Saturday, August 10, 2013

Almighty Johnsons Season 3, Episode 6: And Then On To Norsewood

Axl is still on a road trip with his dad when Mike calls to check in – and Zeb speaks to him, much much angrier, about Axl leaving and not knowing when he’s coming back and driving off Amelia. Axl makes the very good point that Amelia did actually stab him. Zeb makes excuses for her and demands Axl come back or he’ll sell his stuff for rent – to which Axl declares he may not return at all. Which worries Mike, as well.

Axl then jumps down a hill in a giant plastic ball and Mike is left to pay Axl’s portion of the rent to Zeb, again. Poor Mike. Poor Zeb (who is also being traumatised by Ingrid).

Karen asks Mike when Axl and Joe are returning and Mike tells her he doesn’t know – and that he doesn’t intend to go hunting for them using Ullr powers. Karen reveals that her father was the previous incarnation of Ullr, something Michele doesn’t know because Karen’s father committed suicide. She cryptically warns Mike not to go down the “Odin road” and then clams up because Michele walks in; ready to mock Karen for expecting Joe to come back.

Joe and Axl are having a great time with lots of outdoorsy activities which I’m sure are so very very fun if you’re odd and like hurtling down a river in an overblown plastic bag. But Axl begins to think about going home; but Joe keeps stalling and distracting him. Leading to Joe deciding to take Axl fishing.

After a long delay while Joe gets fishing equipment (and, for a moment, I thought he’d abandoned Axl). He has managed to find a boat – which surprises Axl because he expected to be fishing off a pier. But by boat, Joe means crewing a fishing vessel; he’s got them a job crewing a Korean long-liner. And it’s going to Korea. Joe did not quite get the point of a father and son fishing trip. Joe talks about Odin and Njord going to see – his dream; but not Axl’s. Joe says Axl doesn’t have any dreams – he said, and Axl lays down exactly what he wants. He wants to go, with his father, to where he grew up and he wants to know why Joe abandoned them – then he can figure out who he, Axl, actually is.

Joe turns and leaves – mocking Axl for not wanting to go on his “huge opportunity”, doubting whether he’s really Odin and demeaning his “nice little life.” Oh, and Joe has also given away the car they were driving (Olaf’s car) to bribe their way on board. Nice man. This is where Sleipnir would come in handy.

Michele tells Mike, again, how she’s ready to kill her mother if they don’t move out soon. Which drives Mike to work more on the bar to make it livable and wishing he could afford to hire a larger team – which grandfather Olaf skewers as silly because, as Ullr, Mike is quite capable of rustling up more money. Mike pulls the “I’m living my life on my own terms” card and Olaf reminds him that Mike is Ullr, Ullr is Mike and denying his godly skills is just denying himself. Mike uses his excuse of being blacklisted at the casino – Olaf suggests disguising himself as an “old Asian lady” or, y’know using the god-of-the-hunt power to track down another source of gambling (like the net? Internet gambling, Mike! It’s convenient!)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Shrouded in Illusion by H.D. Thomson

Skye has come to Las Vegas in a desperate quest for answers – answers to fill the gaps in her memories, answers about who she is, where she come from and where she got these odd psychic powers she has.

And answers that may tell her who is targeting her son.

In Vegas she finds David – with the same holes in his memory, the same origins and the same odd, unexplained powers. Together they may be able to find some answers – but the past is catching up with her and her enemies are getting closer.

This book surprised me considerably with its twists. And it’s not often that happens. For a long time I thought I knew what was going on – and I was wrong.

I thought I knew what Skye’s powers were – and  turned out to be very wrong.

I thought I knew why she was on the run – and, again, turned out to be wrong.

I thought I knew her past and the source of her powers and the cause of her flashbacks – and I was wrong.

I didn’t even know why one of the characters was chasing her – and all of my guesses were completely and utterly wrong on that score as well.

I’m not usually that wrong – and I hasten to say it’s not because the book set out to deliberately mislead me. There was plenty of ways I could have guessed correctly, there was no deliberate bait and switch – but it had left enough up in the air for me to make wrong assumptions and leave the ending a mystery.

The writing was generally well done – lots of hints without dropping huge amounts of information but also without making it feel like the book was being ridiculously or convolutedly cagey. There were never times when information was withheld in a way that didn’t make sense. And the multiple red herrings along the way were perfectly crafted. It was a little long and slow in places, especially when it comes to emotional introspection, but it generally worked, particularly for a mystery with so little leads to go on.

Dead Like Me: Season 1, Episode 12: Nighthawks

We open with George suffering from amnesia – the toll of taking the souls of the living and watching them die is bothering her and she can’t stop thinking about death. She does the insomnia work through the town, hating everyone who is maliciously sleeping while she can’t (oh I’ve done that a few times)

Everyone else was sleeping just fine – unfortunately – because Rube has called them in for a 1:00am meeting at the Waffle House. It’s time for their joyful self-assessment forms (which everyone complains about – Daisy tries to weasel out of it, Mason needs more drugs, Roxy glares at the waste of her time)

George’s wandering brings her to the Waffle House where everyone is grumbling through their exams and is bemused why she’s not involved and what people are actually doing. Rube grabs George and pulls her away and gives her a wonderfully cryptic non-answer about why she’s not taking the test in between talking about his desire to learn how to paint. George is almost offended that she isn’t taking the test.

For some reason art and George whining leads to lots of flashback clips about Rube and food. That’s the second lot of rather convoluted flashback clips that have been shoe-horned into this episode.

Which is when we switch to Roxy doing her test and get a series of clips of her as well.

Really? Really Dead Like Me? A clip show? You are actually having a clip show? A clip show on episode 12 of your first season? You don’t have enough material for a clip show!

On to Daisy – and her clips. Really? Daisy hasn’t even been in the show that long yet I get a clips recap? Mason’s recap follows before George and Rube discuss art and, seeing a picture that looks like Daisy, George corrects Rube’s opinion of her shallowness and tells him she thinks Daisy is sad. Oh, and Mason and Daisy torment the poor waitress Kiffany for test answers. She even offers to help Roxy. Rube also keeps focusing on a couple eating in the Waffle House.

And George learns Rube has a job – a soul to Reap, that morning, at her old house. George, naturally, freaks out a little while Rube lays down the law – she cannot interfere. Rube tells her it’s not about her and tells her she has a problem with rules (excuse me – one of her family could be potentially about to die and he brings it down to a “problem with rules”? That’s grossly off base for Rube). This convoluted segue leads us to a set of George flashback clips.

Continuum and the Ruined Setting

As fans of speculative fiction, we expect to see the fantastic and the unbelievable on our shows and in our books. We accept vampires and demons, zombies and werewolves, space ships with strangely humanoid aliens, we accept dragons and magic and all kinds of fantastic and wonderful things besides. The very nature of the genre requires us to believe the very extremes of human imagination to be possible.

But, sadly, sometimes we’re left feeling that because we’re fans of speculative fiction, we’re able to swallow anything, no matter how implausible. This particularly applies to the real world setting, the world and characters which can be inexplicably radically different from the actual settings we know (or even incomprehensible to anything resembling basic common sense) and we’re expected to accept that. This leaves a yawning credibility gap that undermines the story and smacks of lazy writing or poor research

While there are many ways to produce this credibility gap (many shows have done this by having protagonists who make the most unimaginable decisions - AND survive them), Continuum opens it’s credibility gap with its highly dubious representation of its setting that barely resembles the actual city its supposed to be set in.

One of the things that continues to bother me about Continuum is the fact that though it is set in Vancouver, Canada; Betty is the only Asian character. Vancouver is the site of the second largest Chinatown in North America and the Chinese are by far the most visible minority in Vancouver. The Chinese population is also the fastest growing and is expected to reach 809,000 by 2031. That being said, where are all of the Asian cast members? Why don't we see more Chinese people in street shots? The racial makeup of Vancouver is well known and yet Continuum chose to basically erase Chinese people. This is actually very much in line with most media as on an average night’s television viewing Asian people are greatly erased.

If this was Continuum's only failure it would be bad but, unfortunately, while Continuum took the time and care to create a fantastic future, it showed little concern  for the present. When Kiera first arrived in the past, Alec was able to quickly create a shaky covert identity for by breaking into CSIS's computer banks. I am sure that I was not the only shaking my head at that. Yes, Alec is a genius but, to be clear, CSIS is the highest level of policing in Canada. Not just policing, but this is the head of Canada’s intelligence and security - but Alec, working from a computer in his back yard, is not only able to do this but do so with incredible ease?

To further confound this (and insult our intelligences), everyone is quite willing to accept Kiera’s heavily redacted file from an organisation no-one’s ever heard of. So willing are they to go along, unquestioning, with Kiera’s shoddy background that when Agent Gardiner, an actual CSIS agent, shows up he is treated as suspicious and paranoid for questioning who Kiera is and what she’s actually doing and under whose authority?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Magic Rises (Kate Daniels #6) by Ilona Andrews

Kate and Curran are faced with a tragedy that continually afflicts the pack – children going Loup. Shapeshifter children falling prey to the Lyc virus and becoming uncontrollable, mindless killing machines. There’s only one cure – Panacea, and only a few people in Europe know how to make it. They do not trade.

Faced with the inevitable death of 2 small children – and so many more in the future – Kate and Curran are presented with an offer they cannot refuse. Go to the Black Sea and help protect Desandra, a woman pregnant with twins; both of which have separate fathers. Whichever twin is born first will win their shapeshifter group a massive reward – but both fathers’ clans and Desandra’s father are all snarling at each other.

Kate and Curran are called in as neutral third parties – with only a few guards and both knowing that it must be a trap, they cannot refuse the chance to get their hands on Panacea for the pack. But the trap is far more devious and dangerous than they imagined – and far more than those three packs know.

I love this series. And with each passing book I just love it a little more. I really cannot adequately describe just how much I love it – not without descending into the worst kind of fanpoodleness. Alas, I simply cannot!

So fandpoodleness it is then!

I love the world. I love this completely unique world with its vast variety of creatures and beings and characters. I love the incredible research the authors must have engaged in to make it this rich and deep and varied. I love the vast amount of mythology that has packed the book from edge to edge which combines to make the world incredibly real even while its uniqueness makes it vastly different from both our world but also anything in the genre.

I love the writing that can convey all of this knowledge without being boring, can make fight scenes edge of your seat exciting and can convey truly deep and powerful emotion. I love that the sense of epic and the entire world in balance can saturate a scene without going over the top and making it drag. I love how even with an excellent story and all this epic around, there’s still room for some excellent humour. It’s amazing that you can be on the edge of your seat with tension and then laugh out loud – and both of them work.

I love Kate as a character. I love that she’s immensely powerful and skilled but manages to not be a super-perfect protagonist who is superior to everyone around her. I love that, even with all her power, a large part of why people around her respect her is because of her knowledge. I like that she is respected as a leader because she has earned it and proved herself time and again. I like that she genuinely cares without being a wreck, she is strong without being callous, she is intelligent without being all-knowing, she is loving without expecting a perfect relationship

Under the Dome, Season 1, Episode 7: Imperfect Circles

Norrie rousts Joe from his bed so they can go play with the potentially dangerous Dome and see if they can make it do shiny things. They start by experimenting on the edge of the Dome (and, by experimenting, I mean making out against it) before Joe suggests going to the centre of the Dome to see if they can do anything there.

A more pleasant awakening greets Julia and Barbie, naked in bed together and prepared to continue the night before’s activities but are interrupted by Julia’s neighbour – Harriet – a heavily pregnant woman who can only eat yoghurt. Barbie runs away – err, leaves to see if anyone needs his help.

As Harriet leaves she sees her husband – who should be away with the military and definitely not in the Dome – she goes to him and reaches to touch his hand. And touches the Dome – her husband, Greg, wasn’t really there. Her waters break and she goes into labour, though it’s too early.

At Big Jim’s Jim frogmarches his son out of the house away from Angie – where he is to say. Junior is all embarrassed at Jim manhandling in front of the woman he stalked, kidnapped and imprisoned and Jim points out the foolishness of that, following it up with a good slap when Junior claims Angie was “sick” because of the Dome and he had to lock her up. He calls Junior sick – which he objects to – and kicks Junior out and orders him never to go near Angie again under dire threat. With Junior kicked out Jim offers to let Angie stay – but she wants to go home to her brother. But first she wants to pay her last respects to Rose, whose body is kept in the Diner kitchen while the mortuary is full (Jim owns the Diner after repeatedly loaning Rose money to keep it open).

In the police station, Junior is the only deputy to arrive – so Linda puts Barbie on patrol while she and Junior go seeking the Dundees – the guys who murdered Rose (initially she was going to take Barbie, but Junior knows the Dundees and hopes to talk them down peacefully). This also means giving Junior a big automatic weapon – showing that, yes, Linda can make a worse decision than giving him a badge.

Angie, while paying her respects to Rose, meets up with Ben and, after a brief understanding with a knife, learns that Joe is ok. At Ollie’s well, half the town is getting water and Jim shows up to make peace with his old friend (yeah, why do I not trust this?) But this time it looks like Ollie has done some plotting of his own – and questions Jim whether he still owns the propane he thinks he owns. Following up on that cryptic comment, Jim finds that Ollie has cut the lock on Jim’s propane stores and has put a big guard with a shot gun on them. When Jim tries to get past, the man hits him.

All the people I hate are getting smacked this episode.

Junior asks Linda exactly what they’re going to do with the Dundees when they arrest them, since the court is outside of the Dome. This question is shelved when Linda tells Junior that the two Dundees planned to rape Angie and Barbie saved her.

The Walking Dead Volume 11: Fear the Hunters

This week, the group continues their movement towards DC to, hopefully, reverse the zombie apocalypse. Along the way they are dogged with tragedy - including the death of Billy at the hands of his twin brother Ben, the child not understanding death in a world where the dead rise again. Handling a child murderer who doesn’t understand murder is a heartbreaking test for the group.

Again, the group is faced with hard choices and debates what they must do to stay safe; one that seems more poignant with the addition of Gabriel, the moral preacher to the group. And they have more choices to make when the group is attacked by cannibals

On the whole, I do not think we had a new theme introduced this week so much as we had last week’s theme continued and polished.

Again we have a continued analysis of what the apocalypse and constant danger does to people - in particular reference to how it breaks down their moral rules and flips the “switch” inside them, separating people between those who will kill to survive and those who won’t - and therefore die.

Can there be a clearer representation of killing to live than the group of people who have resorted to cannibalism? They hunt and kill people to survive, this is the ultimate line of killing for survival, the ultimate switch.

Among the group we see the same extremes - perhaps the clearest is Carl killing Ben; Carl does what has to be done in his eyes, regardless of who he has to kill, even another child. He sees the rest of the group being unable to make the hard choice so he does it for them. It is his ultimate switch, the death of his childhood and him standing up clearly alongside Rick and Abraham as a ruthless, group protector - but also joining them as a figure that is broken and even almost tragic in their callousness.

That callousness caused by the “flipping of the switch” is also shown in this volume. Abraham is completely indifferent in the face of people’s loss, almost contemptuous of Andrea’s grief and dismissive of any attempt to find and help Dale. Carl outrages Rick with his own indifference - and even outright contempt for Dale as “dead weight”. Carl has developed his own ruthlessness to cover what he has been done

But there’s also some representation of the cost of this - these people are not naturally callous or unfeeling. Abraham buries his pain - which is occasionally evident in his private moments with Rosita - but focusing on getting to DC and saving the world. He has adopted an Ends Justifies the Means mentality to help him maintain his ruthlessness which does have a cost to him; though his end goal is so vital it will make everything ok. Carl, after killing Ben, is frequently shown grieving and in pain from what he did, even while he maintains a public face of callousness and contempt. Both are, in a way, hiding from their own pain or suppressing it to keep those switches flipped.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hearts in Darkness (Nikki and Michael #2) by Keri Arthur

Nikki has been apart from Michael for 6 months, 6 months while Michael slowly relearns to control his hunger and 6 months when Michael resolves to stay away from Nikki. His life, his world, his job is just too dangerous for her and he is determined to keep her safe

Unfortunately for him, one of his jobs coincides with one of hers – she has another missing teenager and a lost contact’s family member, neither of which she is willing to ignore and she’s certainly not going to leave it because Michael asks her too

They are thrown back together in an exclusive resort trying to find a slew of missing people – and finding surprises both magical and personal waiting for them and an entire species depending on them for survival.


After the last book, I was a little dubious about this series, I was still waiting for something more unique to happen to set it out. While the character interactions pretty much fit some very long established moulds, the plot of this book broke out of the tropes. We had some completely new creatures and a twisty plot line that made use of them in a pretty new an interesting way that lead to a pretty original story and definitely one that could not be entirely predicted since so much was hidden and hidden well. It was a plot that had elements I have not seen elsewhere and put the series on my mental map as a unique creation with its own exclusive items that are both intriguing and fascinating – and make me want to read the next book to see where the author’s imagination will take me next and how much further this world will expand

This world is still played very close to the author’s chest. In some ways I like this – like the first book the writing style is pretty well handled in terms of descriptiveness. I don’t think the fight scenes necessarily work brilliantly, often giving me the feeling of people queuing up for battle and a few anti-climaxes, but they do work well. We do have some overly emotional monologues but, again, they’re pretty restrained to what I’ve seen elsewhere and even in the first book. The writing is careful, it has hiccoughs but they’re slight – it controls description and unnecessary exposition though I have to say I would like a little more world building about vampires and the organisation Michael works for. But the fact the hints encourage me to learn more is a good sign in itself.

There is also a considerable improvement in the relationship between Michael and Nikki. Now, it isn’t perfect, but a lot of what isn’t perfect is also challenged, at least to a degree. I’ve said before a hundred times how much I hate rushed relationships – and Nikki and Michael lamenting how they cannot possibly live without one another despite only having known each other for a week is definitely rushed. I just never get the sense of foundation to this relationship. Even Michael lampshades it with this line:

“We barely even know each other. We may share thoughts and we may share passion, but we have never once shared our dreams or our desires for the future. I don’t know your favorite movie or color or food or even what you like to read. And you know as little about me.”

I cheered when I read this line. And I cheered that Nikki was talking about finding these out –because that would be great, them deciding they have good potential and it would be worth seeing if they could build a relationship and develop it further. I was on board for that, even with Nikki angry because Michael wouldn’t try to see if they could have a relationship.

Teen Wolf, Season 3, Episode 10: The Overlooked

After all the drama of last week, we open to an even more dramatic scene – a massive storm and the hospital being evacuated. Melissa is organising everything (healthcare would collapse without her – they’re not even pretending she isn’t the supreme ruler of all things medical any more) and heads to Cora’s room who still has to be evacuated – except Cora is being looked after by Peter so they have to have a little “you’re supposed to be dead!” moment. And Cora vomits black sludge. That’s not a good sign

At the werewolf loft, Derek gets a visit from Jennifer (Ms. Blake. The Darach). She has to tell him to ignore everything Scott and Stiles say and just trust her because he’s known her for, y’know, 2 weeks. She kisses him – but Scott and co are already there. Ms. Blake goes for a full denial with a side order of scorn tactic. She keeps protesting but Scott has a jar of mistletoe – something Deaton called both a cure and a poison – he throws the mistletoe dust on her and her illusion fades, revealing the Darach.

Well so much for the secret identity. She starts to run and Derek catches her with one hand but she hurriedly tells him that only she can save Cora from her nasty vomity goo disease. It’s more mistletoe-ness. Derek starts to strangle Darach with one hand while Scott and Stiles convince him this is a bad idea. Derek drops her and she starts cockily deciding everyone needs her. Hmmm yeah with that look on her face you could almost justify brutal, vile torture – someone call up Allison, she has practice.

Road trip! Darach tries to make lots of excuses to Derek who is not in the mood to listen to any of them. Stiles is suspicious though – he’s sure that the Darach is still in control. He’s also brought a bat (hey, everyone else has claws).  In the hospital they fill in Melissa and she briefs them. They go up to Cora’s room (everyone giving the Darach nasty eyes) and find Cora missing  - and Peter being thrown across the room. They have a Big problem – a big werewolf; the Alpha-Twins werewolf-Voltron.

Derek and Scott attack one at a time, because reasons, while Stiles and Peter check on Cora. Scott protests to Ethan and Aidan, why are they doing it and they say “all they want is her.” If they mean the Darach, she’s busy escaping in the lift. Derek, Stiles, Peter and Scott try to get Cora out of there while delaying Werewolf-Voltron (seriously – Derek, Peter and Scott together can’t bring Werewolf-Voltron down? That’s 2.5 Alphas!) The twins do split up so they can argue with each other (do I get to complain that Voltron-mode involves no shirts but their trousers miraculously reform?) over holding back and letting the pack live – but both want to kill the Darach before she kills them.

Downstairs, Kali and Deucalion also join the party, hunting the Darach – who briefly panics before remembering “oh yeah, super powers!” and sends Kali flying across the room. They run across Melissa instead.

Isaac, Allison and Chris all decide to go to the hospital to help protect Cora (well, for more drama at the hospital, mainly and getting the whole cast in one place).

The pack hangs around in the hospital basement, Stiles having a bit of a freak out since his dad’s still captured and they lost the Darach – Cora’s not doing so well either; and Darach arrives with her own deal – she will tell them where Sheriff Stilinski is and save Cora so long as they get her out of the hospital without turning her into Alpha doggy food. Has anyone considered checking with Deaton to see if he can cure Cora? Or, perhaps, asked Chris where Stilinski should be? Just throwing that out there before everyone decides working with their worst enemy is an absolute must.

Peter suggests torture but then Melissa has a message over the PA with an ultimatum from Deucalion demanding they hand over Darach or everyone gets sliced and diced into chunky mush. Darach drops the big secret – Deucalion won’t hurt Melissa because he wants Scott (which is news to Derek). He wants rare Alphas added to his pack – like Scott, the True Alpha; brief exposition while everyone explains what a True Alpha is.

Battle plan – Scott and Peter delay Voltron while everyone else runs with Cora and Darach. And to get an advantage, Pete charges himself up with epinephrine (don’t try this at home kids). Fight scene! Everyone else gets to the ambulance waiting – but there’s also a body of the driver there, killed by Kali who calls Darach “Julia.” Stiles and Cora hide but Derek and Darach run because Derek can’t beat Kali (I assume Kali is some other kind of special Alpha since Derek won’t even try to fight her even with super-Darach).

What happened to Darach of the super-powers we saw last week?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Vegan Zombie Apocalypse by Wol-Vriey

I’m not even going to try to summarise this book – or, rather, summary will be part of the review. It’s just so random and bizarre as to defy description.

I think I am not the targeted audience for this book. In fact, I think I’m pretty far from the targeted audience for this book.

See, I like odd and I like unique. I love different. I love something that breaks the mould of the tropes we see so often. I love something that can create something completely new and unexpected. I don’t mind if this includes scads of wackiness and weirdness and totally off the wall re-interpretations.

But I’m not a big fan of random stuff bring thrown together for the sake of it being random. A book with oddness works for me, a book that seems to be cobbled together from weird fever dreams is likely to lose me unless it has something underlying it.

This book crossed the line to just being random for the sake of it. But it didn’t do that through the story. There was a story there – a truly bizarre story of a post-zombie apocalypse. A story of humans gets as living fields in which potatoes the zombies rely on to keep themselves conscious and capable – humans little more than cattle, slowly dying without names – that’s amazingly original. Zombies that actually explode on contact with human brains – I love it. The strange post-apocalyptic cult of humans that consume zombies in accordance to the bizarre tenets of their gods. Both zombies and the cultists hunt the ever-dwindling supply of the free humans

We have an escapee from one of the human farms and a heretic from the zombie-eating cult, meeting up in the wilderness, both hunted by their respective groups but perhaps, together, able to create a new future.

Hey, that actually sounds pretty awesome

Then we get the Lemon Tree to the misspelt heavens, a meat deity and zombie-eating brains (no, really, that isn’t a mistake) and super dinosaurs and werezombies and super heroes and the Sun doing something even more odd and terminator zombie and… ye gods I have no idea. It’s at this point where a potentially awesome story is well and truly drowned under all the extra wackiness that is shoe-horned in whichever way possible. I feel the author tried too hard to make this story so different that throwing in weird stuff took precedence over everything else. It was less a story to be told and more a public declaration of how very weird and quirky it (and the author) is.

But, while that would have disappointed me, it wouldn’t have been all bad. What did break this book for me is the attempt not to be quirky – but to be “edgy” as well. Which means lots of gratuitous language and scenes in an attempt to… what? Disgust me? Offend me? Outrage me? Shock me? Impress me? I don’t know

Whether it’s the multiple sex scenes while wallowing in pits of rotting meat, the anal sex using a femur and blood as lubricant, the faeces-eating ceremony, the zombie meat needing marinating in menstrual blood – and the women collecting that by breaking the backs of “sponge rats” and inserting them – the continual use of the word “c*nt”, the gates to hell being called c*nt doors – and the metal rockets that blocked them “cockrockets”. The human women the potatoes are grown in have their genitals turned into storage referred to as “c*nt bags”.

Continuum, Season 2, Episode 13: Second Time

Starting in the future, Kiera is investigating the murder she was expressly told to leave alone – because her supervisor appears to be burying the murder rather than trying to solve it.
Her takes her suspicions to his boss since he works for Sadtech and it was a Sadtech technician who was murdered. His boss mollifies him – and assures him that Kiera will be kept out of danger during the execution

Hah, shows how much his guarantees are worth.

His boss goes and talks to Old Alec, worried about Kiera digging deeper. Alec is impressed by Kiera’s dedication and tells the supervisor to leave it with him – then goes and looks up Kiera’s file. Once pulled up he uses it to transfer information – at home, in bed, Kiera jerks awake in sudden pain. She tells her husband it’s her CMR and he looks out at the satellite.

The next day, the day of the Liber8 executions, Kiera goes down to breakfast and sees her husband working on the very device she was examining connected to her murder inquiry. He closes it and calls it a work thing. Her husband clearly has something on his mind but in the end doesn’t tell her

In a meeting of important people, Alec convinces them that it’s necessary to let the Liber8 plot to escape progress as far as possible so they can use it to expose their conspirators. When the meeting breaks up, Alec turns to one of the women and asks for an explanation (presumably of the murder of the Sadtech technician). The woman claims the murder victim was approached by outsiders – a sect that knew of Alec’s research and felt they had to intervene; Old Alec realises she was contacted by the Freelancers. When she leaves someone else approaches –someone Alec called in expressly to stop the Freelancer threat. It’s Jason – a much much younger Jason.

Jason, Alec’s father, Elderly Alec and young Jason. Time travel makes my head hurt.

In the present, young Alec goes to see Escher. Escher tries to convince Alec that he set Emily on him to try and protect him. Alec came to tell Escher he holds him responsible for Emily’s death; Escher asks him to tell him what happened.

At the police station, Carlos tells Dillon about Emily’s murder (using her real name) and connects it to Gardiner’s death – but Dillon sees Carlos trying to protect Kiera and reminds Carlos that CSIS thinks he’s involved especially since he didn’t bring her in. Carlos asks for some breathing room and gets a call from Kiera and tells her about Emily’s death – Dillon goes to Betty and asks Betty to trace Carlos’s call. With an address Dillon sets off and, call ended, Carlos then calls someone in Internal Affairs. And Betty texts someone…

At Liber8 HQ, Sonya want Kellog (who they have graciously invited to visit with lots of implied violence) why Kiera, Alec and Escher are meeting – she got a text from her friendly contact in the police (Betty?). Kellog talks quickly and tells them that Escher is behind the kidnapping of Garza (she was kidnapped by Freelancers who Escher may or may not be involved with). Kellog also tells them that Escher may have a working time travel device – or be preparing for one. Sonya and Kellog see how very dangerous the device could be in Escher’s hands.

Escher keeps trying to establish a connection and friendship with Alec, but Alec’s not having it. So Escher claims to be his father – which is dubious since Alec already has a DNA match to Jason. Escher pulls up a photograph showing him and Alec’s mother together when Alec was a baby. Alec, I’m sure future tech includes photoshop.

Alec actually seems to fall for it (he takes a photograph over an actual DNA test? Really? I thought the guy was supposed to be intelligent). And Kiera arrives to tell Alec how sorry she is about Emily. Alec has plenty of blame for Kiera as well, for chasing after the device and leaving Emily.

Then Dillon arrives with a small army of police to arrest Kiera. Alec tells Kiera dramatically how much he hates Kiera and how he will never ever ever forgive her, ever! And Escher is her father and he’s totally on his family’s side and how mean is she!

Oh you have no idea the angry, furious rant I made about how ridiculous this whole twist was! It was EPIC. And then I had to delete the whole damn thing because the minute Kiera’s taken away Alec steps aside and talks to her through her CMR making it clear it’s all an act, he doesn’t trust Escher and he still supports Kiera. He tells her that Escher has an anti-matter machine and if Kiera can get out of her mess and bring him the device he can send her home.

Falling Skies, Season 3, Episode 10: Brazil

Weaver, Anthony, Lyle and Pope (who isn’t dead) are in a train heading to the target. Also chained up in the train is Lourdes – who is sweating and suffering and almost animalistic. They’re going to use her and her eye worms as bait for Karen.

Tom, Kadar and Cochise try to figure out how to work the Volm weapon. Thankfully the completely alien language developed by a culture unimaginably different from ours is very intuitive to human understanding. Uh-huh. They’re sure the gun will work and take out the tower – and when the tower is down the Volm ship will see it and be able to land.

Hal’s all buzzing because he thinks the war is nearly over and he’s making plans about what to do in the aftermath – though Maggie thinks he’s being a bit hasty by assuming the Volm landing means the war will just end. She’s also a little disturbed by Hal’s white picket fence dreams especially since she knows her strength is as a warrior and if this battle is won, she intends to keep on fighting.

The train is ambushed by mechs and Weaver & co open fire and start fighting. They’re on the way to Chicago

Tom, the Volm weapon et al are on a boat though – and not heading to Chicago. They aren’t ambushed and believe they’ve tricked Karen (and Tom doesn’t have an eye worm) into focusing on Weaver’s diversion with Lourdes. Jeanne is also with them (why? Is she a combatant now? Or just there to angst about Weaver?) They fire the Volm weapon, it sucks in some of the net the towers are producing and fire a projectile at the tower

Which mildly damages one of the legs. It looks pretty weak – then the whole tower collapses, utterly destroyed. Many cheers and celebrations!

That was AWFULLY easy and AWFULLY early. The other shoe is definitely going to drop. The net over the world disappears without the tower. From the skies a massive space ship lands, bigger than the Tower, in the ruins of Boston.

That night there’s lots of partying – drums and music and Tom inside his tent preparing to meet with the Volm commander. Ben joins him and Tom’s excited to introduce the Volm commander to the rebel skitters since they’ve never heard of the like – though the Skitters aren’t really eager to meet the Volm. Tom is just trying to grasp the enormity of what they’ve achieved when the celebration sparks up again – Weaver & co arrive, apparently bailed out by Cochise and his soldiers (Cochise explained the distraction to the Volm commander who dispatched a squad to intervene). Lourdes is still restrained, they meet the Volm commander in the morning – and the Espheni are rapidly retreating to the north.

Lots more celebrations and toasts and triumph.

The next day Weaver and Tom head to see the Volm commander leader by Cochise. The commander greets them with great respect and honour – and it turns our Cochise is his son. After which the commander tries to get rid of tom and weaver so they can deploy their defences – it seems the commander isn’t super-eager to involve Tom and Weaver in the war planning. Cochise tries to be nice about it, but the Volm commander outright says that they’ve been fighting the Espheni for a long time and the humans aren’t really necessary at this point. The Volm can take on the Espheni, the humans will only be in the way. The Volm want to relocate humanity to a place away from the fighting – Brazil – while they get on with the warefare.

Hey, sounds good – aliens show up and decide to fight and die for you. Sign me up!

Of course Tom is not interested in not being able to fight – the Volm don’t present it as a choice. They will be relocated (the commander speaks to Tom like he’s a naughty child). Tom continues to protest, the Commander refuses to listen and starts to leave. Tom grabs his arm and the commander smacks him, knocking him to the floor. DRAMA! (Or, perhaps, proof that grabbing leaders of major forces is a bad idea).

Weaver storms back into camp telling everyone to pack up and be ready to move in an hour and that Tom has been detained by the Volm. He wants them to move before the Volm arrive to relocate them to safety, supported by everyone, of course. Pope declares the Volm are no better than the Espheni – ummm, no?

Weaver goes into his tent – and seems to have a heart attack and Jeanne hurries in to help him with his pills – pills he’s been taking for a couple of months unknown to her. He tells her she can’t tell anyone and she suggests going to Brazil – but the Volm’s offer to take them out of the fighting has now evolved into a “concentration camp”.

Cochise and a squad of Volm approach the humans and are greeted as happily as you’d expect. Weaver asks Cochise why he’s doing it – but Cochise is a soldier, even if he disagrees with what’s happening, it’s not his choice to make and he won’t disobey orders. Weaver asks the humans to disarm and Pope starts whining and complaining about how he knew better than Tom and Weaver (so they should have left the security net up and not used Volm weapons? Good idea Pope!)

On the ship, the commander tells Tom how big a breach of etiquette it was to touch the Volm commander and how Cochise should have told him that (or Tom could have guessed – you grab the arm of any national leader today and see how many times you bounce). The Commander is also confused – every planet they have liberated so far consisted of dull and pliant species who not only were happy to relocate to safety while the Volm fought – but were eager to do so. Tom tells him of humanity’s will to fight. The commander tells Tom how, as a warrior, as a warlord, he has never had need to question his orders or protocol; it’s disorientating that Tom is now doing so. The Commander leaves, troubled, to think.

At the camp, Lourdes is still tied up. Hal goes to see her and she screams, desperate to get the worms out of her. Hal reassures her, tells her they will get the worms out and she trusts him – always have. They have a brief jaunt down memory lane and a brief reminder that once Hal and Lourdes looked like they were going to be love interest (especially when you consider how unhappy Maggie was with Hal’s white picket fence aspirations). When Hal leaves the tent, Maggie talks about putting Lourdes out of her misery – since Karen to track her. That conversation doesn’t have to continue because it’s time for the camp to move out.

Monday, August 5, 2013


So we free Renee from the hospital after a death defying escape involving a thrilling moose chase, and we were already to start the podcast again!

After such a battle we were more excited than a CW character getting her first love triangle, we were more energised than a student in a coffee plantation, we were more eager than a HBO character getting her kit off! It was time!

And then the technology failed us

For some reason Talkshoe is splitting Renee's account in an awkward technical thing that means her computer and phone are logged on as separate people and neither of them can start the show.

This is more annoying than Switch being cancelled.

We blame Sister Demon Nun and Renee will battle with it. As soon as she is victorious, the podcast will return.

True Blood, Season 6, Episode 8: Dead Meat

Eric stares at the remains of Nora. Sorry, Eric, you’re going to have to bin those bed linens, there’s no way that mess is going to come clean. Eric is not a happy vampire. He’s furious at Billith for not foreseeing Nora’s death, furious that Billith didn’t save her and get Warlow, furious that Billith is demanding Eric help him before the blood is even try and pretty damn angry that Billith didn’t get Warlow because he didn’t want to argue with precious Sookie.

All pretty reasonable points actually.

At which point Eric stops having good points and positively loses it while Billith floats him round the room with his telekinesis. After Eric’s ranting gets on his nerves, Billith cracks through it by insulting Godric and kicks Eric out.

In Vampire prison, Tara wisely tells Willa not to mess with big boss vampire lady who has claimed Jason. Especially since she seems to be only talking to Jason. She asks what he did to be thrown in (he says “the governor’s girl”) but while she’s nice and not savage she also makes it clear that her claiming him wasn’t just altruism. She meant it. Really meant it – forever ever meant it (she’s Catholic after all – and not modern fluffy Catholic but serious medieval Catholic).

Elsewhere in prison, Jessica and James are all lovey dovey until the guards split them up and return them to the general population cells. They also pick up Pam who just had sex with the psychiatrist – she describes it as “oozy, but productive”. A brief break there while everyone removes “oozy but productive” mental images from their minds.

They return to general prison population – and the guards start handing out bottles of True Blood. And in the male vampire population, Steve Newlin complains about being unpopular to James and James, being either a fool or a compassionate soul, tells Steve not to drink the infected True Blood.

In the female ward, Violet, the chief vamp, is enjoying Jason’s blood while Willa, Jessica, Tara and (reluctantly), Pam discuss how to save him. Being munched on, Jason begs Violet not to rape him (a special trigger for him) and she makes it clear that WHEN they have sex, it will be consensual and she has very strong ideas as to how that’s going to happen.

Sarah Newlin arrives at the camp and is told that some of the vampires are not eating the tainted True Blood. To find out why she puts pressure on her ex-husband Steve – who can’t even run in a treadmill? No, this is ridiculous, I know he’s set up to be the pathetic comic relief, but it is ridiculous that any vampire is that freaking slow. He quickly cracks and tells Sarah about them knowing about the Hep V and quickly gives up James.

Both James and Steve are moved into a room – a white room – where Sarah says anyone else who doesn’t want to drink will also join them. Steve cries and snivels.

Elsewhere, Ms. Suzuki, the spokesperson for the corporation that makes True Blood is furious and storms to the facility demanding to speak to the Governor. She rages through the factory and runs into Sarah Newlin. Sarah Newlin tries to raise the banner of eternal sisterhood to which Ms. Suzuki knees her to cut off the patronising speech and charges through to see them adding Hep V to her company’s True Blood. She rings to call the FDA and parent company in Osaka – and Sarah Newlin attacks her.

Ms. Suzuki runs into the vampire prison, chased by Sarah Newlin. Sarah catches her when Ms. Suzuki is shocked to see one of the vampire sex experiments – but Suzuki kicks Sarah in the stomach and keeps going. She runs out onto the walkway above the general male vampire population – but there’s a problem. The walkway is a grill and Ms. Suzuki is wearing high heels, she falls and breaks her ankle – when her head hits the grill, Sarah continues to slam her head into the metal grating. A vampire from below leaps up and bites her face through the grill while Sarah murders her with her high heel shoe. Sarah praises Jesus.

Fangs for the Fantasy Book of the Week

The Podcast returns! 

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 broadcasts at 6:00pm EST, which is 11:00pm 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

5th August - 12th August: Biting Bad by Chloe Neill
12th August - 19th August: Grave Visions by Kalayna Price
19th August - 26th August: Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
26th August - 2nd September: Dark Reunion by L.J. Smith

Kitty in the Underworld (Kitty Norville #12) by Carrie Vaughn

Kitty has another book to write – one on legends and history, one that looks back over the past and considers how many of the beast related mythological figures and heroes that feature so highly in history are actually wereanimals.

In particular Regina Luporum, the wolf who raised the infants Romulus and Remus who went on to found the city of Rome. A figure Kitty herself has been identified with

Perhaps too much, especially when a gang of rather odd kidnappers seize Kitty for this very reason. While Kitty thinks of escape, she can’t help but wonder if maybe this odd group has the key to defeating Roman.

So, I started typing this review, changed my mind and deleted it and started again. Then I did the same thing again. And again. And again. I’m now stream of consciousing while I stare at the screen and say “hmmmm”.

I’ve said this before when reading the Kitty Norville series and, to a degree, when reading any long series of books – you need to look at this book in two ways. Once as a book in its own rightand once as part of an ongoing series.

Looking at it as the former, I’m kind of lost. The beginning of the book and set up of the story is odd… after being kidnapped Kitty spends 90% of the book thinking and internal monolguing. There are attempts at escape but… well there are THOUGHTS of escape. I don’t particularly blame Kitty for not working day and night on her escape (except for one incident which I will get to) since there were so few avenues for her to escape – but it meant that most of the book was her generally trying to question her captors about why they’ve actually captured her, quickly becoming extremely sympathetic with one of them in a very rapid and never really labelled as such Stockholm-syndrome manner, until the end when there’s a fight scene and she leaves.

Basically, looking at it separately:
Kitty is kidnapped
Kitty spends a long time considering her imprisonment while kidnappers refuse to talk to her
Kitty: Let me out!
Kidnappers: No
Kitty: Tell me why you kidnapped me!
Kidnappers: No
Kitty thinks about how she’s imprisoned and can’t get out
Kitty: Let me out!
Kidnappers: No.
Kitty: Then tell me why you’ve kidnapped me!
Kidnappers: Here’s some vague clues
Kitty thinks about stories and said vague clues.
Kitty: Let me out!
Kidnappers: No…

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Fangs for the Fantasy Podcast Returns!

After many epic conflicts, surpassing hardship beyond measure, defeating terrible foes and creating an eternal enemy we have dubbed Sister Demon Nun, Renee has escaped from hospital. I do not know how many nuns, nurses, passing doctors, orderlies, patients or polar bears she had to slay to do this but I’m sure it’s considerable.

It does mean she is ensconced back home (with decent food at last!) and we will be resuming the podcast! (Unless Sister Demon Nun catches up with Renee, in which case she may be too busy loading the shotgun)

So tomorrow (Monday 5th August) at 6:30pm EST (11:30pm BST) we will resume our Fangs for the Fantasy Podcast

As ever, all of our previous podcasts are available through our archive.