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Classic Thrills and Adventure

Faux Rocket Rangers recruitment posterMars holds remnants of an advanced civilisation, now fallen into barbarism. The sweaty depths of Venus holds danger and savage beasts, certain to catch ill-prepared travellers unaware. And beneath the cratered face of the Moon, relics of a subterranean people suggest this rock holds secrets more fascinating than it’s drab surface might suggest.

A familiar situation, whether you’ve been watching Doctor Who or you’re a fan of 19th and early 20th century science fiction. The solar system contains more promise for explorers than at first one might expect. Earth alone no more, for out there in the midst of the star speckled void lies the evidence of civilisation, some of it pre-dating our own.

This is the backdrop for Rocket Age, from Cubicle 7. (Continued)

Wallflower Revolution

My wife’s key criticism of the JJ Abram’s near future sci-fi series Revolution, currently showing on Sky in the UK, related to the plants.

If civilisation collapsed 15 years ago, what’s with the plants growing all over the buildings in major cities? How come the plants grew rampant, but not quite so rampant as to be aesthetically displeasing…

My question would take a slightly different focus – why so little destruction in the urban landscape of the Revolution future? Is that down to the aesthetics also?

Last Summer, the UK experienced widespread riots and looting in major cities. The other day, someone blew up a forecourt cash machine with explosives.

If the power goes out and the leaders lose control (and interest), why wouldn’t the whole world completely go to shit. Wouldn’t the people with anti-social tendencies, tenuously controlled and restrained by current authorities, just go ape-shit when everything collapsed? Wouldn’t the mad, the bad, and the dangerous to ang around with find flammables and explosives and then lay waste to almost everything?

Never mind the vines… Why are the buildings still standing?!

Good Characters Go to War

River Song (Doctor Who)

Yesterday, I watched ‘A Good Man Goes to War‘, and I like it. No, I love it. For some reason, it works as an episode introducing the new season (or at least the second part), piles on new characters like they’re going to be relevant (which they haven’t been until the 2012 Christmas Special) and progresses the story of River Song by leaps and bounds (which for some might be a turn-off, by I have always loved the River Arc and have the hots for Alex Kingston).

As a roleplayer, the episode stands up as a great model for starting a campaign. You get a pretty solid story, a pile of new characters, an immediate challenge for the characters to face, and an ongoing quest to latch future adventures off. You have rich back story potential in the Madame Vastra, for example, or Strax – aliens who have lives that work against the norm. Sontaran Strax has a penance to serve, set by The Doctor, and he does his best to keep to his word. He vows to punish and defeat everyone once he had served his time – but plods on helping and healing in the meantime. Like River Song, his story ends here – but we know that much has come before and we have glimpse some of that in the 2012 Christmas Special.

The brief appearance of the Cybermen provides the chance for action and explosions without needing to get them directly involved. The presence of the Cyber-fleet adds to a cinematic quality. I found the whole episode felt like a film more than an average episode of the series. When you felt like you’d reached a conclusion toward the end, they tack on a little bit more than supplies a necessary twist that would drive through the rest of the season.

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The Crack with the Spiders

DOCTOR WHO: THE WHISPERING GALLERY B

Photo credit: Ben Templesmith

Someone asked me, “So , what’s the crack with the spiders in the last episode?”

I considered this for a moment and then decided I couldn’t see any relevance to the spiders. Nothing pivotal or surprising.

I thought the theme of this half of the series ran along the lines of ‘People live and die; but the Doctor goes on.‘ The Doctor has his own adventures. He accrues companions as and when he needs them. Without specifically referencing the novels, things happen when we, the viewer, don’t watch. And, even when we the reader don’t read.

Much as Sarah Jane established in “School Reunion“, and Rose after her – the Doctor touches people’s lives, but they continue without him. Sometimes, they remain ‘touched’ by his absence and it affects the way they continue to exist. Oswyn has been ‘touched’ before she even got started; as a species, the Daleks have experienced an irrevocable change, and many have been scarred beyond assistance or repair. The Doctor, the Predator, the Oncoming Storm – the Last of the Timelords – he strikes the universe like a smooth, flat stone, and the ripples continue long after his departure.

I’m not sure the spider had any relevance beyond being a clue that the spaceship (with the dinosaurs on) wasn’t just a spaceship. It was an ark, from Earth (and, perhaps, a nod to original episode The Ark in Space, from the classic 12th season). I’m not suggesting the Silurians intentionally included spiders amongst the species carried away from Earth, but like any ship you can’t avoid some vermin and insects. I responded as much to my friends you asked the question, but I suppose I can’t completely cast aside the thought they might mean more than that.

Even as a viewer, the Doctor’s ripples impact me.

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