Book Review – “Doctor Who: City Of Death” (Author: James Goss based on a screenplay by David Fisher and Douglas Adams)

Critically, the sixteenth season of the classic version of Doctor Who isn’t one that could be seen as a vintage due to various production issues.  However, there was one diamond in the rough in the form of the second story of this season, “City Of Death” – the first story in the programme’s history to be filmed outside of Britain’s shores.

Now, more than thirty-five years on, the publishing arm of the BBC have finally released a novelisation of this classic story thanks to author James Goss using the framework of the initial screenplay developed by David Fisher and the revised storyline penned by Douglas Adams (under the BBC stock pseudonym “David Agnew”).

As a fan of the original televised version of this story, I was curious as to how Goss’ take on “City Of Death” would stack up against the orignal… and I am happy to say that the book is faithful to the 1979 televised version whilst managing to build on it.

The plot of the book is virtually the same as the original.  The fourth incarnation of the Doctor and his companion Romana decide to visit Paris for a holiday.  Unfortunately for them, their chance to relax is cut short courtesy of a disturbance in the flow of time along with the plot by notorious art thief Count Scarlioni to steal the Mona Lisa.

The plot itself isn’t the only way that the book echoes the screenplay.  The story structure of the book is split into four parts, as in the original TV version, and has the cliffhanger structure to end Parts 1 to 3.  The pacing of the story is also reminiscent of the original version, especially in the fourth part as the story rushes to its conclusion.

The book also manages to balance the threat against the Doctor and Romana along with their “companion”, the art detective Duggan, whilst ensuring the wit of the story is maintained.

Due to the wider scope afforded to James Goss, he manages to use the opportunity to add in plot points from the original version of the screenplay such as the Doctor playing croquet with William Shakespeare at the start of the story and build upon off-screen moments such as Romana and Duggan going for a night out around Paris which ends with Romana getting her first experience of a hangover.  For those who know the story from the interview on the DVD release for “City Of Death”, there is also a sly cameo by Douglas Adams and “Destiny Of The Daleks” director Ken Grieve.

But the big development for the book is a plot strand which is built upon the cameos by John Cleese and Eleanor Bron in Part Four which could be seen as “Exquisite… Absolutely exquisite.” (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).

In terms of character, Goss perfectly encapsulates the characters throughout whilst building upon them – most significantly the character of Romana.  The book takes the character and develops upon Lalla Ward’s portrayal by making Romana an academic intellectual whilst making her naïve in the ways in the universe to worry about the after-effects of a “night on the town” or to be bluffed into helping the villain of the piece.

If you’ve seen the original televised version of “City Of Death”, you will want to read this book to recapture that romantic heady 1979 “bouquet”.  If you haven’t seen the original, this book will serve as a perfect introduction to a story that is well deserving of the “classic” tag and is worthy of the writing of Messrs. Fisher and Adams.

Based on the evidence of this novelisation, I’m already looking to what James Goss will do with his take on Adams’ Season 15 story “The Pirate Planet”… “Watch for the omens”.

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Satoru Iwata 1959-2015

As some of you might already know, today it was announced that Satoru Iwata, CEO of Nintendo since 2002, has passed away on 11-07 at the age of 55. (source: http://www.nintendo.co.jp/ir/pdf/2015/150713e.pdf ). I’m at work atm so I don’t really have time to write a long post about the magnificent Iwata-san (I would really love to tough), but I wanted to dedicate a short post dedicated to the late CEO of Nintendo.

Iwata-san was off the radar for a bit last year because of the removal of a tumor, but all signs pointed at a full recovery.

“In general, it is said that a bile duct growth can be difficult-to-treat, partly because of the difficulty of detecting it early. In my case, luckily, it was detected very early and I had no symptoms. I was counseled that removal at an early stage would be the desirable medical option. Therefore I had surgery last week, and I came through it well, as predicted.” -Iwata.

Iwata was seen in a video at the E3 last month and nothing hinted that he might still have health problems (in retrospective, he skipped the event itself, so that was probably due to his health). His death shocked the gaming community. Iwata-san was one of the few game developers that was well-loved by everyone and he gained almost a cult status by his Nintedo Directs and Iwata Asks. He had heart for Nintendo and he will be missed.

Nintendo's President Is a One-Man GIF Generator

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CJxm8KFUAAAAJPz.jpg

I watched the Breakfast Club and I didn’t like it

AM I THE ONLY ONE BEAR FUCK ME RIGHT PUFFIN

There. I made memes about it. So now you can forgive me. No? Then read this.

Yesterday me and my boyfriend were browsing Netflix and we came across this movie. I realized I’d never seen this classic so I decided to watch it. The Breakfast Club is about a group of stereotypical highschoolers who spend their Saturday together in detention. We have the Sports Jock, the Prom Queen, the Nerd, the Weirdo, and the Criminal. During the movie they start to interact with each other and learn something about each other but also about themselves. I think this movie is intended to be about character growth, thinking outside your assigned stereotype and emotional development. But in my opinion it just fails to send the right message. I’ll explain by exploring each character. BE AWARE: SPOILERS!

The Criminal

The facts
This bully makes it a sport to rub literally everyone the wrong way. He’s rude and aggressive. He has some kind of obsession on finding out if the Prom Queen still is a virgin or not. During the movie we found out that his father has anger management issues and doesn’t care much about him. The teacher treats him a bit too harsh and picks on him solely because he’s ‘the criminal’.

What I expected to happen
He learns to confront his father and vent his frustrations another way. He finds something he’s good at (sports maybe?) and stops bullying everyone.

What really happened
He just continues to be a bully and nothing really changes except that he gets a relationship with the Prom Queen (I will tell more about that later).

The message that I got
It’s okay to be a complete ass-hole if your home situation is shitty. Being a dick will get you the girl.

The Prom Queen

The facts
She’s rich and popular. She seems to be good friends with the Jock. She’s not necessarily mean to anyone. She’s constantly picked on by the Criminal until the point that she’s in tears. She actually makes quite a few good points: she says it doesn’t matter to her if someone is a virgin or not and she says that she’s not obligated to share details about her sex life with anyone. We also find out that her parents are divorcing and that they use her as a pawn to get back at each other. She brutally honest about the fact that on Monday she will probably ignore the Nerd and the Weirdo because she has to keep up appearances for her friends.

What I expected to happen
She realizes she is a strong woman who doesn’t need the protection of her clique. She befriends the Weirdo and maybe even starts to date the nerd.

What really happened
In the last 5 minutes of the movie she suddenly starts to passionately kiss the Criminal because dating him would be a good way to get back at her parents.

The message I got
It’s okay to have sex with persons who verbally abuse you just to prove a point.

The Jock

The Facts
He doesn’t seem to have much personality or personal traits except for the fact that he is the best of his wrestling team. We learn that he is pressured by his father to be a WINNERRRR! and to bully other kids (the reason why he’s in detention), when he actually doesn’t like either of those.

What I expected to happen
He learns to stand up for himself to his father and befriends the nerd and the weirdo. He’s going to do something his father disapproves of in stead of wrestling (Book Club? Cooking?).

What actually happened
He indeed bonds with the nerd over the fact that they are both under a lot of pressure. He learns that he isn’t capable of thinking for himself and acknowledges that he only does stuff because his father wants him to (Yay! There is some actual character development here!). We don’t get to know how this realization works out for him in the end though. But here’s the thing that ruined it for me: after the Weirdo gets a make-over (more about that in a minute), he instantly falls in love with her and they get into a relationship.

The message I got
It’s okay to date someone solely based on his/her looks even if you don’t like their personality much.

The Weirdo

The facts
She’s weird and constantly weirds everyone out by her behaviour. She doesn’t talk in the first half of the movie but later on we learn that she goes to a shrink because she’s a compulsive liar and that she doesn’t like it at home because her parents ignore her. She doesn’t have any friends.

What I expected to happen
She opens up to the group and turns out the be a very likeable person. She befriends them all. She learns that it’s okay to be herself and that she doesn’t need to be this shy.

What actually happens
The Prom Queen gives her a make-over and the Jock falls in love with her after. They start dating instantly. Interesting exchange between the Prom Queen and the Weirdo: Queen: ‘You look much better without that black stuff around your eyes’. Weirdo: ‘But I like the black stuff around my eyes!’. <— which is totally ignored.

The message I got
It’s okay to totally change you appearances and act like someone else to get friends and to get attention from the other gender.

The Nerd

The facts
He’s socially awkward who’s a member of the science club, the chess club, and practically any other ‘nerdy’ club. He has excellent grades but as we learn later he fails wood-shop and that made him so desperate that he was planning to kill himself. The teachers found a gun in his locker so he got detention (Yes, you read that correctly, a student has suicide plans and they found a gun in his locker and all they do is give him one day of detention. It was a flare gun but still. MURICA?).

What I expected to happen
Everyone is shocked by the Nerd’s personal issues and they decide to help them to get over his psychological problems. They learn that if they look past his good grades he is a very nice guy and the Prom Queen falls in love with him. The Jock leans him how to deal with pressure.

What actually happens
They all laugh about his suicide plans (because it’s funny <— yes, that was sarcastic) and they talk him into writing the essay they all had to make all by himself. He’s the only one who doesn’t get into a relationship.

The message that I got
If you are a good student and if you’re a nice person you end up alone doing everyone else’s work.

Post Hoc thoughts:
It is of course also possible that this movie is about the fact that teenagers will be teenagers and won’t change or change for the worse because teenagers are stupid (I doubt it though). I didn’t really get that message when I first watched it but if that’s the case, they’ve done fairly good job.