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What I’m reading, and more

July 17th, 2005

River of Gods by Ian MacDonald. It’s set in a politically fragmented India in 2047. Very promising so far. My plan is to read all the nominees for the 2005 Hugo Award for Best Novel, the only one left now is Charles Stross Iron Sunrise, which I’m looking forward to, as I enjoyed Singularity Sky.

Also on the SF front, I started off liking the new series of Dr Who, but now I’m getting annoyed. He can travel as far as he wants through time and space, but he hardly ever seems to leave London or to move more than about 100 years away from the present. OK, he went to Cardiff once, but he could just as well have taken the train. And it seems like just about every episode involves some variant on zombies/bodysnatchers. Not that I have anything against zombies and bodysnatchers, but couldn’t we have a bit of variation: say, sharks with laser-beams attached to their foreheads?

I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much, as the Doctor clashes with the football, meaning that I’ve been tuning in at quarter-time. Last night that was a mercy, I guess, though it left me trying to work out what went wrong in a game that (for the 75 minutes I saw) was very evenly matched. But in future, I think I’ll be watching the whole game.

More seriously, I’m working on reviews of Affluenza and The End of Poverty. I hope to have drafts of these up on the blog before too long. I also read and enjoyed Deirdre Macken’s Oh, No! We Forgot to Have Children. I assume the title is an allusion to this classic image

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  1. July 17th, 2005 at 18:58 | #1

    We died so badly in the last quarter, the margin was well over 40 oints at one point, but we let them get within 20 – I was quite dissapointed, especially as this seems to be a recurring problem, which will come back to bite us in the finals. I doubt we will win the premiership.

  2. Graham Johnson
    July 17th, 2005 at 19:05 | #2

    John

    Your observation on Doctor Who’s UK centric travels was echoed by my two sons (15 and 12) just today but I suggested that surely we can tolerate such a limitation from such a great program in a sea of “less good” programming.

    And in any event, how would the program be better by travelling to another contemporrary location?

    Enjoy your blog.

    Graham, Melbourne

  3. July 17th, 2005 at 19:48 | #3

    Clearly when a time lord is tired of London he is tired of life. And why not, when London is a large enough canvas for all the dramatic effects needed here?

    Think how much you would laugh if the beeb made a botched attempt to set any of this somewhere you know. The cobbler is sticking to its last.

  4. Nick Caldwell
    July 17th, 2005 at 21:31 | #4

    They went 5 billion years into the future in “The End of the World” and 100,000 years into the future in “The Long Game”.

    Russell Davies has said that, in re-introducing the show to a new generation, he wanted to focus the stories on Earth, and play up as much English iconography as possible. The second season will, however, feature alien worlds. And, ahem, some silvery nemeses.

    Co-incidentally, I finished Iron Sunrise a couple of days ago. I don’t think I’m giving anything away when I say it’s better plotted but not quite as cheerfully inventive as Singularity Sky.

  5. July 18th, 2005 at 12:39 | #5

    Thanks to living in Brisbane I couldn’t see Matthew Lloyd score 8 goals at a civilised hour. But I am happy non-the-less.

    I was expecting a more evenly matched lions-eagles game, or hoping for one anyway.

  6. RoD
    July 18th, 2005 at 15:57 | #6

    The London-centrism of new Who started to annoy me this week too. Though ‘Dalek’ was set in Utah (and its rare for the Doctor to lower himself to go to the US), episodes like ‘Long Game’ could have been set anywhere in the distant future – and not in orbit around Earth.

    We’ll have to wait to see if season two takes us to Telos or back to London’s sewers…

    But alas, with no Brissy v Weagles on Melbourne telly, ‘Who’ was very clearly the pick of the night.

  7. July 20th, 2005 at 17:13 | #7

    I found the whole series very interesting (I’ve just finished watching the first thirteen episodes), although I agree it’s fairly earth centric.

    It is with a point though, and as you get later in the series you will realise the increasingly obvious theme(s) that unite many of the episodes and much of the series.

    I must say I was rather dissapointed with the rather sudden conclusion of what looked like a promising ongoing story line.

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