This Week in Geek (14-20/06/10)


As I was saying last week, Amazon spring sales regularly grab my attention and I often get stuff I normally wouldn't. That is to say, stuff I'm not willing to pay full price for. Last week it was Mission: Impossible; this week it's Space 1999. Both feature Martin Landau and Barbara Bain, and both are nostalgic favorites I only really watched in French before now. I also got Man Norwegian's second Time Unincomporated collection, with Doctor Who fanzine articles from a wide variety of writers.


Books: Another Doctor Who New Adventure down the hatch! All-Consuming Fire by Andy Lane is a pretty cool novel that teams up Sherlock Holmes and Watson with the Doctor, Ace and Bernice. It wins you over by being written in mock Arthur Conan Doyle, as one of Watson's unpublished adventures, with contributions from Bernice's journal entries (her voice is just as interesting). It is FULL of period detail, showing off Lane's research (he's also written a lot of Holmesian articles) while remaining entertaining. The story itself brings in Lovecraftian elements (the Mythos was introduced into the Whoniverse in White Darkness) which are imaginative, but eventually those elements take over and the Holmes detective story becomes a Who science fiction adventure and loses something in the process. In other words, I would have been happy if the Doctor had never showed up!

DVDs: All-Consuming Fire sparked a sudden interest in Sherlock Holmes fiction, including the original stories, but for a quick fix, I watched Guy Richie's last movie. Saw it in theaters, of course, but a detective story is always interesting a second time, so you can see how the clues were revealed. After Andy Lane's faux-Doyle and subsequently looking at my old collection of Holmes stories, I find that Robert Downie Jr.'s Holmes is a lot closer to the text than I first imagined. We've been brainwashed by previous filmed Holmes to think of the character is a certain way - a look partly created by Strand magazine artist Sidney Paget. But even the martial arts are in there, as the 15-minute featurette on my vanilla release don't fail to mention.

I also flipped Battlestar Galactica Season 4.0, being the first half of the final act of the series. From now on, the show is a freight train heading for everybody's destiny, and things aren't getting any lighter. Big mindfrak at the end, too. The boxed set has the usual strong commentary tracks, multiple deleted scenes and fun video blogs, but adds a few more industry standard featurettes as well. Bit of a disappointment with those, since they reuse a lot of footage from the blogs. The 22-minute piece of Bear McCreary's music turns out to be a spoof in which nobody on the show knows he exists, and while it IS funny, as a huge fan of his BSG music, it left me wanting the real thing.

Kung Fu Friday's selection was the very dark Dog Bite Dog. And when I say dark, I could say bleak or even nihilistic. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's about children being trained to fight each other to the death so they become assassins. Edison Chen plays one of these feral killers, running from an equally screwed-up policeman, leaving death in his wake. He meets a girl being raped by her father in a landfill and things take a turn for the... better? When sweet pop songs finally crop up, you get the sense that they're - no, not ironic - SARCASTIC. I admire the film for going all the way with its harsh vision, but also for its incredible noir photography and visceral sound design. It's really well made, which excuses the depravity of its subject matter. The DVD has a commentary track with expert Bey Logan and star Edison Chen, as well as a disjointed making of and loads of interviews.

RPGs: Started character generation on my upcoming Savage Worlds: Evernight campaign. Chalif is going for an arrogant but prissy douchebag with a musket. Marty indulges his love for Dwarves and clerics, as I allowed him to be the only Dwarven Sun Priest in the clergy (he walked out of the mines one day, felt the sun on his face and was enlightened). St-Pierre will be a Half-Elf who grew up on the streets before being taken under a wizard's wing and learning the arts of the DPS (if you know what I mean). And then there's Furness, with his bull of a country bumpkin who swings a mean Battle Shovel. We're now looking at schedules to plan our first session, because I'm not necessarily waiting for the Doctor Who game to end before starting a new one.

New Unauthorized Doctor Who CCG cards: 30 cards from Infinite Quest, bringing a little animated color into the Song for Ten set.

Hyperion to a Satyr entries this week include:
Act I Scene 3 - Tennant (2009)


Anonymous said...

I think you need some "Space: 1899":

I'm sure you knew this, but Bilby from DS9 (the Orion syndicate guy that O'Brien worked for while undercover) is a regular on "Space: 1999".

Bill D. said...

All-Consuming Fire was a lot of fun. I read it a few months ago after stumbling across it in a used book store and really enjoyed it. Surprisingly, I'm pretty sure it's only the third of the New Adventures that I've read! Read a bunch of the BBC 8th Doctor books, but skipped the Virgin line pretty much altogether for reasons I still don't really understand.

Austin Gorton said...

We've been brainwashed by previous filmed Holmes to think of the character is a certain way - a look partly created by Strand magazine artist Sidney Paget.

Agreed; there's very little in the stories themselves to suggest Holmes couldn't be akin to Downey Jr's portrayal.

For all the complaints of the movie "Hollywooding up" Holmes, if anything the more elderly, deerstalker-wearing Holmes is the creation of Hollywood, inspired by the Paget illustrations.

Siskoid said...

The only other literary character I can think of that was so stamped off-model by Hollywood is Frankenstein's Monster.


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