The Tsuranga Conundrum Review

If the Chibnall era is, as theorized last week, a latter-day Pertwee era, this is the equivalent of The Sea Devils. Not so much flawless as without any major issues, at several points veering into fascinating but still basically uninspiring, and an all around good showing for the period. As is clearly usual for Chibnall’s solo scripts, it is simply unconcerned with the idea that it should be “about” something. Instead it is a jumble of elements being juxtaposed purposelessly, with all the unexpected pleasures and awkward dissonance that implies, although at some point one has to admit that the consistency with which the balance trends towards the former implies some sort of underlying aesthetic sense.

At its heart, of course, it’s a fairly unreconstructed base under siege. As is often the case with Chibnall, however, the reduction to influences doesn’t quite work as an explanation. The convention of base under sieges, especially in the modern era, is to use the support cast as a supply of potential deaths to be drawn from when things are getting a bit dry. There’s typically at least some effort to give them characterization so that these resulting deaths have some emotional resonance, but ...

Die Review

Doctor Who review won't be up until Tuesday at the earliest, as I spent most of Sunday running my Werewolf: The Apocalypse game and didn't watch it until late. But speaking of my gaming habit, I got a chance to read the first issue of Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans's forthcoming comic Die, so I can at least tell you all sorts of interesting stuff about that. Well, sort of. This is my first time in the weird realm of embargos and "spoiler-free" reviews. So I have to tell you how awesome this thing is without actually telling you anything about it that hasn't already been spilled in interviews already.

Let's start with the obvious. This thing is awesome. It's a fascinating book that has all the signs of being a major statement on the nature of fantasy and escapism. You should definitely pre-order it; if you buy physical comics, call your local shop. If you're into digital or haven't really bought many comics and just want an easy way to do the thing, you can pre-order it on Comixology. Pre-ordering is massively important with comics because it is an insane industry where nothing ...

10,000 Dawns: Poor Man's Illiad

This is a sponsored post by James Wylder. If you're interested in having your project featured on Eruditorum Press, you can e-mail me at snowspinner at gmail dot com. 

 

 

History can be fascinating, you just need the right storytellers.

One thing that always frustrated me growing up as I read science-fiction and fantasy was the tendency for there to be massive detailed backstories to some of my favorite universes that could only be read in summary. The stories that hung at the edges of another story, propping it up but forever remaining elusive. Of course, getting older, I began to realize why telling those stories often wasn’t a good idea: they were often piecemeal, a series of interlinked events that couldn’t easily be formed into something good. Trying to shove them into a traditional narrative was a recipe for disaster. As my friends and I started working on our own series of sci-fi books we called “10,000 Dawns”, I began to wonder...what if we could find a way to tell those stories?

After some playing around, I came up with the idea for my new anthology, “10,000 Dawns: Poor Man’s ...

These Things of Darkness - Part 1

Dismembered Bits and Pieces of an Introduction;

A Fingerpost Pointing in Various Directions, Some Wiser to Travel Than Others

 

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It would be obvious and banal to repeat the observation, employed by every hack journalist tasked with writing some bit of Dracula fluff, that “the Count will never lie down”.  Similarly, it would be obvious and banal to liken the spread of Dracula around the world and throughout culture to the exponential, viral expansion of vampirism that would ensue if vampires were actually real.  It would be no more than stating the fact that Dracula is a successful commodity or brand. That is what successful commodities or brands do. They reproduce. Seemingly without human input and out of human control, to the point of threatening people.  They seem to do this despite the fact that their reproduction is actually a result of human production. As with vampires, commodities are reproduced by the parasitism upon, and negation of, the human subject. Capital is the vampire battening on us, as Marx saw.  Commodity production hollows people out. Capital expands as humanity shrinks. The similarity between the viral commodity and Dracula is a tautology, since it has been so successful precisely because it ...

Eruditorum Presscast: Arachnids in the UK

What has eight leggs and is guest-starring Holy Boson?

This week's Eruditorum Presscast about Arachnids in the UK.

Why does a podcast have legs?

Erm. Yeah, you've got me there.

Arachnids in the UK Review

I am reminded of the way in which late-era Gatiss stories landed with a sense of pleasurable relief. Not in the high stakes way of Rosa or The Woman Who Fell to Earth where being crap would have had disastrous consequences, but in the way that you’re relieved when you brace yourself for pain that never comes. “Attack of the giant spiders written by Chris Chibnall” is as far from a straightforwardly promising premise as it is possible to get. And yet this is surprisingly good. It’s not a classic in the all-time best sense, but in the well-worn and vintage sense; it’s Doctor Who doing what Doctor Who does, and doing it well.

It’s fair to ask why. If you rifle through the back catalog for an obvious analogue, after all, the closest thing you get is probably The Lazarus Experiment, which is an outright failure of an episode. They’re both “return to Earth” episodes in which the Doctor finds a non-alien threat around the family life of one of someone who goes from being a temporary companion to a permanent fixture. Neither offers a particularly compelling premise or a searing sense of ambition. Indeed, there’s not necessarily an ...

Come and Listen to Us... Forever and Ever and Ever

Yet another strand of Wrong With Authority launches.  This time it's Carter Before the Horse.  It's basically just Consider the Reagan but earlier. 

In this inaugural edition, James, Kit, and Jack watch Kubrick's The Shining, and say things about it.

LISTEN/DOWNLOAD HERE

Beware Triggers, because we talk about the film's themes, and they're not pretty.

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The WWA back-catalogue contains several podcasts which make good Hallowe'en listening...
 
In this Footnote episode, James and Kit watch James Whale's 1931 Frankenstein.  (If we do any more films from that era we'll have to think of a Herbert Hoover pun for the title of that strand.)
 
Speaking of James Whale, here's the entire gang doing a full Wrong With Authority episode about Gods and Monsters - the biopic of James Whale starring Ian McKellen - and also Shadow of the Vampire, a movie about (sort of) the making of the original Nosferatu.
 
And here's Kit and Daniel chatting about a couple of George Romero movies, The Crazies and Martin, in another Footnote episode.
 
Daniel has chatted with his buddies over at They Must Be Destroyed on Sight ...

Eruditorum Presscast: Rosa

I'm joined this week by the legendary Kate Orman (along with two cute but really annoying dogs and an intermittent drilling sound that crash the party, though both mercifully say in the background) to talk about Rosa. 

Check it out here.

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