Sunday, July 20, 2014

Links and Updates

Whew, I only have time for a quick update today, but rest assured that a lot of good stuff is on its way.

I’m well underway with my Narnia re-read, and the review for Prince Caspian should be up soon – and it's significantly shorter than my previous one for The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, thank goodness. I’ll rewatch the film tonight and hopefully have it posted tomorrow.

Though it’s been out for a while now, I’ve only just sat down and absorbed the latest trailer for Doctor Who season eight, with our clearest look yet at Peter Capaldi in the lead role.

I’ll admit, I’m still a little bit miffed that Capaldi has been stolen from The Musketeers (he was a sublime Cardinal Richelieu), especially since my interest in Doctor Who has been on the wane recently. Too many of Moffat’s party writing tricks have gotten stale, and I can’t say I’m hugely invested in the search for Gallifrey (assuming that’s what the new episodes revolve around, and no I haven’t touched the leaked scripts).

Still, I’m interested in the new dynamic between the Fourteen and his Companion (hopefully an older man will eliminate all traces of UST), so I may watch casually and do a season-long review as opposed to my usual episode-by-episode posts. Like Sherlock and Game of Thrones, this is a show that has to be seen if you want to understand at least 60% of Tumblr's joy, outrage, tears or OTT wailing into the void.


Here's our first glimpse of Elsa in Once Upon a Time, which makes me feel I made the right decision to call it quits at the end of season three. It’s hard to really articulate why adapting Frozen of all things was the straw that broke the camel’s back in regards to me watching this show. Because it feels like blatant pandering and/or bandwagon jumping? Because Frozen only came out last year, putting rest to the insistence that there is any sort of “master plan” going on? Because the show now feels like elaborate cross-over fan-fiction starring your favourite Disney characters as opposed to a subversive look at how familiar fairytale characters would cope in modern times?

I don’t know exactly, but more than anything else this show has tried to pull off, this one really rubs me the wrong way. For those sticking with it, I legitimately hope you enjoy what’s to come, but there'll be no more reviews from me on this front.


If you have a spare ten minutes, then please check out this wonderful little short-story called Little Knife by Leigh Bardugo, a companion story (along with two others) to her novel Ruin and Rising. It’s a fairytale, vaguely Scandinavian/Russian in atmosphere, with all the familiar motifs you’d expect: a beautiful girl, a greedy father, a suitor’s challenge, a threefold trial, and a supernatural helpmate – but with a satisfying twist on expectations.

Here’s a taste:

The river dove through the earth, moving with strength and purpose, leaving caverns and caves and tunnels in its wake. It crossed the length of Ravka, from border to border and back, as the rock tore at its current and the soil drank from its sides. The deeper the river plunged, the weaker it became, but on it went, and when it was at its most frail, little more than a breath of fog in a clump of earth, it felt the coin, small and hard. Whatever face the metal bore had been long worn away by time.

Reading it is like enjoying a refreshing yet spicy hot drink, and it looks like I’ll have to add yet another book to my already dizzying TBR pile.


Yesterday I attended a Bear and Doll Show, which took place in a room full of elderly women engaged in knitting, crocheting or other forms of embroidery, and a hopeful little boy trying to sell pink candy floss.

I thought I’d share some photos as – you have to admit – bears and dolls have a power and appeal that can’t properly be explained. They were the companions of our childhood, our very first friends and confidants; and so as adults they become windows back into the past, vessels of nostalgia and carriers of that mysterious quality of earliest childhood.

Walking around brought back a lot of memories, and so many of the dolls and teddies on display were genuine works of art: tiny little personalities staring up at you with doleful eyes. I snapped some pictures of my favourites:





Finally the Writer’s Festival starts in Christchurch this August, and I’m in the midst of putting together my time-table for the event. There are so many interesting seminars and guest stars, that it’s a bit like being put in front of a buffet table and told you can only fill up one plate.

I’m going to stick to my specific interests, which always has (and probably always will) be Young Adult, Kid Lit, fantasy, sci-fi, history and the supernatural, and luckily there’s a lot to sate my appetite on this score.

If you live in New Zealand, be sure to check out their webpage and if you’re interested, here’s my (current) itinerary:

Saturday 30th August

Creating Worlds: Young Adult Readers (Elizabeth Knox, Laini Taylor, Karen Healey, Tania Roxborogh, Meg Wolitzer)

The Truth About Writing KidLit (Gavin Bishop, Melinda Szymanik, Tania Roxborogh)

Margaret Mahy's The Changeover: 30 Years On (Stuart McKenzie, Elizabeth Knox, Karen Healy)

Sunday 31st August

Supernaturally (Laini Taylor, Elizabeth Knox)

Beyond the Veil: Historical Ghost Stories (Diane Setterfield, Rosetta Allan, Coral Atkinson)

Even more exciting, it looks as though I’ll have the chance to interview Laini Taylor, the author of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy! I plan on refreshing my memory with a re-read of her books, and I’ll let you know more as soon as I can confirm a date/time.

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