Saturday, September 13, 2014

Haven, Season 5, Episode 1: See No Evil

So, everything changed at the end of last season. Audrey is now the evil Mara, Jennifer and Duke are not feeling so good and William has been dropped in a dimension with an over-active smoke machine.

So with all that happening we need to see Gloria. Hey I normally love Gloria, she’s awesome, but really with all that’s happening do I need to see her and her now trouble-less baby? Vicki’s (she who can make her pictures real) also there to remind us that the Troubles are staying for extra long time this time round rather than their usual break.

Then an earthquake hits – and a ring of light explodes out from the lighthouse (where Audrey and the gang are) before the lighthouse collapses into the sea.

Duke and Dwight end up on shore outside of Haven – and Duke is no longer bleeding from the eyes (which is probably a good sign).

The Teagues are bickering in the middle of the woods, Dave is badly injured (he was shot)

Nathan finds Audrey and she promptly cuffs him and steals his gun because he’s completely forgotten that she’s now evil Mara. Evil Mara has really not enjoyed the last 500 years of reincarnated do-gooders (all of which she remembers) and needs Jennifer (to open the door and free William) and then she can go on creating evil Troubles for nefarious but unexplained purposes. She clonks Nathan unconscious which, let’s be honest, we’ve all wanted to do occasionally.

Duke finds and frees Nathan and now we have two teams hunting Jennifer. When they realise that the lighthouse is destroyed (much to some administrator’s distress) that means the doorway to Dry Ice World is under the sea – so now what will Mara done? Nathan and Duke bicker so it’s time to interrupt them with a Trouble – administrator Bill gets his eyes sewn up. Nasty.

They decide it’s a new Trouble and Nathan and Dwight talk about what to do – Nathan is worried about Dwight going after Mara and Mara getting hurt because she’s till Audrey, precious. Dwight is less sure. Duke’s obsessive asking everyone about Jennifer reveals Mara also asked where she was even after finding the lighthouse exploding – suggesting there’s more than one door to Dry Ice World.

They need info. It’s time for the Teagues to be obstructive and vague again! Alas, Dave is unconscious in hospital and Vince knows little and Cabot’s journal with its own ambiguous hints is missing (probably hidden by Dave). While in the hospital, a member of the Guard (freaky Trouble people with rather extreme attitudes) warns Dwight everyone’s getting antsy especially since Vince (the head of the Guard) isn’t talking. Dwight’s also having to deal with the new sewing Trouble while Duke obsessed with Jennifer and Nathan obsesses over Mara. Which now includes a guy whose eyes and mouth were sewn up while he was driving (and caused him to crash).

Friday, September 12, 2014

Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels Series #8) by Ilona Andrews

Tensions between the Pack –and Kate –and Roland heat up. Hugh, Roland’s warlord, has come to Atlanta, taken over the People and is now using them to try and get to Kate. And if he has to go through the Pack to do it, or the Order of Merciful Aid, or anyone – he will do it.

As the threat of Roland gets ever closer to Atlanta, we get a sense of just how mighty this man is and how dangerous it is to oppose him – and Kate worries about leading the Pack, the people she cares about, in a war against such an overwhelming threat

She has some hard decisions to make and a whole new direction to take in facing off against her immensely powerful father


This book marks a major turning point in the story of Kate – or rather it brings a transition Kate has been kind of slouching towards in the last few books to a final and major point. Kate’s secret is out, Kate is known as the daughter of Roland, everyone knows it and knows it’s a very big deal

Ok, several people have known that Kate was Roland’s daughter for some time. But there’s a difference between “she’s the daughter of Roland the head of the People who re all necromancers” and Kate is the daughter of Roland, who was once Biblical Nimrod, a being of incredible, legendary, terrifying power and  quite capable of forming an immense empire, performing feats of magic that are not even imaginable by anyone else.  Yes, we’ve always had the immensity of Roland lurking in the background as an abstract force – but now it’s very much present and immediate – and epic.

I can’t really stress the epic enough here because it’s so well done in this book in so many places and in so many ways – and it’s also essential. The whole series changes from this book. Kate and Curran have had their relationship in focus, then the pack in focus and are now moving on to a whole different part of their stories; and part of what makes their choices in this book and especially the astonishing ending of this book work is the presentation of Roland as an epic threat

And not just Roland as an epic threat – but also establishing that Kate, as Roland’s daughter and an inheritor of a small percentage of his epicness, as the only viable counter to Roland’s dominance and, again, shifts the perception of the pack and Kate’s place in it. For a while there has been the underlying assumption that the Pack provides and army with which to oppose Roland – which is well and truly shattered in this book. A combination of the Pack’s continual lack of acceptance of Kate (as well as the pack’s own internal divisions and dysfunction), of Kate feeling so protective of the Pack that she is in some ways unable to act as a ruler since she simply cannot make the hard choices and, ultimately, because Roland is so powerful that the Pack would less opposing army and more briefly annoying speed bump.

Syfy Q&A Karl Schaefer from Z Nation

Today, Z Nation premiers on Syfy which we will be reviewing. for the new series we not only have a clip of a pilot, but a Syfy Q&A transcript about the new season with Karl Schaefer (showrunner and executive producer)

Operator:             Good afternoon.  My name is Courtney, and I'll be your conference operator today.  At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Z Nation conference call.  All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise.  After the speaker's remarks, there will be a question-and-answer session.  If you would like to ask a question during this time, simply press star then the number one on your telephone keypad.  If you would like to withdraw your question, press the pound key.

                              Thank you.  Maureen Granados, you may begin your conference.

Maureen Granados: Thank you.  Hi, everyone.  Thanks so much for joining the Z Nation conference call today.  On our line we are very excited to have Karl Schaefer, the Showrunner for Z Nation and Executive Producer, answer your questions.  And as you know the show premieres this Friday, September 12th, at 10:00 pm

                              So, without further ado, let's turn it over to Karl and your questions.  Thanks so much.

Operator:             At this time, I would like to remind everyone in order to ask a question, press pound then the number one on your telephone keypad.  We'll pause for just a moment to compile the Q&A roster.

                              Your first question comes from the line of Jamie Ruby with  Your line is open.

Jamie Ruby:        Hi.  Thanks so much for talking to us today.  I really enjoyed the premiere.

Karl Schaefer:     Oh, good.  Thank you.

Jamie Ruby:        So, obviously it's inevitable that this is going to be compared to other shows of similar subject.  Can you kind of talk about how it's different and how it stands out from what's on television now?

Karl Schaefer:     I mean, first off there is obviously a great zombie show in The Walking Dead already on, so our mission is sort of to go where they don't, and I think the biggest difference between us and them is our series has a sense of hope and also a sense of humor.  We're kind of trying to put the fun back into zombies.  Our heroes have a mission that they're on, so we're traveling every week.  We're going across the country.  They're not just sort of fighting for survival and hunkering down into one place.  They really have somewhere to go and something to do. 

                              Our characters aren't afraid of zombies necessarily.  I mean, they're wary of them and zombies are certainly dangerous to them, but they take the fight to the zombies.  We try and have as much action in an episode as The Walking Dead has in half a season.  There's a lot of black humor in our show, a lot of social satire, but primarily it's that sense of hope and mission and that the characters are really taking it to the zombies as opposed to being afraid of them and hunkering down.  And if you were going to go through the apocalypse, I think you would rather go through the apocalypse with our guys, because they've got somewhere to go and something to do, and I think it'll be triumphant in the end.

Jamie Ruby:        Can you talk about maybe some of the challenges you faced?

Karl Schaefer:     Well, I think we're a reasonably low-budget show, so trying to give it a sense of scope and scale and also just that somebody has thrown down the gauntlet.  The bar is set pretty high for zombie shows, but I think we face the challenge of any show, just making great characters and interesting storylines and doing it all for a price.  And making a show that travels across the country was really hard to do, but we found a great location.  We shot the whole thing in Spokane, Washington, which has been fantastic and just has so many different looks within the Spokane area, from mountains and lakes and beautiful rolling wheat fields and farms and desert and – so we really, I think, did a good job of making the show feel like it's traveling across the country and we're in a different place every week.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Unmaking (Rayne Whitmore Series #1) by Alanna J Faison

Rayne Whitmore had an extremely privileged life – not without issues, but with a loving family, immense wealth and a girlfriend, Selene, who loves her. But this comfortable life is shaken badly when she sees what terrible things her father has to do to preserve it.

But it’s only the beginning – the retaliation brings demons to her family’s door and leaves Rayne devastated, grieving and lost with the knowledge that monsters and magic still exist. Only Selene is there to offer comfort – and knowledge of the magical world that had been hidden from her. It’s a world Rayne will have to become more deeply involved in if she ever wants to justice for her family and to ensure she will never be the victim again.

We have a huge world here – with a lot of layers but also a lot of depth. We don’t just have a world that has trawled every supernatural mythology out there, declared “these exist” and then moved on and relied on tropes to characterise them. We don’t just have demons and gods and vampires and werewolves, they have histories and cultures and development – or at least hints of them (more would be an unconscionable info-dump) to set out what is actually meant by these terms in this setting, to show that the author has developed and created these rather than just slapped some fangs on a sexy person and said “behold, vampire – you know how this goes.” There’s a lot built into things like the werewolf packs, the history of the vampires and their societies, the internal problems with the witchborn and how that affects Selene’s life and past.

This genre is very very full and it’s hard to take concepts that are long established and tweak them sufficiently to bring originals spins on them – this book does it, it makes something new out of the old tropes, brings a lot of originality while still keeping the familiar.

Rayne is also an excellent character. She’s a Black lesbian, which is excellent inclusion, both of these both inform her and are very present in her character. She’s in a long term relationship with Selene, a latina lesbian and being a lesbian touches on her relationship with her (sadly absent) mother and how she lives and interacts with immortals later. Similarly race and ethnicity are present in the characterisation, language choice, explanations, descriptions, and generally are integral part of their characters. It’s not just a tossed away description but nor is it a heavily hammered, all consuming stereotype. It was a nice balance and excellent character development and inclusion (and not limited – we have numerous main POC, several bisexual and another lesbian character. There is a problematic “everyone is bi” insistence from the immortals but Rayne herself is quick and firm to shoot that down, there’s also a bit of a shaky idea that gay male werewolves can’t possibly exist for random, unnecessary reasons).

Witches of East End, Season 2, Episode 8: Sex, Lies and Birthday Cake

Tarkoff and Puppy-Frederick are kidnapping and carving up victims in the hope that one of them will be a suitable host for Frederick’s evil granddad, the king (currently possessing Frederick and causing the odd seizure). Tarkoff is also a total back-seat mutilator and reflects how much easier it was for them when the Mandragora was doing all the slicing and dicing. They’re not having a lot of success simply because they are literally just grabbing random people, slicing them, dicing them then slitting their throats. Tarkoff decides they need to brutally slice someone to death who doesn’t feel afraid – they need someone who trusts Frederick

Uh-huh, I call convoluted angst so Frederick can pull his puppy-dog eyes. It doesn’t matter how much someone trusts Frederick, when the knife comes out, the trust leaves

Anyway, later on Frederick decides to deal with this conflict by stabbing Tarkoff.

To the Beauchamps house and it’s Freya’s birthday – her first ever 30th birthday. Of course Freya is focused on her love life because it is her single topic of conversation, her sole obsession and the only thing that is ever ever addressed about her. Joanna also insists Frederick be at the party as well because they’re twins and it’s his birthday too… except it isn’t because Freya is reborn on different days and while they were born as twins they no longer share a birthday (and he’s centuries older than her) which is all a bit confusing in a good way, but does make me wonder whether the word “twins” even has any meaning for them any more? Anywany, Joanna insists since they haven’t celebrated Frederick’s birthday in 400 years – isn’t there a point when you stop celebrating birthdays for fear of causing a candle shortage?

Time for more relationship awkwardness – Ingrid goes to see Dash for lots of sweet, babbling, yes-I’ll-go-on-a-date-with-you to find a half naked woman in his home. Awkward.

To make it more awkward, Dash calls her afterwards to say how half-naked-breakfast-cooking-lady meant nothing (I often wonder if anyone actually expects that line to work?)

Speaking of awkward, Wendy transforms from cat to completely naked woman in the middle of the kitchen right in front of her love interest Tommy – what she had cat senses and still missed him stood right there? She tries to explain the whole witch thing and he runs in near panic. Not great. She talks this over with Joanna who is very apologetic – but it’s time to wipe Tommy’s memory; it’s all part of the “code” to keep secret from mortals because humans have a nasty habit of trying to kill them (given season 1 and the axe murdering and, well, humanity – that’s fair). Wendy’s afraid he may lose his mind as Maura did when she had her memory wiped – and Joanna raises the precaution of Wendy never seeing him again. Also, if they don’t do it then another witch may find out Tommy knows and kill him anyway.

To Killian who is still under the spell of evil Eva who has now brought her Evil grandmother to cook for him (and complain about it in Spanish – missing that Killian understands her). Apparently Killian being in twu lub with Freya is screwing up Eva’s spell, meaning she’s having to up his dose. Granny is clear – get pregnant by hook or by crook (I’ve met some grandparents like that, they can be quite scary)

This Week in Book Covers 1st September - 5th September

This week we have… rather a lot of blah, to be honest. There’s some pretty covers, but it’s vague and generic week

The Witch with No Name (Hollows #16) by Kim Harrison

Y’know, I can’t think of many times, except when in professional disguise, that Rachel has worn a skirt. And if she’s in professional guise, I can’t see why she’d wear that top. Or why she’d ever wear that top - is that a corset? Is she actually wearing a corset? Why are we looking at her back and arse anyway?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Under the Dome, Season 2, Episode 11: Black Ice

Zenith now has a glowing purple egg in the middle of the playground – and lots of guys in haz-mat suits. The egg does not want to move and keeps having glowy tantrums

Which, in the dome, is causing Melanie immense, screaming pain. Sam and Junior rush her to the school where Rebecca has set up a triage centre because throwing the egg down the chasm also caused an Earthquake.

Can we agree that Jim needs to be pelted with angry badgers now? Please?

Jim takes Pauline to the school and he’s sure he’s done the right thing because he’s awesome even while Pauline is not happy and is telling Jim just how very wrong he is about everything. Which is when Julia and Barbie confront Jim on his kidnapping of teenagers and Barbie tells Jim about the whole passage being closed off and how Jim has ruined it for everyone. Jim stomps off and Rebecca drops in for some practicality – she needs help with the injured and it’s also getting super-duper cold. Barbie hasn’t finished pouting yet so he leaves Rebecca, Julia and Pauline to get shit down.

Norrie and Joe have picked up Hunter as a sidekick (and we’re reminded of how very very cold it’s suddenly become) to check of the egg being gone has stopped the dome. The Dome is still there – only not it’s frozen solid and Joe’s hand sticks to it (probably from woo-woo not cold). More concerning, the Dome is also sinking into the ground – they get Joe’s hand free by ripping off a layer of skin – but since his handprint is then dragged below the concrete, that’s probably a worthy exchange. Personally, the handprint sinking wouldn’t catch my attention – I’d be looking up.

They return to the clinic and see Melanie and all the injured and Norrie has a case of the guilts for dropping the egg – Barbie, rightly, blames Jim (who needs to be pelted with badgers). Joe also tells Rebecca about the Dome – it’s not coming down, it’s revolving, the whole sphere turning – which is also why it’s so cold and going to get even colder. Rebecca is also looking at their generator situation – which is low. They also worry that it’s going to get so cold the food stores will freeze

Julia and Barbie go to grab food but Barbie is now in a full on dudgeon, feeling all the despair about surviving under the dome (likely exacerbated by him having escaped and now stuck back in again). To further improve his mood (or possibly the Dome saying “stop whining!”), the ambulance they’re driving slips on the ice – one crash later and Julia is thrown around and has her leg impaled on something (and when using the word “impaled” it doesn’t really matter what that something is). Also the radio is broken and they can hardly walk for help because of the Death Cold.

Then they run out of fuel so the ambulance heater packs in – which means we have the standard “leave me to die” “no true love says our corpses should freeze together!” They snuggle by a candle heat – until the window freezes and shatters (Julia was beginning to sound hopeful, the Dome is not impressed by this hope). Another round of Julia trying to convince Barbie to leave her before Barbie realises hypothermia may mean Julia won’t bleed to death if they free her from the impaling thing. Which means they actually uncover Julia so she gets even colder. Once she passes out, Barbie frees her and carries her off.

Teen Wolf, Season 4, Episode 12: Smoke and Mirrors

Kira moves through the spooky catacombs lined with bones looking for Scott – a lot of tension and a cameraman who clearly wanted to work in horror films - and instead she finds berserkers, one of which beats her to the ground. By his tattoos it’s Scott… so the berserker transformation has taken hold it seems. Kate arrives to talk about her arrival there – at the temple of Texcatlipoca where she found the Berserkers and can both control and create them; she’s also La Lopa, the bone woman. She reminds us all about Scott’s special alphaness and how he’s never had to kill which is something she wants to change. And Scottzerker stabs Kira.

Kira isn’t dead – but she is badly wounded with a knife wound in her chest. She hallucinates her mother teaching her how Kitsune’s heal (apparently pain triggers the healing. This also implies that being stabbed in the chest after being beaten up by a berserker is painless). There follows some unpleasant battering of the obsidian walls and playing with the glass to produce more pain to actually heal.

In Beacon Hills, Stiles wants to go to Mexico on a rescue mission while the Sheriff wants to use proper legal channels rather than storming into another country with a bunch of teenagers. Stiles declares he’s going anyway and the Sheriff is faced with the utter horror of keeping Stiles in town when he puts all his little creative mind into finding a way to go. He finally pleas for some time

Stiles and Malia still grab a pillow from Scott’s bed for scent tracking and try to talk Liam out of coming (and casting scorn on Baby!Wolf for not having seen Star Wars). Since it’s the full moon and he has no control.

Braeden and Derek are also planning to run to the rescue and Derek is having death angst because he misses his super powers (also a Banshee keeps saying he’s going to die). Braeden and Derek definitely seem to have a happy dappy couple and not just a hot sexy couple. Peter arrives while they’re considering how to kill a berserker and he offers… help. Yeah, no.

The end result of all this is bringing Peter AND Liam (using a prison transport van. Hey, didn’t Jackson the Kanima break out of one of them in season 2? And they got said van because being a US Marshal may not actually be Braeden’s cover… it may be accurate. Or she may have just used her cover. Because MYSTERY). Baby!Wolf and Evil!Wolf? This rescue looks promising! Peter also throws in that Kate may do to Scott what she did to Derek and, in doing so, maybe steal his True Alphaness which werewolves can’t generally do (BEHOLD IMPORTANT PLOT POINT! This is why Peter can’t just kill Scott to become an Alpha – not until Scott kills and taints his noble alpha-y-ness). He also has a big pep talk about how Berserkers are totally inhuman and you shouldn’t even hesitate to kill them. Anyway they head off – without Lydia since she’s not answering her phone, so Baby!Wolf ropes in Mason to go looking for her (Mason is on call when Liam needs anything).

Mason doesn’t find Lydia – but does find her phone and a berserker and they both end up captured.

On the journey, Peter tries to corrupt Malia and Derek even pulls the whole “look Liam, I got a magic control talisman” that we already know is epic bullshit (Stiles and Derek sharing conspiratorial glances confirm that). This doesn’t work so they play with mantras instead (and trying to rapidly teach him the meaning of them which someone really should have done before now). I also kind of think it may have been a good idea to put Peter and/or Malia in the back with Liam rather than Stiles and Derek.

They arrive at their destination and straight into combat – with Derek quickly being smacked down (but not dead – yes I’ve been expecting him to die for several episodes now but he keeps on going).  Everyone is horrified by Derek being badly injured (including Peter); Derek insists they find Scott while leaving Braeden with him.

This is also when the Sheriff notices his son is missing and calls to rage mightily down the phone – Stiles enlists him to check on Lydia at the school. Call ends when another Berserker (theScottzerker) arrives and everyone runs until they make a stand – Malia sending Stiles to look for Kira. He finds a healing Kira and she quickly tells him about the Scottzerker. ZOMG that means the gang could be killing Scott!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Shaman Rises (The Walker Papers #9) by C. E. Murphy

Joanne has fought the Master through this entire series – following on in her mother’s footsteps. Over the last year she has learned, she has honed her power, she has made powerful friends and she’s going to need all of them.

The Master has come to Seattle and he’s throwing everything he has at the city – which may not survive the devastation.

The pacing of this book was break neck. Joanne goes from huge disaster to huge disaster, event to event. There are fragments of plans that are dragged up, then abandoned. A crisis to react to, then another crisis, then another crisis until the first crisis seems to have been forgotten but is still there, crisising (yes, it’s a word, I have decided) and she’s followed by a whole crowd of entourage with yet more crisis and we’re all very very lost and it’s all very very panicky.

In the past in this series I’ve said I’ve been completely lost because of the way the magic and woo-woo are described which can leave combats awash with colours and feelings and gardens and different realms. In this book we have some of that – but I think all the books previously have set me up to be ready for it. No, I was lost in this book because of the sheer amount of stuff happening. Thunderbird Falls and Marcia the witch and Suzanne the demi-hemi goddess and Cernunnos and Annie back from the dead and the Raven Mocker and Leannansidhe and… sooo much. And Joanne runs from each of these to the next, fighting with magic, fighting with her fists, coming up with cunning plans that don’t work, throwing out epic amounts of power – and now they’re in the park  and Billy’s having a huge Necromancer crisis and now EARTHQUAKES and more doom – time for an impossible feat of magic – but now there’s another crisis!

And it worked

It worked because this is the last book of the series and this is the Master bringing his all, everything, to fuilfil his diabolical plan. Part of that involves bringing down Joanne and, if necessary, all of Seattle. This epicly powerful force is throwing everything at Joanne and since he feeds on chaos and panic and despair, he is destroying the city to empower himself. Joanne is flailing around trying to stop it as everything falls apart around her, she’s also pulled in several directions due to her protective instincts with her being told repeatedly that she can’t protect everyone (something she will not remotely hear). This culmination of the long story ended epicly with a vast confrontation and a very real and constant sense of everything falling apart. It was a struggle that felt, genuinely felt, that Joanne would lose several times over. She made many plans, many cunning plans, that just fell apart. She made mistakes. She had strokes of genius. She threw around awe inspiring power – and there was still a sense of utter chaos, terrible loss and a constant edge of defeat. Most of the book was hopelessness followed by frustration and with a whole lot of confusion.

It was epic.

The Strain, Season 1, Episode 9: The Disappeared

Alas, we’re back to Zack, yes Ephraim’s family. Oh no, The Strain you were finally starting to get moving after episodes of painful drag and we’re back to the kid again? Anyway, he was staying with Kelly’s awesome sassy friend drops off Zack who goes into the dark and disarrayed house (if you remember, Matt, Kelly’s new boyfriend, got all vampired a few episodes ago. I’d link back but that would require me to care enough to justify the mouse clicks). Thankfully, the vampires on The Strain have plot related abilities and Matt is super slow and clumsy. Even better, Ephraim coincidentally is returning home at just that moment.

Zack gets to watch Ephraim murder his mother’s new boyfriend with an axe. Somewhere a psychiatrist opened a new savings account. (Also “he was a vampire. Honest. Would be a really convenient excuse, I’m just saying). The rest of the gang arrive and find Kelly is missing –if Kelly has been vampired she’ll now be hunting Zack so Abraham thinks they need to run. Vasily and Abraham try to convince Nora that killing Jim had to be done – she finally accepts that but says she or Ephraim who cared for him, should have been the ones to do it. Personally, I think if I had to die I’d rather it not be my loved ones who are forced to do it, does that make me odd? Anyway, Vasiliy points out that neither Nora nor Ephraim were willing to do it. Nora isn’t running with that – and she also tells Abraham he doesn’t know everything – which is true, but he’s doing a pretty damn good job so far.

Dutch also tries to offer what sympathy she can and Ephraim is still all pouty to Vasiliy. He’s having Abraham babysit Zack and I think Abraham may be the most awesome babysitter ever. He explains the whole vampire thing to Zack and reassures him over Matt’s death.

They drop Dutch off on the way and she discovers that Vicki, who escaped from the store, has stolen all her cash, her laptop all her work. She screams in rage, tearing apart some of Vicki’s things before crying. Grief is interrupted by stoner vampire – one Vasiliy kill later and they decide to join Abraham instead (though Abraham does get a little snarky about Vasiliy not consulting him about adding Dutch to the team).

At the pawn shop they reunite with Nora’s mother (who is confused and not happy), Abraham sets Zack to reading vampire books and everyone’s impressed by Abraham’s secret lair. Abraham also makes a big speech about what humans would help the vampires – and Dutch gets the guilt-face – and praises Vasiliy for being so practical about killing. Vasiliy wanders home to fetch something and Dutch confesses all to Abraham – and reveals that Eldritch Palmer is the big bad (his name is ELDRITCH! Come on, the may as well have “The Master” or “Dr. Doom” written on his office door).

Nora and Ephraim stayed behind to clear up Matt’s body; Ephraim worries about Kelly and Nora brings more parallels and backstory with thinking of Argentina and the inherited dread she has of everything falling apart, people disappearing etc. Ephraim also shows his lack of class by only talking about Jim at Matt’s burning, and refusing to talk about Matt (a trifle childish their Ephraim).

Monday, September 8, 2014

Blood and Gold (Vampire Chronicles #8) by Anne Rice

Thorne, his long sleep interrupted by the waking and rampaging of the Vampire Queen Akasha, is now driven to find the one who made him, the one he saw in his visions – Maharet, one of the two oldest vampires in the world

He emerges from his icy tomb to seek his own kind – and finds Marius, the Roman, Child of the Millennium, Former Keeper of Those Who Must be Kept. And avid biogorapher – who recounts his history to the Norse vampire

Thorne emerges from his centuries of sleep, trying to find answers, trying to find his creator, trying to find some explanation for what happened in the vampire world. At first it seems lucky that he runs into Marius, ancient roman vampire who knows all the answers, but as he’s taken to Marius’s home he realises the dreadful truth… he had fallen into the hands of The Biographer Vampires and their Endless Exposition.

Despite having known Marius for less than a few hours, this poor vampire is then subjected to Marius’s entire 2,000 year old life story (as an added bonus, he also tucks in the story of Eudoxia, a vampire he met along the way). I honestly think these books aren’t even trying to come up with a plausible explanation for why these vampires feel a need to info-dump their entire histories with the most purple of prose – just randomly dropping it on a stranger will do now. Thorne wanted to know about the events of Queen of the Damned, it would have taken exactly 10 minutes to sum up the (limited) plot of that book! No-one asked you your life story, Marius!

To be fair, though, this is one of the better interminably long, over-detailed biographies in the series because a) Marius is a relatively relevant character and b) we get a good sense of him in this book which we haven’t seen elsewhere (unlike, say, The Vampire Armand which was repetitive and added nothing new).

We get a good insight into Marius’s character as time and again he repeats the same patterns – Marius needs company. Not just vampire company (though for much of his existence he seems to need or crave a vampire companion), but human company as well especially when he was younger (relatively speaking), often throwing open his home for people to join him in parties and salons – far more so. In some ways he’s very much a product of his time and place: he’s a Roman. He’s very civilised, very social and, tellingly, pretty arrogant. Which is a wonderful repeated sense I get of Marius which is well done because I get this sense while seeing through Marius’s eyes AND without Marius himself conceding the point. But Marius is Roman, the civilised man in the world of barbarians who need to be educated. From a young age he was entrusted with the duty of keeping Akasha and Enkil safe and repeatedly drank Akasha’s blood making him much much stronger than pretty much every vampire he met. There’s a lot of fuel to that arrogance but once you see it, it puts everything else into a whole new context with Marius.

Intruders, Season 1, Episode 3: Time Has Come Today

Tim the replacement conspiracy theoriest is still on the radio (and can he get new material? Armstrong’s family was killed and so was Oz – you need a bit more than murders for a conspiracy) being listened to by creepy Madison (or Marcus) and the woman she paid to drive her to Seattle (she looks very disturbed and, frankly, should be wearing a red shirt), Karen. She’s starting to have doubts over the whole driving off with a 10 year old girl thing while Madison continues to be the creepiest kiddy ever with extra knowledge of classical music which she also makes creepy by throwing in some child murders that she remembered way before she was born- because she’s Madison and everything she does is creepy.

To Jack who is drinking while driving and playing with his phone as well. Naughty policeman. He’s having lots of sad memories of his wife Annie and how she became all creepy and odd before her disappearance.

On the same stretch of road, Richard Shepherd (the ominous one) is having his own angsty memories of being sent to kill Marcus – who says (for more crypticness) “Granfield convinced the 9 to finally kill me off.” We have added references to knowing people for thousands of years. Marcus has  another plan – pay Richard a load of money to pretend he’s dead and when he finally does die, Richard will “Shepherd him off the books” (I’m calling him Richard from now on since Shepherd seems to be a job description as much as a name) which seems to be how these people come back from the dead. When he comes back he will then kill off the 9 since they won’t be expecting him. He also gives Richard the cracker/wafer which he gave to Madison in an earlier episode.

He does accept the deal so we’re back to the present with Richard looking kind of troubled.

Jack returns home and returns his neighbour’s car – and she briefly pulls a gun on him because Madison isn’t the only one who can pull out the creepy.

Amy is waiting for him… yes that phone call last week was genuine. Rather than talk about her random disappearance she’s concerned about the bruises on him – and him still drinking (the impression being that Jack used to have a problem). She does have a fairly good idea for why she didn’t call him to say she’d lost her phone (she couldn’t remember his mobile number. Landlines apparently don’t exist). She actually has a really good explanation for everything (she was interviewing with a rival firm and didn’t want her boss to know about it) and is actually pretty angry about him not remembering them discussing it (him being so self-absorbed with his book). She also pours away the bottle of booze she finds.

They reconcile and it doesn’t cover everything but Amy tells Jack that she will never leave him – because he’s her Shepherd. She then turns into the cryptic about how he couldn’t understand – before running out and playing jazz, music she’s supposed to hate.

He goes to her to find her on the phone with someone. She tries to get him to back off but he keeps pressing, she’s supposed to have quit smoking and now she’s lighting up again and who is she calling in the middle of the night. She has another plausible explanation and asks for her phone – which he gives her, but not before cloning it. Yeah, this level of suspicion is not the recipe for a happy marriage. On that note, Jack makes a plea for them to return to how they were – and she says they have to split up.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Links of Interest

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

Please feel free to share your own links in the comments

The overwhelming dominance of cis, straight, white, male protagonists in the genre is really extreme.

An author’s response to a petulant homophobe. Though I have to say while I love his reaction, trying to present the Star Trek universe as something even remotely welcoming to LGBT people is a stretch

A post emphasising the difference between whitewashing a POC character, and re-casting a white role as a POC

The newest series of the Walking Dead computer game by Talltale Games (review coming soon) again reminds us how all inclusion is not good inclusion

A pointed take down of the idea that the M/M genre is inherently gay friendly or somehow championing equality, since there’s a lot of problematic issues and fetishism in the genre

The author joins me in not being impressed by “easter egg” inclusion of LGBT characters

A sad look at how computer games geekdom has responded with rampant misogyny when faced with even the mildest criticism from a woman.

A round up of several links concerning this trainwreck

In the few places we have LGBT inclusion, we’re still dogged by the old trope of tragedy

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