boys and girls are raised to believe that this system is for their own benefit and will lead to the best versions of themselves.  Girls in particular are raised to be obedient and to believe that their soul job in life is to please their husbands and in return, their husbands will cherish them and lavish them with attention.

Mia Morrissey believes this until her older sister escapes from her abusive husband and tells her that the registry and the marriages that result are a sham. Corinna tells her about a magazine article that she has hidden in her former room, before she is dragged away by her husband as their parents stand idly by.  When they get news the following week that Corinna is dead, Mia determines that she will lead a different life.  With the help of her friend Whitney who's price is so low she will probably end up being married to the government, and a young boy named Andrew who she blackmails into helping them, Mia makes her bid for freedom.  What she does not count on is that Grant, the man her parents sold her to, will do anything to get his hands on her and harm anyone who comes to her aid.

From the very beginning of the book, it really felt like a sort of like a modernized version of The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Attwood.  The Registry was justified by a war that the U.S. had engaged in and supposedly won.  Though at this point it has only be 100 years since this system was instigated, society has largely accepted the reduction of women to property. Once a girl marries she never sees her family again.  Even if parents decide not to put their daughters on the registry, government agents drag them out of the house by force. 

For me The Registry got off to a very slow start.  Part of the problem was that I didn't like Mia the protagonist at first.  Her naivete was irritating but as I came to realise just how isolated her lived experience had been prior to her escape, it made perfect sense.  Once I accepted this fact, I found it easier to settle into the world Stoker had created. I was however not happy with the super special protagonist that Mia represented. Was it necessary to turn her into an absolute beauty, who all straight men universally desired to make her story interesting?  The horror that the registry exists at all would have been more than compelling enough to make this story work.  I think it detracted from the story to have it all be about the special Mia and her bride price.

Game of Thrones, Season 3, Episode 9: The Rains of Castamere

In the Great Frozen North: Sam and Gilly

Sam babbles along about the various forts on the wall, including the oldest one, the Night Fort, that was abandoned long ago because it was just too damn big to maintain but that it has a secret passage through the wall, he knows how to use. Gilly is stunned by how much he knows and that he learned it all simply by reading – considering him a wizard from her very simply and narrow point of view.

Also North – probably still cold: Jon the Pouty (who knows nothing), Ygritte (who tells him so) and random wildlings who need to die soon so I can stop remembering their names.

The gang contemplates stealing from a horse breeder, with Jon the Pouty trying to convince them all not to kill the old man and steal everything he has; something even Ygritte doesn’t understand since, in the harsh view of the Wildlings, dying of old age is something to fear. Jon tries the excuse that the Nights Watch will send more troops to chase a murderer than a thief – but Tormund things that’s great  - killing Nights Watch in the open is much much easier than killing them in castles.

That’s very logical tactical thinking. Careful their Tormund, Jon’s a Stark. This thinking stuff may leave him hopelessly confused.

As they advance on the hut, Jon deliberately bangs his sword on a rock, alerting the horse breeder. He jumps on a horse and escapes – as Ygritte tries to shoot him Jon distracts her.

Cold cold North: The Psychic Starks & crew

They’ve arrived at the Gift, a piece of land the Starks gave the Nights Watch long ago to support themselves – but it’s abandoned since most of the farmers fled from repeated wildling raids (with lots of apologise to Osha – especially after Rickon mentions Old Nan telling stories about Wildlings drinking blood – which Osha plays to).

Sheltering in a tower, Brandon considers how they’re going to go over the wall – yeah, it’d take more than psychic woo-woo to convince me to go to the great and frozen North. I’d need Maple Syrup at least. Osha came south by the sea, taking a boat round the wall. Jojen points out only 3 of the 19 castles are still manned, so one of them will have a way through despite Brandon being sure the gates were sealed. Poor Hodor panics with the thunder

And out the window Meera sees a rider – the fleeing horse breeder Jon and the Wildlings attacked (he mocked their band name). Osha tries to calm poor Hodor while the wildlings on horseback catch up with the man. In the tower they try to remain quiet, but Hodor panics more and more loudly as the storm continues. Bran’s eyes turn white – as do Hodor’s – and Hodor quietens. We’ve seen eyes turn white before when Wargs have ridden in the minds of animals. The whole tower looks at Bran in several kinds of shock.

Outside the tower, Tormund dismisses Orell’s (who is a Warg) claim that he can hear shouting inside since it’s all quiet, and they focus on the old horsebreeder. Tormund prepares to kill him, giving the old man the dignity of standing first – but Orell wants to make Jon kill him. 2 Direwolves – Summer and Shaggydog, look on.

Inside the tower, Jojen encourages Bran to contact the wolves – as he had with Hodor.

Jon draws his sword and gets ready to kill the man – but can’t. And after considerable delay, Ygritte shoots him instead. All the wildlings come on guard, Orrel accusing Jon of still being a Crow. Tormund tells the wildlings to attack – Jon and Ygritte fight but Tormund takes Ygritte captive.

Inside the tower, Bran does his wargy thing and Sunmmer and Shaggydog attack, slaughtering several Wildlings. Jon kills several more – and Orell though Orell wargs himself and attacks Jon with an eagle. Bashing it aside he runs for a horse and rides off – leaving Tormund and Ygritte behind. Ygritte watches him leave with an extremely well acted expression of shocked and outraged disbelief.

In the Tower, Bran admits he can get into Summer’s mind whenever he wants and Jojen is more impressed by him being able to enter Hodor’s mind. There are wargs north of the wall who can get into the minds of animals, but none that can get into the mind of a person. He talks to Osha and she insists, again, that she’s not going north of the wall, but Bran says he doesn’t want her to – he wants her to look after Rickon – who he wants to go with Osha to the Umbers. Rickon wants to stay with him but Bran is wiser: Robb’s at war and he is going beyond the wall – if they both die Rickon is the heir.

That sounded suspiciously like common sense coming from a Stark. Maybe losing their ever loving mind is something that happens to them when they reach 20?

Osha reassures Rickon and reminds Bran what she owes the Starks – for taking her in and treating her kindly when they had no reason to – and agrees to take Rickon. She tells Meera and Jojen to keep Bran safe because “he means the world to me.” They leave right away, in the night.

In Exotic Foreign Parts: White And Delightsome Daenerys

Daenerys and her council discuss war strategy, especially the back door into the city that Daario knows in between lots of flirting with Daenerys. He plans on him leading in another through the city to open the gates – but Jorah is suspicious; in the end, Daenerys asks Greyworm if he trusts Daario since it’s his life on the line and he leads the Unsullied – he agrees. Ser Barriston wants to join in the killing but Ser Jorah points out he’s Queensguard, his job is to guard the queen.

That night, Daario, Greyworm and Jorah enter through the back gate – Daario going first to kill the guard. And they arrive in a square and are surrounded by a large force of soldiers which they slaughter easily (because they’re that awesome). Then the second wave turns up

Daenerys anxiously waits their return until a blood stained Jorah and Greyworm appear. Jorah tell them the slave soldiers threw down their weapons and surrendered. And Daario appears – waiting just long enough for Daenerys to worry that he’d died. He kneels and presents her with a banner – the city is hers.

I’m not entirely sure what happened there – but presumably they told the slave soldiers of Astropor how wonderful Daenerys is and they put down their weapons?

In Riverlands: The Hound and Arya

Heading off to see the Starks, the Hound sees someone on the road and knocks them out before drawing his knife to silence them. And Arya intervenes and chews him out for attacking and killing the weak and the helpless, children and old people. He keeps trying to advance and Arya keeps pushing him back. He finally agrees but tells her her kindness will get her killed; just as the old man stirs and she knocks him back into unconsciousness with a block of wood.

Not THAT kind. The Hound looks on with his mouth open. Ok, +10 points of Arya.

They pause while the Hound munches his way through a cart full of pig extremities within sight of the Twins. The Hound points out she’s scared – scared now she’s so close to her goal and she might not reach it, telling her she can’t hide it from her. So she throws back his fear of fire.He retaliates with her dad’s execution and she calmly informs him that some day she will put a sword through his eye and out the back of his skull. Leaving the Hound looking a little shaken, again.

+20 points for Arya. The amount she has hardened has been incredibly shown with on brief action and one short line.

Also in The Riverlands, at the Twins: The Starks, who left their single family brain cell in Winterfell, alas.

Robb has a cunning plan laid out on his battle map which Catelyn the Spunky is unsure of. I don’t know where to leap here. I mean Robb has the brains of a concussed marmot – but Catelyn doesn’t even have the brains of a concussed marmot.

The chances of a cunning plan coming from this tent seems unlikely.

Anyway, it’s Robb’s plan to take Castlery Rock, steal the Lannister gold and say “nah-naaaah!” to the Lanisters. And why is he telling Catelyn? Because he ignored her advice before and it all went wrong – sio he wants her advice to ensure he makes a good plan!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Fangs for the Fantasy Episode 125

This week we discuss the season finale of Orphan Black, Game of Thrones and Continuum.

The Book of Week is 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
24th June - 1st July: Hunted by Kevin Hearne
1st July - 8th July: White Trash Zombie Apocalypse by Diana Rowland