Consider the Ray Gun: John Christopher's The Tripods Trilogy

Consider the Ray Gun is back, and this time I'm joined by Kit Power, who has had an increasing presence on the EP podcasts as of late, having appeared on Pex Lives, a previous Oi! Spaceman, and the most recent Shabcast. We're discussing a book trilogy that meant a lot to him as a young man, John Christopher's Tripods Trilogy, which are comprised of The White Mountains, The City of Lead and Gold, and The Pool of Fire. There was also a BBC production in the eighties of the first two books, which I haven't seen but from which I stole the image you see to the right. Because that's how I roll here.

I had never heard of the trilogy before Kit recommended them, so I've included a brief synopsis of what you need to know at the beginning of the podcast episode. We have a wide-ranging conversation, covering not just structural details of the trilogy and the nature of the shithead protagonist Will, but also the meaning of religion in people's lives, the horrors of chattel slavery and the Haitian Revolution, and of course there's a brief Adric mention ...

The Nattering II/One Week Left in the Eruditorum Press Doctor Who Poll

First off, because I forgot to announce it last week due to going "oh shit it's our one year anniversary I should do a thing," there's a new not-quite-a-Pex-Lives out, The Nattering II, featuring James talking with Jack, Daniel, Kit Power, Gene Mays, and Kim Karr. Get that here.

Second, there's a week left to vote in the Eruditorum Press Doctor Who Poll. We've already got 296 entries (though I invalidated the one that voted for the TV Movie nineteen times followed by The Unicorn and the Wasp) and 706 separate stories in the tally (though there's probably a few duplicates in there to clean up), but that can easily grow. And while first and last place are probably set in stone at this point, there's still loads that's close. Submit your vote here. Polls close at the end of September.

Where No Book Launch Has Gone Before

After a maddening series of missed deadlines and technical setbacks, I am very pleased (and somewhat relieved) to announce that Vaka Rangi Volume 1 is finally available as a physical book you can actually purchase and own: My acknowledgment of Star Trek's 50th Anniversary this month.

This volume collects the Vaka Rangi essays from 2013, which covered the first decade of Star Trek's history from just before “The Cage” in 1964 to the end of Star Trek: The Animated Series in 1974. So inside you'll find critical essays on every episode of both of those shows and a re-evaluation of Star Trek's emergent fandom in the 1960s and 1970s alongside “Sensor Scans” on pop culture artefacts of the time apart from Star Trek. Speaking of, one of those Sensor Scans back in the day was of the German cult classic TV series Raumpatrouille Orion that debuted at the same time as Star Trek and had a very similar premise, but was nowhere near as well-remembered. The book version of Vaka Rangi Volume 1 includes a brand-new section on Raumpatrouille Orion, with new essays for each of that series' episodes as well.

Apart from the new Raumpatrouille ...

Whedonites Anonymous

Hi, my name is Shana, and I'm a former Whedonite. 

Don't get me wrong, I still love Buffy and Angel, his runs on The Runaways and Astonishing X-men comics, and I do still love Firefly. It's just not quite like it uused to be. Fandoms have changed. I have changed. I went to Dragon*Con once almost ten years ago and my true "fandom community" moment was waiting outside the Firefly themed dance party. When we had to wait, the entire line of 100+ Browncoats sat and sang the theme song. Of course, it was a few too many times and woefully off-key but that was the joy of it. That's still the joy of being a Whedonite. The Whedonverse is vast and has various sundry geek-uttantes that have reached various levels of notoriety. Even not so famous actors can still be featured in videos, like Whedon's newly produced political ad against Orange-Zombie-Hitler, and draw squeals from those loyal Whedonites who know all appearances of all Whedonverse actors anywhere. 
What made me stop loving Whedon?
I started to expect more. Now that he's moved onto working on Marvel movies ...

Tricky Dicky, Part 8: Margaret on the Escalator

In Richard III, the deposed former queen, Margaret, widow of Henry VI, though notionally banished, continues to haunt the new Yorkist regime of Edward IV.  She has no role anymore, no status.  (In most theatre productions she literally has no role - she is cut from the play for time reasons).  She is a defeated enemy.  An enemy, moreover, who is directly responsible for the death of the new Yorkist king’s father.  Even so, the Yorkists are content to let this relic of the defeated Lancastrians carry on perambulating around the court, snarling at them, cursing them, and wailing of her unjust plight at their hands.  They occasionally grumble that she should be gotten rid of, but nobody does anything about it.  Not even openly taunting and cursing the new queen, her replacement, can earn Margaret more than a verbal rebuke.  Margaret haunts the outskirts of the play like a bad conscience, the bad conscience of all the other characters.  That’s certainly how she thinks of herself: as a living rebuke to those whose triumph is also her desolation.  And it’s hard not to think that they see her that way too, despite the fact that she has plenty to ...

Comics Reviews (September 21, 2016)

Seven to Eternity #1

A decent start to this - certainly Remender lacks the numerous irritating lapses in storytelling that mar a lot of Image #1s. This unfolds its premise well and keeps the focus tight so that it's easy to invest in. There's not necessarily a lot of interesting ideas to it, and Remender's "explain the themes" tendency in the backmatter doesn't do it any favors. But it's got a nice visual style and is solidly written, and is worth checking out if it's your thing. (In this case, one part Princess Mononoke, one part Weird West.)

Patsy Walker, AKA Hellat #10

A perfectly solid but mostly unremarkable issue. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing that particularly sparks as clever or insightful either. Just sort of there.

Britannia #1

Peter Milligan and Juan Jose Ryp is a plausibly attractive combination, and this weird fiction/Roman mystery story about Pagan Britain and Vestal Virgins is a good match for them. It doesn't hit any heights of outright genius, but it's at least Milligan in his "actually deserves the hype" mode, and Rubria, the chief Vestal Virgin, is an entertaining blend of enigma and ...

Myriad Universes: Requiem Part 2/Hearts and Minds Part 0

Major Kira is convinced Malor Ti is still alive, and pages Commander Sisko in the middle of the night to ask if they can set up a team to search engineering for her. Ben is skeptical, but cautiously optimistic and agrees, and has the Major get Odo to assemble a team and allow him to pull anyone from engineering who isn't currently working on the reactors. In engineering, a stressed Chief O'Brien and Dulath snap at each other, both aware of what's going to happen if they can't get the backup reactors online, but they soon calm down and split up to cover more ground.

Odo tells Kira he's going to personally spearhead the search for Malor Ti, because Kira is “the closest thing” he has to family, but is curious why she's so important to her. Kira explains that she sees herself in Malor Ti, or rather she sees herself as a young girl, and tells a story about how once when she was seven she witnessed a Bajoran fighter explode in the skies outside her house. Her parents were away at a secret resistance meeting and didn't tell her in order ...

Super Size Kitty Fries

So, yes, we’ve got another Giant Woman podcast on tap for you.  Woo hoo!  But I’m struggling to find good pictures of giant women from pop culture. Too many are simply objectifying; others fall into a warrior aesthetic that really doesn’t capture our take on Steven Universe.  If any of our faithful readers have some clever ideas, drop them in the comments, or contact me and Shana on twitter (@JanieCampbell23 and @inkyosa, respectively), and we'll adjudicate appropriately.

In the meantime, of my own accord, I present you with a plushie -- a side order of fries in some kind of fusion with Hello Kitty.  Because the episodes that we cover in this podcast are Frybo and Cat Fingers.  Also, I'm hoping this image captures some of the charms of late capitalism, not that we'd ever cover such territory in a Steven Universe podcast.  Nope.  Not happening.  Even if we did manage to invoke Jack Graham a half-dozen times in the first half alone.  Just a coincidence, promise.

Finally, a note on content: there's some stuff in here on body discomfort and alcoholism. Just so you know.

You can ...

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