Monday, May 31, 2010

Jared Reviews Victory of the Daleks!

Oh, yes, this one of the old-skool efforts I wrote while watching it for the first time.

1:19 Please note, as 'By Mark Gatiss' came up on screen I said 'Fuck.' This is probably an overreaction, though...

2:03 In trying to emulate the famous cadence of dear old Winnie Ian McNeice seems to be performing all of his lines with a mouth full of licorice allsorts...

2:20 ... sorry, Amy thinks she's a genius for working out this is the war room? *Sigh*

3:27 When he starts talking about the 'Narsey' menace I begin to wonder how seriously McNeice is taking this all. I guess I'll see soon whether it's with good reason..

And I guess it takes away any wonder that this is only the third WWII story to show up on screen - in pop culture terms, which Dr Who actually does use a lot to deal with its history - even back in the supposedly much more serious Hartnell era - WWII has become comic book territory. The Curse of Fenric and The Empty Child combatted this effect by stories well off the beaten track - they mainly both used WWII as a vague context for the stories and focused on odd tangential stories. TEC had nothing to do with the army, after all, swinging the spotlight onto the terrified civilian life living through the Blitz and Fenric while seemingly improbably disarmed a lot of the typical WWII fodder by making the bad guys Russians... and then making them NOT bad guys at all!

Incidentally, what some people have regarded as the biggest barrier to finding Fenric credible, aside from the generally overlooked fact that the Doctor has to make certain that grey, mutated vampires rule the Earth in just a century's time (seriously - why does nobody question that bit???) , that the Russians would conduct a commando raid against Blighty in secret at the time when they were allies isn't as incredible as you think. I just recently read about how Polish-speaking American paratroopers were actively recruited for a top secret OSS mission, where they were to be dropped into Poland to arm and train the resistance to fight the enemy. Only, the further the men got into their briefing the clearer it became that 'the enemy' was actually the forces of the USSR. As it happened, the plan didn't go through, as the Russians advanced too quickly to contain. Makes you think, though...

Anyway, back to something that probably won't be quite as grey-on-grey...

3:45 GAH! That professor looked a little bit Gatiss himself!

3:56 .. okay, that bomb dropped close enough to illuminate Amy's entire body with it's flash and they're in no actual danger?

4:41 Sorry, small detail - they said earlier that the targets were usually out of range, indicating that they aren't now... but those planes were very close. AA should have been on them not long after first visual. Also, the planes were flying in a very abnormally close formation and seemingly quite low for a bombing run of this sort. I don't think we should give props to the Daleks at all and just pin it all on bloody suicidal Kraut pilots.

So.. how silly is the idea for this episode? How many times have the Daleks missed their targets in the classic series, dealing with blokes running not-terribly-fast over a distance of about fifteen feet max? Now they're fucking crackshots at anti-aircraft fire of distances of miles? Pretty odd considering the fact that their guns are shown to have a fairly cosmetic effects on metal and most things inorganic, since they were designed for the sole purpose of genocide of shirtless hippy blokes (or Soviet expies who didn't believe in body armour, depending which origin story we go with this week..)


5:49 Okay so this week Amy's parochial enough to insist that Bracewill's smarter than the Doctor because he's Scottish? Jesus Christ. Even when I compliment Gatiss I have to say he isn't flattering to any female companion he writes for..

6:25 "When I rang you a month ago I admit I had my doubts", ah retconning how I have missed you...

6:37 ... Winnie's in love with the Daleks because of their 'absolute hostility' and the power of their weaponry.... so he assigns them to move files around the office? Somehow this reminds me of Warbot From Accounting...

6:50 "They invaded your world, planets in the skies, you don't forget that..."

I actually was lucky enough to have forgotten that. Now there's ANOTHER reason this isn't making sense. But, of course, this line is the sound of the script editor's pen scribbling madly. Let's hear what Gazza came up with...

7:07 Oh. So we're being enigmatic, then. Lindsay Duncan remembered them...

9:00 - Incidentally, Churchill did actually go to a bunker especially set up for he and the War Cabinet during air raids in the London Underground. I know this because Billy Connolly went there. Sometime after the war I'm sure...

9:34 WOULD-YOU-CARE-FOR-SOME-TEA???? Okay, I lol'ed at that. The hostility in the sentence was very amusing. As the Daleks get more and more milked out making them say funny things has become a big factor in writing stories for them I've noticed. After all, what point did Legacy of the Daleks serve other than to have Daleks quoting Shakespeare? Or Brotherhood of the Daleks aside from Daleks singing in a Soviet chorus? Or, indeed, The Stolen Earth aside from that one scene where Daleks shouts in German, which is basically everyone's favourite bit, several listing it as the one good bit in the story. (Impressive for a 5 second scene..)

9:44 - OH YES! This is the scene that got leaked when they rehearsed it the night after Matt Smith OD'ed on mescaline and had to come in and do it on his hospital bed. Let's see how much the delivery has improved...

10:38 "Yes, DOCTAH! DEATH TO MY ENEMIES!" Change the fucking record, Churchill. Jesus Christ can we get a scene without your larger-than-life bloodlust here?

10:45 "Yes, Winston, and death to everyone else, too!" ARRRGH! STOP REPEATING YOURSELVES!

10:47 I was going to make a joke about the Dalek offering tea again... and he did it! He bloody did it! YOU MANIACS! YOU BLEW IT UP!

12:17 "I AM THE DOCTOR! AND YOU ARE THE daleks."

Definitely an improvement.

It occurred to me this scene would be cool if I hadn't seen and heard it around twice a year since 2005. Dear god, Rusty, what have you done?

12:52 Yes! That miniature of the Dalek ship was very shoddy! The special effects are definitely worse this year. THIS FUCKING FANTASTIC! We're getting some alien planet for sure.

13:19 Phew. Lucky thing Churchill waited so long to call the redshirts in, or they may have gotten some lines.

14:12 ... now this is looking like a generic Dalek story....

14:23 The rogue janitor is activated???? So... they're sending Neil Flynn in?

16:18 I was about to complain about the idea of the TARDIS having a self-destruct but then I realised it's pretty definitely a bluff on the Doctor's part and he's just holding a novelty-sized Life Saver.

16:45 Oh, yes, one ship survived and 'fell back through time'... seriously, who the fuck cares by now? Can't we just go back to the glory of Sawardian exposition now?

THE DOCTOR: Wtf? You're dead, I killed you!
MASTER: As if. Dying's for queers.

Ah, those wonderful days..

17:49 So far as I can follow these are survivors of the mongrel Daleks that Davros somehow made by scraping meat off his own ribcage and that makes me think on from that... what a wasted opportunity to NOT make these inbred excuses of Daleks weaker than the 'pure' deal from Time War era and The Cult of Skaro that the Doctor faced. Seriously, give yourself some storytelling wiggle space. Sadly, these fuckers are able to fly.


ARRRRGH! I still grapple with this one. Hovering is plausible, hovering and no other action - hover devices roughly Dalek size have been made but - come on! The power of anti-gravity?? It's not as if the Daleks were fucking bereft of impressive powers to begin with, is it? God they suck. Daleks suck so much. They're like a televisual black fucking hole. Times like this when I think about what god-awful super-powered suckage lumps of entertainment anti-matter they've become in their modern bastardisation I wonder why the fuck I watch this show, I really do. In fact, fuck it, I'm going to watch some Fringe...


ARRRRGH! They open with a fucking recap. I HATE RECAPS MORE THAN I HATE DALEKS. So.... I guess we carry on.

18:37 Oooh... luckily despite my not-even-really-about-this-episode rant what follows is pretty damned clever. The Daleks are actually underpowered here given their ship is on the verge of collapse and so are unable to attack. So their attack - switch London's lights on. I was about to complain about the idea because this isn't really possible but then I realised - it is.

Well... not quite possible. We don't have the technology to do it but completely plausible. Tesla had a handle on the wireless projection of electricity back round the turn of C20 and though it required an awful load of electricity that's precisely what the Daleks canonically have in abundance. (Even if I'm going off David Whittaker's notes on Daleks mentally, which is basically Chuck Norris Facts with a Find-and-Replace done in Microsoft Word)


20:34 ... wait, Moffat's even introducing new Daleks as well? Cor, was he happy with NOTHING in the RTD era?

...okay, that question was a little ironic coming from me...

Also, they had the DNA... where do they get the massive Dalekanium casings from?

22:28 So THIS is how we get to Biggles Exterminates Some Kaled Arse....

23:20 These new Daleks are pretty fat. Why did they get Michael Kilgarrif as an operator?

23:48 ...so the Daleks are just broadcasting everything they do out from their spaceship if anyone's interested in watching it?

24:43 Oh my god, the self-destruct wasn't real! Who would have guessed it eight minutes ago?

25:08 Daleks have fallen back quite a bit, haven't they? Quoting Shakespeare one day, Pauline Hanson the next..

25:28 .... remember what I said about Daleks not being able to hit guys five feet away when they were running in the classic series?

28:23 I quite like 'Oblivion Continuum' - what a wonderful tautology. I do find self aware nonsense is the best kind...

28:47 Wait.... how can these newly-born Daleks even have any memories about the composition of the Bracewill android?

29:38 ...incidentally, the problem with this plan is that currently the Daleks should know that the Doctor is returning to Earth so there is no reason whatsoever for them to honour the bargain and NOT destroy the planet...

29:56 "DALEKS-HAVE-NO-SUCH-WEAK-NESS!"

"....YEAH-I-KNOW-THAT-AL-READY"

"JUS-SAYIN"

"FROM-NOW-ON-JUST-SAY-THAT-SHIT-IN-YOUR-CE-REB-AL-NODE-MOTH-ER-FUCK-ER"

30:03 So now we know why the Doctor runs into a room and punches out a random dude!

...actually I'm not 100% sure. Let's keep watching...

30:27 Hehe, the Daleks still use Rels. Awesome. Also the sonic screwdriver has a 'dissolve Android flesh in a PG13 way' setting.

30:34 HOLY SHIT a piece of alien tech that the Doctor isn't instantly familiar with! Who's heard of that in six years or so?

30:47 "Amy, you're a female in a Mark Gatiss script. So you're not helping."

31:33 Okay... the day is going to be saved by making a middle aged man go emo against his will?

33:57 Amy has saved the day for the third time in a row, giving her a 100% success rate.... but in the most wishy-washy way ever. Come on. "Hey, I want to bonk fringe-boy here senseless!" defuses a bomb. Give me a break, that made very little sense...

35:39 ... Amy just asked Churchill "What now, then?" .... Jesus Christ. He's PM, and there's a war on. He's got some plans in mind!

35:56 "She looks very upset." Jesus Christ. Is she channelling Poirot right now?

37:38 They walk right in on Bracewill's Dr Strangelove impersonation..

39:06 ...couldn't the Doctor have just said "We aren't going to de-activate you"? Do 45 minute stories need padding now?


Nothing interesting happened in the next two minutes.


Well, annoyingly I was just reading some of Ewen's blog, so my opinion is a bit uncertain - I need to resist in future until I have actually finished my review! As it stands... well... the good outweighed the bad by some margin in this mixed bag of an episode. Being Gatiss, it was all fairly straightforward and, if we're honest, at times worryingly patriotic and insular with some flat characters. Is it possible this is the biggest waste of a celebrity historical on screen? Too fucking right it is, because Churchill does very, very, very little of note and relates very little of his character. Amy is terribly handled.

On the other hand... Daleks are handled well. Yes, that comes from me - the familiar gimmick of Daleks being weird is wound up very early on in the story, really, and once Daleks are being Daleks things are actually surprisingly well written and interestingly handled... well, in relative terms. The Daleks are defeated using logical means, no deus ex machina in sight through the use of a Chekhov's Gun against their Achilles Heel. Nobody performed any Ass Pulls. Also, get this - the Daleks lived! They are the Harry Potters of Daleks! We have a story where the alien menace is not wiped out for ever and ever and ever and ever for a change, so we can actually have a sequel where they don't just pop up and say "Doctor - you forgot to say NO RETURNS! BWAHAAHAHA!"

Now I talk myself back into it, this was pretty fun when it came down to it. And the show's on what I regard as the right track. The Doctor wasn't infallible, the bad guys got away after being defeated by a sort of weird logic. So.... I guess 7/10. Though it could easily have been improved, don't worry about that.

I guess my appreciation of this story, compared to my relatively unimpressed response last week, should prove as testament to the sad truth that the effort you put into a story isn't directly related to its quality. Because this was so under-written in comparison to The Beast Below it doesn't bear thinking about, but was just plain old fun to watch.


WHAT THOSE OTHER LOSERS SAID

Casual response: My Dads a casual fan, but hes watched every episode this year so far. He thought this weeks was crap, and I dont think it won Matt any points with him either.

Authoritative fan-consensus response: By far its not the worst. Its not the best but it was still a fun romp.

Best = Rememberance of the Daleks
Worst = Genesis of the Daleks

Clean-living response: My son said he liked Churchill's "smoking thing", so it has worked as pro-smoking propaganda!

Six year-old response: She needed a bit of input throughout - we'd discussed WW2 and Churchill in preparation, but the "put that light out!" stuff and why Churchill "kept blowing into that brown stick" prompted questions.

Great unwashed response: Partner, best friend, online friends all in disappointed agreement.
PANTS.

Darkhorse response: VotD had an interesting concept behind it, but fell flat on characterization and some very iffy things like spitfires, plastic Daleks, and an android bomb that just needed a wet dream to stop exploding.

My not-sure-what-to-call-her-potential/ex girlfriend-y response: It was so crap!

Ewen Campion-Clarke response: Jesus this is shit!

Mum's response: Fighter planes in space? What bullshit.

House of literary references response: Dad, when asked, said '.... yyyeeesss' through gritted teeth. 'It was alright to a point.'

'... which was?'

'The playdough Daleks that look like Richard the third.'

Minimalist response: Do we really need another "I hated Victory of the Daleks" thread? There's already about 500 or so on here.

Pissed-off-viewer hotline response: I received more texts and phonecalls from non-whovians after this episode than any other nu-who story.
They were universally negative.

The Daleks were derided as Dyson vacuums.

They all thought the plot was non-existent.



Obviously, I can't look at the vitriolic response without realising this is shaping up as everybody's least favourite aside from me. But, hey, how many classic series guilty pleasures do I have... Silver Nemesis, Claws of Axos, and Terror of the Vervoids it's good to have a story that everyone HATES in NuWho that I can enjoy. Certainly makes a nice change. (The Long Game doesn't count. Or Fear Her. Those stories are of such quality I'm sur everyone online was joking about them sucking.)


Next Time: "Quick, name your favourite Phoenix brother!"... The Doctor bombs the Statue of Liberty... River Song asks Amy if she watched Larry Miles' favourite episode... River showcases the most boring Reality TV pilot ever... somebody steals Paul McGann's voice... the Doctor calls in the cast of Black Hawk Down... somebody hits Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V in their word processor... River makes the mistake of picking up The Book of Monotonous Foreboding... and an angel statue doesn't do very much....

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Jared Reviews The Beast Below

Most of you would probably agree this review is a little late, even by my own subterranean (or proto-antediluvian, if you will) standards. The rest of you have forgotten that this story ever aired in the first place.

Apologies for this lapse. At least I can look at Larry Miles blog and revel in how on-the-pulse I am... now, on to this shit nobody cares about... which I started writing while the show was actually airing... notes from the modern day in {curly braces and italics.} Ironically for a review of one of the more kid-ish episodes the first word is a profanity!


Fuck it, I can't be bothered to watch this story again. But I can hear it playing in the next room... so I'll let that guide my non-linear mindstorm of a review. {They did not do a good job.}

I will say, for the record that after my Hartnell comment, the reason this review took so long for me to write {at the time of writing} was because I had the idea of opening it with a lengthy script extract written of the final scenes as the end of a Hartnell four-parter. See, it's Barbara who pressed the 'Forget' button, Ian uncovers the truth and presses the 'Protest' shocked that so few others have, the Doctor is likewise furious and railing against humanity... meanwhile Susan tries to track down one of the children she met on the upper deck, so gets separated. She finds them "There's somebody I'd like you to meet.." says the child, Susan follows them into a room and we see a worrying-looking appendage rising up behind her like a scorpion's tail about to strike...

..then when we come back after an inbetween-scene, possibly of Hawking {I don't think that's actually his name, monk-like guy with glasses} discussing the possibility of 'removing' the Doctor silently or something similarly utterly unconstructive and padding-ish yet still ably written and engaging, and see Susan and her friends playing hopscotch or draughts with the noodly space whale appendage and laughing. Another boy runs in, crying about the 'old man' going to kill the whale, Susan rushes out and saves the day in the nick of time, throwing herself onto the 'Abdicate' button. Hartnell goes furious and manic as everything seems to fall apart and the already shaky lighting gets worse - then everything's fine and Susan explains herself. The Doctor giggles merrily at being so badly wrong, and apologises to nobody.

Can't you just see it?

The thing is, that version probably would have been better, because over the course of 4 episodes things would have had a chance to make a cohesive whole.

I found it quite ironic when I watched this on the back of the unarguably brilliant Eleventh Hour, because that story had emphatically told me that everything I thought I had to worry about the forthcoming Tarkin Epoch was misleading and paranoid. Then THIS story comes around and tells me all that it's justified, if not readily apparent.

I'm not going to come flat out and say that The Beast Below is a bad story, but it has all the elements of one - namely, Silence in the Fucking Library, although I do realise that story is just about Universally loved when you subtract me from the Earth's population. Everything, EVERYTHING, functions on what TVTropes calls 'The Rule of Cool', or at least Moffat's specific version of this which involves his favourite, very peculiar elements of Doctor Who - Britishness for the sake of Britishness, a monster which has nothing to do with the plot, a screwdriver that can do anything, children in key roles and, curiously two elements not traditionally related to DW that he clearly likes anyway - guns and irrefutable evidence that the Doctor fucks around.

Okay, I guess part of me should be vindicated after my disbelieving "He just said he fucked Elizabeth!" was completely shouted down by certain sceptics as gutter-filth reading of events, but I'd actually rather it be vague or never suggested in the first place. I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea, even if it's just out of fear of the inevitable tie-in novel by Gareth Roberts where we learn the unusual methods the Doctor used to dispose of the incriminating Royal bed linens.

That was me going off-topic, by the way.

What rankles me with this story is that the elements weren't really tied together. It's a Moffat mash-up and contrary to popular belief, not everything he does is brilliant. We're drawn back to the absolutely mined-out inbred quagmire of the British Royal Family, even if we're looking now into the far future descendants of these decadent ne'er-do-wells (who amazingly come off WORSE in DW than they do in actual history books and tabloids) but it doesn't make things any less parochial and tiresome. Speaking of which, isn't it kind of worrying that apparently in the far future Parliament has dissolved yet Her Majesty apparently has no actual power? Nobody comments on it so, er, maybe not. Interesting seeing as the real world looks like going the other way if anything.

But really, how is the society portrayed meant to function? How exactly do the depiction of post-war austerity style on the streets blend with the medieval monks running the city or the renaissance fashion favoured by her majesty? Why do the children have a gap-toothed mascot reading them scary nursery rhymes on elevators when the society clearly loathes children, trying to feed underachievers to the titular beast and if Hawking is any judge being quite pissed off that they are not eaten? Again, how exactly did they hit upon tacky carnival creations of all things as the weapon to put the fear of God into their populace?

Yes, to me it's The Smilers who really do it. Why do they exist other than to scare children. And not even children in Universe, but those in the audience. As Ewen has pointed out, they're pretty light on actual cruel misdeed as well, for all their fearsome reputation and the monks turning out to be half-human half-Smilers really just raises more questions, doesn't it? What the fuck ARE they? WHY do we need them in the future, considering all the fucking terrifying ways we have to run police states TODAY? How they could have engineered/found them while on the most secretive and shameful run from Earth ever is a question so big and compelling it would suggest that the UK had already devolved into some state of democratic savagery before the solar flares - perhaps it wasn't even because of the explosion that the space whale came to save the children? Hmm, hmmm?

Now I'm reading into it to make the idiosyncratic plot more sensible, though, and I'm not sure if this is sensible. The second-up story of a new companion has recently been designed to be fairly disposable (although a fair number of people on OG have praised Gridlock as the greatest story ever... colour me fucking baffled) and Moffatt does fascinatingly follow the formula (Modern day- Far future - historical) but mixes it up more than has been visible with a future nobody can recognise at all. For Amy's first trip it is a slightly odd choice compared to those of fellow travellers - while the year 5 billion did get somewhat tiresome it made sense for the Doc's first date and imparting the broad church of this crazy universe and crazier species... I mean, compare End of the World to "let's go to a depressing space ship where a pack of depressed and OPPressed dole bludgers drink recycled urine huddling in fear of sideshow clowns"

Though of course this is a new Doctor and he does indeed seem less concerned with the comfort of his travelling companions and carrying a "I'll do what I want to and you get come along" attitude akin to, say, Tom Baker. There's also thankfully been no inkling as before that the Doctor's truly trying to power the TARDIS into his companion's vag, ironically the precise opposite of what you'd expect from Steven Moffat who updated a Victorian novel into a miniseries so he could make the entire thing a warped allegory for sex. (It was awesome, though! ...even if there is the matter of every woman on the planet thinking that Hyde is the cute one. Make-up were not on the same page at all..)

The Doctor too falls back into the Moffatian pattern of being too annoyingly brilliant, but this is possibly because there is a mining magnate's arse worth of exposition that needs to be done and the Doctor does all of it when Moff has set him up as knowing next to nothing about the society. Thus fucking insane leaps of logic and unclearly made conclusions are vomited forth endlessly. Look, clean glass! THIS IS A POLICE STATE! This water isn't shaking! THIS ISN'T A NORMAL SPACESHIP. I can't feel vibration at this point when I have frame of reference for where I am on the ship or even knowledge of the ship's design nor even have seen it from the outside. THIS ISN'T EVEN A SPACESHIP! I ran my hand over this mask for five seconds. IT'S 300 YEARS OLD AND YOU'VE BEEN MIND-WIPED 30 TIMES!

Lizzie-10 is a questionable sort of character as well - a strong female heroine who just happens to be the latest Royal and in an ultimate act of whackbrained PCness is the token black character for these 45 minutes. She's meant to appeal to kids, and oddly one of the ways she shows just how cool she is is by pulling out twin pistols and blowing away those sucka-punk Smilers. This is very incongruous in a show that has prided itself in being anti-weaponry quite recently, but I suppose there are similarly "SaywhathaFUCK" examples out there.

The line "basically, I RULE!" is the most kidshow thing I've seen on the show, I think, but is cool/cheesy enough for me not to hate plus gets a little bit of love not from the moment itself, but how HATED it would have been by Larry Miles, Alan Stevens, Ron Mallet and the other bloke who's name I forget.

Incidentally, I brought up her skin colour not because I'm racist (that's immaterial) but because it's a scientifical implausibility (if not outright impossibility). Studies from Brazil, the nation with the longest interracial breeding history shows that multi-generational inter-breeding moves always towards the whiter pigments over time, to the point that ethnicity has become nebulous for many people in Brazil and there are bucketloads of white natives. So for somebody as black as Lizzie 10 to have been descended from Elizabeth II, princes will need to marry some dark-skinned temptresses (full blooded) from somewhere in the upper middle class fairly soon in several different nations, so that THEIR descendants can inter-marry with MORE full-blooded black women and also provide a large pool of black men and women within the Royal gene pools to try their utmost to provide the maximum number of ebony progeny into the limited circles of which dowager princes and princesses are made.

So... yes. Sometime this century a scientist needs to isolate, replicate and disperse throughout the Royal houses of Europe the Jungle Fever virus or we shall never have a black queen who's a bad muthafucka don't take no shit from nobody and keeps her crown in the Tower of London with 'motherfucker' written on it. Jus' sayin'.

Now... from the endless tide of negativity you probably are thinking I hate this story. No. Because the end is really, really good. It's so good I wish it was somewhere else. Hell, I enjoyed the fact that Song of the Space Whale has now effectively been made after more than 25 years... I just wish they didn't have to foist so much fluff onto it's back to make it visually interesting in an inexpensive sort of way.

The slow revelation of the whale, the relationship with the children, the Doctor's cold yet irrational rage toward all humanity, the terrible choice he thinks he has to make, the fact that he's WRONG (Yes! The Doctor, wrong, in a Moffat script!) and Amy solves it all ties her beautifully into the story and continues her journey, something that they were trying to achieve in Dalek but was much less convincing that time around, because to make the companion look good you don't make the Doctor a macho fuckwit.

It does, of course, leave more questions about how they tethered the whale, how exactly the Doctor reaches the conclusion that they will all die if it is freed, how they managed to shock its brain building the giant ray, how they knew SO MUCH about how to do this when death was apparently raining on the planet and so on and so on...

This, in my opinion, should have been the story to get one hour. Whereas Eleventh Hour was padded, this story is on crack and still only just leaves things making sense. With that said, in the attitude that it's the destination that matters, not the journey (which means it can get a hell of a lot worse for the Starship UK inmates, btw...) TBB is indeed an above average story. If only just.

6/10

A random note, making a space whale spew is one of the MORE credible uses of the sonic screwdriver. The mouth and throat are a large echo chamber and considering the power of the screwdriver it shouldn't be hard for it to emit sound at a volume to vibrate the beast's tonsils. The sound in such a case COULD also have proven fatal to the Doctor and Amy, though so swings and roundabouts.


WHAT THOSE OTHER LOSERS SAID

Fucking n00b response: Kudos to Moffat for the references to The Doctor's other encounters with royalty - like in Tooth And Claw and the first episode of The End of Time.

...and Voyage of the Damned, and The Shakespeare Code, and Silver Nemesis, and The Crusades, and The Roundheads and Imperial Moon and the references to throwing a hat at Henry VIII and about FIVE BILLION OTHER STORIES. The world didn't pop out of God's birth canal in November 2005 you twat!


Larry Miles' response: No! You're NOT making me review this!

Den of Geek response: This is an episode that's set to stick in the mind some time after the credits roll, not least the moment where Moffat takes the Doctor into darker territory. For the Doctor’s solution to the dilemma of potentially killing the residents of the British ship or allowing the starwhale creature to remain tortured is to basically mentally kill it. The uneasiness of Matt Smith’s Doctor headed a little into Patrick Troughton territory at this point, and it was great to see.

Presumptuous response: What did the star whale remind you of?.. Let me guess! The Great A'tuin.. Was I right?!

My response, written by somebody else: IMHO, the reason this has happened is that TBB is a bona fide example of writing by memes, by which I mean that the writer has built the story not around a character, a situation or a dilemma, but around a disparate collection of memes (which Wikipedi defines as "a postulated unit of cultural ideas, symbols or practices"). It's as though he's come up with his memes first, and then written a story to justify them (and hasn't really succeeded). So you've got:
Smiley-faced dummies in fairground booths that rotate to reveal scary faces.
A faded, post-WWII austerity Britain vibe.
Messages of impending doom being delivered in the form of a nursery rhyme.
A starship powered not by engines but by a giant creature.
A kick-ass member of the royal family who's a chav.
The whole dystopian, police-state thing.


Lexiconographically fascistic response: I rue the day that the terms meme and trope made thier way into the internet lexicon. Quite frankly I'd like them all to be killed and stuffed inside a frigging tumble dryer, because they've all become as meaningless as a Sarah Palin quote.

Then we can just get back to ideas, and whether we liked them or not.

Dan Davies response: eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaassssssssssssssss syyyyyyyyyyyyy blad!!!!

Perfectly reasonable response: What is this tendency for actors in Doctor Who to try and sound like Smithfield market porters? Thank goodness Matt Smith doesn't speak in an accent designed to suggest that he is a cabbie or was raised in the ghetto, which is a great relief after Tennant and Eccleston (though at least Eccleston enunciated his words clearly, despite his accent).

But Liz Ten was just silly, and her accent doesn't set a particularly good example to young children either.

Ouiji technician response: It was like she was channelling the spirit of Dick Van Dyke

(incidentally, isn't it uplifting that her broken-toothed accent has received much more attention than her skin colour?)


Next time: Jared forgets to write a synopsis of the trailer!


Next review in a month's time.

Nazis! At the Sex Store: An Unauthorised Biography of Your Grand Mother

Let me begin this post with an off-putting and irrelevent image I designed in protest to a fellow-but-actually-better amateur adventure game enthusiast being BLOCKED from posting an image contianing the swastika on Photobucket for a possibly upcoming WWII game.



He's Jimmy the Historically Aware Offensive Icon. I tried giving him SS eyes but it didn't look good. Lovingly made in MSPaint in five minutes as with most of my artwork.

In other news, sex shops are pretty boring. Went to my first one yesterday and... well. I wasn't there to buy, dragged along by a bisexual friend (who I may have called Lady Loosepeggs in a much, much earlier post) hungry for more paraphernalia to insert into her unholier cavity so there wasn't much to do but look and frankly there's nothing there that I cannot see on the internet without creepy men in tan raincoats staring at me in a disturbing manner or an awkward female premise in the form of a pale shop girl who appeared in endless fear of being stabbed.

An obvious problem is the fact that guys don't really have sex toys, a cause that Kevin Smith has been championing recently since his podcast has been sponsored by The Fleshlight, America's Best-Selling Male Sex Toy, which as we all know (er... don't we?) is a rubber vagina-in-a-tube that to the untrained eye may indeed look like a flashlight. (It wasn't until it was discussed in Zak and Miri Make a Porno, in a discussion incedently directly quoted from Smith and his wife shopping on Amazon, that I actually got what the 'light' was referring to and suddenly the weird name made sense) For some reason there's a gigantic double standard where men are seeing as being born with the Ulimate Masturbatory Accessory (ie, a hand) and are weird for looking elsewhere for anything. A quote I heard in highschool was a disgusted 'men will fuck anything' in response to a third-hand story about blow-up-ladies, which really is ironic considering the mass of material the typical woman will lodge within themselves.

So, because this was a seemingly reputable store which didn't really sully itself with prosthetic pussies or the fabled 'real girls', 90% of the stock was nothing but penis substitutes, and frankly I'm only interested in the real deal - that is, my deal. Who knows, maybe one day I'll be involved in the most precision-targeted shark attack ever and will come crawling back to the wilting flower of a girl behind the counter and demanding the largest and most authentic member they possess.

After a cursory examination of the disappointingly small S&M stock and raising an eyebrow at the 'swinging sex harness' I turned my attention to the dingier corner where all the DVDs were, as the fictitious scenarios presented there was the only truly interesting aspect to it all. Even so, Loosepeggs was hunting like a sex-crazed truffle pig for the perfect implement to deprive of sunlight for quite some time so I effectively ended up doing an inventory check through the store. I was annoyed at myself for breaking my cardinal rule of not laughing at any titles, but was defeated early on when I saw "Hey, your grandma's a whore!" vol 18. This ended up being my second-favourite title after "Fix my Tranny: Lube Job in Rear Only".

When I relayed this information afterwards in the car in wont of conversation, Ms I-just-spend-30-minutes-looking-for-something-to-cram-in-my-anus lightly chastised me saying I'd 'Gone over to the darkside' and that I should have 'stuck to the mainstream'. This attitude, I have to say, offended me - had I done anything wrong at looking at a DVD? Am I depraved the instant I look at an image?

And now I fall back on my proud recent tradition of quoting directly from my FaceBook with no forethought needed whatsoever, as I went on to discuss this fairly thoroughly. My status post started it all, with a straightforward query:

"If you cannot browse tranny DVDs at a sex shop without being judged, then WHERE CAN YOU???"

A question I do indeed stand by. The response indicated hostility to the subject matter is fairly widespread.

AK: LOL. Is this rhetorical?

JJ: Not serious are u?

Although to be fair one of the respondents may have remembered me as being somewhat prurient in my high school days. They would also be wrong but might just think that anyway. I responded thus:

"The friends I was with today went to a sex shop. Not much held my interest aside from the DVDs - once I was finished with the 'mainstream' section I went on to browse the more interesting titles. Plus I don't see why people are put off by trannies. Those bits in their original packaging are popular, yet the combo deal isn't? By consumer logic at least it makes perfect sense."

Even though I thought of it just then, I think it's a good point. It's like transsexual porn is the result of marketing gone wrong, the old "two great tastes, they'll taste great together!" viewpoint. One half of the market likes breasts, the other half likes penis, anyone in the margins will like a combination of the two! That gives you a market base of 100% of the people in the Universe (aside from those who don't like porn - but it could just be because they haven't seen THIS shit yet!)

For this reason I conclude William T. Ford is truly responsible for tranny porn.

I totally saw about a dozen DVDs I'd have bought in a heartbeat, too.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

World T20 : Three-pronged analysis

EGO: Hello, and welcome once again to the mind of Jared Hansen. Something very unusual has happened - Australia has suffered one of the most embarassing defeats possible in global cricket and there has been no attached blog post. How do you reason this is even possible?

SUPEREGO: There are many possibilities. Firstly, the shock of England, a nation with the lowest level of athleticism outside of Vatican City, actually having the capability to win any sporting event at all is very powerful to a red-blooded male from another nation - this can be witnessed in the fact that nobody can remember who won all the medals in the last Olympics.

EGO: And who did?

SUPEREGO: I'm actually not sure but it must be relevant to my argument somehow. Now, that England should not only win, full stop, but win their first cricket tournament ever having only made it into the final of one such event once, nearly 20 years ago, should surprise. To a man with investment in the sport in question, it may indeed leave him in a catatonic state, scarcely able to breathe and reason in a form of life-support maintained only by episodes of Farscape and Family Guy and Heinz baked beans.

EGO: Is this especially common?

SUPEREGO: Who can say? Had England won a World Cup during the Farscape cancellation crisis we would have far more empirical evidence, but sadly that did not happen and the Claudia Black quotient of worldwide television reached all-time lows. Another possibility is that the young man, messr. Hansen could have committed suicide.

EGO: Would that not kill us as well?

SUPEREGO: It's not as uncommon as you think for people to unsucessfully shoot themselves, you know. It was precisely the fate that befell Captain Henry Sobel of the famous Easy Company from that Steven Spielberg show.

EGO: ....

SUPEREGO: The David Schwimmer guy.

EGO: I've never actually seen it.

SUPEREGO: Yes, I know, we are rather limited to what Jared actually watches aren't we? I wanted to watch Blackpool, you know.

EGO: We got one episode.

SUPEREGO: It was out of context! Anyway, I discounted that theory after it became apparent that the boy was transcribing our conversation right now.

EGO: Yes. It's a bit of a breach of privacy.

SUPEREGO: But also a display of the dextrous typing at speeds of 80wpm he keeps putting in his unsuccessful job applications. I think the most likely theory is that he is in a complete malaise and when we consider the fact he hasn't even blogged about the last five episodes of Doctor Who, his supposedly favourite television it can scarcely seem surprising.

EGO: And so... your thoughts on the game.

SUPEREGO: I didn't actually see it, did I? As nobody did unless they were willing to buy at least 5 Foxtel packages. All I have to work on are stories written on Cricinfo and terrifying footage of a grinning Graeme Swann. Needless to say, T20 cricket is a horribly unpredictable version of the game - the brevity of it allowed the un-ranked Afghani team into the contest to begin with and then to nearly win. Furthermore, Australia's team was quite imbalanced with what many would argue to be one batsman more than is favourable and a clear candidate to be de-selected from the team in the form the serious under-performing Michael Clarke. It's hard to escape the fact that even whilst thousands are saying he single-handedly lost Australia the match at the same time he registered his best score from the entire tournament with 27 from 27 deliveries - mediocre in any form of the game. You cannot argue with statistical evidence unless you are a calculator or a Scientologist, as we well know.

EGO: Thank you. That was very concise and reasonable.

SUPEREGO: My pleasure.

EGO: ...do we take the gag off now?

SUPEREGO: If you must.

ID: *GASP* Alright you slags, take off your fucking cocktail dresses because your faggot tea party is over!

SUPEREGO: We are abstract concepts, we don't wear-

ID: Okay, take off your ABSTRACT cocktail dresses you four-eyed twat!

SUPEREGO: Why do assume I have glasses?

ID: Why do you ASSUME I have a reasonable answer? Let me lay some science on you `packers - FUCK YOU AUSTRALIA! You guys were poorly prepared to go out on a Mardi Gras float, let alone the world stage! Where was your Chuck Norris powers today, Nannes? Or should I saw Nannes-y Boy? If you can't get 4 four wickets every game then WHAT IS THE POINT OF YOU? WHAT IS THE FUCKING POINT???

SUPEREGO: You seem to be trying to legitimise your argument by quoting Gwen Cooper, the least-popular TV character to ever exist. A less logical course of action I cannot imagine.

ID: You don't have to imagine, because I'm about to give it to you with both barrels! ...

SUPEREGO: Okay...

ID: I WANT TO RAPE DAVID GOWER!

EGO: Woah.

SUPEREGO: A man who was not even present at the game and retired from cricket well over 30 years ago.

ID: That's how much hate I have right now.

SUPEREGO: Is it possible to direct it more logically?

ID: What is this logic you keep talking to me about, Zachary Quinto? Now, Shaun Tait - fuck you. You can get as many aerodynamic haircuts as you want, but nobody cares about your 150 kph balls.

EGO: I-

ID: NOBODY! God damnit we want RESULTS in the form of CORPSES! Johnson! ... you tan badly. Smith! ....I hate your hair, too, and you little bit like a guy I went to school with who was fucking annoying! Hussey! You've looked like a toucan who's been stretched on a rack and painted white for years but nobody has mentioned it to you! Warner! You... share a name with that guy from The Omen. And that movie SUCKS!

EGO: What exactly are you doing?

ID: I dedicated myself to say something negative about every member of the side.

EGO: But everyone you listed played well.

ID: Nobody can be spared. We need to start getting SOMETHING to go on the death certificate. Watson! ... you stole... my cat. I LOVED THAT CAT MAN! White.... you have tiny, crab like eyes. Hussey... THERE'S ALREADY A HUSSEY ON THE SIDE! What the fuck do you think this is, some kind of Nintendo game? I don't want incest on my side! I want... hot chicks! What have you got against hot chicks, David? Huh? Is it because they can BAT BETTER THAN YOU? Is that it? You been seeing Sophie Devine on the side? You SLUT! Stick to your own end of the Tasman! ...who was twelfth man?

SUPEREGO: They generally don't bother with a twelfth man in 20 over cricket, considering the entire squad is on the sidelines and the entire game is over in 180 minutes.

ID: ...

EGO: Hehe, told.

ID: Fuck you! But who WOULD have been Twelfth Man?

SUPEREGO: Ryan Harris.

ID: Ryan... you look like a fucking were-wombat.

EGO: Is it fair to lambast players solely on grounds of idiosyncratic appearances?

ID: I'm not about fair, E, you know that as well anyone. Now... Haddin... you are so ginger you make David Tennant cry. BUT this has all been nothing but a build up to that revolting baby-faced slag, the Bingle-banging, Kat-slapped, non-singing, whistle-blowing, namby-pamby stick-it-up-your Tandy, boy scout, wishy-washy, "Oh, I need to pick my game up sir but I got a note from my mum" six-packed, brain-damaged fucking 5'7 chunk of Milky Boy kid who may very well be the illegitimate son of Kevin Rudd, PUP NEMO. aka MJ Clarke. Now... oh, damnit.

EGO: What now?

ID: I peaked too early... I think I'm out of hate for the time being.

SUPEREGO: My word.

EGO: Well, that's a shame. Though I did like your impromptu Thin Blue Line homage.

ID: Well.... thanks. Anyway, Michael Clarke should be dropped, Cameron White made captain and Dougie Bollinger brought in as an extra strike bowler.

SUPEREGO: ...that. Sounds sensible. This is remarkable!

ID: Well, I know my sports.

SUPEREGO: Though personally I think Nathan Hauritz wou-

ID: Are you fucking kidding me? HAURITZ??? That Jewish mono-browed garden gnome of a thumb-twiddler...

EGO: *Ahem* We don't know if he is Jewish and that's immateri-

ID: I KNOW EVERYTHING, because I'm just like Buddy Rich, motherfucker! Hauritz has nothing to bring us except poor hygeine and comedic fielding! I'll take cancer in my pelvis before I take Hauritz! Now, back to Clarke... there's only one thing to do with Clarke to improve his batting and we all know the answer is castration.

EGO: What?

ID: YOU HEARD ME! Emergency testoctomy! His balls have gotten him into far too much trouble! Come on, how do you explain his batting falling away at the same time as he was going out with Lara, hmm? Two things that significant happening at once? CO-INCIDENCE! That would be impossible!

SUPEREGO: No, that is actually the very definition of coincidence. Two significant events co-inciding temporally.

ID: DID I ASK FOR A PHD IN FAGOLOGY? So as I said, we need to cut out his heart and give it Tezcatlipoca.

SUPEREGO: ...

EGO: ...

SUPEREGO: I am twice as baffled as you are, I assure you.

EGO: I think we're going to end this roundtable here.

ID: Hey, come on, I didn't even get to comment on the Brad Haddin bruising incident!

SUPEREGO: How do you even know who Tezcatlipoca is?

ID: He's on my FaceBook.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ghost Train - Big Finish Disapproved!

Well, obviously I'm not being published by Big Finish, because if that were the case I'd have driven the town dry. Even if my town is Wyong and by the time I'd have driven there I'd be unable to buy anything alcoholic anyway. I'd have... drunken all the castor oil or something. Gotten inventive, like in Bottom.


Anyway, now that there is no danger of it being sold for money, here is the story that I really shouldn't have submitted...

GHOST TRAIN

When Peri had stepped onto the train she had thought that her feet would stay on the ground. She was an old-fashioned thinker like that. But now she was squealing, being flung rudely through the air and buffeting against the roof. In her travels in the TARDIS she had gotten a little used to these sort of harsh Newtonian hissy fits that the Universe threw her way, but she was still expecting to come back to the floor and had screwed up her eyes in preparation.
"Doctor, why aren't I falling?"

"You are, Peri. You just happen to be falling up."

She opened her eyes, and the Doctor indeed seemed to be right - the floor was hovering gently above her eyes. She was, for whatever reason, frightened that her head might fall off so she swivelled it only slightly, allowing herself a glimpse through the corner of her eye of the revolting technicolour eiderdown that the Doctor called a fashion statement. Just a glimpse was all she really wanted.
"But why?" she asked.

"At a guess I'd say because we are travelling at a sizeable portion of the speed of light."

"...but why?"

"Perhaps this a special train? For those who are very late for very important dates? Come on, we want get answers bobbing around like anti-gravitic mullets.."
A 'special train' may well be an understatement, but intriguingly it looked like anything but. From Peri's experience of 20th century public transport the train was largely unremarkable - it had broken luggage racks, illegible graffiti, gunmetal walls, grimy windows and furniture and carpeting festooned in the most awful beiges, olives and plaids yet concocted by humanity in the arms race of abhorrent taste. Indeed, the only difference in these 22nd century trains were the occassional hologram station, the fact that there were an awful lot of more of them, and they were built to hold more people - this train had four floors, making the anteroom with the doors where they floated feel like a cavernous and slightly sinister space.
As they pawed their ways along the ceiling and walls into one of the warren of stairways and into the carriage proper, however, things did not improve. Peri found the claustrophobia much worse, especially as the tunnel between the tombstone rows of high-backed chairs was illuminated only by the worryingly faded crimson emergency lighting.

When her eyes adjusted, it became even worse.

The carriage section was, unthinkably and improbably for a train designed to hold 500 upwards in each carriage, completely empty. Not so much as a flea or louse, or any other living thing was in this space - a heavy sense not of death, but of sheer oblivion was hanging heavy in the air, along with a heavy musky smell that seemed to make the air grey. In spite of this, everywhere around them was the evidence of people. The carelessly abandoned candy wrappers and half-full drinks crowded the floor, but half the seats were littered with phones, game stations, clothes, lunchboxes, thermos, laptops...Peri looked harder, wishing she could stop and saw scuff marks in the hideous and shallow carpet, still fresh. And a window pane that was fogged up... the winking smiley face that stared back at her was all too visible.

"Doctor," Peri managed, her eyes starting to itch at what she was seeing "I really think we should go."

"So do I. But we cannot do that until the train stops, can we?" The Doctor's voice was heavy. "There's no emergency brake. And I've been looking, believe me. Very careless, wouldn't you say?"

"Unless..."

"Yes, Peri. I was trying not to think about that."

The silence hung in the fetid air. Why wasn't the air being circulated, Peri wondered? She pulled her collar up over her mouth. It seemed to be closing in, an army of dust marching against her eyes and mouth. She started pulling herself through the forest of seating with her free arm, needing no prompting to get the hell out of this tomb. The Doctor clearly thought it was a good idea, and followed her closely.

"Yes... I think a visit to the driver might be in order, Peri."

They continued to maneuver their way through the thick, hanging air until they came to the door between the carriage and the next. Before he opened it, the Doctor set about reenacting the William Tell Overture with his fingertips and frowned in consternation.

“Dwarf Star alloy…” he murmured darkly.

“Is that…. An airlock?”

“Maybe a reality lock…”

It was surprisingly simple for the Doctor to open, and once they were on the other side what they saw made Peri feel her eyes were bleeding. The world around them, outside the train was a whirlpool of… what felt like everything. If she focused on any one area she could see… every city. Every colour. Every shadow, ever person, every thought, every soul, every secret in the world. She tried to not focus on anything. But then she could feel everything. Every kiss, every dream, every death, every…

The door slammed shut. Somehow they had gotten through to the other side.

The Doctor brushed himself off, and floating further into the next carriage. “Well, at least now we know what’s outside, this won’t seem quite as bad.”

In fact, it was still dreadful. Every inch of Peri’s skin itched and she tried to look at nothing as they floating slowly through another carriage.

“Can you smell anything, Peri?”

“I’m trying very hard not to.”

“Methane, sulfur, carbon monoxide, an alchemical smorgasbord of death.”

As the Doctor clambered between the seats he snaked his free hand down to pluck up a dusty plastic skirt, and glanced at it before throwing it away to float to the ceiling.

“Everybody on this train got zapped, didn’t they, Doctor?”

“Getting straight to the point as always, Peri. Have you.. well… felt anything unusual?”

“We’re in a.. metal tomb traveling the speed of light,” Peri laughed a humourlessly, nervous laugh that the Doctor had given her all too many opportunities to practice. “Believe me, I’m feeling a lot of weird things. But – I’m happy to say none of those weird feelings have felt like I’m about to evaporate.”

“Good, good…”

Peri gave a weak smile to herself “And, trust me, I’ve been looking for that one…”
Another reality-lock, another swift two-step with death in the intervening maelstrom and another carriage with no trace of life other than that that had been snuffed out decades ago. Peri reflected on just how banal the amazing and terrifying could become – her survival instinct was so honed by now that she was completed relaxed, setting herself to be ready to tense when death itself was truly immediate and only then act. Until that moment she was a coiled spring, biding her time and letting the rest of her mind wander. Her mind did not linger on the children’s toys and shoes occasionally littering the compartment or lulling lazily through the air, but bent itself to enjoy the feeling of zero gravity – to focus on the unusual freedom and control over herself she experienced, only just reflecting that she did so on a sealed death trap far out of her control.

With her mind wandering so they made their way through four carriages, each as cavernous as the last, and each as empty of life and as full of cold, sterile and tenderly aged misery. The Doctor chattered, as he did, expounding with the force of twelve thesauri on any scrap of evidence he found indicating how exactly the train worked. Listening to every second word was more than enough for Peri to hear all the vital details – the train seemed to be built across Universes – parts from different realities, it had mostly likely worked by releasing the pent up potential energy in every passenger, a process called chronokinesis by anyone made enough to contemplate it. The whys were still highly elusive, however.

The Doctor was very disappointed when they finally reached the driver’s compartment – the door took no effort at all to open.

“Honestly, Peri, they stitch this together across 13 Universes and can’t even make a decent lock? To think I brough my sonic lance for nothing…”

Once inside, they were met with a pitiful scene. The driver alone was still at his seat, gazing through the windshield into an endless maelstrom of reality and surreality – he looked like he was an ordinary man around 2000 years ago. He was a mummy that somehow, still had living eyes. And the monstrous beehive-hub of controls that glowed a demonic read had a lance of wires thrust straight into the pitiful creatures belly, humming with a dull everyday menace. The Doctor said hello, quite politely, and then asked him a few questions. Then a few more questions. Then a few jokes and an anecdote about Winston Churchill.

“Look at me when I talk to you, man!” the Doctor’s face flushed “I have dealt with a lot of craven, talking corpses and they have ALL been a lot more civil than you are!”
“Doctor!” snapped Peri. Such was the authority in her voice that the Doctor turned to face her and closed his mouth for a moment. “He doesn’t know that we’re here,” she pointed out, as if to a child “And that might explain a lot.”

“Such as?”

Peri laughed, a bubbling release of far too much repressed stress across the past hour “Well why we’re not DEAD, for starters!”

The Doctor shrugged a little peevishly “Alright, that did have me a little confused I will admit… I suppose we are foreign to this precise spatial-temporary milieu, unlike the other poor cattle that was on this train – which would also probably suggest things have gone badly wrong, because frankly this train doesn’t seem to be designed to stop right now…”

His brow shot up and his eyes bulged. The strength of the expression made Peri hear the penny drop.

“It’s a bomb, Peri,” breathed the Doctor in wonderment. “The most tremendously insane bomb that has ever been devised..”

“Erm… okay,” said Peri, trying to make sense of it all “Is it going to go off?”

“If it could, Peri, we wouldn’t even exist. If this train were to move faster than light via conventional propulsion it would start operating in a plane of inverse physics – perpetual motion and infinitely exponential mass. With those sort of forces operating around the Earth’s entire surface… the planet would be crushed in seconds.”

“Destroy it?”

“No,” said the Doctor, still fixated on the monstrous controls “Well, yes, but mostly no. This bomb operates in eleven dimensions and across several Universes – the Earth would cease to have ever existed. Anywhere. And the chain reaction would destroy the entire Web of Time...”

Peri frowned. “What kind of freak would want to do that?”

“There are more things in Heaven and on Earth, Perpugilliam..” whispered the Doctor with a smile. He stared into the middle distance a moment before turning back to the withered creature at the controls and his face fell.

“Do you think this could be their agent, Peri – somebody who gave his life to destroy a world he despised, or just a train driver who stepped into this nightmare in the same way that we did?”

“Are you asking me just because you can’t ask him?” said Peri with a raised eyebrow.

Tentatively she stretched out her hand and brushed the man’s forehead. She could feel more than she wanted – the crackling, parchment-like skin that was stretched thin over bone that was feeling like crumbling concrete – but the man himself might as well have been a grotesque in Madame Tussaud’s for all the response he showed.
“No matter who he is he couldn’t have deserved this,” Peri said to herself sadly.
The Doctor had nodded and had pried open the wasp nest-like hub of the control panel, that was hooked into the driver’s gut. “Clearly all the train’s energy is coming from this poor soul, so…”

Peri grabbed the Doctor’s wrist fiercely “Wait a minute – have you thought about what’s going to happen once you cut that line?”

The cherubic face looked genuinely aggrieved “Oh, Peri, OF COURSE I’ve thought about it! Quite a bit, in fact!”

Peri released her grip “Well… if you’re sure then..”

“And I’ve come to the conclusion there’s only one way to know for certain!”

Snip.

The world turned into a searing, blinding white light for a moment, before all falling away, and soon there was blackness. Peri triple checked that her eyes were not somehow screwed shut without her say so, but they definitely were not – and what she heard was bewildering. 50 tons of steel flying away into the ether, a control panel exploding, a primal roar that turned into the feeble gurgling of a toddler and in the midst of it the Doctor admitting a little too calmly that this wasn’t exactly what he had in mind.

Peri got concerned when she realised that she couldn’t feel her feet. She then got even more concerned when she realised she couldn’t feel anything else at all. When she concentrated on this, she found suddenly the world was not black emptiness, but a grungy section of 25th century railway where an inappropriately grinning Doctor was waiting for her.

“Ah, Peri, I knew I could count on you!” he lied merrily through his teeth “You popped out of reality for a moment there, had me a bit worried.”

“The train’s gone,” Peri commented. In moments like this she liked to look at the big picture first, before coming down to personal details like nearly having fallen into a parallel Universe, or the awkward realization that an explosive shower of chronons had turned the emaciated corpse of a driver into an baby which she was know holding and politely trying to deny access to her blouse.

“Yes…” agreed the Doctor on the immutable point that had been tabled, nearly speechless for a rarefied moment. “But in a way it never really existed.”

“Really?” Peri held up the babe gently “Then where did this little guy come from? Pixie dust?”

The Time Lord kicked a rock and blew his cheeks out. “I said ‘IN A WAY’, Peri! Try to be a bit open minded! If I’ve tried to teach you anything-”

“Doctor!”

“-it’s that you need to, okay, why are you running?”

This time he heard the train whistle and saw the light.

As Peri ran for her life, desperately looking for any side access tunnels in the towering concrete walls to duck into she was overtaken by the Doctor. He was not only moving faster than she had ever seen, but grinning wider as well.

“Terribly exciting, isn’t it?” he said exactly as he would have in a cinema.
Peri had to laugh. It was just another one of those days…

Jared Tries to Educate a Friend

In much the same way as Michael Caine tried to educate a hairdresser in Educating Rita, but with all the abuse condensed into the space of about ten minutes... it all started as most venomous exchanges do... on MSN...

After seeing and immediately joining a group on Facebook called "Damn Daleks just DIE already!" or something similar, I was disappointed to find that it was apparently run and consisting entirely of 16 young girls (no, younger than THAT, hence my disappointment) and so I went looking for intelligent conversation on the matter, with the one person on MSN I knew was a fan, at least of NuWho.

Jared
Daleks suck

Lance
Daleks are awesome
Hell, they are the BEST thing of Dr. Who

Jared
....BLOCK'D!


Blocking him was amusing for five minutes, during which time I got Facebook support from, of all people, the Villainous AK, my old nemesis. But like all things that are amusing for five minutes they are not amusing for ten..


Jared
You get unblocked for humourous response value
Messing with you is still fun

Lance
SIF doesn't cover it

[..]


Jared
But, no, Daleks should not fly
I can accept them hovering either other (sic) small obstacles or to navigate in the vaccuum of space

Lance
yeah, but they are more awesome though if they do....

Jared
But for them to suddenly become aerodynamic to that degree is ridiculous
It is completely devoid of awesomeness

Lance
otherwise - how the hell can they go up stairs?

Jared
They are meant to be tanks
Not B52s
..read what I'm saying, please, they HOVER
Do you not realise HOVER != FLY? (*Programmer slang)

Lance
well... I do
but hovering is essentially flying?

Jared
...no it isn't
By that logic jumping is flying because you aren't touching the ground
Hovering is suspending something a fixed distance above the ground using an opposing force

Lance
yes, but hovering is never going back to the ground
and would that suspension involve in a forwards propulsion ?

Jared
Flying involves creating a greater-than-opposing force underneath an object so that it can increase its distance from the ground indefinitely

Lance
"I can accept them hovering either other small obstacles or to navigate in the vaccuum of space" how can they avoid the obstacles if they just hover? without a forwards movement? which kind of implies FLYING

Jared
And if something is suspended via hovering, the two forces cancelling each other out, in Newtonian terms it's at rest - so if it has propulsion it would move forward whilst maintaining the distance from the ground
Okay, going by the Lancian laws of physics, if I throttle a hovercraft hard enough I can get it to take off and land it in Sydney airport?
Since it moves whilst hovering and thus flies

Lance
Meh
I honestly don't really care
it is just a TV SHOW afterall (*Complete coward's defense at point where TV show is no longer being discussed)

Jared
Your ignorance demonstrates that
Well, it's also a gross misunderstanding of physics

Lance
SIF

Jared
I am quite stunned you believe that the moment hovering is not stationary it becomes flying
Do you even understand how planes work?

Lance
do me a favour, block me - before I will

Jared
I don't care

Lance
meh, too late

Jared
OHHHHHHHHHH

The argument sadly derailed before I was able to compare his ignorance of physics to Adolf Hitler's ignorance of naval maneuvres, I made a joking comment about it on his FaceBook page assuming things would be smoothed over. Instead, he demanded an apology instantly, threatening me with deletion from his FB if I refused to do so.

An apology which, of course I provided in as simple terms as possible...


I have never been more settled. That said I don't particularly care if I'm deleted or not, really. I already saved that humourous Froot Loops photo of you for future use, after all. I suppose, though in the grand scheme of things your selective un-intellectualism evidenced in your surprisingly comic book approach to Newtonian physics when regarded at the same stage as your astonishing keyboard dexterity and rapacious appetite for coding perfection and also your +10 CH stat that has seen you through life so far is a very trivial matter that I gave undue attention to, and certainly did not warrant the pilloring that I thrust upon you as if it were a thrusting organ that I had a given right to thrust onto you.

When bearing this in mind, logically the fault lies with myself, and traditionally in our society, he who is at fault acknowledges this and express regret. The traditional phraseology, as informed by 3000 years of anthropological evolution I do hereby utter: "That was uncalled for, Lance, my friend, I am very sorry for mocking you unnecessarily, and I hope you can forgive me" At the same time as I have uttered this I have entered the words onto a fairly primitive input/output device that has stored these into octal numerical vassels of 'memory', and will soon trigger and unrelated mechanism that will propel these many integers to an exchange where they shall be re-routed to a mainframe whereupon you can view them in translated form. I hope you appreciate the extra effort.

Your servant, Jared Hansen DipLIS, CIIILISM, CIVPGM (inc), Esquire


So, it seems we'll never be talking again. I found it all quite amusing and it definitely filled in the time before QI came on.