Sunday, December 23, 2007

Everything old is new again

Tonight we were going to watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. For probably the hundreth time. Blarg. I think the only Christmas movie I've only seen once is "Christmas in Conneticut", and as much as I liked that, I'm not sure I'll be leaping in front of the tv to see it again this year.

However, by snatching the remote and scanning the channels I found something called (and I'm not kidding)....

"Santa Claus Conquers the Martians"

It was just as good/bad as the title promised. I think I need a copy for next year, and maybe throw a party for watching it.

Basically, it's 1964 SciFi about how the Martian children are watching our Earth TVs and having learned of Santa Claus and toys, they've become despondent and lifeless, and their leader Kimar (who has two despondent Martian kids) goes to earth to kidnap Santa and bring joy and toys and carols to Mars. There's this bad Martian who thinks toys are evil and will ruin Mars forever, and somehow Kimar lets him go along on the Earth trip with his crew and Voldar nearly puts Santa and some kids out an airlock at one point...

I'm so glad I taped it. It was funny. The dialog was too serious in some points; they'd almost say something like, "It's later than you think." or "It was a dark and stormy night." only they're Martians kidnapping Santa and two earth kids keep thwarting everything on their spaceship, so you can't help laughing along with it.

And now, to make all my wishes come true about having a copy, guess what I just found? Aparently Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is public domain. Hooray! Make your own copy here! And a merry go-conquer-Mars-and-bring-Christmas-to-all!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Doctor Who Fic: Not for all the moons made of mistletoe

I wrote this for a story exchange a little while ago, and of course it belongs to the BBC and Russell T. Davies. Just a little holiday cheer, hope everyone likes it. In case you can't tell, it's the Ninth Doctor.

Rose forgot what day it was.

Time seemed to lose meaning in the TARDIS- one day here, a century or two later there, and then the year five billion. If she stopped to think of it, which she didn't, because of all the adventures and fun and capers, it would remind her of her days at Henrik's when holidays were something important to other people, people who actually had them off.

Saving the universe doesn't have a day off, and if it wasn't for Shireen's text message of Christmas Cheer she'd have forgotten the date. She rolled over in bed, back onto her back after lunging for the superphone on her nightstand, and read the screen again. Wondered if her Mum wanted her home for the holidays, but she hadn't said and they'd only just been there last week. But it had been... She bit her lip, thinking, and raked a hand through her blond locks. It had been November, hadn't it, and Jackie hadn't said a thing about Christmas.

Still feeling numb about the holiday news she stumbled into the console room on her way to the kitchen. The Doctor raised a brow at her long t-shirt and short shorts, and she shrugged, not all that awake in response and handed him her cell phone.

“Christmas, is it?”

“Shireen says so.”

He handed the phone back, and looked down once more, quickly, at her bared legs. “Jack is going to think it's Christmas too.” And he looked like he wanted to bite his tongue at that.

Rose snorted. “I could loan you a pair.”


But she was already at the door, and yawning again. He shook his head and poked at the controls.

“Think she needs to head home?”

The TARDIS hummed at him, and he shook his head.

“Yeah. Me too.” Another hum, and he snorted, petting the flat surface, fingers delicate and careful. “She'll like it, just don't kill us with tinsel.”

Jack glanced up from his cup of coffee and nearly dropped the mug.

“Don't tell me the Doctor's in a pants stealing mood?”

Rose snorted. “As if.” She glanced at him, color lighting her cheeks. “You'd be starkers then.”

“Glad you noticed.” He preened, setting the coffee down next to his wrist comm and the newspaper he'd got somewhere. Of course, he'd put pajama bottoms on just for them. “What's with the frown?”

“Didn't realize it was Christmas.” She leaned up on the counter, pulling cereal boxes from a cabinet. Jack pretended not to watch, then went back to his newspaper with a grin on his face when she turned around, munching quietly. Rose wasn't much of a lady until she'd woken up, which was several cups of tea away at least. Jack liked it like this in the morning, the ease of it. Of course, it'd taken a few life or death, hoof it to the TARDIS at the last second adventures to get them all to this point, but getting shot at was worth it for this.

“Is it?” He asked, glancing to his wrist comm.

“Shireen says so.”

“Jackie want you home?”

Rose frowned. “She didn't say.” She munched for a bit. “They still do Christmas in the 51st?”

Jack shrugged, keeping his back to her. “Well. In some places. Buddha is still really popular, and you wouldn't believe some of the FSM-mas Festivals I've been to.” Rose's crunching came to a halt, and Jack lifted his coffee to his mouth to keep from laughing.

“You're having me on, right?”

Jack shrugged, still not turning to look and ruin the joke. “There's always the Mistletoe Harvest on the moons of the Boeshane.” This time he did turn and look. He winked. “Always mistletoe overhead there. Maybe we should go and visit?”

Rose was still staring at him like she couldn't sort the fact from fiction when the Doctor appeared in the doorway.

“Go and visit what?”

“Jack says there's a moon made of mistletoe.”

The Doctor looked at him, and Jack got busy looking at his wrist comm. “Sure you don't want to visit Jackie?”

“I think she's got plans. Or something.” Rose shrugged, and looked to the floor. “I haven't heard, actually.”

“What about us? We can't have plans?” He gestured to the walls of the ship. “The TARDIS is doing an 'As you wish' number on the main room, by the way. Thanks to Shireen.” Rose blinked at the sarcasm.


“Yes, really.”

“...Are there presents?” Jack asked, and both of them turned to look at him. He shrugged defensively. “What? Everyone loves presents. I love presents.”

They wind up in front of the console, which has somehow taken on the aspect of a fir tree, with all the console lights mixing in with the fairy lights of the tree, and there's garland and tinsel wrapped through everything, dangling from the holes in the struts and winding under the floor grates. The Doctor huffs and pretends the smile on Rose's face isn't worth all the mess and the tinsel he's still going to be finding ten years from now.

“I don't see any presents.” Jack points out, like a child. Rose and the Doctor stare at him.

“Isn't it enough we're all here?” The Doctor demands, and pretends he's not putting his arms around their shoulders, and that they're both not snuggling against him. Rose is bad enough, but they're both warm and soft and there for him and it's hard to keep his game face on because he likes this so much.

“Yeah, Jack. All three of us.”

One of Jack's hands makes it to her back, petting through the thin cotton. “Well. Yeah. But presents-”

Her cell goes off, and Rose pulls away to read the screen. The boys watch her light up.

“Mum wants us home for Christmas dinner at six.” She tells them.

“I'll drop you off then.” And the Time Lord goes to set the controls, missing the look on her face.

“I said 'us'.”

The Doctor blinks. “Er. Us?”

“All of us. Family dinner, you know.”

Now he has to pretend he's not all warm on the inside too.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


It's funny, for a long time in my teens I thought, with some desperation, my writing days were over. I was on Ritalin for a while, and when I quit taking it nothing would come to me. It was like that for a year, where I'd stare at a white piece of paper and nothing would come to me. I'd read books and want to write something, only there weren't any ideas. Nothing. It was like that quote about how there's a thousand ideas for writing something around all of us everyday, and the lucky writers are the ones that see five of six of them.

And I guess the non-writers see nothing. It was like that. Nothing creative, for a year. Eventually I got better and it came back to me, but there were times where I'd come up with a new idea every twenty pages of what I was writing, and I finished nothing in my haste to get to the next idea. I'd go through a pack or two of lined paper a week, because I wrote everything long hand then. Back then I'd never have believed the idea of me working on one novel for more than a year. I'd either be done with it, or moved on to something else, and Rome still commands my attention and will for a while considering my college enforced pace.

I was mucking about on Wikipedia the other night trying to pin down exactly what kind of SciFi I'd been thinking about the last few weeks, and under steampunk there were five or six other genres that came out of it or went into it, and it was funny because I hadn't really seen genre charted on Wiki before. I mean, there's everything, so it's not really a surprise. So, steampunk, retro-futurism, raygun gothic.

(seriously, don't we all want to write something we can call "raygun gothic"? that's got to be one of the best genre names ever)

And of course I got a new idea for a story, and it just makes me so happy to do that that I just wanted to blog about it. It's always the random stuff that gives you the ideas. Anyway, I have to finish writing a Doctor Who story for a contest before I can really start doing steampunk lit, but just the idea of it. Rayguns and Victorian corsetry yay!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

This Week's Cole Porter

A few weeks ago if I had to pick a favorite Cole Porter song and singer I'd have gone with John Barrowman doing "It's alright with me".

This week I'm gonna go with Ella Fitzgerald singing "Let's do it (let's fall in love)" from the second cd of her Cole Porter songbook. It's a bit more than eight minutes long and she really does something clever with the pacing.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Rec-ing Ball: Torchwood "Slow Decay" Novel

I've had a fair amount of fandoms over the years, starting with Forever Knight and those long summers in Florida where I discovered mailing lists and fansites. It's funny when you didn't think there was anything out there like that; people who wanted to exchange thirty emails about why someone in some show did something. Mailing lists are kind of dying out for fandom, replaced by forums and livejournal comms, so far as I can tell; I still remember when I'd check my old Juno account and have the box full with altered song lyrics and sub requests for fanzines. Hell, I still remember the cost of fanzines.

Torchwood and Doctor Who novels aren't quite as expensive as fanzines, but they're up there, and the ones I keep reading are good, which puts them in the category of Kinder Chocolate. Guilty pleasures, and addictive ones. Thank god for Borders sending me coupons every week.

I'm still in deep fandom love with the Ninth Doctor, Rose, and Jack, so the first Doctor Who novel I picked up had all three of them in it. Jack's a hoot in it, and so is the caveman, and while it's not classic literature it's one of the better tie-in novels I've ever read. In fact, all the tie-in novels I've read/perused for Doctor Who and Torchwood have been pretty awesome. You can read the whole thing in one sitting, which I guess makes it less like the aforementioned German chocolate and more like a carton of chocolate ice cream. You get to the end and you're wondering where the whole book went. I read all of Only Human on the flight back from Vegas, with all the other passengers around me asleep, so I spent some time trying not to giggle too loudly.

Read Monsters Inside all in one sitting too, and then when I was watching the "Boom Town" episode of season one of Doctor Who I was amused to hear it mentioned in passing. It's less giddy than "Only Human", but still good. Maybe not carton of ice cream good, or maybe not chocolate flavor. And no Jack, despite where I'm guessing it goes in continuity.

There's a gap between "The Doctor Dances" and "Boom Town". At the end of the first one they've just rescued Jack and the Doctor doesn't trust him, and by the time the next episode starts Jack is one of the team. He's allowed to tinker with the TARDIS, left on his own in there with no fear of him hieing off with the time machine, and the Doctor and Rose are amused enough with his flirting that he flirts with both of them, without any censure, but in the previous episode the Doctor didn't appear to trust him any farther than he could throw him. It made me wonder how many adventures were in between one episode and the next... Unless it's a reality tv show, I don't really think any show has a lot of one episode ending and the next starting immediately, except maybe in the case of 24. I figure the episode ratio is something like, that one really exciting day of the week for the characters, or that one day a month where it all really just goes to hell. What shows on the tv is the highlights, and leaves out all the other stuff. In any case, "Boom Town" references the adventure Rose and the Doctor go on in the "Monsters Inside" novel, sans Jack. Made me wonder where he was at during the novel.

Anyway, back to Torchwood and "Slow Decay". Even if you don't like Torchwood, or know anything about it, you might like it. You might just like the writing. Which is really, really good. It's so good, against all the tie-ins I've ever read, it almost needs to not be a tie-in novel. And I wish the author would just write something else fictional, because he's got skills. God given skills. Raining fire skills. Jack's dialog is just inane enough to make you question why the whole show isn't just him talking about things, the whole forty-five minutes of the show. And the aliens in the book are just icky enough for you to really understand why there really needs to be a Torchwood. It's all fun and games when it's Weevils and alien empathy machines, until something comes along that's the proverbial poking the eyeball out.

Andy Lane, if you can hear me, write something else. I don't care if it's Torchwood, though that'd be nice, or if it's something with the Ninth Doctor, Rose, and Jack in it from that convenient gap in the episodes. Hell. Re-write the phone book. I'll read it.

This is just a part where Jack and Gwen were having a chat on the roof top at the beginning of the book:

"Where can I get a coat like that?" She asked.
"You have to earn it." Captain Jack Harkness said without turning around. "It's a badge of office. Like bowler hats in the Civil Service."
"They don't still wear bowler hats in the Civil Service." She replied scornfully. "That went out back in the 1950s along with tea trolleys and waistcoats. And I speak as someone who worked alongside loads of Civil Servants when I was in the police force." She caught herself. "I mean, when I was *really* in the police force, not just *telling* people I'm in the police force to avoid having to tell them that I hunt down alien technology for a living."
"I bet they still wear them." Jack said. The wind ruffled his hair like a playful hand. "I bet when all the Civil Servants arrive in their offices in the morning they lock the doors, unlock their desks and take out their ceremonial bowler hats to wear where nobody else can see them. Like a kind of administrative Klu Klux Klan."
"Have you got some kind of downer on the Civil Service?"
He still didn't turn around. "In an infinite universe," He said. "there are undoubtedly planets out there where the entire population has grey skin, wears grey clothes and thinks grey thoughts. I guess the universe needs planets like that, but I sure as hell don't want to have to visit them. I prefer the thought that there's a planet of Civil Servants then there's also a planet where everyone has an organic TV set built into their back, and you can just follow people down the street watching daytime tv to your heart's content."

And that's just from the first two pages! And he uses "whilst" several times in the book too. Of course, Jack wears a waistcoat in one of the later episodes, so that shows what Gwen knows about awesome men's clothing going out of style.

Read it. Read. It.