June Books

This month’s tally helpfully inflated by a few graphic novels, which are generally quicker to read.

Non-fiction 5 (YTD 32)
Robert A. Heinlein in Dialogue With His Century, Vol 1, by William H. Patterson Jr
The Business of Science Fiction, by Mike Resnick and Barry N. Malzberg
The Complete Book of Thunderbirds, by Chris Bentley
The Spanish Inquisition: A History, by Joseph Pérez
Questioning the Millennium, by Stephen Jay Gould

Fiction (non-sf) 4 (YTD 25)
Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens
Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood
Hunger, by Knut Hamsun
Fleshmarket Close, by Ian Rankin

sf (non-Who) 8 (YTD 37)
Blackout, by Connie Willis
China Mountain Zhang, by Maureen F. McHugh
Mythago Wood, by Robert Holdstock
Man Plus, by Frederik Pohl
Irish Magic II, by Morgan Llewellyn, Barbara Samuel, Susan Wiggs and Roberta Gellis
Monster Hunter International, by Larry Correia
When Santa Fell To Earth, by Cornelia Funke
Chasm City, by Alastair Reynolds

Doctor Who, Torchwood, Sarah Jane 7 (YTD 40)
The Taint, by Michael Collier
Something in the Water, by Trevor Baxendale
Short Trips and Side Steps, edited by Stephen Cole and Jacqueline Rayner
Wraith World, by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright
The Doctor Who Annual 1985
The Left-Handed Hummingbird, by Kate Orman
Demontage, by Justin Richards

Comics 7 (YTD 15)
Fables Vol 14: Witches, by Bill Willingham
The Unwritten, Volume 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity, by Mike Carey
The Unwritten Vol 2: Inside Man, by Mike Carey
Grandville Mon Amour, by Bryan Talbot
Schlock Mercenary: Massively Parallel, by Howard Tayler
Autonomes, by Santi-Bucquoy
Eerste Keer, by Sibylline

~9,100 pages (YTD ~42,400)
8/31 (YTD 27/149) by women (Atwood, Willis, McHugh, the Irish Magic II authors, Funke, Rayner, Orman, Sibylline)
0/31 (YTD 9/149) by PoC
Owned for more than a year: 14 (Man Plus [reread], The Complete Book of Thunderbirds, Irish Magic II, When Santa Fell to Earth, Demontage, The Taint, History of the Spanish Inquisition, The Left-handed Hummingbird, Fleshmarket Close, Great Expectations [reread], Eerste Keer, Short Trips and Side Steps, Questioning the Millennium, China Mountain Zhang)
Also reread: None (YTD 20/149)

Programmed reads: 16 from 15 lists
a) History of the Spanish Inquisition (non-fiction in order of entry)
c) Questioning the Millennium (non-fiction by popularity on LJ poll)
d) Hunger (non-genre books by entry order)
g) Irish Magic II (sf anthologies in order of entry)
h) When Santa Fell To Earth (sf non-anthologies in order of entry)
i) Chasm City (sf in order of LT popularity)
j) Mythago Wood (sf by popularity on LJ poll)
k) Man Plus (Nebula winners in sequence)
l) The Left-Handed Hummingbird (New Adventures in sequence)
m) The Taint, Demontage (Eighth Doctor Adventures in sequence)
n) Something in the Water (New Who books by LT popularity)
o) Short Trips and Side Steps (other Old Who by popularity)
q) Fleshmarket Close (Rankin’s Rebus novels, in order)
u) The Complete Book of Thunderbirds (unreviewed books acquired from 2006 on in entry order)
v) Great Expectations (books I have already read but haven’t reviewed on-line, ranked by LT popularity)

Coming next, possibly:
The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio (already started)
Spenser’s The Faerie Queen – A Selection of Critical Essays edited by Peter C. Bayley (already started)
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (already started)
I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells (already started)
The Day I Swapped My Dad for 2 Goldfish by Neil Gaiman (if I can find it)
The Lost Road and Other Writings by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Terre Des Hommes by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
The Glamour Chase by Gary Russell
Niccolo Rising by Dorothy Dunnett
State of Change by Christopher Bulis
Western Shore by Juliet E. McKenna
Conundrum by Steve Lyons
Last Call by Tim Powers
Timescape by Gregory Benford
Tales of Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb
Old Goriot by Honore Balzac
Full House by Stephen Jay Gould
The Plot Against Pepys by James Long
The Naming Of The Dead by Ian Rankin
Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts
The Little Book of Thunderbirds (if I can find it)
2nd Interzone Anthology edited by John Clute
Revolution Man by Paul Leonard
Primate Robinson: 1709-94 by A.P.W. Malcomson

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June Books 31) Eerste Keer, by Sibylline

Translated from the original French (Premieres fois), and also avalable in English (First Time), this is a collection of ten short erotic stories told in graphic form, all written by French author Sybilline (Sibylline Desmazières to her friends) and illustrated by a variety of artists. I have seen other reviewers wildly acclaiming Dave McKean’s depiction of a visit to a porn cinema which closes the book, but I have to say it left me rather confused as to what was going on; the two standout pieces for me were the very first story, a sweet doing-it-for-the-first-time tale, and Cyril Pedrosa’s illustrations of ‘Submission’ about two thirds of the way through. It’s a very mature rather than smutty collection, though I think you would still need to be careful about who might see it lying around the house.

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June Books 30) Chasm City, by Alastair Reynolds

A long time ago I read Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds, and rather bounced off it; perhaps, in retrospect, it was because I read it towards the end of a long work trip and simply wasn’t in the mood. Since then, the recommendations of friends and also amicable encounters with Reynolds himself at a couple of sf cons persuaded me to give him another try, and I was not disappointed.

Chasm City starts as a space operatic story of the central character pursuing a grudge against an old enemy in the eponymous city, while also suffering flashbacks to the memory of a notorious early colonist. But it develops into a gritty examination of memory, identity and shared pain in a future society. (Fortuitously I was also reading Justin Richards’ Doctor Who novel Demontage, which features a differently disturbed and disturbing future urban environment, at the same time.) It kept me reading, and has converted me to Reynolds, whose style is reminiscent of Banks but calmer.

I may even give Revelation Space another try.

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Whitney Ellsworth, 1926-2011

My US-based colleagues are attending the funeral today of the Chair of our Board this morning; he dies two weeks ago, aged 75, after a life of doing good both on the literary scene and in the humanitarian world. He created the New York Review of Books, helped found the London Review of Books, and also revolutionised Amnesty International USA’s fundraising as well as helpign to set up Human Rights First and my own employer.

He also was a near-namesake of a major figure in comics history. The last time I saw him, I asked if in fact he was related to the other Whitney Ellsworth, who was twenty years older and died thirty years ago. The younger Whitney (who was A. Whitney Ellsworth, the Batman and Superman guy being F. Whitney Ellsworth) told me that as far as they had been able to work out, it was pure coincidence – he had met with his namesake many years ago in order to establish precisely that.

I did not realise at the time that I would not see him again, and part of my mind is in Connecticut today.

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June Books 29) Demontage, by Justin Richards

I have finally managed to get my new phone set up to post to LJ, so can catch up on a few books I have finished this week.

Demontage is one of the many Who novels of Justin Richards, who has written more of them than anyone except Terrance Dicks. It is one of the better ones as well, takin the Eighth Doctor, Sam and Fitz to a space station which thrives on gambling with an underpinning of organised crime, but also features an art exhibition where the pictures are more than they seem; ideas which have been done elsewhere, including elsewhere in Who, but are done well here with the formula successfully assembled. One of the better EDAs, and it made an interesting paired read with Alastair Rerynolds’ Chasm City.

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Whoniversaries 30 June

i) births and deaths

30 June 1978: death of David Ellis, who co-wrote The Faceless Ones (1967).

ii) broadcast anniversaries

30 June 2007: broadcast of Last of the Time Lords, the 200th story and 750th episode (depending how you count) of Doctor Who.

And so I reach the end of this project, after 350-odd daily posts.

My inspiration for doing this was partly a genuine curiosity to get a sense of when in the cycle of the year Doctor Who and its spinoffs had been show, and partly also admiration for , who as long ago as 2004-2005 posted a series of daily notes on historical anniversaries for that particular date. (See for instance his post of six years ago today). My method was to use the Doctor Who Wiki and generally plan out the Whoniversaries a few days in advance, usually setting up the coming week’s posts at the weekend. It usually worked, and I am really grateful for the generally positive feedback and comments I have had from fellow fans over the last twelve months of this slightly mad project. Still considering how to turn it into a more permanent RSS feed.

Apart from the reflections on shared broadcast dates I posted earlier n the week, I found a few more neat coincidences. There are some nice cases of regulars sharing birthdays which should inspire some interesting fanfic – Fraser Hines and Billie Piper (22 September 1944 and 1982), Colin Baker and Carole Ann Ford (8 June 1943 and 1940), Matt Smith and Ian Marter (28 October 1982 and 1944), and rather nicely Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred and Anthony Ainley (20 August 1943, 1962 and 1932). Sophie Aldred was born on the same day as James Marsters; has anyone ever seen them in the same place at the same time?

I missed a few dates as well. My policy on inclusion of individuals was not always consistent and perhaps missed a few who should have been noted. I could not keep up with the new K9 TV series and failed to note any of its broadcasts after the first couple. And of course, those who we lost in the last twelve months were noted, if at all, after the event. Farewell, then, to Pennant Roberts, director of six Old Who stories; Derek Pollitt and Frank Jarvis, players of small but noticeable roles; Louis Marks, writer of four Old Whos; music composer Geoffrey Burgon; co-creator of the Yeti Mervyn Haisman; scream queen Ingrid Pitt, who appeared twice in the show; Margaret John, who appeared in both Old Who and New Who; Celestial Toymaker and Time Lord Michael Gough; Dalek voice (and Zippy!) Roy Skelton; and in particular Nicholas Courtney and Elisabeth Sladen. They provided me (and probably you too) with much enjoyment and delight over the years, and it seems right to close this series of posts by commemorating them all.

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Delicious LiveJournal Links for 6-30-2011

  • When it first came up in 2005, only Sweden voted against; when the renewal process began in February this year, five states refused to support it; that number has now risen to seven. And it still has to clear the European Parliament.
  • At one point, driving through a toll plaza, I figured I’d ask the toll-taker whether I was going the right way. I pulled out the iPad and said, “Is this the right road for Valladolid?” Jibbigo transcribed, “Is this the right road for liability?” and Sultry Voice said, “Es este el camino correcto para el obligatorio?”
    The toll-taker looked at me like I was nuts. So instead, I did what many Americans do in a foreign country — I pointed wildly ahead and said, loudly, “Valladolid!?”
    (tags: languages)
  • Conservative commentator David Frum: "…the case against same-sex marriage has been tested against reality. The case has not passed its test."
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Whoniversaries 29 June

births and deaths

29 June 1943: birth of Maureen O’Brien, who played Vicki in 1964-65.

29 June 1980: birth of Katherine Jenkins, who played Abigail Pettigrew in A Christmas Carol (2010).

29 June 1999: death of Declan Mulholland, one of the few Irish-sounding actors to appear on Who, who played Clark in The Sea Devils (1972) and Till in The Androids of Tara (1978).

29 June 2000: death of John Abineri, who played van Lutyens in Fury from the Deep (1967), Carrington in The Ambassadors of Death (1970), Railton in Death to the Daleks (1974) and Ranquin in The Power of Kroll (1978-79).

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Whoniversaries 28 June

i) births and deaths

28 June 1951: birth of Sarah Ward, better known as Lalla Ward, who played Princess Astra in The Armageddon Factor (1979) and then the second Romana from 1979 to 1981.

ii) broadcast anniversary

28 June 2008: broadcast of The Stolen Earth, featuring the Tenth Doctor, Martha, Donna, Jack, Ianto and Gwen from Torchwood and Sarah Jane and her adopted son Luke from the SJA. The Earth is moved to the Medusa Cascade by the Daleks and Davros; the Doctor is caught by a Dalek extermination beam.

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Whoniversary 27 June

broadcast anniversary

27 June 1964: broadcast of “The Unwilling Warriors”, second episode of the story we now call The Sensorites. The Sensorites threaten to take Susan to their own planet as a hostage.

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Delicious LiveJournal Links for 6-27-2011

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June Books 28) Fleshmarket Close, by Ian Rankin

One of the best Rebus books so far, three intertwined mysteries taking our hero and his protégée to the murky underworld of asylum centres, strip clubs, and illegal immigration; I felt that Ian Rankin was trying unusually hard to include social commentary on all these issues into the story, and even more unusually I thought he succeeded. Perhaps the most unrealistic aspect is that we discover Rebus to be a staunch anti-racist, which seems a little (though not hugely) out of character from previous books. Very strongly recommended.

And that concludes my book-blogging from my recent travels. Relatively normal service to be resumed soon.

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June Books 27) Questioning the Millennium, by Stephen Jay Gould

A brief and reflective book by Gould, on the coming millennium as seen from 1997. He makes the entirely fair point that the year 2000 is a rather arbitrary human construct in the first place, and quotes approvingly his autistic son’s ruling on whether or not the new century begins in 2000 or 2001: “In 2000, of course. The first decade had only nine years.” Nothing much new for me but Gould as ever tells it well.

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June Books 25) Monster Hunter International, by Larry Correia

One of the books included in the Hugo Voter Package to help us to determine our votes for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. It’s a contemporary novel of a clandestine organistion fighting the supernatural nasties, à la Buffy and many others, with the monsters mostly taken straight from the D&D manual; the protagonist is a wise-cracking gun nut; and as soon as the first female character appears you pretty much know how the book is going to end. Still, it certainly helped me determine one more placing on my ballot paper.

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June Books 24) Irish Magic II

A collection of four fantasy romance novellas set in Ireland, by Morgan Llewellyn and three other authors I hadn’t heard of, Barbara Samuel, Susan Wiggs and Roberta Gellis. I shall not identify the author who named her female lead Ciarann (which I have never encountered as a woman’s name) and consistently spells Samhain with the ‘h’ and ‘m’ reversed. I will, however, give good marks to Roberta Gellis, whose “Bride Price” is the longest of the four stories and wrenches the story of Findabair and Fráech from the Táin Bó Cuailnge subplot and shifts it to a contest of wits between Medbh of Connacht and her daughter and prospective son-in-law, scoring also in contrast to the other three by having the central characters already in a relationship at the start of the story rather than the usual formula of getting boy and girl together. Romance isn’t my usual genre of reading, and I was slightly taken aback by the enjoyably explicit prose of some of the passages. While the stories teetered on the brink of Oirish cliche they didn’t completely tip over. Those who like this sort of thing will find it the sort of thing that they like.

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June Books 23) The Spanish Inquisition: A History, by Joseph Pérez

I didn’t know a lot about the Spanish Inquisition before reading this fairly comprehensive but also short (221 pages) account. Pérez gives plenty of detail on how it operated, as a powerful and brutal autnomous judicial system within the Spanish state, from 1480 to 1834 (admittedly rather gutted of its authority in its final decades). Several interesting points that arose for me:

  1. Though run by Church officials, the Inquisition was more an arm of Madrid than of Rome; the Spanish king and government exercised control over it as far as anyone did. Though it was set up to extirpate heresy, this was heresy treated as a crime against the civil order.
  2. The context of 1480 was that of the final victory of Christian rulers over Muslims in Spain, which of course could not be known to be final at the time; Pérez seems to consider that a fair amount of the Inquisition’s persecution of backsliding converts from Islam or Judaism was a response to a real phenomenon rather than a witch-hunt of imaginary foes.
  3. Speaking of which, the Inquisition rarely took charges of witchcraft per se seriously and tended to acquit accused witches brought before it.
  4. Having said that, the Inquisition was far more brutal and violent than other judicial mechanisms dealing with religious difference, even in a bloodthirsty and bigoted period of history.

Two things would have helped me to appreciate the book more. The first, which is more my fault than Pérez’, is that I have very little knowledge of Spanish history, and cannot really relate to any of its monarchs after Ferdinand and Isabella, Charles V and Philip II, so rather than fitting the narrative from 1600 to 1800 into a framework that I already knew, I was trying to reconstruct the historical background from the intense details given by Pérez. The second is that, although Pérez does reflect a bit on the comparative dimension, we could have done with more of it; apologists mutter that even Calvin’s Geneva burned Servetus (who had of course escaped the Spanish Inquisition himself), but to me the interesting question is, how come nothing like the Spanish inquisition developed in other Catholic countries, most notably in the Papal states?

I did have one laugh-out-loud moment, when zealots complained that the public reading of the edict of faith, which described heretical practices in some detail, was actually disseminating knowledge of the practices it was supposed to condemn. I doubt if it made much difference; I shouldn’t think anyone was really listening.

Anyway, a cheap remainder purchase a couple of years ago which justified the £2 it cost me.

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June Books 22) The Complete Book of Thunderbirds, by Chris Bentley

A fairly brief (124 pages) but comprehensive guide to the best known Supermarionation show. A lot of things that I hadn’t realised about Thunderbirds – that there were only two seasons, with only 32 pisodes (26 in the first series, 6 in the second); that the original half-hour episodes were bulked out to full hour length after Lew Grade demanded that they be made longer; that there had been two feature films in the 1960s which both crashed dismally in the theatres; that the real-life International Rescue Corps was deliberately named after the fictional International Rescue.

I was also a bit surprised that there was so little crossover with Doctor Who, which was in its early years at the time Thunderbirds was being made. Several of the lead voice actors appeared once or twice in Who, but the only person from behind the scenes whose name I spotted was Dennis Spooner, who must have gone straight from his job as script editor for Verity Lambert to writing six episodes for Gerry Anderson, possibly even doing both at the same time. I scrutinised the summaries of Spooner’s Thunderbirds stories (for the record, they were Day of Disaster, End of the Road, Vault of Death, The Mighty Atom, The Imposters and Cry Wolf) to see if I could spot common themes with The Reign of Terror, The Romans, The Time Meddler and the second half of The Daleks’ Master Plan, but I’m afraid I drew a blank.

I was surprised to read that the two 1960s films did so badly, considering that the Peter Cushing movie versions of Doctor Who, which came out at about the same time, performed at least respectably. I suppose that the large screen does puppets very few favours, where at least human actors still look like human actors when in close up. Perhaps there were failures of marketing as well.

Now that we are almost half way from 1965 to the stories’ setting of 2065, it is interesting to consider how Anderson’s vision of the future is at variance with our reality. One point that really struck me was the impossibility of International Rescue keeping its location and methods secret. In 1965, photographs were real concrete objects which could be stolen, confiscated, hidden or destroyed. Nowadays any Thunderbird mission would find itself instantly on YouTube, and Tracy Island would be a popular sight on Google Earth. It’s also interesting that the show had non-white characters in it from the start, even if one of them is the villain and the other two, though allies of the Tracy family, are vulnerable to his mental powers.

Anyway, it makes me inclined to do a full watch-through of Thunderbirds – I don’t think I have seen even half of it – at some time in the future when other projects are complete.
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Breakup of Belgium / June Books 21) Autonomes, by Santi-Bucquoy

Thanks to eBay, I managed to track down this 1985 bande dessinée, which I remember browsing in a Paris bookstore shortly after publication. The author is Jan Bucquoy, best known now as the writer of the 1994 film La Vie sexuelle des Belges 1950-1978 / The Sexual Life of the Belgians , but at that time combining the careers of anarchist activist and writer of graphic novels. Autonomes is the first of his Chroniques de fin de siècle trilogy, set in (we deduce) about 1993 (so eight years in the future when the story was published).

Bucquoy’s future history (as we discover in a flashback about halfway through) begins with Belgium being taken over by a dictator in 1985 (the year of publication); he is then overthrown in 1990, and Belgium dissolves itself in about 1992. Bucquoy’s vision of how the three parts of Belgium evolve reflects the prejudices and hopes of a far-left Walloon activist.

Flanders goes fascist, with the best workers in the world – no strikes, no unions, run by the Volksunie (which seems to me a bit harsh on the Volksunie, though of course I wasn’t around at the time).

Brussels becomes a capitalist paradise, a hub of international trade (click on the picture above to get the full page which is a rather good example of telling a story just through imagined architecture).

And Wallonia becomes an new Eden, where Ecolo (the Green Party of Wallonia) have taken power and the citizens joyfully cooperate in the exploitation of alternative technologies and free love. (A close-up shows that the windsurfers here are nude.)

Our hero, Gérard Mordant, is chef de cabinet of the Walloon minister of the interior having served also as secretary of state for security and has a long history of radical activism (including a romance with Ulrika Meinhoff and a love-in with Daniel Cohn-Bendit). Our story starts at a concert to celebrate the overnment’s first year in power; Mordant slips off for some graphically depicted nookie with the daughter of the French ambassador; France, now run by an evil right-wing coalition of Jacques Chirac and Jean-Marie le Pen, alleges that she has been abducted by Walloon extremists and takes this as an excuse to invade.

In fact Mordant and the girl have indeed been abducted by extremists, but they are French activists in sympathy with Mordant, who bring them across the border to Calais and then blow up the Eiffel Tower in solidarity with their Walloon brethren (in response to which the French army destroys Liège).


Mordant spends the rest of the (short) book shagging his way through the French activist community when he isn’t in shoot-outs with the security forces, and the story ends with an explosion at a nuclear plant which, it is hinted, may actually be a black operation by the French government rather than an attentat by Mordant’s activist friends.

Mordant is not a terribly attractive person; he is self-righteous and behaves horribly to the women who make love to him. Bucquoy’s politics are naïve and also dangerous. The book is dedicated to Ulrike Meinhoff and Elisabeth Vögel, “mortes pour des idées”; I haven’t been able to trace who the latter is, but Meinhoff co-founded a terrorist organisation which shot and blew up her own fellow-citizens, and Bucquoy clearly was fascinated the glamour and eroticism of supposed violent resistance against a system which was not really very repressive. (The end-papers of the book celebrate various other terrorist groups of the 1970s and 1980s, including of course the IRA.) It’s also notable that Bucquoy is much more comfortable telling the story of Mordant on the run than of Mordant as senior state security official in the Walloon government, and I think we may legitimately wonder how his regime treated opposition activists in the time between the break-up of Belgium and the French invasion. (Of course, perhaps independent Wallonia was such a paradise that there were no opposition activists to speak of. Umm…)

Yet I find myself sufficiently engaged to want to read the next volume at least.

(Apology in advance for next few entries – I have been travelling a lot in the last few weeks and am well behind with book-blogging.)

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Which Doctor Who stories have been broadcast on exactly the same dates?

A few coincidences have popped out of my research on Whoniversaries, including that both Adric and the Fifth Doctor were written out of the series on the same date, two years apart. Which other pairs, or sets, of stories were broadcast on the same date?

There are a surprising number; I hope that the table below is clear.

Story 1 Story 2 # eps Start End Yr 1 Yr 2
The Faceless Ones The Mutants 6 08-Apr 13-May 1967 1972
The Tomb of the Cybermen The Ribos Operation 4 02-Sep 23-Sep 1967 1978
The Krotons Robot 4 28-Dec 18-Jan 1968-9 1974-5
The Space Pirates Genesis of the Daleks 6 08-Mar 12-Apr 1969 1975
Day of the Daleks The Face of Evil 4 01-Jan 22-Jan 1972 1977
The Curse of Peladon The Robots of Death 4 29-Jan 19-Feb 1972 1977
Terror of the Zygons The Leisure Hive 4 30-Aug 20-Sep 1975 1980
Planet of Evil Meglos 4 27-Sep 18-Oct 1975 1980
The Android Invasion State of Decay 4 22-Nov 13-Dec 1975 1980
Four to Doomsday Snakedance 4 18-Jan 26-Jan 1982 1983
Kinda Mawdryn Undead 4 01-Feb 09-Feb 1982 1983
The Visitation Terminus 4 15-Feb 23-Feb 1982 1983
Earthshock The Caves of Androzani 4 08-Mar 16-Mar 1982 1984
Time-Flight The Twin Dilemma 4 22-Mar 30-Mar 1982 1984
The Mysterious Planet Battlefield 4 06-Sep 27-Sep 1986 1989
Paradise Towers Remembrance of the Daleks 4 05-Oct 26-Oct 1987 1988
Delta and the Bannermen The Happiness Patrol 3 02-Nov 16-Nov 1987 1988
Dragonfire Silver Nemesis 3 23-Nov 07-Dec 1987 1988
The Long Game The Curse of the Black Spot 1 07-May 2005 2011
The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances The Rebel Flesh / The Almost People 2 21-May 28-May 2005 2011

The two cases of six-episode stories coinciding are pretty impressive, as is the eleven-year gap between repetition of dates for The Tomb of the Cybermen and The Ribos Operation. But there are also three cases of triple repetition (the last of which requires a little special pleading):

Story 1 Story 2 Story 3 # eps Start End Yr 1 Yr 2 Yr 3
Spearhead from Space The Brain of Morbius Warriors’ Gate 4 03-Jan 24-Jan 1970 1976 1981
Pyramids of Mars Full Circle The Curse of Fenric 4 25-Oct 15-Nov 1975 1980 1989
Doctor Who: The Movie (on Fox TV) Father’s Day The Doctor’s Wife 1 14-May 1996 2005 2011

So there you are. (See also my notes on dominical letters and distribution of Whoniversaries).

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Whoniversaries 26 June

i) births and deaths

26 June 1914: birth of John Bailey, who played the Commander in The Sensorites (1964), Edward Waterfield in The Evil of the Daleks (1967), and Sezom in The Horns of Nimon (1979-80).

ii) broadcast anniversaries

26 June 1965: broadcast of “The Planet of Decision”, sixth episode of the story we now call The ChaseThe Big Bang, ending Season Five of New Who. How to summarise it? Multiple time lines, the Tardis explodes ending the Universe, and Amy and Rory leave their wedding reception too travel with the Doctor.

iii) dates specified in canon

26 June 1284: an alien energy entity posing as the Pied Piper kidnaps 130 children from Hamelin in Germany, as mentioned in the 2009 SJA story, The Day of the Clown.

26 June 2010: Rory Williams starts to travel with the Doctor and Amy, returning to Earth for their wedding, despite the end of the universe; after which they start to travel again.

This is the last set of whoniversaries with entries for all three categories, and the last set of daters specified in canon.

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Whoniversaries 25 June

i) broadcast and cinematic anniversaries

25 June 1965: cinema release of Dr. Who and the Daleks, starring Peter Cushing as eccentric scientist Dr. Who.

25 June 1966: broadcast of first episode of The War Machinesii) dates specified in canon

25 June 1906, 25 June 2006: birth and death of Edward Grainger (in the 2006 anthology, Short Trips: The Centenarian, edited by Ian Farrington).

25-27 June 1993: some of the events of the 1994 novel No Future by Paul Cornell.

25 June 2010: Amy Pond starts her travels with the Doctor.

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EU summit analysis

For once I am out of Brussels when the EU summit is on. However, that won’t stop me listing the participants as I did six months ago and a year ago:

Jean-Claude Juncker (born 1954), Prime Minister of Luxembourg since 20 January 1995 (EPP)
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (born 1960) Prime Minister of Spain since 17 April 2004 (PES) 
Lawrence Gonzi (born 1953) Prime Minister of Malta since 1 May 2004 (EPP) 
José Manuel Barroso (Portuguese, born 1956) President of the European Commission  since 23 November 2004 (EPP)
Andrus Ansip (born 1956) Prime Minister of Estonia since 12 April 2005 (ELDR)
Fredrik Reinfeldt (born 1965) Prime Minister of Sweden since 6 October 2006 (EPP)
Angela Merkel (born 1954) Chancellor of Germany since 22 November 2005 (EPP)
Nicolas Sarkozy (born 1955) President of France since 16 May 2007 (EPP)
Donald Tusk (born 1957) Prime Minister of Poland since 16 November 2007 (EPP) 
Dimitris Christofias (born 1946) President of [Greek] Cyprus since 28 February 2008 (PEL)
Silvio Berlusconi (born 1936) Prime Minister of Italy since 8 May 2008 (EPP) – previously PM 1994-95 and 2001-06
Borut Pahor (born 1963) Prime Minister of Slovenia since 21 November 2008 (PES)
Werner Faymann (born 1960) Chancellor of Austria since 02 December 2008 (PES)
Andrius Kubilius (born 1956) Prime Minister of Lithuania since 09 December 2008 (EPP) – previously PM in 1999-2000, before Lithuania joined the EU
Emil Boc (born 1966) Prime Minister of Romania since 22 December 2008 (EPP)
Valdis Dombrovskis (born 1971) Prime Minister of Latvia since 12 March 2009 (EPP)
Lars Løkke Rasmussen (born 1964) Prime Minister of Denmark since 05 April 2009 (ELDR)
Jerzy Buzek (Polish, born 1940) President of the European Parliament since 14 July 2009 (EPP)
Boyko Borisov (born 1959) Prime Minister of Bulgaria since 27 July 2009 (EPP)
George Papandreou (born 1952) Prime Minister of Greece since 06 October 2009 (PES)
Yves Leterme (born 1960) Prime Minister of Belgium since 25 November 2009 (EPP) – still surviving as caretaker prime minister, more than a year after losing the election
Herman van Rompuy (Belgian, born 1947) President of the European Council since 01 December 2009  (EPP)
David Cameron (born 1966) Prime Minister of United Kingdom since 11 May 2010 (ECR)
Viktor Orbán (born 1963) Prime Minister of Hungary since 29 May 2010 (EPP) – previously PM 1998-2002, before Hungary joined the EU
Iveta Radičová (born 1956) Prime Minister of Slovakia since 8 July 2010 (ECR)
Petr Nečas (born 1964) Prime Minister of the Czech Republic since 13 July 2010 (EPP)
Mark Rutte (born 1967) Prime Minister of the Netherlands since 14 October 2010(ELDR)
Enda Kenny (born 1951) Taoiseach since 09 March 2011 (EPP)
Pedro Passos Coelho (born 1964) Prime Minister of Portugal since 21 June 2011 (EPP)
Jyrki Katainen (born 1971) Prime Minister of Finland since 22 June 2011 (EPP)

There have been three changes since the December 2010 summit (Enda Kenny replacing Brian Cowen, Pedro Passos Coelho replacing José Sócrates and Jyrki Katainen replacing Mari Kiviniemi), with Yves Leterme incredibly still in transition. The median political longevity is now held by Boc, who has been in power for two and a half years. Passos Coelho and Katainen are the newest kids on the block, having taken office only this week.

17 of the 27 heads of state and government, and the presidents of all three EU institutions, are in the European People’s Party. (Leterme is still hanging on.) 4 are in the Party of European Socialists, 3 are Liberals. 2 are in the ECR. Christofias remains the only Communist. The EPP have made three gains in the last six months, two from the Liberals (Ireland and Finland) and one from the Socialists (Portugal).

Kiviniemi’s departure leaves two women, Merkel and Radičová.

The recent changes bring the average year of birth back from 1959 to 1958, also the median year of birth if my numbers are right. Buzek is older than any of the national leaders except Berlusconi; Van Rompuy is older than any except Berlusconi and Christofias.

I am still younger than all of them except the Latvian and Finnish prime ministers. (The new Finnish PM is even younger than his predecessor.)

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Whoniversaries 24 June

i) births and deaths

24 June 1985: death of Valentine Dyall, who played the Black Guardian in The Armageddon Factor (1979), Mawdryn Undead, Terminus, and Enlightenment (all 1982).

ii) broadcast anniversaries

24 June 1967: broadcast of sixth episode of The Evil of the Daleks. Everyone is brought to Skaro, where the Emperor Dalek instructs the Doctor to transform humanity into Daleks.

24 June 1972: broadcast of sixth episode of The Time Monster, ending Season 9 of Old Who. The Doctor defeats the Master, but persuades Kronos to spare his life; Atlantis is destroyed.

24 June 2006: broadcast of Fear Her. The Doctor finds the alien Isolus in a child’s drawings, and he and Rose deal with it using the 2012 Olympic flame.

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Women sff writers of the 1970s

From , here.

Italicize the authors you’ve heard of before reading this list of authors, bold the ones you’ve read at least one work by, underline the ones of whose work you own at least one example of.

Lynn Abbey
Eleanor Arnason
Octavia Butler
Moyra Caldecott
Jaygee Carr
Joy Chant
Suzy McKee Charnas
C. J. Cherryh
Jo Clayton
Candas Jane Dorsey
Diane Duane
Phyllis Eisenstein
Cynthia Felice
Sheila Finch
Sally Gearhart
Mary Gentle
Dian Girard
Eileen Gunn
Monica Hughes
Diana Wynne Jones
Gwyneth Jones
Leigh Kennedy
Lee Killough
Nancy Kress
Katherine Kurtz
Tanith Lee
Megan Lindholm (AKA Robin Hobb)
Elizabeth A. Lynn
Phillipa Maddern
Ardath Mayhar
Vonda McIntyre
Patricia A. McKillip
Janet Morris
Pat Murphy
Sam Nicholson (AKA Shirley Nikolaisen)
Rachel Pollack
Marta Randall
Anne Rice
Jessica Amanda Salmonson
Pamela Sargent
Sydney J. Van Scyoc
Susan Shwartz
Nancy Springer
Lisa Tuttle
Joan Vinge
Élisabeth Vonarburg
Cherry Wilder
Connie Willis

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Whoniversaries 23 June

i) births and deaths

23 June 1925: birth of Mary Ridge, who directed Terminus (1983).

ii) broadcast anniversaries

23 June 1973: broadcast of sixth episode of The Green Death, ending Season 10 of Old Who; last regular appearance of Katy Manning as Jo Grant. The Doctor realises that Cliff’s fungus is fatal to the maggots, and destroys BOSS with the blue crystal; but Jo get engaged to Cliff.

23 June 2007: broadcast of The Sound of Drums. The Master, as Harold Saxon, becomes Prime Minister, kills the cabinet and the American president, ages the Doctor by hundreds of years and unleashes the Toclafane on humanity.

One more week to go!

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Delicious LiveJournal Links for 6-23-2011

  • 'Barry Humphries, meanwhile, is known primarily to the world as Dame Edna Everage, and he's set to play the Goblin King in The Hobbit. Jackson says, "We're looking forward to seeing him invest the Goblin King with the delicate sensitivity and emotional depth this character deserves."'

    In other news, Benedict Cumberbatch to play Smaug the dragon.

    (tags: sf films)
  • "PMQ is, in my oipinion, representative of all that is bad in British democracy. It does none of what its defenders claim it does, and does much to reduce the significance of what is going on to a silly game of points-scoring and debating-chamber rhetoric. It's something loved by political junkies and hated by people who wish politicians would spend their valuable time solving the shit that we find ourself in."
    (tags: ukpolitics)
  • 'The world is a hostile, alienating place. Power has been concentrated in the hands of often unaccountable elites; backed by covert insitutions. That much is as arguable as the words, “The sun is hot.” From there it’s just a matter of how altruistic they are – and, considering the decades of conflict and exploitation we’ve experienced, you wouldn’t trust the buggers – and how honest they’re prepared to be – and, considering their habits of lying to us, hiding things from us and swotting those who let things slip you wouldn’t bank on ‘em. This doesn’t mean we should envisage cosmic conspiracies, nor expect Ickean levels of iniquity. Accusations based on prejudice rather than facts should be dissected with the vehemence of an anatomist. But it’s still enough to think that plots aren’t merely features of the past; that world events demand suspicion, not assurance and that “conspiracy theories” deserve sceptical assessment, not contemptuous denial.'
  • This is awful news.
  • Extra-special segments from around the Seven Kingdoms include…
    Nymeria’s Incredible Journey: Arya Stark’s lost direwolf (guest voice: Fran Drescher) befriends and eventually eats three other abandoned pets on a desperate journey back to her home at Winterfell in this animated odyssey that will warm your heart until it inevitably ends in tragedy.
    A King’s Landing Carol: Three spirits of Lannisters past, present and future appear to teach Joffrey vital lessons about rulership. Unfortunately, he doesn’t take kindly to that and orders them all put to death, with hilarious consequences. 
    (tags: sf funny)
  • 'Victor was surprisingly pissed that I’d “wasted money” on an enormous chicken, because apparently he couldn’t appreciate the hysterical value of a 5 foot chicken ringing the doorbell.  Then I said, “Well, at least it’s not towels” and apparently that was the wrong thing to say because that’s when Victor screamed and stormed off, but I knew he was locked in his office because I could hear him punching things in there.'

    Do you have domestic arguments like this???

    (tags: life)
  • David Rennie, as ever, speaks sense about Greece and the Euro.
    (tags: eu)
  • Great philosophy, summarised (as reported by Communicator)
    (tags: coolstuff)
  • "Anyone who has acted as an interpreter – as I have – anyone who has played a tiny part in the corridors of political power – knows that what people say to you in your language isn’t always what they say or even think among themselves in theirs. I don’t need to tell you that we Brits in the large know almost nothing of the real Germany of today. And our popular media do precious little to enlighten us, quite the reverse."

    Brilliant piece. Read it all.

    (tags: languages)
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