Monthly Archives: January 2012

A Conversational Journey through New Who – Season Two Report Card

It took a little longer to get here than we had hoped, I think, and I must take the blame! But, it was a lot of fun, and I am very excited about Season 3. We have a big surprise coming up for you all too. Stay tuned!

You can find Tansy and Tehani’s report cards by following the links – what are you waiting for? 🙂
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A Conversational Journey through New Who – S02E012/13 – Army of Ghosts/Doomsday

Watching New Who – in conversation with David McDonald, Tansy Rayner Roberts and Tehani Wessely

David is coming to New Who for the first time, having loved Classic Who as a kid. Tehani is a recent convert, and ploughed through Seasons 1 to 6 (so far) in just a few weeks after becoming addicted thanks to Matt Smith – she’s rewatching to keep up with David! Tansy is the expert in the team, with a history in Doctor Who fandom that goes WAY back, and a passion for Doctor Who that inspires us all. We’re going to work our way through New Who, using season openers and closers, and Hugo shortlisted episodes, as our blogging points. Just for fun! We have already talked about:

“Rose”, S01E01
“Dalek”, S01E06
“Father’s Day”, S01E08
“The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances”, S01E09/10
“Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways”, S01E12/13
Season One Report Card – DavidTansyTehani
“The Christmas Invasion”, 2005 Christmas Special
“New Earth”, S02E01
“School Reunion”, S02E03
“The Girl in the Fireplace”, S02E04
“Rise of the Cybermen/Age of Steel”, S02E05/06

“Army of Ghosts / Doomsday” – Season two, episodes five and six
The Doctor – David Tennant
Rose Tyler – Billie Piper
Mickey Smith – Noel Clarke


There’s a cluster of Hugo-nominees at the beginning of this season (plus we wanted to talk about the Cybermen two-parter), then none until the season finale two-parter (which we’d review anyway), so let’s quickly recap the intervening episodes before we chat about “Army of Ghosts / Doomsday”…”The Idiot’s Lantern” – another monster of the week episode with not a lot to distinguish it, I didn’t think. I liked the strength of the mother at the end though.

I liked “The Idiot’s Lantern” far more on the recent rewatch than I remembered. The Rose/Doctor vibe was bugging me by this point (oh, the smug, the glee) but I think the story about the family is an important one – and it feels like Gatiss is saying something (or rather, not quite saying something) about growing up different, with indications either that the son might be gay and/or that his father might suspect he is. I liked Ten’s interactions with the boy, which made me wistful for a solo male companion, something he never got! (well, apart from [SPOILER REDACTED])

“The Impossible Planet” (concluded in “The Satan Pit”) – a lot creepier than we’ve really seen so far I reckon. We meet the Ood (remember them, David). I really liked the first of this two-parter, it’s nicely scary and science fictional, but the second part went to dumb places, I thought.

A solid piece of space opera science fiction, and it’s always a relief when they finally get the TARDIS away from Earth for a change, but I agree the second part was problematic. Once you bring the Devil into your science fiction, the shark has well and truly been jumped. I liked the crew a lot, though.

This is very much a tale of two parts, isn’t it? On one hand you have an atmospheric piece of space horror that works very well. The claustrophobic feel, all the cramped passageways and mysterious occurrences, is reminiscent of Alien or, funnily enough, of one of my all time favourite computer games, Doom (I swear they were using one of the sound effects – I had flashbacks to my teenage years and all the hours I spent playing it!). The crew are nicely fleshed out characters, we like them enough to care about what happens to them but there is also a bit of moral ambiguity with their casual acceptance of the Ood as a race fit only for service. The feeling of foreboding escalates nicely, building into a mounting sense of horror.
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Australian Women Writers 2012 Reading and Reviewing Challenge

I saw this and thought it a very worthwhile goal for 2012

Australian Women Writers 2012 Reading and Reviewing Challenge
Keen on romance, fantasy, crime, YA, literary, mainstream women’s fiction? Contemporary or historical? Memoir, other nonfiction or poetry?

Whatever your preference, whether you’re a fan of one genre or a devoted eclectic, the 2012 Australian Women Writers Book Reading & Reviewing Challenge invites you to a year of encountering the best of Australian women’s writing.
Objective: This challenge hopes to help counteract the gender bias in reviewing and social media newsfeeds that has continued throughout 2011. It actively promotes the reading and reviewing of a wide range of contemporary Australian women’s writing throughout 2012, the National Year of Reading. (See the page on gender bias for recent discussions; also this page for the rationale behind the challenge.)

Readers should approach this challenge with a spirit of willingness. There are no failures, just personal goals. Reviews can be long or short, favourable or “this book is not for me”. Hopefully, along the way, you’ll discover some future classics and perhaps a few surprises among genres we’re not familiar with.

Challenge period:  1 January 2012 –  31 December 2012


You can find out more here

I am going for the Franklin-fantastic (read 10 and review at least 4 books) level, and I can’t wait. There are lots of exciting books coming out this year so I don’t see this a challenge or a burden, but something really enjoyable.

Australian Women Writers 2012 Reading and Reviewing Challenge

Plotting the next year

No matter how hard one tries to avoid it, this is the time of year when one can’t help but look back on the year that has gone and reflect, and make plans and resolutions for the one to come. At the start of last year (and it is scary to call it last year!) I listed some of my goals and, while I didn’t achieve all of them, I feel like I did have a red hot crack. While on a personal level it has been an up and down year, and went pretty pear shaped right at the end, when it comes to my writing I can look back with a degree of satisfaction. Amongst the highlights were:

While the writing achievements have been wonderful, it has been the people I have met and been able to spend time with that have made it a year to remember. I am continually amazed and overwhelmed by the support and generosity shown by the people in the Australian spec fic community. I (like many writers) am a little shy and find it hard to mix in new circles, so it has been incredible how welcomed I have been made to feel by people.

And, on the writing side of things, I can definitely see real development in my craft. That has been a result of some excellent critiquing by people like the SuperNOVA writers group and Steve Cameron (amongst many others) who have continually pushed me to improve, plus a lot of writing and rewriting. Hopefully I will see the same rate of improvement in the coming year.

When I look back at the goals I set last year, it is a bit of mixed bag. That’s okay, I did set some pretty lofty goals and there are only one or two that I feel that i left myself down on, rather than it being outside my control. For example, I was disappointed with not keeping up with my blogging better than I did, which is my fault, while not making a pro sale is a little harder to make happen. So, for this year my goals are (as a minimum):

Bring it on!