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June 16, 2007

Big Finish (Finish it is indeed)

Follow-up to Oh boy, am I excited! from Procrastination man

Well. Expectedly, I didn’t make it. Even though, technically, I haven’t received the rejection email, Simon/ConcreteElephant has announced on Outpost Gallifrey that the shortlisted 25 had been contacted by email. Mind you, I’m using my university email for that so it may well be a Warwick Mail failure. Aren’t we all used to that now?
Which is why I am not putting my story online for all to see just yet. It would be stupid, wouldn’t it, to get an email a bit later saying – oh you’ve won but not anymore because you’ve published it. However, once I get this email, the story will be available here (yes, in pdf because pdf rules).
For now, thanks to Big Finish for giving this opportunity to unpublished writers like myself; and congrats to the winner, whoever he/she is. Thanks to all of you if you have supported me.
Once the story is up and online, I’d appreciate any comments.

Edit – 19th June 2007 – the names of the winners are up on the Beebs website, so I have put my story online.


May 19, 2007

42.

Title:
Doctor Who
Rating:
4 out of 5 stars

42. Now that’s what I call a filler. The plot itself is very simple, almost hackneyed in Doctor Who; and… well… it’s a quickie that works well because of some nice ideas: a living Sun, Martha separated from the Doctor and realising she is about to die gave a quite interesting twist to the Smith & Jones relationship. I could go on. The nice thing about this episode (and, quite frankly, what saves it) is that it is nicely wrapped up. There are, practically, no loose ends – well, there’s always the couple of odd scientific nonsenses. I personally quite enjoyed the voice that counted the time left before impac. As in Smith & Jones (magnetic overload”), one is left to wonder why this message is implemented in the ship. But, what is more fun – it takes the voice over one second to say the remaining time; and yet you see it ticking of (and saying) the seconds! Another good (?) thing iis that, this time, when the Doctor nearly died, I actually considered a regeneration (probably because he mentioned it); and yet his salvation was more realistic than the near deaths we were getting used to over the past couple of episodes! So thumbs up to the production team for managing to pull off a nice little story. I am also excited by the fact that they’re already wrapping up for the finale… ooh elections I can’t wait!
Oh, one more thing: Murray Gold, your music is superb – but please tone it down a bit… Ta! :-)
A weak four out of five, then, and because it’s Doctor Who!


May 11, 2007

Oh boy, am I excited!

Writing about web page http://www.bigfinish.com/bigfinish.shtml

As read on the forums at Outpost Gallifrey, about the competition that the related webpage is about:

(...) On schedule to have announcements by the end of this month. 200 stories left to read. Think I might have found the winner already…

Obviously, I have entered a story for that competition (poor Big Finish received 1,073 submissions in total) – and I must say I am pleased with the concept, even though there’s a couple of things I am not overly happy with in my story – but hey, that’s what working with an editor is for!
Anyways, win or lose (the latter being more likely, but not 100% sure!) it will have been fun to write this; and thumbs up to Big Finish for organising this competition and being so efficient in their selection – I mean, they’ve been reading lots and lots of pieces of work :-)

Oh, don’t forget to buy the Short Trips anthologies, because as an editor (ConcreteElephant, the other quote is by the same user) said on the same forums (www.gallifreyone.com):

The general quality has been good, which has made the whole thing much more time-consuming and fiddly. It’s quick and easy to reject rubbish ones. So it’s bad news for us that there’s lots of very talented people amongst you. Some of the stories have been very, very good indeed. Bah.

If I don’t win – :-( – well I’ll put my story online, but no matter how much you want to read it – and I know you do – please keep your fingers crossed until the announcement of the result! Ta very much!

Edit: 14th May – as read on the forums

Not long to wait now… We have shortlist. Ian and I need to go through it, then our choice needs approving by all the Big People who have to approve these things, and then we can make an announcement.


May 05, 2007

The Gatiss Experiment

Title:
Doctor Who
Rating:
5 out of 5 stars
Yes! Another Doctor Who review! This could well become a weekly habit… were it not for the Beebs and the Eurovision: no Doctor Who next week! I don’t know yet how I am going to cope… Careful for spoilers now!
Back to this week’s episode, The Lazarus Experiment – well after last week’s huge disappointment (see previous entry), I must say I was very pleased with tonight’s. We’re back to Good Who, for the following reasons:
  • A consistent plot in its mainframe, despite some minor issues (which I wouldn’t be able to name. The only thing I thought was – why does the Doctor have to lock the door, the monster doesn’t have hands to open it and will have to cut his way through anyway!)
  • Hints at the old series. I loved the reverse polarisation bit. Sooo Pertwee!
  • Nice pacing. I didn’t think they’d manage that, since the starting point of the story (the experiment itself) was quite big; so I thought the end would just be overstretched. Which it was not – intelligent script editing allowed to plant the seeds for the final scene.
  • It fits nicely within the entire new series, with Martha becoming a regular companion in a clever way (I loved the opening scene)
  • Talking about human nature. I loved that scene where the Doctor said it was within the human nature to die; and Lazarus answering it was within it to seek to avoid death. Can anyone see an ongoing theme in the series there?
  • The Doctor did not die in this episode! (yay! He’s not becoming Kenny)
  • Murray Gold at his best. Great music tonight!
However, it’s not all nice and clean. There is a couple of points that could have been bettered:
  • Stop bloody using the sonic screwdriver for anything. In this episode, it has fulfilled its original function (tampering with doors & locks), been used as a tracking device, and as a hacking system. Nice “function 54” line though :-)
  • Martha’s mother. Now we all had fears that the family would become a Tyler bis – which fortunately it is not. The characters that were kept that day were interesting; but the acting was not great on Martha’s mother’s side…
  • Gatiss’s (or Lazarus’) assistant was a tad too clichéd. Money-freak! Which made her role a bit hollow – and I don’t blame that on the actress.
  • Whatever happened to subtlety in Doctor Who??? What happened to the Bad Wolf ark? Stop hammering Mr. Saxon into our heads. Talking of whom, there’s a nice fanmade (I think) website here

Still. Overall an excellent story, brilliantly realised :-) Can’t wait till next week – oh bugger that’s true, the Beebs schedule is just wrong, erm, can’t wait till next bloody fortnight! I can say, I’m excited about the new trailer. Nice treat from the production team, available on the show’s website.


April 29, 2007

Evolution of Doctor Who

Title:
Doctor Who
Rating:
4 out of 5 stars

Right. Yesterday, Evolution of the Daleks was on BBC One. And it’s the first new Doctor Who – hang on, actually, it’s t he first Doctor Who! – I actually disliked. Whatever happened to the clever writing? It is almost as bad as the DJ’s character in Revelation of the Daleks! The bad thing is, it had so much potential, after a brilliant first part (Daleks in Manhattan aka Sec’s in the City), and it simply ruined it. (careful, spoilers may follow… though, I doubt you can actually have this episode any more spoilt than it already was!)
Where do I start? The minor things first (even though they are already quite bad) – how believable is the episode? I’ve read on the forums of Outpost Gallifrey good comments about how the DNA was mistreated all along (concerning this, the shape of Dalek DNA is quite funny!) and not even in a consistent way. He also pointed out the gamma ray supposed to hit New York suddenly, conveniently turned into lightning. As he said, it is still remotely acceptable to change real science; but if you do so, be bloody consistent! Even less believable, Martha’s defense plan: building up this metal construction to electrocute the pigmen. Fair enough, she may have been lucky and lightning strike at the exact right time, but how could she know that before undertaking the task (and wasting people’s strengths)? Also, I’m bloody tired of seeing the Doctor dead and – oh, no, hang on, he wasn’t dead! Wait for it, soon Martha’ll give him some meaningful mouth-to-mouth (fret RTD’s plans!)
Then there was what I resent most about the whole episode – the wasting of an excellent idea, that of the evolved Dalek having good feelings. Admittedly, the way he came to these is far from realistic (especially considering which human was chosen for the hybridation) – BUT once this mistake was made, what harm was there in exploring it for a bit longer? And make Sec’s plan succeed. And have a new deviant strain of Daleks who, still being somewhat ruthless conquerors, are humane? We could even make them meet pure Daleks (with the danger of running into absurd competition, cf. Resurrection of the Daleks) – SO MUCH POTENTIAL! Wasted. And how? By the Cult of Skaro not behaving in a Dalek way, plotting in secrecy against Sec. How un-Dalek-like! A better solution, if RTD had decided not to go with the good Dalek idea, would have been to make Sec double-cross the Doctor and make him help them take over the world. This would have had the advantage of showing a tormented David Tennant – and he’d be pretty good at it!!! Both solutions would have earned the episode its title, but here it was more of an evolutionary deadend! (talking of which, the BBC book Only human is one of the best new books…)
On more positive notes, the acting got a bit better as compared to last week’s (but still not up to Gridlock standards for the supporting cast); Martha’s relationship with the Doctor gets seen from a slightly different angle (good before a Modern Times Earth episode). So, good for that!
I’m not even mentioning the CGI from this episode – nothing can top Gridlock!

However, I can’t bring myself to give a low rating to a Doctor Who review, so I’ll complete this entry with quick mention of the best series start so far!
  • Smith & Jones – see previous entry, very good!
  • The Shakespeare code – I was a bit disappointed, but that’s because I had so big expectations! My main issue with this episode is that it is definitely a fantasy episode desperately trying to be Sci Fi – because that’s what Doctor Who is! But it is clever writing, I loved the quote bits, and (oooh spoiler!) Elisabeth in the end!
  • Gridlockawesome really. Only The Girl in the Fireplace is better, so far. And that’s because it’s in France (grins). No, seriously, good writing, editing, awesome music and CGI. My only disappointment here are the Face of Boe’s prophecy (too expectable) and the Macra (which were a tiny bit useless).
  • Daleks in Manhattan Now that’s what I call a Doctor Who episode! I’m usually not too fond of Dalek episodes, but this one clearly exceeds expectations. Interesting plot (but why pigs?), going back to educational stuff (Hooverville!), overall good sci-fi with potential. Cf. my rant about the second part…

Well, let’s hope next week’s The Lazarus experiment is better! Though I have my doubts, considering Martha’s family seems to be back.


April 06, 2007

Smith & Jones

Title:
Doctor Who
Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

Doctor Who is back.

And he’s back with a bang. A loud one with that – in terms of advertisment throughout the media, RT making two collector covers, Starburst, SFX and other magazines making it their front page. So what’s up with John Smith and Martha Jones?
Well lots of potential. That’s the one thing we get from David Tennant’s new sidekick. She is very different from Rose – she won’t follow the Doctor blindly, despite loving him. She is humane, clever, and her family is too big. Martha Jones is, in my opinion, an improvement on Rose Tyler (let alone Donna!) because she will show initiative. Let’s wait and see what happens next!

Spoilers may follow!

Concerning the season-opener itself – one word: awesome. The tie trick can only be described as brilliant – it reminds us of Tennant’s Doctor weirdness and energy from the very first moment we see him – there is no mourning Rose there and you’re left to wonder why until the end. Having an episode on the Moon? Only lets us think that there’ll be more alien episodes, so a good thing.
Judoon? Brilliant – now that’s something that was left unexplored by the new series: sheer amorality as opposed to immorality. For they are doing their work, not looking any further. Intergalactical police, they are not purely evil, they have rules. Plasmavores? well… I still have to watch The Curse of Fenric to compare with other Doctor Who vampires (getting there!) but the straw was silly! The rest was OK, though.
It gave away a lot about Martha, which is what it was supposed to do. My favourite bit is the closing of the eyes. And she remembered the Doctor had two hearts when CPRing. Clever girl!
And the references to Rose – oh great! “Run”, the compensation…
Finally, David Tennant is better than ever (I didn’t think it possible!)

So yay! to Doctor Who’s new season – I cannot wait till The Shakespeare Code


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