Non-Fiction Book Review – Companion Piece

  • Title: Companion Piece: Women Celebrate the Humans, Aliens, and Tin Dogs of Doctor Who
  • Author: L.M. Myles and Liz Barr (eds.)
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 12/07/2016

Companion Piece is another book in the “Chicks Dig” series (other volumes include: Chicks Dig Time LordsChicks Dig Comics, etc.). This essay collection focuses on the companions in Doctor Who. The essays represent a variety of viewpoints, but often have a Feminist perspective. What I love about Companion Piece is that the essays really get you to think and to re-consider one’s opinions about various eras of Doctor Who and the companions therein. This collection begs the reader to reconsider companions that they may have not really cared for, and to think about how others might view a character – positively. But it also gives the reader unique, thought-provoking essays that will have the astute female reader nodded her head – and not as yet another dismissal of early companions as “screamers” (the “defense” of Barbara Wright is brilliant, as is the essay on Nyssa or “Science Princess FTW”). Companion Piece moves way beyond the common, oft-repeated fannish “wisdom” of long-time male Doctor Who fandom and gives the reader new ideas to consider. It even had me reconsidering my opinions about a couple of companions that I’ve never liked [Mel, Peri].

This essay collection is highly recommended to all Doctor Whofans but also to anyone interested in Feminist film/literary/television critique, as well as anyone who just wants to read passionate, intelligent, essay-writing.

The collection also is overwhelmingly positive, never strident. I loved that.

Again, highly recommended.

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Book Review – CryoBurn

  • Title: CryoBurn
  • Author: Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 12/13/2012

Update: This is a little different than most of my book reviews. It’s from a blog I had on a blogging platform that, for all practical purposes, no longer exists. And it was my first reaction upon finishing the book. But I’m presenting it as is, except for fixing a couple of typos and formatting the post to meet WordPress specifications. Other than this update paragraph, the rest is my original post. Enjoy!

MAJOR SPOILERS

Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold is Lois’s first new Miles Vorkosigan novel in years. And it’s really good, as all her Miles novels — is has a mystery, action, and humor. The book has less humor than other books, however, especially A Civil Campaign, which I would have wondered about until I got to the end — where the book hits you with a kick in the teeth.

MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW

The last line of the novel proper, is a chilling kick in the teeth that both made me want another Miles novel to read immediately — and saying, aloud, “Oh my god, no.” And since it’s at the end of the novel, there’s no time to see how Miles will react.

Miles and Mark, his clone brother, are sitting in the Escobar jump-point station, when they notice a Barrayaran courier in military dress greens. Neither thinks this is all that unusual, and Miles is even silently cursing the courier in a way because he assumes it’s a new mission from Emperor Gregor and he wants to go home to see his wife and child. The courier comes over and greets Miles by saying, “Count Vorkosigan, sir.”

No, seriously, that’s the end — if it hadn’t been for the afterword of 5 drabbles I would have totally freaked.

As it was, I was, seriously, saying “oh, god, no…” aloud to myself. And “Poor Miles” too — and the hardest part, besides the fact that Miles and Mark had been discussing their father the Count just before, was that it was, well, two things — Miles wasn’t being allowed time to mourn his father before being thrust into his shoes, and Miles would be entering yet another completely new phase of his life — because as Count Vorkosigan, he can’t still be Imperial Auditor.

And the thing is that for Miles — Aral wasn’t “Count Vorkosigan”, or “The Viceroy of Sergyar”, or “The Butcher of Komarr”, or Emperor Gregor’s right-hand man, or even a military genius — for Miles, Aral was his father. His Da’. Someone Miles loves.

Not that Miles doesn’t know all of his father’s history (or his mother’s for that matter), but to them they are both his parents first and foremost. I found it so painful to think of the ramifications of just those three little words, by anonymous courier in official Barrayaran dress greens, addressed to Miles — meant his entire life was going to change and he’d lost his father as well.

END SPOILERS

But damn do I want a sequel! I want to see what happens to Miles — and what Gregor does with him now.

For another note. Miles also doesn’t seem to really see himself as Lord Vorkosigan either — but as Miles. Neither does he realise that while he’s going at Warp 10, everyone else is going Warp 1, if that. This is a man, who, attempted to get into the military academy on his home planet by asking that his written exam scores be averaged against his physical scores. Because his written scores would be so HIGH they’d offset his lack of physical prowess due to his his brittle bones and medical problems.

By the way – I read this as an e-book version in EPUB format on my Sony Reader.