Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor Who, you gave more than I knew

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It’s been many years, but I think it needs said as some people gave his performance a little roasting, myself included. Way back in 2005 I remember with some glee when the Doctor Who series returned and while somewhat skeptical I grew to enjoy Christopher Eccleston’s portrayal of Doctor.  While surprised when he choose not to keep going as the Doctor, I looked forward to a new actor taking over.  David Tennant for me is The Doctor, making the series come alive and keeping me coming back.

However, this week one of the local TV stations has started showing the 2005 series from scratch and with hindsight I can honestly say Eccleston was truly a great Doctor (unlike McGann – sorry Paul, but that was just an atrocious attempt at a revival), and while each of them added their own twist, I had initially dismissed his input.

Many may still be in the mindset that due to his short time in the role he didn’t leave his stamp, and to this all I can say is do yourself a favor and rewatch the “first” series again, and I mean really rewatch.  It amazes me that I never saw it, Eccleston brought real emotion and flare to the character in the time he play the character. Here was a Doctor free to show real sadness and cry, to laugh at himself and the crisis around him, just consider that infectious grin filling the room like the best space borne virus. He was madcap, wacky and wonderfully human and alien.

It can simply be best said as, thank you for starting the series once more Christopher, you were simply fantastic.

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Release Day – Shadow Stalker Bound by Fate Ep 7 by Renee Scattergood

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Auren escapes the Dark Isle to find things are worse on Appolia than she imagined. Very few have survived the invasion of the Galvadi Empire, and even her best friend, Jade, has gone missing.

While attempting a rescue, Auren is captured and faces abuse and torture at the hands of her enemies. She knows as long as she can hide her true identity, she might succeed in helping the Coalition, but one of the Galvadi knows she is the delohi-saqu. For his silence, she is forced to pay the ultimate price.

You can purchase Bound by Fate direct from smashword, here.  If sign up for Renee’s mailing list you will receive Bound by Fate free. Sign up today http://reneescattergood.com/subscribe-today/

bratpicRenee Scattergood, author of the high fantasy series, Shadow Stalker, lives in Australia with her husband and daughter. Aside from writing, she loves reading (Fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter.

You can also read a review of Shadow Stalker Bound by Fate here

If you wish to learn more about Renee, you can by visiting her site http://reneescattergood.com as well as read my interview with Renee here.

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Book Review – Shadow Stalker Bound by Fate Ep 7 by Renee Scattergood

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In Bound by Fate we return to Auren recently escaped from the Dark Isle, alone and forging ahead on her mission to rescue her father. Along the way she discovers Jade, her closest friend has been captured during the Galvadi invasion and sent to a reconciliation camp.  

Afraid but resolved, she knows she must try and rescue her. Using the skills taught to her by Kado, Auren will do all she can to help Jade and her father.

Surviving brainwashing and torture, Aurens emotions soon become conflicted when her mother’s prophecy arrives. Her only choices, death or continued pain.

Bound by Fate provides the reader a new strong emotional theme to the latest tale of Auren.   The character is now parted from the comfort zone of Kado after her escape from the Dark Isle.  There are feelings of doubt and indecision, and courage as Auren begins her campaign. Things are moving fast and the pace of the story is good as Auren struggles with the choices left to her.  This emotional undercurrent is strong and reads well in this episode.

An important element of the story for me focuses around the capture of Auren and the trails and torture she faces at the hands of the Galvadi.  I think it’s hard to get these scenes right as sometimes it can be overdone by the author, concentrating in one area over another.  In Bound by Fate the torture and indoctrination elements came across well, instead of focusing on the purely physical elements, the emotional and physiological aspects were treated with equal importance and because of this the story reads better.

As they say in show business, always leave them wanting more and as Bound by Fate finishes this is exactly the case.  No spoilers, sorry, but the position Auren finds herself in is a strange and dangerous one, resulting in dramatic developments .  I like a good cliffhanger and this is a good cliffhanger, you get the feeling Auren isn’t as sure of herself as she would like herself to be, her courage is still strong but factors outside her control could change everything.

A great addition to the series.

If you wish to learn more about Renee, you can by visiting her site http://reneescattergood.com as well as read my interview with Renee here.

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Book Review – Battleaxe ’20th Anniversary Edition’ by Sara Douglass

My review of Battleaxe ’20th Anniversary Edition’ by Sara Douglass 9/10

http://www.fantasybookreview.co.uk/Sara-Douglass/Battleaxe.html

How do you review a classic that has preserved for 20 years? The simple answer is you do not. You remind people of the quality of the work and the sense of the story that Sara Douglass gave us in the first of the Axis Trilogy. Battleaxe was and is still a steadfast epic fantasy novel, no less true now than when it was first released.

Battleaxe provides everything a fantasy reader needs and wants, evil seen and unseen, magic in a variety of forms both overt and obscure, a diversity of races, conflict open and hidden plus a love story, riddled with longing and obstacles.

The story follows a traditional pattern, hero unsure of his path on a journey of self discovery, a destroyer whose own hated does not just consume himself but everything around him, friends and betrayers walk a course of ruin or salvation in a land gripped by winter and madness. You can not really ask for more.

When my review copy arrived, courtesy of the wonderful Jess at Harper Collins AU, I really loved the look of the book, it was simple but elegant, a perfect cover for the 20th Anniversary Edition. Sitting my old, well read paperback (with its image of Axis raising his axe high in the air and Gorgrael behind him) side by side with the new edition I would be hard pressed to say which I liked better… perhaps my original but it does get sentimental bonus points.

I have been a fan of Sara Douglass’s work for many years and have read the Axis trilogy quite a few times. It has been a few years since my last read and even now, after all this time and multiple reads, it is still a magnificent tale written wonderfully. There is a simplicity of the characters and world that captivates and shines. Not simple in words, but clear in vision and promise to the reader. Douglass delivers strong emotion from all the characters as they evolve and take on the challenges placed before them. Pride, wrath, love, joy, trust and devolution, each one jumping off the page making you connect with each personality in your own way. Next to Axis, Belial is my favourite character.

There is a reason classics are timeless – they energise and captivate, bringing the reader back for more, time and time again. Sara Douglass’s Battleaxe sits up there with the great epic fantasy books of the last 30 to 40 years, easily holding its own against the likes of Tad Williams’ The Dragonbone Chair, Terry Brooks’ The Sword of Shannara and Raymond Feist’s Magician. If you have never read Battleaxe, do so now, you won’t regret the decision.

For even more reviews, author interviews and biographies, check out the site Fantasy Book Review.

My own little attempt at a tribute to Terry Pratchett’s passing.

My own little attempt at a tribute to Terry Pratchett’s passing.

http://www.fantasybookreview.co.uk/blog/2015/03/14/a-tribute-to-sir-terry-pratchett/

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A Journey Home

A sombre light shines as Terry follows DEATH along grey sands. They do not speak; all that needs to be said has been said. Time passes and they come to a simple door of unvarnished wood and stop.

Terry turns to DEATH, “What is on the other side,”

MANY HAVE ASKED THAT QUESTION

Terry smiles, “I know, I wrote those words.”

Death reaches out places his skeletal hand on the door and gentle pushes.

I AM PERMITTED TO ANSWER

The door silently swings open, revealing a great expanse of blackness and flickering lights, contrasting against the greyness around them.  One light brighter than the others moves towards them, or they are drawn to it.

Turning Terry looks up into the face of DEATH who raises his hand and places it on his shoulder.  A smile, without skin or muscle spreads across DEATH’s face, reaching up to the sparkling blue stars that are his eyes.

Warm sunlight shines onto the sands as the view through the door changes, showing a sun hanging over of an impossible, foolish and incredible world.  Mountains, Seas and Cities are bathed in its light. Heroes, Villains and every wondrous thing in-between thrive and live in a world supported by four giant elephants swimming though the universe on the shell of an immense turtle.

Clouds rush by as they draw closer to a City, called by some the greatest City in the multiverse, a river winding its lumpish way through its heart.  A smell unique, foreign, but familiar rides through the door, strong, brazen and shameless in its own glory.

“Does it always smell like this?”

I AM TOLD ONLY ON THE GOOD DAYS

The scene in the doorway settles on a man, dressed head to toe in black.  He faces away from them looking out of a large window in an oblong office.  A small dog sleeps in a basket sleeps beside a desk.

“Gentlemen, please come in,” he calls out without turning.

YOU HAVE AN APPOINTMENT
Together Terry and DEATH step into the room, as the door closes behind them.

DEATH nods to the Patrician, who inclines his head, “Please do not let me detain you,”

The stars that are DEATH’s eyes flare.

Reaching into his robs he removes a gold hourglass and raises it to his face.  The glass of the timer is black and only the sound of sand running can be heard.

BLACK ON BLACK, BUT DEATH COMES TO ALL

The Patrician walks to his desk and sits, placing his elbows on the desk steepling his fingers, “Yes, I am told that is usually the case,”

Placing the hourglass back into his rob DEATH turns to Terry.

DO YOU LIKE CURRYS, MR PRATCHETT?

“Terry smiles, “Yes, I do.”

I AM AT YOUR DISPOSAL NIGHT AND DAY.

DEATH inclines his head and his gone.

Removing his hat Terry turns to the Patrician, who smiles and offers the chair facing his, “Welcome home Mr Pratchett.  May I offer you the second best seat?

A Little Sombre Poetry

Life, Ideas & Perfection

Every perfect idea should be wrecked, perfection is an absolute.

If the idea does not evolve, it becomes imperfect.

Life is harmony and discord,

its in this imperfection of life that true beauty can be found,

raw, chaotic, majestic.

Each storm that destroys, each sea that swells

ravages and preys.

If the old stands strong and proud, the new will fall

never to learn, grasp and rise on their own.

Beauty is never free, it is closed and frozen,

Disorder within order, elegant, timeless and unrestrained.

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