Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Evil dust or something

I've got so used to this series of Doctor Who being made up of two-parters I wasn't really prepared for this week's to be a standalone. I'm still not convinced next week's apparently unrelated episode won't turn out to be some sort of sequel after all.

"Sleep No More" by Mark Gatiss, directed by Justin Molotnikov. Spoilers after the cut.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Book review: Lamentation

C.J. Sansom's Lamentation is the latest Shardlake novel, and as becomes quickly apparent the last one to take place during the reign of Henry VIII - it's obvious to everyone that the king has months left to live at best, but nobody can mention this because to do so is treason. Of course most things seem to be treason, or heresy, in the last year of Henry's life: These books have always really backed up the idea that England has never come closer to Stalinist Russia than during Tudor times, and it's a particularly heavy atmosphere in the sixth book. Having changed the official religion for his own ends, with his death approaching Henry seems to be trying to hone in on what his actual beliefs are. To have any religious beliefs other than the king's is treason, but with no clue what the king's beliefs will be from one day to the next anyone toeing the party line one day could find themselves burned at the stake the next day for espousing the exact same tenets - Shardlake himself is regularly being threatened with a heresy accusation by anyone with the slightest grudge against him.

There's a number of story threads going on but the main one is based around a real-life book written by Queen Catherine Parr, The Lamentation of a Sinner, a proclamation of faith the like of which a lot of people wrote at the time. In reality it was published after Henry's death, in the novel the manuscript has been stolen at a time when its contents could have been used against her. The storyline is interesting but as usual what I most enjoy about the novels is the atmosphere of the time, which at this point has become even more threatening than before.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Zygon and done it again

It's all gone a bit dark again chez Doctor Who, although fortunately nowhere near as dark as the David Tennant Specials a few years back.

"The Zygon Invasion" / "The Zygon Inversion" by Peter Harness and Steven Moffat, directed by Daniel Nettheim. Spoilers after the cut.