On The Sofa (6)

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    Anonymous @

    @gunslinger yeah, I’m pretty sure Donna isn’t a timelord  (shame she lost her memory: how awful that scene was -always a heartbreak!) and that the timelords from The Day of The Doctor were placed in a temporary stasis cube worked out by the three doctors and informed by Clara. The various discussions to do with that particular movie are discussed on tDotD thread. It’s a great read actually and I enjoyed re-watching the show broadcast on ABC TV recently.

    I really liked how the Doctor said “I was always going home, just the long way round” because, frankly, as @phaseshift pointed out, who really wants the stuffy TLs back with their bizarre collars and utter bumbling confusion? 🙂

    Anyway, welcome back 😉

    Kindest, puroforFilion (I gotta add that being addicted to Firefly’s Nathan Filion)


    Anonymous @

    @missy ah yes, me too: well, not the Tardis ring tone but the coda (credits) of the Tennant era theme which I personally believe to be the best of all the themes in the reboot or After Gap years.

    I don’t get many looks 🙁 Sadly, a lot of ppl have no idea what that ‘song’ is.

    On Episode 1,  it will be shown on ABCiview at the same time as it’s shown in the UK. So, that’s good -otherwise wait until 7.30 pm on Sunday the 20th and @janetteb with her special jelly babies and me and my custard and fish fingers will be sitting down to watch adorned in fez and T.Baker scarf.  Oh, yes! Geronimo!

    There we’ll be, connected in time but not space and that’s OK.


    janetteB @janetteb


    If you haven’t seen it I heartily recommend watching Dr Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. I think it is on youtube.  Filion plays the arch nemesis in that but warning, plenty of ear worm tunes that you won’t get out of your head for months.

    And before I am hit with a foam brick for veering off topic, on Who related matters, I would like to see a little more of Gallifrey. After all there is more to Gallifreyan society than strutting time lords with silly collars as evidenced in DotD. I suspect that the Doctor won’t re-find Gallifrey for quite some time, not until either Moffat’s final or Capaldi’s final at least. Also once Gallifrey is found it needs to be protected.




    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    Hello All <plops self on the sofa with some fine sweet-meats and an intergalactic slushie or two to share>

    I’ll second your desire for more Gallifrey @janetteb – I like those stuffy old Time Lord collars 🙂

    @bluesqueakpip and @purofilion and others, thanks for mentions whilst I’ve been on hiatus. I’ve got a tonne of catching up to do, I see.

    Looking forward to new adventures in time and space with you all.


    Ania @ania

    Hello Everyone! I hope everyone’s enjoying their day/evening/night.

    @janetteb : I agree, there’s way more to Gallifreyan society than we get to see. I imagine it’s rather class-based: with the President on top, then the high Council, then some sort of nobility and so on. I am most fascinated with the language of Gallifrey. We’ve seen it written, but is it ever spoken?

    janetteB @janetteb

    @ania welcome. If Old High Gallifreyan sounds as beautiful as it looks when written I hope that we do get to hear some. I imagine it might sound rather like Swedish or Welsh.

    DotD and the Prequel provided some hints as to the richness of Gallifryean society and there were no plastic seats in sight. (A reference to the set dressing in Invasion of Time for those not familiar with BG Who.

    Nice to have you back with us again @juniperfish.  I rather liked the Time Lord costumes too. They were suitably O.T. I also liked the costume design for the Gallifreyan people seen in DotD. The images of the children playing reminded me a little of the Hobbit children in LOTR. Perhaps Jackson could direct the “return to Gallifrey” story if there is one.



    Narvin @narvin

    @missy Just buy a really cheap Bluetooth speaker and mount it in your tardis. Then own load the materialization track on you phone and you can play it when ever you want 😉

    ichabod @ichabod

    @missy  — no looks but admiring ones where I’m going today: local SF convention this weekend, “Bubonicon 47”, with the usual, enthusiastic DW contingent present and on the program.  Gotta go, couple of program items listed on my badge —



    ichabod @ichabod

    @purofilion  That’s how I feel about the TL’s — good riddance.  There has to be lots more to Gallifrey than that lot, for the Doctor to give a damn one way or the other whether he ever gets back there or not, seems to me.

    Craig @craig

    Steven Moffat defended the BBC after the recent screening in Edinburgh that some of our lucky, lucky (I’m not jealous at all) ********* members attended. 🙂 There is a write-up here:


    I wouldn’t normally go around saying ‘read the MacTaggart’ because I like you, but this one is epic.

    Don’t read it, it’s better to watch it. Watch it here. It is really good – Armando Iannucci on top form:

    Anonymous @

    @craig I just finished watching the MacTaggart video.  It was great. I was trying not to laugh out loud at some parts because I’m in the same room as my sister, but It’s really good to listen to that.  I’m thinking of going into television myself so it’s good to know what is going on in the business.

    Craig @craig

    @theconsultingdoctor Glad you liked it. Most of the MacTaggart lectures are done by TV execs and are pretty dull, but there are some goodies as well. If you liked that one you may like the one Kevin Spacey did two years ago. Even if just for his Jack Lemmon impressions and the story of his career.

    Anonymous @

    @juniperfish you’re back!! Who-hoo!

    I was looking over the 2701 members the other day and noticed you’d been on leave for 5 months nearly?

    Glad to see you’re back. Look,  I have no huge issues with the TimeLords but the collars in, what was it? The End of Time and the mad woman with her tapping fingernail was slightly nuts. But, never mind.

    Right, off to sort a problem…..

    Kindest, puro (big grin)

    Anonymous @

    right, been to the Graun blog and sorted those twits out….

    @janetteb I defer to your grace (love the foam brick: I am never throwing no brick at you, hon!). I understand what you mean about the Gallifreyans: the ordinary (though that could also be a bad word), the real and the compassionate. Quite right too: they’re not all bad. Not bad at all. The stories though? Some of those in the 70s and 80s showed the TLs to be a bit boggy headed.

    Ania @ania

    Hello everyone! I must admit, I’m kind of jealous to those who got to see episode one series 9 in theaters! But I’m glad everyone enjoyed it, as it was probably really awesome.

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>@purofelion and @gunslinger :  I don’t think Donna is a Time Lord, I think she just got the memories, which were too much for her human brain. It seemed obvious to me for a while that time Lord brings on more developed than human brains, as much as I love to admit it. @purofelion :  The visionary was a bit mad, I thought she was interesting. There’s this theory that  she is one of the sisters of Karn  though, and I reckon that they did something to her that made her go all crazy.   It’s one of my more far-fetched  theories  but yeah. There you have it</p>

    Ania @ania

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>@purofelion :  that previous post was for you, in response to your visionary comment. I just can’t spell! :)</p>

    Anonymous @

    @craig Thank you.  I will definitely watch it when I get a chance.

    Anonymous @

    @craig @janetteb

    Funny, that when I watch Iannucci in this lecture, I start crying and sobbing. Excellent words delivered by delicious people often have that effect. My family, however, were punching the air, my brother, and, particularly the 13 year old Boy Ilion sat and watched it in utter, still, silence.

    He understood it.

    I think there’s a future for our creative, intelligent, clever-thinking children who recognise that many political experts and polling trolls are beautifully sartorial but basically cardboard cut out liars.

    (We saw Flubber too and Boy ilion was also 3! Thankfully, it was a free showing for mums and kids).

    Everyone, do watch the link @craig provided even if you don’t know who Armando Iannucci is. Well worth a watch followed by a vigorous home discussion. I particularly enjoyed the chat we had following Iannucci’s reference to the political statement “I only know what I believe. My instinct is right.” He lambasted those who fail to seek evidence and form conclusions based on that. “I only know what I believe.” So flawed. How risible, medieval and frightening. We need to fight that with determination and rigour.

    It reminds me of people who believe that it’s acceptable to say “such and such an episode of Doctor Who or Buffy or Sherlock was dumb. It was just dumb.” We have to fight that. And fight it here. We need to ask for evidence, to expect people to deliver brief, decent, cogent explanations as to why “it’s dumb” because ARSE is not acceptable -by anyone; old or new. We can rise above such vivid sarcasm and thoughtless, crassness.

    Having said that, I love this big, colourful Forum which magnanimously accepts everyone and embraces all our stories, here, in the States and Canada. Whilst “not one newspaper can tell the whole story” (Iannucci), this Forum attempts to share all our ideas, stories and loves -of old Who, post Gap Who or fan fiction (ta to @DenValdron!).

    Thanks to our emperor and all our mods -as well as those members who I would never have known had it not been for this authentic, jaunty destination. It might be small, but it’s big in heart, upholstered in living colour, and successfully embracing all our large personalities and ambitions. It connects us because of a mutual love for a little black and white programme starring an old man, a police box, cardboard walls, two teachers and a teenager.

    “For all its faults it’s a pretty good alignment of the planets”

    Kindest, puro


    Anonymous @


    yes, I agree with you. I don’t think Donna was a TL,  and as to the visionary -I just felt she was over the top -but then visionaries have that necessary quality in that they’re almost supposed to be exactly like that! 🙂

    I actually liked The End of Time even though it veered towards a self congratulatory flavour. I can say, though, that I miss Bernard Cribbins a lot -Donna’s Dad. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful if he had been a companion traveller for just a little longer?

    That would have made my day. Hmm. A Sister of Karn. I’ve not come across that theory but I like it.

    Kindest, puro (I think I might change my handle to just puro -it might be easier to spell for others. On other fora, I also use purofilion and it confuses even me!)

    lisa @lisa

    I have had a thought about the sunglasses in the trailer and since its a theory
    but not a spoiler I’m posting here. In the episode ‘Girl who waited’ Rory wore
    glasses so that the Doctor could see what was happening from inside the Tardis.
    Also, Michelle Gomez hinted that we may again see the same location. So, what
    I am thinking is that the Doctor goes back to that place for some reason and
    wears the glasses so that Clara or someone else can be watching him moving around
    that place from the Tardis just like in the ‘Girl Who waited’ episode? Maybe?

    Missy @missy


    Oh how I envy you. Oh to get close to the Tardis. *sighs heavily*



    Missy @missy


    Many thanks for the info puro.

    I shall be ready with my leek soup, animal shaped fruit gums for afters and breath bated.

    Frankly I like all music from DW, but Rose’s theme, Gallifrey, Mat Smith’s theme and this Doctor’s theme are my favourites.

    21 sleeps.


    Missy @missy


    Many thanks Narvin. Thing is, I understand the first part of your message, but not the last part. *frowns*

    The Bluetooth thingy I could manage, but my OH’s mobile is basic, we can’t download anything on to it.

    Oh well, thank you anyway.


    Missy @missy


    Australia IS the other side of the planet. *chuckle*

    Only joking.



    IndigoMoose @indigomoose

    The logic-lover in me has come up with a time-line for the Master. It allows Pratt and Beevers to play the 13th iteration and Ainley to be a body that cannot regenerate.

    First, there is Delgado. Second, there is Ainley. This version of the Master is a time-lord, not a Trakenite. (Later, the near-death Master will choose Tremas’s body because of its close resemblance to a former iteration.) An unknown number of regenerations later, there is Jacobi, who flees the Time War.  The only official regeneration we have seen is from Jacobi to Simms. It is implied that Simms could regenerate, but chose not to, then was forced back to life. Simms seems to re-enter the Time War. It is here that he joins war effort and does the various crimes against Daleks for which he is executed. Tripple is after Simms, then the weird snake thing, then a human body take-over makes the Master played by Roberts. Roberts falls into the engine of the TARDIS. The 8th Doctor travels to Gallifrey, where the TARDIS is repaired and prepped for battle. Durring this repair, the Master escapes the TARDIS engine, somehow reassembling himself as a Time-Lord with at least two (possibly 4) regenerations left. Alternatively, he could take over the body of one of the TARDIS mechanics, giving him as many regenerations as that body had left. At some point, this allows the Master to later regenerate into Missy, and later his 13th self.

    Ania @ania

    @indigomoose : I like the theory, but what I’m not sure I can understand is how Missy comes back in Series 9… Am I missing something here? Because I’m pretty sure she got… Exploded. Unless, as I believe she’s got some kind of transmat, along with her mind backed up, rather like River, in the Nethersphere. So where does the thirteenth come in if Missy’s still not done?

    IndigoMoose @indigomoose

    @ania   We have seen the Master survive so much worse than a lasor blast. And, if my theory is anything close to correct, Missy is the 8th regeneration, so there is plenty of story-weaving wiggle room.

    Narvin @narvin

    @missy Well if you have a phone or other device that has Bluetooth you can always stream the materialization sound from you tube or from the clips on the BBC website. If you want I’ll send you a link. No download needed 🙂

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @craig    Thanks for posting the link to the Iannucci speech. He was at times intelligent, emotional, and hilarious- in short, fantastic. If I could, I would warn the British not to underestimate what they’ve got, and cheap themselves out of a fabulous cultural resource. I have watched as the CBC here in Canada, which is funded directly through government, has had its funding cut and cut over the years, forcing it into a race to the bottom that has resulted in a decimation of the institution with which I grew up. Once advertising was introduced onto the TV network (years ago now), programming became a popularity contest based around hockey and reruns of American programming. Gone was much of the uniquely Canadian content that made it special, and so people can legitimately say, “Why are my tax dollars supporting this network, when lots of it is crap and the private networks do better?” (Because of course the private networks can afford to do it better than the sadly denuded, underfunded CBC.)  Now radio is going the same way, with many of the thoughtful programs that linked the nation gone, and most of the music programming devolved to generic “singer-songwriter” pop that, while sometimes worthwhile, is a drop in the bucket of what is really going on in this country musically. If one wants something more, of course, one can go to the various internet-only channels the CBC now provides, that stream various types of music free of hosts, commentary, or depth.

    The fact is that this governmental fear of individual thought and criticism has been going on here for a long time, and it predates our current Conservative government. However, the fear of intellect and creativity that has arrived more recently seems to be spilling over from Tea-Party thinking in the US. Not to mention the notion that the free market will provide everything a society needs, which is ludicrous when applied to many areas of life. In this case, private broadcasters plan programming not just on the number of viewers it will get, but the number of viewers from the correct demographic, as that is what their advertisers pay for. Good luck to you finding something to watch if you aren’t part of that demographic.

    Sorry for rambling on, but you have something wonderful that we in Canada have thrown away, and I hate to see the same mistake being made in Britain! Rant complete; as you were.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @missy   No Tardis in sight at the con — except on t-shirts and the like — but it was fun anyway.  I did a couple of panels (one on SF/F cliches we’d like to see done away with for good, like the robots desperate to become human, the aliens who *all* fall hard for Beethoven and/or punk rock even though their entire sensory system is supposedly completely different than ours, and deserted alien ships that humans somehow know *exactly* how to operate as soon as they step onto the “bridge” (*must* every ship have a bridge, for starters?).  Then one on political systems (theirs and ours) among supernaturals (vampires, werewolves, everybody but those dumb damn zombies), which got serious because of the attempted take-over of the Hugo Awards a couple of weeks ago by a reactionary splinter group of SF authors (the “Sad” or “Rabid Puppies”), so that was fun and interesting as well.  Saw some old friends, chatted a bit, came home to sleep a lot.

    And there goes another year.

    Oh, yes, a young feminist firebrand, Catherine Valente, threw off a random sneer at DW, faulting it for what I guess was the departure of Donna the companion — “. . . and the woman who acquires so much of the lead man’s mental powers that it’s going to drive her crazy, so they just take it all back so she can go on living  her limited life” or something like that.  I didn’t bother trying to discuss it — the whole discussion was in full swing and I didn’t want to de-rail it, and she was one of the GOH’s, so there was no way to have a quiet conversation somewhere — but I’m sure she’s one of the STFUmoffat gang, so no point.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @arbutus  Too sad, but that’s f**king capitalism for you — wherever the god damn super rich vultures see something that people are enjoying, they swoop in and grab that thing, suck all the quality out of it (quality is expensive, after all; junk is cheaper to make), and then sell it back to people under a new label and double the price.  Quality for us is converted into more money for them.  It’s the economics of evil elves: they replace the gold of quality with changelings made of shit, salting away the difference in value in untaxable bank accounts off-shore, or in the next big project designed to obliterate the next quality target for profit.

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @ichabod    On the subject of human-alien communications of the non cliché variety, have you read China Mieville’s Embassy Town?   In TV and film SF it is obviously easier to opt for humanoid aliens and a compatible form of oral communication, extending even to the hardwired grammar; but I find it strange how relatively rarely, even in novels, the possibilities and difficulties of communication between alien species with radically different evolutionary histories, different biology and different nervous systems have been explored.  I suppose that it is just more convenient to presuppose convergent evolution.

    As for the young feminist firebrand, sigh!  Perhaps I was especially privileged, in that I grew up in an environment in which I had no reason to doubt – and was in fact encouraged – to believe that I could be and do anything I wanted, provided that I had the necessary innate ability and was prepared to work for it, so it is not for me to criticise those who have had to struggle. But when it comes to people demanding that drama and other works of fiction should only portray the world according to their view of what it, ideally, should be, I draw the line.  In my view, the more art (in its broadest sense) is didactic, the less it is persuasive.

    @arbutus   I am truly fearful for the future of the BBC, and wish, without much hope, that the views of Ianucci and others like him will have some impact on the decisions made.  I have signed petitions and submitted my opinion at every opportunity, but I get the impression that our current government is so thoroughly insulated inside its little bubble, and so thoroughly impervious to anything other than its own ideological beliefs and the interests of those who back it, that the decisions have already been made.  I try not to be pessimistic, but it is difficult not to feel that we are governed by people who are intent on jettisoning pretty much everything this nation has which we can be reasonably proud of.

    Anonymous @


    Valente? Oh Gawd, I’ve heard of her! How is that possible. Some staffers were chatting about books and feminism and her name came up. I just sat there eating my sandwich and looking knowledgeable.

    @mudlark The UK is in a parlous state. I feel this about our own country too. All achievements post Whitlam in ’73-74 wiped out and replaced by a benign labour government intent on mining, lifting their wages and actually lowering taxes to please the Right Faction of Labour.

    If you give people what they think they want (less taxes) they end up hating you anyway. There’s always more to cut and snip.

    I need a jet pack. But where could it possibly take me? Indonesia?

    janetteB @janetteb

    @arbutus. I fear that our public broadcaster is going the way of Canada’s. You are absolutely correct about the limitations of private enterprise in the public domain. Unfortunately governments too have adapted the attitude of private enterprise forgetting their true role. Many years ago I was listening to a former P.M of New Zealand talking about axing local bus services because they were not profitable, back when “economic rationalism” was the favourite buzz word. I wondered what became of the people in those small communities who relied upon those services. It is the responsibility of governments to care for their populations, not to run the country for profit. To go back further the rationale for nationalising the railways in Britain was that private companies could not be trusted with public welfare as their only motivation is profit. The number of rail accidents dropped after nationalisation and increased again when the system was privatised a few decades ago.

    @ichabod You summed up capitalism very well there.

    @Purofilion I have recently been reading up on Andrew Fisher P,M in 1914 and one of our greatest reformers and it made me realise the degree to which we are now going backwards. Even our best governments are fighting a rear guard action. The ALP is in retreat even when in power and yes the right are very much to blame. Ergh.

    And now I am totally off topic. May be this post should be shunted off to the Cloven Hoof. @craig?






    lisa @lisa

    @Jannete @arbutus


    I just recently saw this and I thought to share it because it shows how horribly badly things
    can go when your government wants to go the very reckless for profit route. Everything that
    I read about China lately is all about how it is imploding. I take it as a warning about what
    happens when we let ourselves become exploited. It begins in little chips and tears before turning
    into drastic moves. The Tories going after the BBC would be I think like the ‘Teabillies’ taking
    down PBS cause they don’t approve of the budget that produces ‘progressive’ shows from the UK like

    lisa @lisa

    @janetteb Yeah – I think we might be posting off topic in the wrong spot maybe ???

    Anonymous @


    indeed Fisher – a great reformer.

    I am in the minority where I work (even though I’m on leave currently). There they say “user pays” and if you’ re ill -you pay, if you want an education, you should pay. If you need to go into a ‘home’ when you’re aged, then you pay.

    It’s almost fascist in nature -the germination of that belief, I think.

    I am a  firm believer in large government (after all, it’s us, the government) and high taxes. People don’t understand that high taxes can produce excellent societies where everyone is given quality health care, education, aged care etc….

    Of course, taxes can be poorly spent and I guess that’s where we, as an educated group of people, come in. We need to be prepared to speak to our ‘government’ directly. But I know so many people who, with almost precious glee, say, “Oh, I can’t be bothered with the news, with politics, it’s beyond me. All I know is I hate pollies and they’re all stoopid.”

    Hmm. It is a damned worry.  To the Cloven Hoof @janetteb – for a G&T or a beer? It’s hot today….. apparently.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @janetteb  Thanks, but I’m just rephrasing the Russian guy — Kropotkin? — who said it so much more succinctly:  “Property is theft”.  He was right then, and he’s still right, for all the good it will ever do.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @Purofilion not hot here today. Winter is clinging on this year down here. So maybe a nice spicy mulled wine for me. I lived for fourteen months in Sweden and owe my life to Swedish health care. WE were there when the centre right government got in so sadly I can only talk about what Sweden was not is. They set about immediately dismantling the “welfare state” and of course all in the interests of lowering taxes. What people don’t realise is that lowering taxes is theft, a cover for taking away government services and selling of our resources.

    @ichabod Kropotkin plagiarised that from Robin Hood. There I managed to bring Dr Who into the conversation, something I am accused of doing all the time by the three recalcitrants.



    ichabod @ichabod

    @mudlark  I haven’t read the Mieville book — definitely should.  I got well into some of the later work before I realized that it really isn’t for me — way to baroque in ways that just turn me off (too many fiddly bits — I go more for stripped down, myself; it’s probably that damned impatience again!).

    As for the STFU feminists, hell, maybe they’re mostly pretty young — or maybe even more pissed off than my cohort was back in the seventies because of how backward and under attack everything is now.  I just hate to see them passing up really good work because somebody in their outfit poked some holes in it (that are to a great extent only holes at all from a narrow, squinty, outraged point of view that short-circuits serious thinking hard and for yourself).  I believe Valente began writing with SF/supernatural romances, which she might have to defend pretty hard in gender terms if they were criticized this way now . . .

    In any event, at least she has the option of growing up sufficiently to look back and see what sort of deeper-level work her one-size-fits-all prejudices cost her — or, on the other hand, not.


    ichabod @ichabod

    @janetteb Deftly done indeed!  I always thought it best not to trust that Kropotkin — I bet *he* had property (I do, so I know the feeling of knowing better but being unable, for many reasons all as good as any, to do damn all about it).  Such is life here on the physical plane — impossible to perfect, or even fix up a bit, it seems.  Even the Doctor cannot beat entropy, and I ain’t him.

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @ichabod    To some extent I agree with your opinion of Mieville’s novels – a little too convoluted and baroque in style, although I don’t necessarily find such qualities, or indeed the length of a book, to be a barrier to enjoyment provided that the work draws me in and engages my full attention. So maybe the problem for me is that I am not entirely on his wavelength.

    Embassytown is, however, somewhat different from other books of his that I have read, and I would recommend that you at least try it.

    @lisa  I saw that Kos diary yesterday and went so far as to follow the link to the original Truth-out article.  Very worrying in all kinds of ways.

    And to change the subject again; the Guardian Art critic Jonathan Jones has started a storm today with short article in which he starts by saying that he has never read any novel by Terry Prachett and never intends to, before going on to dismiss the entire oeuvre as populist potboilers of no literary merit  🙄

    ichabod @ichabod

    @mudlark  Thanks for the recce; I’ll check it out.  Mieville is brilliant, passionately political, and well worth his reputation, so it’s bound to be worth a try.  If Embassytown is an early work of his, it might be more attractive to me; I think Mieville, an uncommon writer, has followed the common path of writing bigger, longer, more baroque books with time, a trend that generally puts me off.  It always feels like padding a story and showing off to me, although taking on more complex issues is a perfectly valid reason to write that way, so I’m just speaking from my own limitations here.  But I’ve always been (or anyway seen myself as) a writer about the glories of the garden, not a writer about the intricate beauties of the stained-glass door through which one sees the garden.

    Jonathan Jones sounds like an agent provocateur as well as a bloody idiot, ‘scuse my French.  How old is this guy?  Not a youngster, I’ll bet, since foolish as young people can be, there really is no fool like an old fool.  He only deprives himself of joy, while spray-painting himself with concrete  in public.

    Whisht @whisht

    Hi @ichabod and @mudlark – I’ve not read Embassytown but I have read Mieville’s ‘Perdido Street Station’ and ‘The City and the City’.

    In terms of a “baroque style” I think I know what you mean, but it may apply to the earlier rather than later works.
    I’ve only read the two books but Perdido Street Station (2000) is a sprawling mess of a novel that had me turning pages throughout (even if it dragged somewhat and maybe needed editing to something tighter). I say “mess” and “page turning” deliberately. Some parts were beautiful (two of the characters’ relationship was beautifully written I thought) and other parts…. went on between the good bits!

    The City and The City (2009) however felt a lot tighter and less ‘baroque’ (if I’m understanding your reference properly).

    Its been a long while since I read either, so hope I’m not wildly mis-remembering(!) and hope I haven’t muddied any waters!

    (if I have I’ll stick to painful humour and musical asides! 🙂 )

    ichabod @ichabod

    @whisht  Oh, no apologies, please!  You are addressing a champion forgetter here, so no complaints either way — though humor and music are surely always welcome (I read “painful humor” as laughing til your belly aches).

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @ichabod    Agent provocateur is an apt term for Jonathan Jones, since that seems to be the effect he often has on readers.  I am not sure whether he adopts a contrarian pose because he gets a kick out of winding people up, or whether it is a kind of ‘everyone is out of step except me’ pretentious arrogance.  And you are right, he is not young.  Judging by his photograph I would guess his age as mid fifties at least.

    @whisht   Your recollection of Perdido Street Station is similar to mine.  I found it mesmerising and haunting on one level, but also exasperating at times.  I was less impressed by The Scar and Iron Council, but Embassytown which explores some interesting ideas about language and communication is different again, being more tightly constructed and closer to straight science fiction. I have a copy of The City and the City and keep meaning to read it, but haven’t yet got round to doing so.

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @mudlark  @ichabod

    Goodness. I had bookmarked the (mercifully brief) Guardian piece by Jonathan Jones, and just finally got around to reading it. I’m sorry, but what an idiot! Firstly, how do you make such a judgement about a writer whom you admittedly have never read??? Secondly, this whole attitude, and the need to assign some kind of cultural value to books as if it were a competition, drive me mad, and is why I have recently fallen well away from the kind of reading that I used to do. Who decides?

    I had written about three times this much, and looking at it again realized that I’m preaching to the converted so why use up the pixels? However, I am reminded of the University of Toronto professor who, a couple of years ago, stated that he never taught novels by female, Canadian, or Chinese writers  in his courses because he didn’t like them enough. He said he only taught novels by “serious, heterosexual guys”. Seriously. There was of course a massive tempest in a teapot about it for awhile, because it was so bizarre. I wonder what people like this expect to happen when they make these kind of remarks.

    Anonymous @


    That would be Proudhon? I don’t think he was Russian.


    Yes, J. Jones. Your fellow Canadian, the gentle Ralston -Saul has quite a lot to ‘say’ about Jones and his “empty bigotry…. vile words matching a vile person”.

    This from a speech on a visit to Australia during the Sydney Writer’s Festival about 3 years ago.

    @mudlark I must check out Mieville’s work.

    There is some encouragement from the good readers on this Forum (and they’re writers too) that I’m definitely tempted. I love to read but lately I’ve found the 600 page epic a turn off. Not sure if this is a combo of illness, age, lack of patience and the nature of social media and telly which is often about quick sound bytes rather than an in -depth, luxurious assignation between reader and writer.

    One enters that world and is so completely enveloped in this construction that leaving earthly realities behind is essential -and ultimately rewarding.


    Missy @missy


    Thank you.



    ichabod @ichabod

    @purofilion  Might be Proudhon, might not be; wouldn’t want to jump to conclusions . . . Darned if I know!  I’ll look it up sometime *when I’m not catching a god damned cold*!  I think I picked up a cold at the convention — will go tend to trying to fight it off, but I think it’s already got a solid hold.

    I won’t do 600.  If you can’t tell your story in half of that length, IMO you are *probably* a pretentious, self-indulgent blatherer in love with the “sound” of your own words and in desperate want of a strict, sharp-minded editor ruthlessly wielding a red pencil.  Or even a really good author full of wonderful ideas that get buried in unnecessary floods of repetition, side-issues, explanation, etc.  As for me as a reader, why slog through one 600 page tome, when in the same limited supply of time I could read 4-6 books full of different ideas and perceptions, by authors with a better sense of how to use language to communicate rather than impress?  Or maybe I’m just too impatient . . .

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