pedanther: (Default)
1. The travelling exhibition Let Me Be Myself - The Life Story of Anne Frank is in town for a month. Having been to see it, I'm a bit bemused that it's come to rest in the town's art gallery when we also have a museum that hosts travelling exhibitions, and I would have classed this as a historical presentation rather than an artistic one. It could be just that it was the gallery who had the exhibition space free at the relevant time, but I could be missing something. Apart from the historical material about Anne Frank and the world she lived and died in, there's a section devoted to reminding visitors that prejudice and discrimination continue to be live issues, with members of today's youth talking about their experiences of being discriminated against on the basis of race, religion, disability, or gender non-conformity.


2. The announcement of the new Doctor weirded me out a bit when I realised that the new actor is younger than me. (Matt Smith is too, but that didn't bother me because he seems young. But I still reflexively assume that anybody who seems like a responsible adult is older than me until proven otherwise.)

Apart from that, my reaction to the announcement is pretty much what it usually is at this stage, which is that I've never seen anything this person has been in and won't have a solid opinion on whether it's good casting until I've actually seen the new Doctor in action.


3. Since I mentioned last entry that I had hopes for the Doctor Who season finale, I should probably report on how that turned out, which is that I was disappointed. To be honest, I was pretty much expecting to be disappointed, because I know Steven Moffat's thing with two-parters is always to send the second part shooting off in a completely different direction, I just didn't say so because I was hoping it wouldn't happen if I didn't say it. But it did go shooting off in a different direction, and sidelined most of what I'd found interesting about part one. There was also the problem that it sidelined what I'd found most interesting about the season as a whole -- after a season where the interesting thing was Bill and the Doctor interacting, and the business with Missy felt like a pasted-on afterthought in most episodes, the finale is built around the Doctor and Missy and it's Bill who's left feeling like an afterthought. Looking back, I reckon that's been a recurring thing with Moffat's version of Who; he's brought us some amazing individual stories, but he's never been terribly good at making the season-long arc work.


4. The improv group has not collapsed yet.


5. I am looking forward to the DuckTales reboot.
pedanther: (Default)
1. The Multifandom Drabble Exchange is running again this year. Admin posts are on Dreamwidth at [community profile] multifandomdrabble. The nomination period for fandoms has just started. I did it last year and enjoyed it; it's a nice low-pressure fic exchange where all you have to write is 100 words. Simple, right? (This is of course a trick question: it's often very difficult to fit everything you want to say into 100 words. But I did enjoy it.)


2. Our production of The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Operatic Society production of The Mikado opens this week. I was worried about it for a while (Four weeks, you rehearse and rehearse / Three weeks, and it couldn't be worse), but it's been really coming together over the last few rehearsals, so I think we'll survive.


3. I didn't mention that while our production was in rehearsals, the club also put on its annual season of one-act plays. There were two this year, titled "Harry's Bounty" and "Kayak", which were both excellent. (Though I did think that "Harry's Bounty" was one scene too long; the final scene doesn't say anything new, just repeat explicitly things that had been strongly implied already, and loses the strong ending the play would have had if it had finished on what is currently the second-last scene.) Both plays were built around relationships of parents and children, and the director of "Harry's Bounty" is the mother of the director of "Kayak"; they were planning at one point to advertise the season under the title "Mother and Son", but they got a lot of feedback that people were getting confused and thinking that meant there would be a stage version of the popular sitcom.


4. This year's big production by the local high school that does a big annual production was Disney's Beauty and the Beast. The actor playing Belle was also the lead in last year's Hairspray; she and the actor playing the Beast were also the duo who took top honours at the drama eisteddfod last year. They both did very well in the roles, although I felt that the actor playing the Beast did better at bringing out the Beast's hidden humanity than at portraying his surface beastliness. In this he was not being given much assistance by his costume, which tended toward the minimal for logistical reasons. The actors playing Gaston and Lefou were also very good. Seeing how the stage version was adapted from the animated film was interesting; I liked how the animated furniture was handled. The songs added for the stage version are a mixed bunch; "Home" is excellent, others are good, and I cordially detest "A Change in Me": it has a nice enough tune but rubbish lyrics that lean too heavily on vague generalities and when it does get specific they're the wrong specifics. (Wikipedia informs me that it was added to the show late and in a hurry, which perhaps explains it.)


5. I'm finally filling a gap in my fannish experience and reading The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes, the final collection of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. It's not as easy to come by as the earlier books, because it's still covered by copyright so there isn't the same plenitude of cheap editions, and its reputation suggested that it wasn't particularly worth much effort in seeking out, so up until recently I'd only read a few of the stories that were reprinted in anthologies. (In fact I think "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire", which was in a horror-themed anthology I read as a child, may have been the first actual Holmes story I ever read.) The stories aren't ACD's best work, and some of them give a distinct air of having been dashed off without much effort, but there are some good moments in there. (And some terrible ones: "The Adventure of the Creeping Man", which has a solution based on what I presume was cutting-edge scientific theory at the time, really hasn't aged well.) Of the ones I've got through so far, I think my favourite is "The Problem of Thor Bridge", which has some proper detectoring, some nice character work (including a character who is of a familiar type but turns out to be more complicated than he might have been in an earlier ACD story), and a solution I didn't already know and didn't find too easy to guess.
pedanther: (Default)
Fiction books
Terry Pratchett. The Fifth Elephant (e) (re-read)

In progress
Arthur Conan Doyle. The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes (e)
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. The Gathering Edge (e)
Terry Pratchett. The Truth (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Michael Troughton. Patrick Troughton

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Kai Ashante Wilson. A Taste of Honey
pedanther: (Default)
1. Our production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee opened this week. Everyone seems to be enjoying it so far. (Including us; not that we weren't enjoying it anyway, but it helps to be reminded how funny some of the bits are that had faded through over-familiarity.)


2. This weekend was the area final of the Toastmasters International Speech Contest and Evaluation Contest. I represented my club in the Evaluation Contest, and came second -- which came as a nice surprise, because I was pretty sure there were at least two other competitors who'd done better than me. My friend who represented the club in the International Speech Contest, with a speech about dealing with negative self-talk, was even more surprised to come first (but I wasn't, because it was clearly the best speech in the contest -- though I may be biased).


3. Now that rehearsals for Spelling Bee are over, I'll be able to start going to gaming group meetings again; I'm looking forward to it. Usually I just show up and see who's got a game that needs players, but this time I'm planning to suggest a few games of my own: Forbidden Island, which my brother gave me for Christmas, and Ingenious, which I gave myself for Christmas after getting hooked on the app version.


4. I've played a bit more Mass Effect since I last posted, and now know Garrus, Wrex, and Tali as more than just faces on Tumblr posts. I also, being me, managed to put my foot in my mouth with all three of them during their respective tell-me-about-your-backstory conversations. (No, that's not quite true; I did fumble things with Wrex and Garrus, but when I hacked off Tali I knew exactly what I was doing. Attempts to justify genocide make me prickly; who'd've guessed?)


5. Movie-wise, I have been to see Rogue One (I teared up at the end, in the good-heartwarming way not the bad-distressing way) and Moana (lots of fun).
pedanther: (Default)
Fiction books
Katherine Addison. The Goblin Emperor (e)
Agatha Christie. The Murder at the Vicarage
J Sheridan Le Fanu. Wylder's Hand (e)
Ellis Peters. City of Gold and Shadows (e)
Ellis Peters. Rainbow's End (e)
Terry Pratchett. The Last Continent (e) (re-read)
Anthony Price. The Memory Trap (e)
Anthony Price. A Prospect of Vengeance (e)

In progress
Terry Pratchett. Carpe Jugulum (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Pauline Scudamore. Spike

Abandoned
Gregory Mone. The Truth About Santa Claus

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
T L Garrison. The Twisted Blackmailer
pedanther: (Default)
Fiction books
Lois McMaster Bujold. The Curse of Chalion (re-read)
Lee Falk, Ray Moore. The Phantom: The Complete Newspaper Dailies volume 1
Gail Carson Levine. Fairest
Anne McCaffrey. The Ship Who Sang (e) (re-read)
Anthony Price. A New Kind of War (e)
John Scalzi. The End of All Things
John Scalzi. The Human Division
Ursula Vernon. Summer in Orcus (e)

In progress
Katherine Addison. The Goblin Emperor (e)
Terry Pratchett. The Last Continent (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books In progress
Pauline Scudamore. Spike

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Anthony Price. A Prospect of Vengeance
pedanther: (cheerful)

1. I have been to the cinema to see a movie for the first time since, according to my notes, July. The movie was Arrival, and it was worth going to see. I will probably go and see some more movies this month, because we have Rogue One arriving this week and then Moana in the post-Christmas summer season.
 

2. I finally got around to reading The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Edwards, which has been lurking in my to-read pile for years. The author is the wife of the film director Blake Edwards, aka the actor and singer Julie Andrews, and I'm pleased to be able to say I enjoyed it, although probably not as much as I would have when I was the target age and less capable of spotting the bits that are designed to impart important life lessons. Other things that stuck out to now-me that wouldn't have to child-me were the puns (especially having recently read the bit in Summer in Orcus where the child protagonist is scornful of the kind of puns adult fantasy writers put in children's fantasy), and the wise token adult's attitude to the designated adversary's concerns, which I felt should have had a hashtag on them saying "#notallhumans". I was very pleased that the designated adversary turned out to be not evil, just doing his best in very trying circumstances, and that the token wise adult was shown to be a human being with his own flaws and blind spots (and that he started listening to his former adversary more by the end), but I felt it could have done with an explicit call out that even though the designated adversary turned out to be wrong about this specific group of humans he had perfectly valid reasons to be distrustful of humans in general.

(PS. I probably would have identified with one of the children when I was a child, but as an adult the designated antagonist is definitely my favourite character.)
 

3. Another thing that's been sitting on the shelf that I finally got around to is the Big Finish audio drama Storm Warning, the first of their series featuring Paul McGann as the eighth Doctor. It was okay, I guess? I mean, I enjoyed it, but I'm not in a big hurry to find out what happens next. (Although part of that's obviously because I'm starting the series fifteen years late, so I already know from fandom osmosis quite a bit about what happens next.) And, to be fair, I've never been all that good at audio dramas; I don't tend to find them engaging enough to sit still through.
 

4. The Rep Club Christmas Show has been and gone. I was involved only as an audience member, which I think may have been the right call. On top of the reasons for making that decision in the first place, I'm now in a position to tell that I enjoyed watching it once but it would probably have worn a bit thin through a month of rehearsals and performances. (It would also have been a crimp on my social life that I'd have regretted, in terms of things I've been able to go to on what would have been show nights.)

The next Rep Club production is, as I've mentioned, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. I've been cast as the socially awkward science nerd, which as you can imagine is going to be a stretch.
 

5. Fanfic rec: Third Wheel, in which Bruce Wayne makes his first official visit to Metropolis, and Lois Lane is assigned a celebrity profile that turns out to be more interesting than she expected, while Clark Kent investigates sightings of a mysterious bat-man.

"I've always wanted to learn how to fly," Clark said, sounding impressed.

"You should," Bruce said. "It's fun."

"It always seemed like it would be."

pedanther: (cheerful)
1. Oliver! opens on Friday. I've been singing the bridge section from "Another Op'nin', Another Show" a lot. One week - will it ever be right? Actually, we're doing pretty well, apart from a couple of scenes and a couple of crowd songs where the choreography could stand to be tightened a bit.

The junior contingent of the cast is doing pretty well on the stage, but is getting on a lot of nerves backstage. The last time we did Oliver!, about fifteen years ago, it was in a big modern theatre with a soundproofed backstage area and a separate room for the kids and their minders. For this production, we're back in our home theatre, which is older, smaller, and more rickety, so we're all sharing one green room and spending a lot of time trying out new variations on "Hey, pipe down, the audience will be able to hear you" in the hope that one of them will stick.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that there was one scene that kept going wrong because somebody was getting their lines out in the wrong places, and when we dug the script out to check it turned out to be me. Whoops. Still, I'm pretty confident we've got that straightened out now.


2. At the gaming group this week, we played Talisman, subtitled "The Magical Quest Game". Well, we started playing; the designers took the "epic quest" brief very seriously, so it's not a quick play. Three and half hours later it was nearly time to pack up and nobody was close to winning, so when the first player died we decided that would have to do as an outcome and ended it there.

Each player picks a character out of a deck of about a dozen, each of which has varying strengths and weaknesses. (I was playing the Minstrel, who has high intelligence/magical ability, low physical strength, and a special ability that means that if he is attacked by a wild animal, instead of having to fight it he can try to charm it with his music, and if he succeeds it will follow him around and help him fight things he can't charm.) If you're not playing with a time limit, the rule is apparently that when your character is killed you get to pick another one and start again from the beginning (otherwise you'd be sitting around for ages waiting for someone else to win, which would be no fun).

The board is laid out in three concentric rectangles. The outermost area is the settled world, with towns and fields and forests, and the best places to stock up on weapons and armour and other equipment before setting out on the quest properly. Across a river is the middle area, which has more adventurous climates, like deserts and mountains, as well as the royal palace and the high temple, and a big sinister portal that leads into the mountain fastness that is the object of the quest. The innermost area has encounters with vampires, werewolves, Death itself, and another door that can only be opened with the eponymous talisman, and leads to the treasure everyone seeks.


3. I finally got around to seeing the caper film Now You See Me, which was very entertaining but I suspect is going to make less sense the more I think about it. (It's certainly a lot better constructed than The Illusionist, the last trick-ending movie featuring stage magicians I saw, but that's really not a high bar to clear.) I wish I'd gotten around to it before someone told me which character was the Fifth Horseman, because that's the kind of thing I enjoy trying to figure out for myself. I think I might have managed it; I'm pretty sure that even without knowing the answer in advance I would have ruled out three of the suspects by the time the endgame started, which would have narrowed the field considerably. (One of them gets ruled out for you at the end of the second act, another I think would have pinged my red herring detector from being pushed a bit too hard as Suspicious, and a third either can't be or must be the Fifth Horseman, depending on how much I-know-you-know one applies to the hints about the Fifth Horseman's motives, and I think I would have come down on the correct side.) But it would have been nice to find out.


4. It's not been a good month for my childhood, with the deaths of author Nicholas Fisk (Grinny, Monster Maker, et al.) and actor Alan Young (the definitive Scrooge McDuck, among many notable roles in a varied career).


5. This week's Batman fanfic rec: Unpaid Internship, in which there's less than an hour until a quarter of the earth's population meets explosive doom and Batman is carrying something that he's adamant isn't a baby.
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Janet Kagan. Hellspark (e) (re-read)
Janet Kagan. Mirabile (e)
Terry Pratchett. Interesting Times (e) (re-read)
Noah Smith. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

In progress
Diane Duane. Deep Wizardry (e) (re-read)
Terry Pratchett. Maskerade (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books In progress
Adrian Goldsworthy. Augustus (e)

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
William Shakespeare. Hamlet
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. Baen Books has recently released ebooks of Janet Kagan's novels Hellspark and Mirabile, and a collection of her short stories (including the Hugo-winner, "The Nutcracker Coup"). Hellspark is a mainstay of my collection of comfort reads, and I'm very much looking forward to making the acquaintance of Mirabile. The short stories, too; I've only read one up to now - "Standing in the Spirit", a heartwarming Christmas tale that wears its debt to Dickens on its sleeve without going down the well-worn "visited by three spirits" path.


2. Speaking of Dickens: Still rehearsing Oliver!. I think I'm managing to get the hang of Fagin's accent now. It seems to be largely a question of holding my tongue right. (Making a face like I smell something bad also seems to help.)


3. At the gaming group this week, the main thing I did was watch a group of people play X-Wing Miniatures. There were four people who wanted to play, so they set up a big square playing area, with each player starting on one side, and drew lots to see who would attack who. The result of the draw produced two battles going on separately in opposite corners of the playing area, and then the survivors of each battle took each other on. It started out with a wide variety of different ship types (including what I was told was the main ship from Rebels, which I still haven't seen), but in the end it came down to a couple of X-Wings vs a couple of TIE fighters.

After that we played a few rounds of Hobbit Love Letter (which is like Batman Love Letter apart from the obvious, and also with an extra card, The One Ring, which is worth 0 points except in one specific situation where it's the second most powerful card in the game) and then it was time to go home.


4. It tends to be the case with movies that either I'll see them in the first week they're in the cinema or the last, because it I don't have a great and specific desire to see a movie, I'll do my usual put-it-off-until-a-deadline-looms thing. (And then sometimes it happens that when the deadline's close enough to see there aren't any screenings left I can actually get to, and then I don't see the movie at all.) I'd been putting off going to see Zootopia until today's 1pm screening was absolutely my last chance, and likewise the new Jungle Book movie - also at 1pm. Faced with that decision, I realised that I didn't particularly want to see a new version of a movie that hadn't been that much like The Jungle Book in the first place, so I'm rereading the book instead and I went to see Zootopia.


5. The Australian election campaign's started, which means it's time to start hoarding and swapping links for informed voting. (If anyone spots a good run-down of this year's minor Senate parties, let me know, please?)

Vote Compass is available again for this election. If you don't know about it, it's a nifty application where you fill out a questionnaire about where you stand on the current hot public policy issues, and then it shows you where you are compared to the announced policies of the major parties. (I always turn out to be standing pretty much where I expected to be, but it's nice to know.)
pedanther: (cheerful)
For the "One letter, six questions" meme, [livejournal.com profile] lost_spook gave me the letter B.

Something I hate: Bitter flavours. In particular, there's a cluster of flavours which seem to be related by being derived from nuts or stone fruits, that taste unpleasant to me in a similar way: marzipan, pistachio ice cream, any sweet thing that's supposed to be cherry flavoured that isn't actual cherries. Used to be I couldn't stand them at all; now I can eat them if I have to, but I still really don't like them. (While writing this entry, I got curious and started googling, and it appears the culprit may be a compound with the thematically-appropriate name of benzaldehyde.)

Something I love: Ben Aaronovitch's novels. Not just his current series of detective novels, which is excellent, but also quite a lot of his early work. His first novel contains the only implementation of a particular plot device I've ever liked, and a point-of-view character I think there should be more of; his third novel is one of my favourite novels by anybody ever.

Somewhere I’ve been: Bavaria, where we spent a large amount of our trip to Europe at the end of last year. We saw Neuschwanstein, the castle that Disney's Sleeping Beauty Castle was inspired by, from a distance, but by the time we got there the tours had ended for the day because we'd come the scenic route through the mountains. On the whole, I'm good with that; the scenery was really nice. On a more serious note (and not on the same day), we made a snap change in our itinerary when we realised we'd be passing within a few miles of Nuremberg, and went to see the permanent exhibit at the Nuremberg Documentation Centre, and that turned out to be, if this isn't a weird way to put it, one of the highlights of the trip.

Somewhere I’d like to go: Britain.

Someone I know: I have a friend named Bertie, and whatever mental image appeared in your head when you read the name is almost certainly wrong.

A film I like: You may be interested to learn that the three films currently at the top of my to-watch list are Beasts of the Southern Wild, Big Trouble in Little China, and Belle. But of course I don't know yet that I like any of those. The first one to come to mind that I have actually watched and can therefore pronounce on is Blazing Saddles.
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. Theatre News (subclass Acting in the):

As you may have guessed from the fiction log, the Rep Club's next big production will be the musical Oliver!. I've been in a bunch of musicals for the same director over the last decade or so, so I had what turned out to be the shortest audition I've ever done - didn't need to monologue, didn't need to sing, didn't need to dance, just needed to answer one question. I was a bit disappointed about the singing, since I'd put quite a bit of effort into my audition piece, but in the circumstances I think I'll survive.

The one question was: "Do you feel up to taking on the role of Fagin?"


2. Toastmasters News:

I entered both the Evaluation contest and the International Speech contest this year. The International Speech contest is the feeder contest for the World Championship of Public Speaking, and I've never entered it before. I only entered it this year because I gave a project speech last year which several people spontaneously told me was good enough for the contest, and because being a contestant meant I was exempt from being made to help organise it.

I won both contests at the club level, but at the area level I was beaten by the respective entrants from the college students' club. In a way, that was a relief, because it means I don't have to worry about finding time out of Oliver! rehearsals to attend the division and district contests. Let alone how inconvenient it would have been to qualify for the World Championship - not that I think that would have happened; the speech wasn't that good.


4. Theatre News (subclass Going to the):

I went to Perth to see The Lion King with my sister before it closed, because I've heard so much about how it's staged and who knows if it'll ever come this way again. There were bits that didn't quite work, but it was an impressive experience and on the whole I'm glad I went. Some of the puppets were astonishing. (Also astonishing, in a different way: the antipodean actor playing Timon's attempt at a New Jersey accent, which drifted as far south as Texas at one point.)

One side-note on the trip: It was the first time I'd been on the train since my international jetsetting Christmas holiday. Until I spent all that time on aeroplanes, I'd never really appreciated how much legroom you get on the train.


4. TV News:

The third season of Sherlock has aired here - actually, it aired last year, but then it was on against Foyle's War; this time it wasn't, and I had to decide whether I actually wanted to watch it. After carefully considering everything I'd heard about the third season and the Christmas special, I decided I didn't.

Also, the third season of Agents of SHIELD has started airing here; I watched a few episodes, then realised I wasn't actually all that interested, and stopped.

In happier TV news, the revived Danger Mouse started airing here this week, and I'm enjoying it immensely.


5. Theatre News (subclass Movie):

When I went to see The Force Awakens for the second time, it was preceded by a long trailer for the upcoming Batman/Superman movie. It kind of left me feeling like I'd seen the whole movie, and pretty much confirmed that I have no interest in actually seeing the whole movie.

Which leads me to a second side-note about my recent train trip: At one point, when I wasn't feeling motivated to do anything more brain-intensive, I watched the in-flight (if that's the word) movie, which was The Man From UNCLE. I have no idea how well it serves as an adaptation of the TV series, which I've never seen (yes, it's a shocking lacuna), but at one point I found myself thinking that Henry Cavill would probably do pretty well if he were cast as Superman, before remembering that he had been.
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Lionel Bart. Oliver!
Lois McMaster Bujold. Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen (e)
Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener. Atomic Robo and the Ring of Fire (e)
T Kingfisher. The Raven and the Reindeer (e)
Tim Powers. On Stranger Tides (e) (re-read)
Manly Wade Wellman. The Beyonders (e)

In progress
Terry Pratchett. Soul Music (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Harley Granville-Barker. Prefaces to Shakespeare: Hamlet

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
William Shakespeare. Hamlet
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
R Austin Freeman. Mr Pottermack's Oversight (e)
Russell Hoban. Best Friends for Frances
Russell Hoban. Bread and Jam for Frances
Sharon Lee. Barnburner (e)
Sharon Lee. Gunshy (e)
Alan Moore, Gene Ha, Zander Cannon. Top 10 volume 1 (re-read)
Alan Moore, Gene Ha, Zander Cannon. Top 10 volume 2 (re-read)
Alan Moore, Gene Ha. Top 10: The Forty-Niners (re-read)
Kim Newman. The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School (e)
Terry Pratchett. Men at Arms (e) (re-read)
Anthony Price. The '44 Vintage (e)
Anthony Price. The Hour of the Donkey (e)
Anthony Price. Soldier No More (e)
Anthony Price. Tomorrow's Ghost (e)
Dorothy L Sayers. Strong Poison (e) (re-read)

In progress
Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener. Atomic Robo and the Ring of Fire (e)
Terry Pratchett. Soul Music (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books
Jung Chang. Empress Dowager Cixi

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Ryk E Spoor. Phoenix in Shadow
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Matt Fraction, Christian Ward. Ody-C volume 1
George MacDonald. The Princess and Curdie

In progress
Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener. Atomic Robo and the Deadly Art of Science (e)
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Dragon in Exile (e)
Terry Pratchett. Small Gods (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Jung Chang. Empress Dowager Cixi

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Terry Pratchett. Lords and Ladies
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Ben Aaronovitch. Foxglove Summer (e)
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Plan B (re-read)
Tamora Pierce The Fire in the Forging (e)
Terry Pratchett. Pyramids (e) (re-read)

In progress
Frances Hodgson Burnett. The Lost Prince (e)
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. I Dare (re-read)
Terry Pratchett. Guards! Guards! (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Simon Singh. Big Bang

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Tamora Pierce The Healing in the Vine
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Brian Clevinger. Tesladyne Industries Field Guide
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Carpe Diem (re-read)
Tamora Pierce The Power in the Storm (e)

In progress
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Plan B (re-read)
Tamora Pierce The Fire in the Forging (e)
Terry Pratchett. Pyramids (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books in progress
Simon Singh. Big Bang

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. I Dare
pedanther: (cheerful)
Fiction books
Terry Pratchett. Mort (e) (re-read)

In progress
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Saltation (re-read)
Terry Pratchett. Sourcery (e) (re-read)

Non-fiction books
Daniel Boyarin. The Jewish Gospels
Nigel West. MI5

short, screen, and stage )
books bought and borrowed )

Top of the to-read pile
Sharon Lee, Steve Miller. Agent of Change
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. The local cineplex did start offering 2D showings of Guardians of the Galaxy after the first week or two. I still haven't found time to see it yet, but it's nice to know the option is there.


2. Sleeping Beauty, as I said last entry, was interesting to revisit after watching Maleficent. I can see now that some of the things I didn't like about Maleficent had their roots in the original movie, but I don't think that excuses them; what's the point of an irreverent retelling if not to fix the plot holes? And it made me even more annoyed about what Maleficent did to Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather, who by any reasonable standard are the heroes of Sleeping Beauty. On the other hand, it really stuck out at me that Aurora's mother goes through the entire film without a name; Maleficent at least got that right, even if it didn't give her any more to do. Another thing I have to acknowledge Maleficent did better was that its Aurora and Phillip looked their ages; animated Aurora looks significantly older than 16 years (not to mention demonstrating remarkable sophistication in hair and makeup for a girl who's spent all those years isolated in a forest).

Another interesting-revisiting-after aspect was seeing a bunch of ways Sleeping Beauty influenced later Disney films (and particularly Tangled; Phillip's horse is clearly a less intelligent relative of Maximus, to pick out one of the more obvious points).


3. Snow White was interesting because I've never actually seen it all the way through before, so watching it was a mixture of bits familiar from seeing them excerpted or quoted elsewhere and bits that were a complete surprise: to start with, I'd had no idea there was a scene at beginning where Snow White meets the prince before she gets abandoned in the forest. That still means they fell in love over the course of a single duet, but it's a darn sight better than the usual alternative. And it's no worse than many other Disney princesses -- Aurora, for one, whose first meeting with Phillip is remarkably similar.

The littlies in the audience showed vocal appreciation throughout, with enthusiastic laughter at many of the comedy bits... and when the prince kissed Snow White, a single small voice pronounced a very decided "Ew!".


4. Thanks to a friend deciding to do a Shakespeare movie marathon, I've now seen Gregory Doran's version of Hamlet with David Tennant and Patrick Stewart. I'm not entirely sold on David Tennant as Hamlet, but the production has its good points. I particularly want to single out Penny Downie for an effective and nuanced performance as Gertrude. (Patrick Stewart is also very good, but I was kind of expecting that, since it's Patrick Stewart.)


5. In other news from the Shakespeare marathon, I still think Trevor Nunn's version of Twelfth Night is weirdly gloomy for an adaptation of a play that's supposed to be a comedy.
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. The local cineplex is only offering Guardians of the Galaxy in post-converted 3D. This is something of a problem, because I Do Not Watch post-converted 3D movies.


2. In happier cinematic news, they're also running a thing where each weekend in August they're showing a classic Disney movie. For, admittedly, a value of "classic" which includes Pocahontas, which is also a thing I Do Not Watch. Despite that, and a couple of weekends where I have other things on, I'll have got two classic movies out of it: Sleeping Beauty last weekend (which I enjoyed, and which was interesting to revisit after seeing Maleficent), and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in a few weeks from now.


3. As a Doctor Who fan, I've been watching Big Finish's news feed lately to see their various announcements relating to their 15th anniversary as the makers of official Doctor Who audios. As a Doctor Who fan of a certain age, one announcement that caught my eye was the one revealing that they've finished the job of casting all the Doctor's companions from the New Adventures spin-off novels. One of the first things they did when they started making Doctor Who-related audio dramas 15 years ago was cast Lisa Bowerman as Benny Summerfield (because it was easier at first to get permission to make solo adventures for Benny than anything with the Doctor in), and now they've finally got around to casting Roz Forrester and Chris Cwej. The occasion is that they're making an audio adaptation of Damaged Goods, the novel that was Russell T Davies' first official bit of Doctor Who writing, years before he got the job of bringing the TV series back.


4. Yesterday's second most surprising discovery was that the reviled 1990s TV series Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation (that's the one which added a token female Turtle to the line-up) was live-action. It makes a sort of sense, since it came out on the heels of the live-action movies, but for the last 17 years I've just been assuming that it was animated, like the beloved Turtles series of my youth and the more recent revival. (Obviously, I've never actually watched any of it.)


5. Yesterday's most surprising discovery was that the author of Sam Tim's Ugly Day was Meicha Maarilex. (Which is doubly surprising, in the sense that the fact that it was a surprise was a surprise, since I made this discovery while reading something that I know for a fact I've read before, and which I remember quite clearly. I even remember that very sentence, except that somehow the author's name didn't register with me the first time I read it.) I wonder if I ought to be embarrassed about the squeaky gleeful noises I made; they're not uncommon, I gather, when discovering an unsuspected new book by a favoured author -- but for a fictional book by a fictional author?

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