Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The 2014 Coven Awards - A Year in Review



* This would have been the 9th, but we weren't around for the ends of 2011, 2012 & 2013.

Well, this should be easier than usual as we haven't actually been blog-active for the whole year. Some may call us lazy, but we would just reply "it takes one to know one"!
 Shall we get started then? As usual, I've been lumbered with presenting the awards. 
Probably because we took the time to watch all those telly programmes and read all those bloody books.
Yes, and I shall recap our blog prowess over the year.
Good one, Witchface! Less work for us!
Let's get started then: On with the show!



January: We started the year as we meant to go on, except we didn't. Mean to go on, that is. We published the final issue of wwwWOW! with the intention of shutting up shop. Sadly for you poor, disillusioned readers, we reneged on our promise. Ha!

February: We're closed.

March: Bugger off!

 Well, that was an easy first quarter, wasn't it?!
Oh, hush up and get on with the awards.
 Fine. Here we go then:


 First up we have the award for Televisual Treats. We've had to split this into five different categories as the shows we've watched this year have been so different in terms of concept and content.
• Supernatural: Dracula; Grimm; In The Flesh; Penny Dreadful ~ First to fall is Grimm mainly due to the stupidity and woodeness of main character Nick Burkhardt. Dracula is next to go for its ridiculous sexiness. In The Flesh almost made it to the winner's podium but it's just a little too bleak, which means the winner is the stylish, mysterious and emotional Penny Dreadful!



• Comedy: Benidorm; Harry Hill's TV Burp; Modern Family; Miranda; The Middle ~These shows are funny in different ways, but for sheer performance and out-and-out laughs, the winner has to be Miranda!
• Drama: Looking; Olive Kitteridge ~ Sorry Gay Boys, if you were a bit more likeable you could have nabbed this award from Olive.
 Psssst! Dom? I'll see you later!
• BBC: The Great British Sewing Bee; Strictly Come Dancing; Strictly: It takes Two; Octonauts (Yeah, this surprised me too, but I suppose it's to be expected when one has a 20 month-old niece. Besides, the episodes I saw were teaching kids about yeti crabs at hydrothermal vents and immortal jellyfish, amongst other obscure sea creatures - What other children's show does that?!) ~ If it wasn't for the annoying Tess Daly and the even more annoying voting public, Strictly Come Dancing would have won.


 

 Instead, the winner is Strictly: It Takes Two presented by the hilarous Zoe Ball and (on Wednesdays) the rather alluring Ian Waite.



• Sci-Fi: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; Arrow; Doctor Who; The Flash ~I surprised myself by watching Doctor Who this year - not every episode, mind, but most of them. I was just curious as to whether an older Doctor would be less irritating, as David Tennant and Matt Smith I found to be pretty much unbearable. I'm pleased that I did give it a go as Peter Capaldi's Doctor, while condescending and irrascible, is very watchable. Add in the (mostly) clever and thoughtful stories, the marvellous chemistry of the actors, and the always brilliant Michelle Gomez as The Mistress, and we have a clear winner!



 
We haven't gone in for much in the way of new music this year. Instead, we've mostly fallen back on new releases from old favourites: Wanderlust, by Sophie Ellis-Bextor; Do It Again, by Röyksopp & Robyn; Running to the Sea/Something in my Heart, by Röyksopp, featuring Susanne Sundfør/Jamie McDermott; and Hush, by The Limousines (the only new artist we've taken note of).

 While Röyksopp and Robyn have done no wrong, the delightful Sophie E-B has easily trounced them with her fifth studio album Wanderlust! My particular favourite tracks are: "Birth of an Empire", "Young Blood", "13 Little Dolls", and "Love is a Camera".
 




 In the running for Best Book are: Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett; The Collectors, by Christopher L. Bennett; Get Off The Unicorn, by Anne McCaffrey; Second Nature & Point of Divergence, by David Mack and Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore; Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs; The Woman Who Died A Lot, by Jasper Fforde; The Long Earth, by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter; Not the Royal Wedding, edited by Sean Hardie & John Lloyd; Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples.

 Ooh, this is another difficult one as all are clever, well written and engaging, so I've decided that I'm only going to choose from books that I first read this year. That means we say goodbye to possibly my favourite book of all time: Good Omens, along with Get Off The Unicorn and Not the Royal Wedding. The three Star Trek books are next to go, despite featuring a Borg-assimilated Tyrannosaurus Rex and a sexily arrogant unjoined Trill (The Collectors and Second Nature/Point of Divergence, respectively). Closely following them are The Long Earth and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, which leaves (the as yet unfinished) Saga and The Woman Who Died A Lot (our introduction to Thursday Next) as joint winners!
 


 We do love a sleek starship, so this year we've added this category to acknowledge the sleekest! Four contenders fight for the crown, including the surprise Saber-class entry which narrowly pipped the Sovereign-class USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E to the final line-up.

 The Excelsior-class USS Enterprise NCC-1701-B (designed by John Eaves for Star Trek Generations); The Saber-class USS Peterson NCC-61815 (redesigned by D. M. Phoenix for the 2015 Ships of the Line calendar); The Akira-class USS Thunderchild NCC-63549 (designed by Alex Jaeger for Star Trek: First Contact); and the Vesta-class USS Aventine NCC-82602 (designed by Mark Rademaker for Pocket Books)

The Enterprise-B, Peterson, Thunderchild and Aventine vogue for the camera
 The winner is the handsome yet elegant Enterprise-B - our perennial favourite!



April: We couldn't bare it any longer and made a triumphant return to brass fanfares, ticker-tape parades, street parties and an international holiday was declared!
 That wasn't for us.
What?
 All that stuff. It wasn't for us!
Well, who was it for, then?
 Will & Kate. It was the Royal Wedding anniversary.
Oh. What did we get, then?
 Nothing really. A few comments for our Monsters Under the Bed, and monstrous Easter Egg posts, and that's it.
Huh. I don't know why we bothered, then.

May: Svaathor Da Vijs assisted the Ladies of Lily's Tearoom remove a nymph from their dishwasher; we tried an Infomaniac House of Beauty diet; and survived a swarm of bees amongst other things.

June: Arcane Aerial Conveyancing and almost being stabbed by Concorde were the prelude to the return of the Tin Foil Hat Competition.



 
We've managed to watch no fewer than eleven films newly released in 2014, but only three of which were seen at the cinema: Captain America: The Winter SoldierGuardians of the Galaxy; and X-Men: Days of Future Past. The others - The Amazing Spider-Man 2;
(Bad) Neighbo(u)rs; Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; Godzilla; The Grand Budapest Hotel; and Maleficent, amongst others - we watched at home courtesy of a certain satellite TV channel.

 Looking back on these films now, we picked the right ones to fork out the extra cash and see on the big screen. Having said that though, I wouldn't have minded seeing Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Godzilla at the cinema, although a very engaging film, Dawn was rather predictable, and Godzilla a little over hyped (but still very good). The Grand Budapest Hotel was an incredible surprise - Not what I expected, but very amusing, well cast and acted, and rather stylish.

 So, the top three are the cinema-seen films. The joint runners-up are Captain America and X-Men, with top honors going to Guardians of the Galaxy - A slickly produced, funny, emotional and entertaining film.





Josh Hartnett (Ethan Chandler in Penny Dreadful) - Well, I've always had a thing for him ever since seeing him in The Faculty.
Murray Bartlett (Dom in Looking) - It's the Tom Selleck-alike moustache! 
Clark Gregg (Phil Coulson in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) - There's something rather reassuring about him. 
Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker/Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man 2) - Fun! 
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Ford Brody in Godzilla) - I was transfixed by his arms.
Chris Pratt (Peter Quill/Star Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy) - The attainable everyman.

 It has to be my first love: Josh Hartnett!



Bree Turner (Rosalee in Grimm)
Eva Green (Vanessa Ives in Penny Dreadful)
Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald in Doctor Who)
Michelle Gomez (The Mistress/Master in Doctor Who)
Elizabeth Henstridge (Jemma Simmons in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Miranda Hart (Miranda in Miranda)

 Ummm...  I'm a little out of my depth here. Help, anyone? 



Diggle & Felicity - Brains and brawn
FitzSimmons - Awww... I just want to squeeze them!
Rocket & Groot - A talking raccoon and a walking tree. What could be more adorable?
Ian Waite and his telestrator - There's something to be said about a man who gets his wand out in the name of daytime entertainment!
Pasha & Caroline - She's so effervescent and he's so... Pasha! Aww... Just look at his little Pasha face!
Frankie & Kevin - He calls her Frankenstein and she dressed up as the Wicked Witch of the West (as you may have seen in the video from Televisual Treats, above). 




July: We flew into Cromer on Broom for tin foil; opened the Chapeau de Tin Foil gallery and announced the winner; and had a look at the Star Trek: Ships of the Line 2015 calendar.

August: We almost popped a dirigible; wanted to pop a red hot cherry; and popped over The Cusp for flying saucer-related shenanigans.

September: Castlette DeVice's gardens were opened; Inexcuseable got a new job; and we returned to the horror of 'Petra's Pudding Debacle!



 
This is an easy one: Without a doubt, this award goes to Josh Hartnett & Reeve Carney for their totally unexpected liaison in Penny Dreadful.
Sorry about the video - It's the best one we could find that hasn't been doctored by someone.







 Cinzano - Joan Collins & Leonard Rossiter (featuring Marina Sirtis in the last one!)


 Campari - Lorraine Chase & Jeremy Clyde


 Sorry Ms Scarlet, Joan pips Lorraine to the post here.


It's amazing what a beard can do, isn't it?
 Yes. So, here are the nominees for "Best Beard":
• Bobby Drake/Iceman (X-Men: Days of Future Past) - Turned a boy into a man.
• Grant Ward (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) - Transformed a generic, bland character into a sinister fox!
Maurice (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) - This isn't quite what I had in mind, but... Oh, well.
Faro Dastin (Second Nature) - Hang on. This is a character in a book. We don't even see him!
Yeah, but he's described. As is his beard.
 Yes, but-
And he's very proud of it. Plus he's a fox!
 That may be, but-
Moving on!
Zoe Ball (Strictly: It Takes Two) - What?! Oh, come on!
What?
 This is the last time I let you loose in one of these award shows. Ian Waite does not need a beard!




 We had to engage in a little time-travel for this award.
Yes, it was graciously pointed out after the awards ceremony that we had allowed a glaring omission to detract from this hallowed occasion.
Even though it was omitted for the perfectly legitimate reason that it happened last year...
 But, still, this award would have made it into the 2013 Coven Awards had they actually taken place, so with some jiggery-pokery in the time-stream, we bring you this: The Most Shocking Win.
AKA: Did I Win Yet?

(from Spot the bunny)
(from Ghost gerbil)



October: Attack of the Giant Spider; another look around Castlette DeVice's gardens; Cromer on the map; harking back to Hallowe'en.

November: Well, we showed you Cromer Lighthouse and that's about it.
 Yeah, another lazy month.
Hey! Not lazy. Busy.
 Yeah, right...

December: An update; taking a look at Christmas films; 2013 review dusted off.



 
Thankfully, MJ has been rather slack on the Filthy Friday front this year, so researching this award hasn't been too traumatic. May I present, the Least Repulsive Filthy Friday from Friday 26th September:
 It all looks so wholesome doesn't it? I mean, apart from the strumpet with her thre'pennies out. And I'm sure that once she's poured the tea, Mother will straighten that picture and leave her son and his friend to it.



 
As Craig Revel Horwood is fond of pointing out on Strictly, the nominees in this category were "all a bit of a Disarrster, Darrling!"
 Now, Criminal Minds and I, Frankenstein weren't exactly disastrous, but I was expecting so much more from both of them. If this final season is anything to go by, Criminal Minds should have finished at the end of the last season. It seems to have taken several steps back and I find it all rather lacklustre. The same goes for I, Frankenstein. Even Aaron Eckhart couldn't save this awful film. To be quite honest, I can't understand why he thought it would be a good idea in the first place. 
 I hesitated to include Transformers: Age of Extinction in this category, because I knew it would be an unmitigated disaster just like its two predecessors (but not the first film),  but it failed to meet even my lowered expectations. The main problems were the shoe-horned in "Dinobots" (if one can truly call them that), and Mark Wahlberg. While his acting and character were perfectly believable, his massive arms were not. They're ridiculous! Far too distracting.
 So, we're left with a disarrster of epic proportions: Under the Dome. Terrible acting; rushed storylines; stupid, stupid townsfolk; the over-the-top evil facial expressions of Big Jim; everyone believing Evil Big Jim has changed for the better EVEN THOUGH HE CLEARLY HASN'T! Did I mention the stupidest townspeople in the history of the world? Even if I did, I'm mentioning them again: THEY ARE SPECTACULARLY STUPID!
 I was hate-watching this show during the second season (the first was pretty good), until I couldn't bear it any longer and just stopped. Ahhhhhhhhhhh...
There's no video as we just couldn't bear to give Under The Dome any more attention than we already have. 



 Another new category this year: The Most Polished Pilot.
Well, we needed something to highlight my skills astride Broom.
 Oh, yeah, and who was who nearly popped Cloudlab?
But I didn't though, did I? You know why? Skillful flying.
 Ha! Anyway, there are other contenders and other piloted contraptions, and they are nominated below:

Russell Adams/in anything he wants!
Knight/Concorde
LX/a flying saucer
Ms Scarlet/the other flying saucer
• Frankie Bridge/a broom (see the first Televisual Treats video above)
• Judy Murray/a bunch of balloons


 And the winner is: Ms Scarlet!
Hmmph! 




  Well, without Connor Trinneer, the award for the sexiest Sci-Figure will have to go to one of these three: 

Faro Dastin (Second Nature) AKA "Mr Fabulous"; Marko (Saga); Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Guardians of the Galaxy)

 While Marko is certainly sexy and has those amazing horns (plus the cutest face), and Star-Lord is very attractive (even after being covered in orange goo), this award can only go to the awesomely ab-ed (and pec-ed, and shouldered, and armed etc) Faro Dastin as "played" by Ryan Reynolds (seen here in The Amityville Horror).
The author of Second Nature, David Mack, imagined Dastin to be portrayed by Reynolds, as evidenced by this screen cap:
 

So, that's it for another year.
 Review-wise, anyway.
Yeah, we're not going to disappear for a year, much as you may actually enjoy our absence!
Wow. Someone's a bit mardy.
Well, I've been slaving over this thing for days-
You're not the only one, you know!
While they're squabbling, we'll just say thank you for pandering to us for another (almost complete) year, and we'll see you soon.
 Happy New Year!
 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The repair witch came, but said she'd need another 900 for a new part.*


 OK, so we've just got time to squeeze in a final book post before the end-of-the-year-review. While we didn't manage to get to read 40+ books this year, we did exceed 2013's total of 36. So that's something, isn't it?

36. Tropic of Serpents (A Memoir by Lady Trent), by Marie Brennan
 This is the second in the series of Lady Trent's memoirs. I bought this book at the same time as the first but didn't get around to reading it until recently as I found the first one to be somewhat disappointing. Oh, the writing and concept (that of a scholarly Victorian era-esque lady travelling far from her homeland to study dragons) were top notch, I just don't think I was in the mood for such things back in August.
 This time, I think I must have been in the mood, as Lady Trent's adventures in the jungles of a central Africa-equivalent country and dealing with the indiginous peoples therein really captured my attention. There's a third book out soon, I believe: Voyage of the Basilisk. Although I don't know whether I shall be giving it a go.
 
37. Losing the Peace (Star Trek: The Next Generation), by William Leisner
 This book was released back in 2009 and deals with the aftermath of the devastating attack by the Borg. I didn't buy it at the time, as I wasn't convinced of the concept, and preferred more of a peaceful exploration-type Star Trek story after the chaos and carnage of the Federation-Borg war. However, at only £2.99 for the Kindle edition, I recently read it and found myself captivated. I was especially pleased to find that the often under-used Doctor Crusher stars in this story and her character and backstory is fleshed out very pleasingly. Top marks!


38. Saga (volume four), by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
 Oh, Saga, can you do no wrong? Well, yes, you can actually. And that is to keep me waiting so long until the next volume is released!
 Other than that, Saga is pretty much perfect. Vaughan's story of a mis-matched family trying to stay one step ahead of a war and the various characters who are after them, and Staples' imaginative and outstanding artwork make for a compelling and thoughtful tale.
 Plus, there are so many lines from this volume that I considered for this post title, such as: "Oopsie, I made a universe" (an empress farted out a universe); "So yeah, your pet just menstruated all over the living room" (and that pet was a walrus-hippo hybrid); "Stop name-dropping your dead ex, it's desperate"; and "You know your dog smells like hot garbage juice, right?".
* Post title from chapter 19.

39. Star Trek: New Worlds, New Civilizations, by Michael Jan Friedman Again, another old book, this one first published back in 1999. It's an anthology of short stories about some of the various worlds and places in the Star Trek universe. Plus, lots of pictures! Some of these little snippets have been invaluable in updating Memory Beta (which is the main reason why I read it).


 We hope you all had smashing Christmases or whatever other holiday you may take part in. Yes, see you back here at the end of the year.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Found: 2013 in review


 Jinkees! I was just thinking about maybe possibly doing a '2014 in review' post as the end of the year is looming, when I happened upon this review of 2013 in my drafts:

~ ~ ~

Favourite Televisual Viewing - In The Flesh, Being Human, Alphas, The Middle, Modern Family, Grimm, Under the Dome, Futurama, Australia, Glee, Criminal Minds, Fly Alaska, Strictly Come Dancing, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.



Most adorable presenter of a TV programme - Simon Reeve (Australia), Russell Howard (Russell Howard's Good News), Tom Hiddleston & Cookie Monster (Sesame Street/various)...



Awesome Abs - Harry Shum Jr (Glee), Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim), Taylor Kitsch (John Carter of Mars), Charlie McDermott (The Middle)


Most Amusing Rediscovery - Green Wing, Russell Howard's Good News, Pam Ann, Cookie Monster, Phixx



Most Heavenly Music - Goldfrapp "Clay", Nicola Roberts "Cinderella's Eyes", Girls Aloud "Something New", Glee "Locked Out of Heaven", "I Only Have Eyes For You" (although I prefer the Flamingos version...)



Charlie Hunnam and his abs star in Pacific Rim
Hottest Sci-Fi(gure) - Charlie Hunnam, Chris Hemsworth, Taylor Kitsch, Mike Vogel

Favourite Films - Pacific Rim, Battleship, Evil Dead, John Carter (of Mars) (OK, so this was released in 2012 but I only saw it in 2013), Chronicle, Oz the Great and Powerful, The Big Wedding, Thor: The Dark World, Blackfish, Cabin in the Woods (this was also a 2012 release), World War Z

The Most Hideous Disappointment - Star Trek Into Darkness.
Lets hear what Senator Vreenak has to say about it:



That's right. It's not really Star Trek. It's a perfectly competant sci-fi action film, but doesn't have any of the trappings of an actual Star Trek story.

Most Fabulous T-shirt - The orange one!

Character Crush - Axl Heck (The Middle), Sean Donohue (The Middle), Phil Dunphy (Modern Family), Monroe (Grimm), Dale "Barbie" Barbara (Under the Dome), Aaron Hotchner (Criminal Minds)

~ ~ ~

 As you can tell, it's nowhere near complete - I haven't even chosen the winners! In fact, when I found it, there were no links, pictures or videos - I added those just now to liven it up a bit.

 Hmmm... This has put me in the mood to stop procrastinating and get started on this year's review.

 Oh. Hang on. Inexcuseable's just called me. Gotta go. I'll be back later though!
 


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Polar expressions


 Inexcuseable has finally won! She has made me endure a Christmas film, and one that I thought to be equally childish and mawkish. I thought this before I watched it, however, and had judged it based on a brief clip and Tom Hanks' voice.
 Now, I think otherwise. While it is undoubtedly a film for children - older children, I would think - and it does pull on the old heart strings-
 Oh, is that what that was? I didn't think we had any left.
Quite. Now, where were we? Oh, yes: I actually found it to be rather good, if a little creepy.
 Ugh, yes, those horrible animated faces! 
 Especially right at the beginning when the boy wakes up and opens his eyes. I was expecting him to vomit pea soup while his head spun around!
 All right. No need to get carried away.
 Well...
 Anyway, I don't want to harp on about The Polar Express
 For that is the film we were talking about, if you hadn't already guessed.


 Oh. Yes. I forgot to mention it, didn't I? Anyway, Polar Express aside, I was just wondering what your favourite Christmas film is (or movie, if you're an American)?
 Our favourite isn't Polar Express, by the way. No. It's Edward Scissorhands!
 Yeah, I thought our last heart-string gave out when Mary Berry died befo-
 Vincent Price! It was Vincent Price you nitwit!
 Was it? Wow. Don't they look alike?
 Well, I suppose...
 Although, I don't think I've seen Mary Berry making biscuits (or cookies) like that...


 Anyway... Please let us know what your favourite Christmas film is in the comments. And if you've watched it yet this year!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

This Antichrist - how many nipples has he?*


OK, it's book catch-up time again!

29. Disavowed (Star Trek: Section 31), by David Mack
 Disappointed, more like. Oh, not with the writing, which is up to David Mack's usual excellent standards. No, I'm disappointed with the story. 
 You see, I was hoping a novel which stars Doctor Julian Bashir (ex of Deep Space Nine, and one of my favourite DS9 characters) would actually have him as the star. Instead, the Mirror Universe seems to be the star, along with the MU Starfleet's jaunt ships and Director Saavik!
 Now, this was a double blow as I love the primary universe Saavik. She's so underused. In fact, she hasn't been seen (chronologically) since the woefully dull Vulcan's Soul trilogy. To make matters worse, she's cool, calm and sophisticated, just like our Saavik is/should be. But she isn't. OUR. SAAVIK!
 Oh, and bloody perfect Sarina (Bashir's girlfriend) is really getting on my thre'pennies!

30. The White Dragon, by Anne McCaffrey
 I was kind of dreading reading this book as it's 455 pages long (one of the girthiest of the older Dragonriders novels - only Dragonsdawn is marginally longer) and I find them difficult to read in big chunks. However, once I got going, the pages seemed to just fly past. I'd forgotten how good this book is - It's certainly much more engaging than Dragonquest (the 22nd book I've read this year), and even more emotional and exciting. Although some of the characters still suffer from lack of dimension and don't grow beyond their stereotypes.
Over all, though, a great read.

31. Something Rotten, by Jasper Fforde
 The fourth in the Thursday Next series, and just as witty, engaging, suspenseful, humorous and packed full of ideas and emotion as the first three.

32. Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
 This is a staple read of mine, but - after checking through previous blog book posts - I don't appear to have read it since 2010! 
 Still, all sorted now. It's so good that if I could only keep one of my collection of books, this would be it.
 I heard recently that it's been adapted into a radio play by the BBC and, after a quick bit of googling, it's due to be broadcast 22nd December on Radio 4.
 I can also see this as a Carry On film (but with the original Carry On cast, of course). Carry On Up The Apocalypse perhaps?
* Post title from page 289

33. Star Trek: Ships of the Line, edited by Doug Drexler & Margaret Clark, text by Mike Okuda
 This is the second edition of the Ships of the Line Calendar anthology, and adds images from the 2006 - 2014 calendars. Not all of them, though. Rather disappointingly, Mojo's 'Wolf 359' artwork from the 2007 calendar is one of the omitted images. However, there are still loads of new starships to ogle at, and the accompanying text by Star Trek stalwart, Mike Okuda, offers a bit of background to the scenes.
  
34. The Wounded Sky (Star Trek: The Original Series), by Diane Duane
 Now, this is an old Star Trek book. First published in 1983 it's very much a mesh of hard sci-fi and the beloved original series characters. Duane is very adept at fleshing these characters out and giving them a recognisable 'voice', and I particularly like the other crewmembers (human and alien alike) whom she introduced who also appear in her other Trek novels and comics. Plus, the Inversion drive experiences are incredibly well written, if somewhat trippy, and remind me of Dave Bowman's journey through the Monolith in 2OO1: A Space Odyssey.

35. The Collectors (Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations), by Christopher L. Bennett
 Hooray! Another DTI story from Christopher L. Bennett! I love these DTI tales, although the last one was rather lacking in Garcia/Ranjea action, but this one makes up for it.
 Rather than tying together lots of time-travel plots and references from the TV series' like the first two novels did (and very well, too), this one is an original story driven by the characters themselves. Bennett does his usual sterling job of setting the scenes, characterisations, techno-babble explanations and just incredible diversity of ideas. A marvellous read!

Hmmm... It's a bit Trekkie this month. I'm sure it'll be less so in the New Year.


Saturday, December 06, 2014

Squeeze your bum, point your toes, and go for it!*


 Oof! Here I am. Sorry about November. Many things contributed to this appalling fall in standards - work being the main culprit, but we have taken steps to ensure that it doesn't happen again: From the beginning of this month, the Host is now only working part-time.

 Well, I'm sick of having so little time to do the things I like!

 Some other points of note have been:

Babyzilla-sitting
• Cake baking for Inexcuseable's place of employment

An arthritic cat pelvis/hip x-ray cake, and a first anniversary in a new building cake.
 
• A 50th birthday party (no, not mine you rude lot - still over a decade to go)
• Plenty of reading (more on this in the next post)
• Not quite as much writing. Although, here's an unedited snippet from a Star Trek frippery I've been toying with:

 Sal was just about to climb into her bed when her door chime sounded. She sighed and pulled the light cover back over the inviting mattress, smoothing out the wrinkles as she did so. Muttering to herself about how certain people should know better than to disturb the chief medical officer at this hour, Sal grudgingly made her way to the door.
 “Yes, my Captain?” she groused to her friend as the door whooshed open. Wow! Regina looks even more tired than I feel, and that’s no mean feat, she thought. Still, her visitor managed one of her endearing smiles that caused her bright eyes to sparkle despite their obvious somnolent appearance.
 “Aren’t you going to invite me in, El’nor?” Farkas asked.
 “As if you’d wait for an invitation” Sal grumbled good naturedly, and stepped aside as the shorter woman barged in.
 Farkas headed straight for the lounge area of the spacious cabin and plumped herself down on the chaise longue, Sal’s oldest and most comfortable piece of furniture, and the only one she’d brought aboard from her home on Earth. Sal rolled her eyes at Farkas’ outstretched  hand and expectant look even as she relented and turned to the replicator to order up their usual Darjeelings.
 “Well?” Sal prompted as she settled herself into a chair after Farkas had taken the proffered cup of tea.
 “Nothing” Farkas answered.
 Sal just raised her eyebrows questioningly. She had never mastered the art of raising just one eyebrow and had long ago come to terms with the fact that she’d never pass as a Vulcan even if she did manage to master her emotions.
 “OK. Not nothing” Farkas relented taking a sip of her tea. “Information about the timeslip was lacking, but I learned quite a bit about Captain Trillya and the maiden voyage of the Jaddar Nym. For a woman with a failing memory, Galuth’s recall of that event is remarkably accurate. And very enlightening!”
 “Do tell” Sal prompted as Farkas took another sip of tea. “You know how I love a good bit of gossip. Even if it is forty-odd years old!”


• Some Memory Beta updating
Strictly Come Dancing and Strictly It Takes Two watching

 Right. I suppose I'd better see what you've all been up to in my absence.
 

* Post title courtesy of Caroline & Pasha from Episode 48 of Strictly It Takes Two series 12