I've blogged an article originally published in The Tides of Time on that publication's website. Empty Pockets, Empty Shelves is a short look at how the character of the Twelfth Doctor was represented in motifs destroyed or dispersed at the arrival of the Thirteenth Doctor and how these absences help define the Doctor as now portrayed by Jodie Whittaker.
I've admired Maira Kalman's work when I have seen it, but haven't owned any of her books until this Christmas when I found this among my presents. Kalman's sensitivity towards her subjects was always evident and it's right that a volume should concentrate on her dogs, now needy, now loving, sometimes furious, often content. The original content which frames the book demonstrates relationship with dogs interwoven with her family background - which treated dogs with suspicion - and her marriage to Tibor Kalman, whose terminal illness led to her acquiring her 'beloved dog' Pete. I wasn't familiar with her series of children's books about the dog poet Max Stravinsky, but now know something of his flight to Paris to be a poet and his subsequent adventures among mondes belle and demi-. as well as many of the other dogs Kalman has depicted, curious, furious, studious or just stupidly happy in an endearing canine way. Pete's connection with death is never far away - prose accompanying the last painting of Pete compares her longing to hear a word from him to 'asking to hear one word from a loved one who has died' - but Kalman's art celebrates life in all its diversity, with dogs enjoying their own careers as well as offering mirrors to human souls.
The title is a little misleading, as part of Isabel Hardman's argument is that the popular perception (if she sets it up accurately) that the United Kingdom has the wrong politicians is mistaken, and that to some extent politicians are trapped in a system which too many people have vested interests in not changing. The bias towards people able and willing to fund their own campaigns - both to become a candidate, and then to be elected to parliament - and against women - with conservatism over women's roles rife in all parties. The book is rich in anecdotes about selection, election, bill committees, select committees, and the combined results of the efforts of the whips and the sheer weight of government business to ensure that bad bills reach the statute book. Few pages - indeed, only a few lines - are devoted to comparisons with other legislatures, and only a little more space is devoted to reform. Ideas include reviving bill committees after the passage of a bill so that members can hear evidence on how a bill works in practice, but it's difficult to see how this would provide a constructive method to improve on legislation. More concrete suggestions include salaries for parliamentary candidates, and salaries for members of select committees, as well as dedicated staff.

This isn't an apologia, even though Hardman did fall in love with one of her MP case studies which I'm sure isn't recommended practice. There is a lot of reporting of situations in recent years where MPs off and on the front benches should have done much better, being distracted by the legality of a proceeding - such as the invasions of Iraq and Libya - over the practicalities and details of the post-invasion plans, or in the case of Andrew Lansley's Health and Social Care Bill allowing it to career into the Commons without either of the Coalition government party leaders understanding what was planned. However, while entertaining it leaves one more frustrated with the state of affairs than confident about solutions.
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My review, this week at the Doctor Who News Page's reviews section.

Afterword on my review, at The Event Library

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Also, news on the publication of issue 42 of the Oxford-based Doctor Who fanzine, The Tides of Time.
No considered review this time, but some quick reflections and links to some other reviews, set out at The Event Library
Another Series Eleven review from me, back at The Event Library. Compassionate ethics and the shadows of Malcolm Hulke, Robert Sloman and Eric Saward, and a project manager in the time machine trade.
A new season, a new Doctor, a new showrunner, and lots of newness. So it's no surprise that there was a touch of light familiarity to this new season. I've written more about the symbolism and more at Space-Time Telegraph.

Two other reviews with different opinions:

James Cooray Smith at Hero Collector

J.R. Southall at Starburst
I have a book out, in Obverse's series of Doctor Who monographs The Black Archive. For more details and a link to download a sample, see the publisher's website.
This is not the last time that I will be promoting this book here, for transparent reasons. "Explore Gothic castles, ghosts in armour, amphibious landings and a heroine who already knows her own mind, as the gargoyles of the Gothic aesthetic merge with the bogeymen of Britain's imperial decline," says the author on Facebook about his contribution to Obverse Books' series of Doctor Who monographs.

On Twitter, he reports "My entry in @theblackarchive series of monographs on individual Doctor Who stories can now be ordered from the publisher. This 1973 story dwelt in currents of Gothic literature and film, feminism and post-imperial consciousness, and potato-headed aliens."

Here, he urges you to go to The Black Archive website and place an order for the print edition of The Black Archive 24: The Time Warrior. Ebook ordering to follow on publication day or thereabouts.
sir_guinglain: (Zen)
( Sep. 3rd, 2018 06:01 pm)
Farewell to an extraordinary actor. Maximum power, always.
sir_guinglain: (Pertwee_TVAction)
( Jul. 30th, 2018 09:42 pm)
I've posted one of my ventures into fan fiction to AO3:

Umbrella (3191 words) by SirGuinglain
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Doctor Who, Giles cartoons
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Third Doctor, Zoe Heriot
Summary:

In an alternative timeline where Zoe was exiled to Earth with the Doctor (as was intended at one point), Zoe has difficulty blending in to twentieth-century London - and it looks as if twentieth-century London might have its own ideas. First published in issue 20 of 'The Terrible Zodin', Fall 2017.

Some blatant fanzine plugging:

The latest issue of The Tides of Time, number 41, was published by The Oxford Doctor Who Society in June 2018. It's printed in colour throughout its 80 pages and is edited by James Ashworth, who is studying biology at Worcester College, and society veteran, its historian Matthew Kilburn.

Copies of the print edition can be ordered within the UK for £3.50 via PayPal. Contact us for information about overseas orders.

A PDF of the issue (compact, just over 5Mb in size) can be downloaded from this link.

More details )
Over at The Event Library, some thoughts by me on what Doctor Who readers were expecting from David Whitaker, why they were expecting it, and whether their wishes were realistic.
My review from Goodreads:

Philip Pullman has returned to the world of Lyra, nearly two decades after completing the trilogy His Dark Materials - but the events narrated are set about ten years before those of the books which illuminated children's literature in the 1990s. This isn't a backward-looking story; more light and plenty of shade is cast over Lyra's world, with details of stratification of class, income and education which resonate in the era of Trump and Brexit. Pullman's concerns over the natures of knowledge and consciousness are perhaps even more acute in his storytelling, enriched here by Thames lore which calls back to the age of Kipling and Grahame and toasts the modernity of Aaronovitch. Characters are spun carefully and unpredictably and we get to know a few old friends better. Perhaps, now, we have a clue why Lyra is surnamed Belacqua; and perhaps the Silent Commonwealth had to prefigure the Republic of Heaven.
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