Having finally seen the reveal of the new 13th Doctor, I will reserve my judgment on how well this particular regeneration is going to work until I've seen Jodie Whittacker's performance and her dynamic with her companion(s). Just because it's not something I personally felt the need for doesn't mean I might not end up enjoying it in the end (see also: Missy).

Also, given that the premise of the show is built around the Doctor getting a completely new and unexpected body with every regeneration, and that the concept of Time Lords regenerating as a different sex has been a canonical part of New Who ever since the offhand mention of the Corsair in "The Doctor's Wife" back in 2011 (a possibility which Moffat & Co. have underlined with increasing emphasis at least once a season ever since), I really don't have a lot of sympathy with the people complaining that the announcement came out of left field and violates the True Spirit of the show. The spirit of Original Who, maybe. New Who, which has already spent over ten years breaking almost every unwritten taboo of its predecessor, not so much.

In fact, as soon as Capaldi's departure was announced I felt pretty sure that the next Doctor was going to be either PoC or a woman -- but not both, because that would be an even more dramatic and controversial change, and therefore far too much of a risk for cautious TV executives worried about losing large segments of their traditional audience.*

But for those who are claiming that Steven Moffat only made this move due to pressure from more enlightened third parties and would never have thought of it on his own, I'd like to share a friendly reminder that in the 1999 Red Nose Day comedy skit Curse of Fatal Death, which was written and aired six full years before the return of Doctor Who to television in any serious form (let alone under his control), Moffat had the Doctor regenerate** into a blonde woman.***

Oh, and she was the 13th Doctor too.

*As it is, I will be quite interested to see the ratings for Jodie Whittacker's first few episodes as the Doctor. Whether they go up or down or stay much the same, I think it's safe to say that a significant number of the people watching will not be the same people who watched Capaldi and his predecessors. I've already seen one post from a former fan who considers the casting of a female Doctor as the last nail in the coffin of her (yes, her) waning interest in the show.

**After starting out as Rowan Atkinson and regenerating into Richard E. Grant, Jim Broadbent and Hugh Grant in rapid succession, and don't get me started on how much I loved Rowan Atkinson's Nine and how sad I am he wasn't canon because we'll be here all evening.

***Played in this case by Joanna Lumley.
I probably shouldn't be writing this because I have a killer headache and I have just tried to take a nap with no success, which means I am Crankypants. However, I think the point stands regardless of my frame of mind:

Fictional romances which involve two people being so absorbed in each other that they end up being indifferent, insensitive or downright cruel to the other people around them are, IMO, not romantic at all. They are obsessive, unhealthy, co-dependent relationships and make me want to smack both the lovers upside the head.

This is why I started getting very unsettled by Nine/Rose after "The Long Game". It's also why I found the behaviour of Ten/Rose in episodes like "Tooth and Claw" deeply problematic and upsetting, and why Ten's pillow talk to Martha in "The Shakespeare Code" made me grind my teeth.

Similarly, there are a number of popular "oh-so-romantic!" novels I've read where the love interests are all gropey and kissy in front of friends who are single and/or suffering from unrequited feelings and/or going through tough times in their own relationships, and I couldn't buy into the romance or sympathize with those characters at all.

(And IMO Wuthering Heights takes the absolute cake for non-romances, because not only are Heathcliff and Cathy cruel to everybody around them, they're also cruel to each other. As a novel about massively dysfunctional characters involved in a gothic tragedy it's superb; but anybody who interprets WH as a great romance has, to my mind, a highly suspect idea of love.)

Full disclosure: I'm not even going to pretend that this view of mine isn't rooted in personal experience. When I was young and single I had a friend who constantly macked on her boyfriends in front of me, making me feel completely unwanted and intrusive. After one particularly cringeworthy display in the middle of a shopping center I took her aside and quietly asked if she and her boyfriend could reserve the passionate kisses and lingering embraces for times when I was not present, and her response was a plaintive "But we love each other!"

I'm sure she felt very strongly about her feelings of passion for her boyfriend being bigger and more important than anyone else's feelings, and how this demonstrated the Epic Quality of Their Love. But I'm also sure, to this day, that she was wrong. (Not least because she and that boyfriend broke up a few weeks later.)

Or to use a non-physical example, in my single days I once got a letter from a recently-married cousin saying, "Marriage is fantastic! I highly recommend it, you should try it sometime!" Which made me want to HULK SMASH because at that point I'd never even been on a date, and not for lack of wanting or trying either. But I swallowed my bitterness and wrote her a polite response saying that I would dearly love to meet a wonderful person and get married, but this was really not in my control, and that I was happy for her contentment in her marriage, but perhaps she might consider not saying such things to other single people in future because they could be quite painful and upsetting.

(Perhaps not surprisingly, she never wrote to me again.)

Anyway, I have now been happily married for fourteen years and have three children, but my feelings about this matter have not changed a whit, and I'm certain that I'm not alone. So to my fellow writers in the process of trying to create truly swoonworthy romances, may I suggest that before your characters rush into a clinch or share a sly in-joke or otherwise engage in exclusionary behaviour in front of others, you and they should stop and think a little about how those other people might feel.
...and I found an entire box of Virgin and BBC New Adventures and Missing Adventures novels, including some that are fairly rare and look to be going for quite a price on eBay. So I figured, why not post 'em and see who's interested?

Condition-wise, they have been read, some of them multiple times (*cough* COLD FUSION *cough*), and have slightly cracked spines and wear -- the Virgin NA's and MA's in particular. Though on the other hand, my BBC NA's are in excellent condition with little or no wear.

Basically, I rule make me an offer. I'm going to ask you to cover postage to your country, and I reserve the right to accept the highest bid offered on a single title if multiple people show interest in a short period of time, but otherwise, feel free to suggest whatever price you think reasonable. (PayPal only, please.)

Comments are screened. I'll strike through titles as they are sold.

What's on offer... )

Suggestions for anywhere I should cross-post this are welcomed, or feel free to link people to it.
My husband's comment about THE PANDORICA OPENS, followed by some more Serious Thoughts, all Most Spoilery )

There is more, but I have to stop or I'd go on forever. Brilliant, shattering episode. I only hope Part Two lives up to it.
A deceptively simple, character-driven episode that at times strains credulity to the limit -- but there's a very good reason for that, as we find out at the end.

And I loved it LIKE PIE.

Details, spoilers and Peruvian folk bands under the cut )

Okay, I think I'm done now. Thoughts, people! I know you have them! Tell them to me!

* No, this is not an invitation for you to tell me why you dislike Amy in comments. If you don't like her, or Eleven, or Rory, or Steven Moffat, or this season in general, you have every right to feel that way, but please go and talk about it somewhere else. Thank you.
I just thought of this right now and... I think... I think I might really be onto something here.

Spoilers for 'The Time of Angels', 'Flesh and Stone', etc. )

Obviously the details are sketchy here, as I have no idea of the circumstances involved. But I do feel pretty confident about the underlying premise. It seems to fit well with everything we know so far -- though I'm willing to be corrected on this point by people with better memories than I have.

What say you, fellow Whofen?

If you like your secondary-world fantasy with a healthy dollop of intrigue, wit, danger, and understated but powerful romance, you should all go read Leah Cypess's Mistwood (HarperTeen, April 2010), which I just finished and enjoyed enormously. Steph Su has a very good review of the book here, though I'd disagree with Steph's comment about the secondary characters -- I had no trouble telling them apart, myself.

And Leah tells me she is working on revisions to the companion novel as we speak! Yay, companion novel!



In the DO WANT category: J.J. Abrams' new show Undercover, about a married couple who are spies. From the guy who wrote Jack and Irina? This HAS to be good. Seriously, look at this picture. I am gleeful and optimistic.

Also, check out this lovely, exuberant, heart-warming Doctor Who S5 vid from [livejournal.com profile] humansrsuperior: Brand New Day. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] infiniteviking for the tip.



I'm mostly preaching to the choir here, I'm sure, but still -- [livejournal.com profile] taraljc has reposted a terrific essay about the effort that goes into writing quality fan fiction, and how it isn't always easy -- or even desirable -- to just file off the serial numbers.


And that will be all, because I'm feeling curiously dizzy all of a sudden. *blinks*
I have spent the last fourteen weeks with my nose in my laptop, writing furiously -- but now Arrow is all drafted and even a bit polished and ready to send to my editor for her comments, huzzah!

So now it is time to fulfill my promise of telling you all what I think of the new season of Doctor Who. Because I know you have all been waiting for my Very Important Opinion on this subject, and that nobody else on the entire Interwebs has had anything sensible or interesting to say about it in the meantime.

*coughs in an embarrassed fashion*

Anyway. My opinions, which are mine and also contain Great Walloping Wads of SPOILERS, are as follows:

The Eleventh Hour )

The Beast Below )

Victory of the Daleks )

The Time of Angels )

Flesh and Stone )

Now for some general, non-spoilery thoughts on Eleven hisownself:

Others have said that David Tennant was Ten (and to that I would add that Christopher Eccleston was Nine, as well) but Matt Smith is the Doctor, and I agree. He's got that wonderful old-man-in-a-young-man's-body thing going that Davison occasionally managed but didn't quite hit consistently. I almost feel, so help me, that Eleven is what Five should have been if the showrunners hadn't been so uptight at that point about making him Different From Four and also keeping him physically distant from his companions so that nobody would think anything was Going On There. What has also surprised me is how much Matt Smith even looks like Davison at times, even though in still photos they could scarcely be more different. It seems like at least once a week there's a moment where Eleven turns or looks up and I catch my breath at how much he reminds me of Five.

But he's also so much like Two, with the dithery hands and the bow-legged stance and that distracted air that can turn laser-sharp in an instant, and I'm loving that as well. Really a fantastic performance that doesn't feel like a performance... just a fine actor inhabiting the Doctor and bringing him to life, instead of Eccleston-as-Doctor or Tennant-as-Doctor like we've had before. So yes, I am sold, and I look very much forward to seeing Matt Smith's portrayal continue to refine and develop over the course of the season.

So I followed some links from a post on Bookshelves of Doom about Time Lord Rock (yes, it's like Wizard Rock, only for Doctor Who) to a charming piece inspired by "Blink", and I quite enjoyed it.

But then I poked around a bit more and found this non-Who related piece by the same young artist, in which he answered a friend's challenge to write and perform a song using only household objects for accompaniment:

Not only is it completely adorable and also witty and clever, it has Unexpected Stephen Fry voiceover* at the end. FTW.

P.S. He's a Nerdfighter! I KNEW IT! The influence of John Green is unmistakeable.

* Which I guess will not be Unexpected any more now that I've told you about it, but oh well.
Okay, I shamelessly admit to skipping the entire S4 finale and I doubt I'll change my mind on that point, but this preview has me all pumped for S5, despite* the spoilers )

So do we have an actual date for the beginning of S5, or just this vague promise of "Spring"?

Note to self: Need Matt Smith icon.

* Oh, all right, maybe BECAUSE of that part. What can I say, I'm an Old Skool Whofan, I still haven't got over the novelty of it.
I could go on raving at tedious length about how much I love [livejournal.com profile] di_br's vids but I think I've already done that before in this journal, so instead I'll just point you in the direction of her latest:

"When I Ruled The World"

Yes, it's set to "Viva La Vida", but don't let that stop you because it so happens it's the perfect song for this exploration of the differences between the Ninth Doctor and the Tenth Doctor, and it's also got some amazing visual parallels I'd never thought about before, and it's just... just... *waves hands incoherently*

Yeah. Go watch it.
Previously posted on Twitter, but reproduced and edited here because I'm lazy that way:

Somewhat more than 140 characters, with some spoilers )

Final Rating for "Planet of the Dead": 3.5 out of 5 stars.

No Dawkins Bus
Originally uploaded by rj-anderson
For [livejournal.com profile] lizbee and all my fellow Old Skool Doctor Who fans. Because Greg Gick sent me the idea in e-mail, and [livejournal.com profile] tree_and_leaf had the link to the bus slogan generator, and, well, obviously some things just have to be done.

Matt Smith with Glasses
Originally uploaded by rj-anderson
No, really, I didn't. I mean, once New Who started up it became substantially more likely, but back when I was writing DW fanfic in the early 90's the idea of Eleven seemed incredibly far away. I mean, we hadn't even seen Eight at that point yet.

Anyway, I was whining a bit on [livejournal.com profile] calapine's journal about the casting of Some Guy I Don't Know Who Looks Funny, but then I was reminded how the first pics of David Tennant I saw made him look weaselly and weird and not especially Doctorish at all, and that I remained skeptical right up until I saw "The Christmas Invasion" but then was completely won over. And soon after that I found this picture on Outpost Gallifrey, where the New Guy didn't have weird pointy hair or resemble Robert Smith from the Cure in any way whatsoever, and suddenly all was right with the world again.

So roll on, Matt Smith! Even if you are twelve years younger than me, which is just WRONG, but then it was a shock to find out that David Tennant was a whole year younger than me and I got over it.

(And no, I am not cut-tagging this because the news is all over the place, and if you're that afraid of being spoiled by finding out about Eleven ahead of time you'll need to stay off the internets until Spring 2010. Let me know how that works out.)
Well, what do you know. One minute I'm spouting theories about the S4 finale in [livejournal.com profile] calapine's journal and the next minute I'm writing fic for the first time in... what, two years?

Massive spoilers for 'Journey's End' here -- but if you've already seen it and were feeling unhappy about Certain Developments, this story might help )

The really sad thing about all of this is that I don't even have a Donna icon to use on this post.
Well, what do you know. I actually liked that. I kept expecting the whole thing to go down the drain at any moment, but though it started to spiral once or twice, it never completely sank.

Spoilers )

Bring on the Christmas special!
I actually... kind of loved that?

Some vaguely spoilerish comments )

I think this is yet another prime example of why I should never bother reading anyone else's reviews until after I've made up my own mind about the episode (and I don't mean just DW, I mean any show). So many many times the episodes I've been led to believe are junk turn out to be quite enjoyable, while the episodes that get touted as brilliant frequently leave me cold, or worse, enraged.
As part of his ongoing series called The Classic Doctor Who Must-See List, [livejournal.com profile] james_bow writes much wiseness about the Davison Era:

Davison had followed the show in his youth, and was basing his performance on none other than William Hartnell. There was a touch of the irascibility of the old man mixed with the vulnerability of Patrick Troughton. The effect was very much that of an old man trapped in a young man’s body, which led to a tension in Davison’s performance that, in my opinion, made him into a compelling Doctor. ... Sometimes the Doctor is a powerful alien like Tom Baker, immune to the frights of the universe that would make us cower. Sometimes, the universe is just so big, and the Doctor is just so lonely. Davison established those tenets of the character.

The essay also includes a guide to some of the best Davison episodes. James's review of "Castrovalva" made me laugh out loud, but it was his review of "Earthshock" that made me punch the air:

Peter Davison’s Doctor was ideally suited to these shoot-em-ups, since he gives every appearance of being out of his depth. He eschews violence, but has no choice but to pick up a gun. He shoots straight, but doesn’t look happy while doing it. Too many villains mistake his distaste for timidity and ultimately pay the price.

Which is exactly what I've been saying for years to all the people who insist that the Fifth Doctor is bland, vanilla, ineffectual, etc. To me, Five's love-hate relationship with violence is one of the most interesting things about his character -- a quality that the Tenth Doctor could stand to duplicate. (As it is, Ten's refusal to use a gun has very little meaning when he's so good at finding other ways to kill people.)

Yes, there are an unfortunate number of weak scripts in the Davison era, and the stories suffer from Too Many Companions at times. But when the Fifth Doctor gets to shine, he really shines -- and he can also break your heart.

Ah, never mind me, just go read the whole essay.


What if real life was like a musical? These people are about to find out:

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] pubrants for the link.


And finally, my ever-fabulous fellow 2009 author [livejournal.com profile] anywherebeyond has not only created some more cover art for Knife, she's made bonus fanart as well! Check it out, and while you're there, have a look at the other covers she did for the 2009 Debs as well. I especially love her designs for Deva Fagan's Fortune's Folly and L.K. Madigan's Flash Burnout.
*dances gleefully around icon by [livejournal.com profile] cheesygirl*

That's really all.
I have nothing in particular to say about this episode -- except these two things ). Everything else worth noting has already been said by other people like [livejournal.com profile] lizbee and [livejournal.com profile] calapine.

I do, however, desperately want a little Adipose of my very own. An icon will suffice. An animated one with the Adipose either skipping down the street or waving and smiling would be best of all: if anybody finds one in their travels, please let me know.

Oh, one more thing: did someone run over David Tennant with a bus between seasons? Seriously, he's looking kind of... worn out these days. Unless it is Plot, which it might be considering that Donna even remarked on it. In which case, well done BBC Makeup Dept., I guess.

Wait, two more things. minor spoiler )


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