Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Overthinking Harlequin, Part 5! And Welcome Back...

So here I am again, after a while.  Still plumbing the depths of that massive books of books from America.  Well, let's be honest, it was more than one know me.  The blog was sitting, deadly, for some time there.  I did actually think about stopping it, and I still might, as I find myself with very little to say indeed.  I mean - in real life, I do talk (my job is on the phones all day), but the last few months or so, I have been finding myself increasingly stymied by lack of place and lack of identity in relation to the rest of the world.  Yes - I bother my head about stuff like this, instead of Just Getting On With Things and Making The Best Of It (absolutely hate both those phrases, efficient though they are).  I will just post when a post is ready.  I used to try and be Regular (I should feed the Blog some bran), but I am too tired, too confused and despondent about the state of the world - a bit like my friend Hystery  - hopefully she'll write something for here sometime soon?).  I also feel like the blog has no theme or direction.  I'm not fussed about it becoming mostly a book and film review blog - though it used to be nice when I generated my own thoughts more often; not just commenting on other's hard work that I liked.  We'll have to see.  I'll let it be freefalling, and free associative.  If it goes up here, it does.  Its still the blog of the WendyWorld, after all, the BlackberryJuniperUniverse - whatever interests me. 

But I noticed that this post is ready.  If I let it get much longer, it will be unwieldy.  So I let it go, so my loyal 1 or 2 readers can think about matters of love and kindness. 

Because, Gods and Goddesses know, we sure as shit need it, in the world.

1.    Snowfall at Willow Lake, by Susan Wiggs (Lakeshore Chronicles, 2008)
(This is the most satisfying entry to the series since the first one.  I didn’t expect to like Sophie Bellamy as much as I did – she seemed a bit too perfect and uptight and insecurity making; turns out she is just like me: a bit control freaky, a rabid maker of lists and to do lists, single-mindedly throwing herself into things, and a consummate worker of the fleeing option when things don’t work out.  So turns out I understood her pretty well and liked her all the more for being able to make a life U-turn and to try and do things totally differently [lawyer at the Hague International Criminal Court, to small-town hockey mother, with adopted dog and 2 adopted babies, caring also for her much younger boyfriend and her other 2 older children whose childhood she missed – she went for 100 mph to a much slower and more complicated home life].

It didn’t hurt at all that I loved the hero, the utterly easy-going Noah, who liked to tell her she was thinking a bit much and to enjoy life more.  He was funny and relaxing and read so huggable I could almost feel him.  Sigh…A big huggy vet.  Ahhhhhhh…

Also, there was the ongoing ‘what’s happening with Daisy?’ angle of the plot – which was tantalisingly given to readers with a little bit more Julian Gastineaux.  Who is a really interesting character I want to see more of.  And I am enjoying vicariously being quite sure he will get together with Daisy. 

Yes.  This novel felt insanely long for some reason; maybe because it was a real Middlemarch run through the life of a small-town, focussed on one person but not limited to them, and taking in a much larger backdrop.  This wasn’t just the love story, it was a slice of life story.  Very enjoyable.  ACTUAL BOOK.)
2.   The Coyote’s Cry, by Jackie Merritt (Silhouette Special Ed., The Coltons subseries, 2002)
(This started off very well and managed to be absorbing even though it was partially about nursing and taking care of terminally ill people – I am not a fan of medical dramas and will run a mile from even something as good as House [this sort of viewing is simply not sensible for an accomplished hypochondriac].  Yet the character of Bram, and Jenna’s kindness did hook me in.  As did, as ever, the Native American lore sprinkled through. 

However – though I finished it, it did sour somewhat for me.  There was a strong plotline about racism – the heroine’s father was a dreadful racist toward the Native Americans, which made obvious problems for Bram and Jenna, he being part Comanche.  But he was just as bad – constantly telling her she couldn’t understand things because she was ‘snow white’ and never explaining anything to her that as readers we understood quite quickly with very few words needed.  A different culture is a different culture; if you have a willingness to learn and try to understand – you will at least partially manage, whilst acknowledging you can never really 100% get it as you weren’t brought up with it.  But you can respectfully try.  But he treated her as though she were stupid.  And he was beyond rude.  I have no real idea why she put up with him; it started to stray into that worrying territory romances end up in sometimes, where people stay with semi-abusive or outright manipulative/ controlling/ abusive people or keep trying to get them/ cover for them/ enable them because they ‘love them’.  It ends up all very victim-y and unsavoury.  So by the end of this – I was thinking, well good luck Jenna – he only eventually decided to marry you because he found out you were part Comanche.  That’s it.  He never would have otherwise.  Nothing she did could have changed his attitude unless he was ready to change it, and there was NO evidence he really was.  So this stopped being romantic, and started to make me feel sad.  I finished it because I remember starting this Coltons series a long while ago and really enjoying it – but this instalment…*no*.  ACTUAL BOOK.)
3.   Handle with Care, by Jane Silverwood (Harlequin SuperRomance, 1989)
(This was lovely.  One of those quiet romances, yet filled with sincerity and people quietly overcoming their issues.  A woman left with little confidence after her narcissistic husband left her, and a teenage daughter with bulimia.  A man recovering alone after the death of his brother when both were taken hostage in Afghanistan.  This is just a quiet tale about how these people meet and help one another, slowly, with setbacks, but they get there.  There is *a lot* to be said for this quiet, kindly, everyday setting in romance.  It’s so much more believable and inspiring than all those granite jawed heroes mocking and being ‘sardonic’ that we were all too often treated to in the earlier 80s.  This hero was angry, but with good reason, and was trying to overcome, live with, and he had no axe to grind with the heroine – he respected and esteemed her, clearly.  Much lovelier as fiction role models.  This was a good read. ACTUAL BOOK.)
4.   Man in the Mist, by Annette Broadrick (Silhouette Special Edition, 2003)
(This started very well, a man is searching for a woman’s sister and gets sick, is taken in and nursed back together with herbs and simples and a red headed beauty, etc etc.  I just did start to feel there was some unnecessary repetition going on about the amount of teas she fed him to stop his terrible cough.  And really – he was very rude and ungrateful when she helped him; always being unpleasant and sulky.  I personally would have turfed him outside again!  It did have a nice atmosphere though, the Scottish mists and rainy weather, the sense of a man far from home, and a woman searching for her place, her next part of life.  It was a strangely indeterminate book in some ways, but enjoyable.  It’s the first part of a trilogy and I can’t quite see where the rest will go, but I have them, so we’ll see at some point.  ACTUAL BOOK.)
5.   Twin Oaks, by Anne Logan (Harlequin SuperRomance, 1993)
(At the just leaving height of my mega meltdown about BREXIT and this country in general, I became suddenly, one day, able to read stories again, instead of just the news.  For some reason, this massively establishment story of ‘tightening our belts’ and laying off loads of people from a country club, to save the country club – but of course, the manager, under the eye of a Good Woman, learned a kindler, gentler, less abrasive way of doing things by the end…for some reason, it was all very practical and comforting.  I got the feeling that despite the larger meltdown of structures, in this country, and in the wider world – were I Biblical, I would be idly wondering about the ‘last days’, what with all the ‘
blood rain’ prophesied this evening, on top of everything else…but I’m not, so I’m just pissed off [HIGHLY] at living in Interesting Times.  Give me Boring Times, any day of the week.  I am not a twit.  Boring is better.  I see no excellent revolution of green and lefty wonderment coming from all this poo going on domestically and worldwide [axing people on trains in Bavaria – a refugee, a near child, I ASK YOU!!!]…so I see that its best to either [a] become a politician = no chance; I sincerely think the average person on the street is really weird and difficult to talk to about anything other than the weather, or [b] do my best within my small world and Be Kind, Try To Do Good Stuff…and keep an eye on the larger stuff.  I am the Sea, not only the Wave – don’t get seasick.

Now: you may think this review had NOTHING to do with this book at all: but it truly did.  This kindly book, with its small but large scale relevant story of trying to save something worth saving, and learning to do it in a nicer way, and be a bit less prideful…oh…that is relevance to the max, hidden in  an escapist read.  EXCELLENT book, I recommend it to all despairing of Happy Endings.  If we can write it, we can work it in real life.  I hope.  ACTUAL BOOK.)

And that's it for now.  A bit of love and hope to get us through the axe murdering and zenophobia and general nutteriness of the world as it presents itself to me currently.  Read more good things that cheer and nourish, and try to be kind as well as right!  I'll be back when I next have something to post that's ready.  Love to you all; all 2 or so of you :-) 

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Review: 'East of the Sun', by Julia Gregson (2008)

This is one of those rare doorstop size books – it's truly epic in its scope, how much it has to get across, truly minute in its well-researched detail, truly believable in its characters and their situations, mind sets, feelings…its taken me over two months to read it, till I was fed up of reading it, but unable to stop because it was so excruciatingly well-written, well-done, educational as well as being an amazing story.  There’s so many books *like this* out there – great tub thumping stories, but they descend into melodrama – this one does not, it holds onto itself and its characters and it tells of all the many parts of India, as seen by us, as we are seen by the inhabitants, and as we all misunderstand each other.

It would be so easy to mistake this book for one of those others, lush, rich people having dramas played out against exotic backgrounds.  This one was so much more.  It was people of all economic groupings, for a start, and it wasn’t just us, it was the Indians, shown in so many different ways.  Everyone commented on everyone else, rightly, wrongly.  I understood so much more about the cultures of us in the ‘20s, off on ‘the fishing fleet’ to find husbands; and of what India was like at the time – Gandhi and times changing, us changing [or not in the case of some], the Indians changing towards us, in so many ways large and small.  There is so much detailed historical analysis and research clearly done in the writing of this book, and all doled out during the story, so that its so much easier to understand this complicated period, and from so many different points of view. 

Characters are wonderful – Viva, the bluestocking author, who wants to learn all about India and be a writer – her road is rough, and all her mysteries come to haunt her until she is healed at the end.  Rose who comes to India for the equivalent of an arranged marriage, neither she nor her prospective husband Jack truly understanding that their lives before and after marriage will be utterly different; there was no getting to know each other, no blending…they cut each other’s lives in half and bled through the book until a sort of truce was reached, unhappy but its where they’re left.  Tor, who is desperate to get away from her controlling mother, and stay in India after accompanying Rose out.  She is full of life and enthusiasm and ends up happy, for which I am so glad, with the wonderful boyish Toby, who understood so much – there’s a very affecting story about a small bird he tells. 

The subsidiary characters are legion – all the children, of all creeds, at the orphanage, especially Talika. Pundit, and Ci Ci – two sad sides of us in India: a faithful and kindly servant mistreated by a so spoilt bitch.  Mr Aziz Anwar and his malicious confusion, so understandable.  Daisy and Miss Wagstaff, older woman who have immense bearing on the plot at the beginning and end.  Frank, Viva’s eventual husband, a character who changes and changes as we get to know him; Nigel, who sung on the boat over and recited poetry but then later kills himself during the monsoon season.  William, a character of poisonous fact and harm to a vulnerable young girl.  And the character of Guy Glover, the book’s ghost, who has so much impact on everyone’s story but at the end disappears, a no hope loose end, doomed to be killed in a foreign war at some point, his schizophrenia only just coming to be understood, and then ignored.

Then there’s all I learned here: about Indian ragas, “sacred music used to greet dawn and sunset, summer, spirits and fire” (p.86); the Awali Crisis (p.126) – constant hints in the book, stirrings of the traumas to come; a poem called ‘Ithaka’ by Cavafy (pp.130-131); Urdu poets – Mir Taqi Mir, Ghalib…and these are just the things I remembered to jot down.  There’s loads of incidental, perfectly unintrusive richness adding facts in here.  The story winds round, all inclusive, all senses stimulated, thought provoking in its conversation, emotionally involving in its characters.   

Totally recommended.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

GUEST BLOG! John Lovett, with 'The Bass of Doom'

The Bass of Doom

These days it is very rare for a musician to be associated with one particular instrument for their whole career. There are a few one of the most interesting is the Fender Jazz Bass owned by the late Jaco Pastorius. This was known as The Bass of Doom.

The Bass of Doom started out as 1962 sunburst finish bass. Although modified by Jaco over the years that is in essence what the bass always remained.

The biggest change to Jaco’s bass was that the frets were removed. The frets are the metal bars that are used to accurately sound the notes along the neck of a guitar or bass. Removing the frets of an electric bass guitars means that the player has to be a lot more accurate with where they put their fingers, but it means that the bass produces a softer sound, closer that of an upright, or double, bass.

The story goes that while Jaco was on the road with Wayne Cochran and the CC Riders he got it into his head to convert his bass to fretless. This was in the early 70s when fretless bases were rare, so the band came down to breakfast one morning in a cheap motel to find Jaco ripping the frets from his bass with a butter knife filling in the slots and holes with liquid wood.

Cochran was not pleased by this, they had an early show and he didn’t think Jaco, who only had the one bass, would be able to get it in a fit state to play and then play the show fretless with little or no practice.

Halfway though the performance Cochran walked over to the riser where Jaco was playing and bowed. Not only had Jaco put the bass back together in time, his playing was flawless.

This story is told consistently by members of the CC Riders. Although some other sources state that Jaco bought the Bass of Doom in New York with the frets already removed. The only footage of Jaco with Cochran shows him using a sunburst Jazz Bass. The footage is not very good quality so it is hard to say if it is the same bass or another one.

The other changes Jaco made to the bass were to remove the pickguard, bridge and pickup covers plus a mute system. Most every player would remove the bridge and pickup covers from a jazz bass; they get in the way and really don’t do very much.

The mute system would have been an optional extra. Jaco didn’t buy the bass new so it may have been removed before he got the bass. It was a basic system designed by Leo Fender just before he left the company, and didn’t work all that well. Leo would refine the design for the Stingray bass made for the Musicman Company that he founded after leaving Fender, that system did work and a muted Stingray bass is the sound of funk and disco.

Removing the pickguard was not common. The pickguard is a large piece of plastic that protects the wood, and gives the bass a more modern look. Jaco felt it deadened the sound of the bass so removed it. Leaving just the metal control plate, however he switched the knobs from plastic to knurled metal, easier to grip during performance.

Jaco had to do a lot of work on the neck of his bass. He chose to use round wound strings, these are normal on fretted basses but normally fretless bass players go with flat wound strings. Flat wound strings are smooth so do don’t damage the wood of the neck, but round wound stings normally used with the metal frets are more lively however they will chew up the wood.

Jacob would use boat epoxy to refinish the fingerboard of his bass every month or so. Kevin Kaufman who became Jaco’s bass technician in the late 70s was able to refine the technique of epoxy on the neck and make it more durable. Even then Jaco would practice on a fretted bass and only use The Bass of Doom for performance and recording.

Jaco didn’t exactly treat his bass with kit gloves. He would throw it in the air, balance it vertically on two fingers and was a very physical performer. The finish was worn at the back where it would rub against his clothing, in the 70s he wore large belt buckles at times and there was a lot of wear from his right arm. The bass was a tool and used hard.

However at the tail end of 1985 the bass was smashed to pieces after falling down a flight of stairs. It was Kevin Kaufman who had the task of putting the 12 pieces back together. To do this he glued the sections of the body back together, sanded them down and then covered them with a maple vainer. This was finished and the restored bass looked like new.

Jaco was happy with the restoration, and the day the bass was returned to him by Kaufman he recorded the song ‘Moodswings’ with Mike Stern. However the reunion was short lived as not long after the bass was stolen, Jaco was in a park in New York someone distracted him and when he turned back the bass was gone.

Less than a year later Jaco had been killed after being beaten by a nightclub doorman. The doorman was later convicted of Manslaughter.

Fast-forward to 1993 and the Bass of Doom resurfaced in a New York music shop. There is no definitive story as to where the bass was or how it arrived in the shop. Legal cases between the owner and Jaco’s family took some time then in 2008 the bass was sold to Metallica bass player Robert Trujillo.

Trujillo is a life long fan of Pastorius, he is also close to Jaco’s family and the bass is now used by Robert or Jaco’s son Felix to promote the legacy if Jaco. In time the idea is to put to bass on display in Florida, Jaco’s home state, as the centrepiece of a museum to his music and legacy.

Fender make replicas of The Bass of Doom, either in relic condition or as the bass looks now post restoration. Jaco’s popularising of Fretless bass, especially in Japan means that Fender, as well as other companies, by the early 80s were producing fretless basses alongside standard models, and although Jaco wasn’t the first to use a fretless electric bass he did a great deal to popularise the sound.

Three classic tracks that really who off Jaco’s playing and the Bass of Doom.
1)   ‘Portrait of Tracy’ from Jaco’s self titled debut album. This is just the Jaco and the Bass. Jaco mixes harmonic notes and normal notes to create a beautiful tune.
2)   ‘Hejira’ from the Joni Mitchell album of the same name, Jaco’s melodic bassline drives this song and showcases the classic fretless sound.
3)   ‘Soul Intro/ The Chicken’ from the album ‘Invitation’ a driving bassline and arrangement for big band drive this classic track.

Also check out the track ‘Mr Pastorius’ from the Miles Davvis album ‘Amandla’ a tribute to recorded after Jaco’s death.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Dr Who Books Read and Heard, Part 21! CAPALDI SPECIAL!

In a break from what I’ve already been doing with the Doctors – sticking to the classics only, I’m going to do something different here.  I love Peter Capaldi as an actor and have for ages.  So I was excited and happy to see him be the new Doctor.  All the better for knowing he loved the show himself and it wasn’t just a another job, but something he was very happy to do.  I have been irritatingly dis appointed with the sorts of stories and script writing he’s been presented with on TV.  I can’t really quantify my unease – too much grandstanding and speechifying; too much over emphasis on the companion; just…too much analysis and self-referential writing.  Too knowing, but missing important things at the same time. There’s a dissonance I am finding unsatisfying, just personally.  Not his fault at all; he’s working with what he’s been given, and very well.  There’s been some lovely lines and very good moments, but I wouldn’t buy any of the series and I’ve felt frowny after watching them.  So I thought I’d see if the books that are coming out during his tenure are any better.  Here’s my thoughts on whether they were:

As always with these rambly reviews: OFTEN LARGE SPOILERS ON ALL BOOKS IMMINENT!!!!

1.    Doctor Who: Lights Out, by Holly Black (BBC 50th Anniversary Special short stories)
(12th Doctor.  A sweet and surprising story about murder, puberty and coffee.  And what counts as a monster and what you do about it if you think you are one.  I’m a great fan of Holly Black, having read all her YA fiction, and she doesn’t disappoint here.  In few words, a whole character is created.  This is sharply and unsentimentally written.  And a great capturing of Capaldi’s Doctor as a bit manic – sort of halfway between Tom Baker and Sylvester, with a bit of his own self thrown in [the anger, I’d suggest].  Good story – short, sweet, bit sad.  ON KINDLE.)
2.   Doctor Who: The Crawling Terror, by Mike Tucker (BBC 12th Doctor series)
(Very good indeed.  Several things occur to me: that this is how good Capaldi could have been on TV if he had been given a properly coherent story, a good snappy script.  This is the sort of story that Who can do very well – the Something Bad and Scary Is Happening In  A Perect English Village story.

In this case – enormous insects: spiders, mosquitoes, beetles, crane flies and eventually, scorpions.  This is very nicely paced and has a plausible set of villains.  People forget how important it is for a villain to be plausible in this era of Marvel and DC everywhere.  This story feels like it could have and would, fit perfectly into Pertwee’s or Tom Baker’s era, especially with the degree of military involvement.  Despite Capaldi’s unhappiness to see them, they are a pivotal part of this story and they behave well – proper consideration for the lives of the zombiefied villagers, no mass killings for expediency or security’s sake. 

Also, here, the story doesn’t suffer from what new Who on TV does, which is a complete overfocus on the companion.  Clara here, is a good part of the story, an important part; but only a part.  Its Capaldi’s show and its enjoyable to read it as such – after all, we are fascinated with the character of the Doctor, still, after all this time.  This is a story I really wish I could’ve seen on TV.  We now have the resources to 100% do it justice visually.

Mike Tucker does here, what he and Robert Perry did so nicely for Sylvester in the BBC Past Doctors range – they wrote a season for him that never happened, filled with quality stories.  I wish this were start of the same, but for Capaldi, who I feel hasn’t really had a fair go, either writing wise or plot wise, in terms of variety.  ON KINDLE.)
3.   Doctor Who: Deep Time, by Trevor Baxendale (BBC 12th Dr Series)
(There’s a lot going on here.  There’s a mission into a wormhole, an extensive cast of memorable characters.  The threat of The Glamour – which is why the Doctor is there.  There’s the timeless perfect creatures, The Phaeron – which is why another of the cast is there.  There’s a missing ship – where another crew member searches for a lost parent.  The crew crash their ship, the Alexandria, on a very old and nearly dead planet, then the time shifts begin.  The way the cast of characters have to get across the planet, searching for each other, the TARDIS, and having a generally violent need to escape reminded me of a disaster film like The Poseidon Adventure in many ways. 

All the characters were so well-written, I really felt it as one by one they started to be picked off by planetary flora, or predators, depending on what time zone they were in.  The good and the bad alike were taken, which made it as surprising a read as watching the Walking Dead can be in terms of who’s next to go.  It was a very visual world.  It would have made a very good television story – maybe a Special?  The Doctor as Capaldi is at his most sarcastic and intolerant of humans here, even as he tries to help them.  You really get a sense of the trials they all have to go through.  A great read.  ON KINDLE.)
4.   Doctor Who: Silhouette, by Justin Richards (BBC 12th Dr Series)
(Considering how annoying I find the performances of Jenny, Vastra and to a lesser extent Strax, on TV I was quite amazed to be greatly enjoying them here.  I find it a shame that the ruthless and implacable Sontarans are being used for comedy in new Who; though I do find the actor who plays Strax very amusing.  All 3 of the characters seem to benefit greatly from me imagining them rather than actually seeing or hearing them.  Here, Vastra is authoritative and dignified; Jenny feisty and Strax hilarious [on dealing with a street thug: “I find your constant ire refreshing!”].  This is a great improvement. 

The Victorian backdrop and the Carnival of Curiosities is a good one; Empath and Silhouette are very visual characters – one a subverted undertaker, sucking rage and anger from all he meets, the other a telekinetic who can control paper, making it dance or spin in shapes of attack [yes, death by papercut].  The villain here, Orestes Milton, is charmingly arrogant and politely very rude – quite an amusing character for an arms dealer.

This was well-paced, and had a very nice ending – both tidy and uplifting.  The Doctor saves the day with a mass act of peace and joyful radiance [and it’s almost believable – this from the person who does not think the ending of It’s a Wonderful Life would ever really happen…].  There’s a bit where the Doctor meets wonderfully done facsimiles of all his former selves, recognisable just from a sentence or so: beautifully carried off.  A much better read than I thought it was going to be!  ON KINDLE.)
5.   Doctor Who: Blood Cell, by James Goss (BBC 12th Dr Series)
(I really thought I wasn’t going to like this, as I like my Who stories in the 3rd person, so I’m tagging along and observing.  Because the Doctor is such a big character, I don’t want him mediated by or through another character who is the 1st person, the focalised point of the whole book.  And moreso: the main character.  He’s Governor of a prison the Doctor repeatedly tries to escape from.  He’s an annoying, snide, judgemental unpleasant person.  I really thought I might be on to a problem reading this one.  But I decided to give it more of a chance and within 2 or 3 chapters I was seeing the Doctor’s character shining through as clearly as ever. 

What’s more, it’s rare I’ve read a change in relationship between 2 characters done so well as the Governor and the Doctor.  I ended up thoroughly enjoying this book.  The changing perception of the Governor toward the Doctor, and the effect the Doctor has on the Governor is *beautifully* done.  By the end, the Governor is still a weak-willed annoying person, but he’s become honest, thoughtful and no longer blinkered – such character development and done so subtly over the course of the book, I was impressed, totally believable. 

There’s also a backstory sitting squarely on top of the actual story that’s large enough to count as a very good twist.  All most excellent.  Also, I enjoyed Clara very much in this story – their banter and the friendly relationship shown here was one of the great joys of the novel.  As were some of the subsidiary characters – the whole library incident and its sad librarian.  This was EXCELLENT.  I’m typing this up a month after finishing it and of all the novels I read of Capaldi – this is the one I keep remembering back to.  Its quirkiness stuck with me.  Read it!  ON KINDLE.)
6.   Doctor Who: Royal Blood, by Una McCormack (BBC 12th Dr Series)
(So – Lancelot and the Knights, searching for the Grail that is really the Glamour [yes, that again].  A medieval city not on Earth that is full of unexpected and out of place technology from the past [not the future].  Courtly intrigue, a coming war.  And into this, pop Clara and the Doctor.  They try and stop the unstoppable war while chasing the Glamour so that it doesn’t fall to the wrong hands, and to stop others whose chase for it alone is proving very destructive. 

I didn’t find this as riveting as the other books I’ve so far read of Capaldi.  But can’t think of a reason particularly why that should be so.  The Doctor was rude and wise; Clara had some good ideas; Mikhail turned out to be quite an interesting character; Bernhardt and Guena were pleasing noble minded…I cared about everyone.  Maybe this novel was a quieter read than the others so far, maybe?  Again, this is another one that would have made a good TV story – very visual, there would have been a lot to see.  ON KINDLE.)
7.   Doctor Who:  Big Bang Generation, by Gary Russell (BBC 12th Dr Series)
(A louche and informal style that some people will love here, and didn’t work for me.  Good to see Bernice, who I seem to like.  Good to hear about the Blinovitch Limitation Effect again.  The subsidiary cast were fun: Jack and Ruth were a lovely couple, one of them half grasshopper; Peter, a dog boy and son of Bernice; Kik the Assassin – all very good and colourful creations.  This one, though another Glamour story, seems to miss the point of the Glamour and its danger entirely – with quite an array of the cast seemingly totally immune to its siren like qualities; which limits its power to be all-scary quite considerable.    It’s also a less serious Glamour instalment than the other books; a faster moving heist story, which I usually like – I’m a fan of heist stories.  Light.  ON KINDLE.)

So that’s it for now.  I thought all these, even the weakest of them, was better than any of the stories Capaldi got given on TV.  Which is a bit sad for the TV series, but very heartening for readers at least.

I’m hoping there will be another Capaldi Special – the BBC do not seem to be pushing books out at the rate for him that they did for any of the other modern Doctors at all.  There’s none forthcoming at the moment.  All I have left to review are the audios released with him so far, and a couple of short stories.  I will add to the next Capaldi Special, the War Doctor – who also has a short story and one novel (so far).  That will be it with the modern Doctors I have particularly enjoyed, and we’ll be back to the Classics next time! 

The Tom Baker Special is up next – as previously promised!