• Sigrid Ellis

  • Bio

    Sigrid Ellis is co-editor of the Hugo-nominated Queers Dig Time Lords and Chicks Dig Comics anthologies. She edits the best-selling Pretty Deadly from Image Comics. She is the flash-fiction editor of Queers Destroy Science Fiction, from Lightspeed Press. She edited the Hugo-nominated Apex Magazine for 2014. She lives with her partner, their two homeschooled children, her partner’s boyfriend, and a host of vertebrate and invertebrate pets in Saint Paul, MN.
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Doctor Who, “Day of the Doctor”

Because I was out of town, I am a little bit late to the party. But I did finally see the most recent episode of Doctor Who, “Day of the Doctor.”

I liked it.

I liked it rather a lot.

I had been wondering where the show was going to head next. As much as I have liked the last couple of series, I must admit that I am growing a wee bit tired of the “what terrible secret or power does THIS Companion hold?!?!?!” thingy. And, while there are hints of that in this episode, it’s just hints. Phew.

On the chance that you might not have seen the episode yet, I won’t say what the new show direction actually is. But I liked how they got there. I liked the super-sekrit-plot-twist this time. So often it seems shoe-horned in, the super-sekrit-plot-twist. But this time it seemed to make a bit more sense.

Inasmuch as ANY Doctor Who plot twist makes sense, you understand.

If you drifted away from the show in the last season or two, may I suggest giving this episode a chance? It is clearly making a fresh start, and might well be worth your time.

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Things, in a list

1. I liked this post on Nerd Fitness about how to look like a celebrity in a big action movie. I don’t know about you, but I need these sorts of reminders from time to time.

2. I will be at Geek Girl Con in Seattle, October 19-20! I hope to see many of you there!

3. I also liked this ranting post from Stumptuous about things a person might want to consider by age 40. Yes. A person might want to consider those things.

4. I like this Melody Pond fanvid:

I Tremble | Melody Pond, by catminolte. Music “Help I’m Alive (Dubstep Remix)” by Metric.

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Doctor Who: “A Death in the Family”

I listened to Big Finish’s A Death in the Family this past weekend. I’m not certain, but this may be my favorite Seventh Doctor story yet.

This is a complicated Doctor Who story. I’m never that person who ponders the PLOTS of Who, trying to figure out if they hang together or not. This frequently means that the more timey-wimey stories lose me at some point. This problem is exacerbated with Big Finish’s audioplays, as some scenes take me a moment to figure out where and when we are, and who is speaking to whom. But none of that interfered with my enjoyment of “A Death in the Family.” Nor did it interfere with my dread.

This story is a rollercoaster of inevitable, spliced with a funhouse of doublecross and time-space trickery. Yet the emotional beats come down like a freight train. It’s all here, the themes I most love in Who. The lies and manipulation and secrets of The Doctor. The faith of his Companions. How he abuses that faith. How the Companions are changed, inexorably and not always for the better. How lies start to run both ways, and love and faith are weak.

The Doctor I recognize, the one I see on screen or in the audioplays and say, “yes, that, that is my Doctor,” is this wry, dark, funny, sardonic old man. Sometimes bitter, sometimes exultant, but so very knowing. Playing a deep game that wears a coat of inadvertent contempt for other creatures. The Doctor treasures life, yes – but sometimes he forgets to respect it.

It’s not a spoiler to say that Evelyn is in this story — Maggie Stables is in the credits. And her scenes are fantastic. She embodies another of my favorite themes in fiction, the consequences of one’s past choices. Her conversation with The Doctor at the end of the story is one I devoutly hope the Eleventh Doctor remembers when he looks at Clara.

This Doctor is my Doctor. I don’t always like him, I don’t always trust him, but if the universe must have a semi-benevolent omnipotent creature interfering in its workings, I want it to be this one.

Unless …

Unless I can have whatever he’s turning Ace into, instead.

The Seventh, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Doctors have not always seen their Companions clearly enough. That lack of attention keeps coming back in ways The Doctor doesn’t like. You’d think that, eventually, he’d learn.

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Lurkers at Sunlight’s Edge

Lurkers at Sunlight’s Edge is one of Big Finish’s Doctor Who audioplays. It’s Seventh Doctor, Ace, and Hex, and it is a very good story.

The Big Finish audioplays are, in general, an excellent investment of time and money if one is in need of a Classic Doctor Who story. (I have listened to almost all of the Seventh Doctor’s plays.) This one is particularly good. The plot is tight — it’s complicated, with the two intertwining threads of any good Doctor Who story — and it is largely character-based. There’s not a lot of weird forces swooping in at the last minute to reveal something that would have made a difference all along. The production is quite good — all strange voice effects are used in moderation. Moreover, I could tell all the minor characters apparent without any difficultly.

The acting, though — that is very, very good in this story. I mean, Aldred and McCoy and Olivier are always good. But not only are they on fire in this story, the supporting cast is excellent.

If you want to try out a Big Finish Seventh Doctor story, Lurkers at Sunlight’s Edge has joined the ranks of those I recommend.

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Recent media consumption

1. Doctor Who has resumed. I am enjoying the episodes so far, though I am not enormously invested in them. I don’t care much what The Great Mystery of Clara Oswin Oswald is one way or the other, I’m merely looking forward to finding out. And the actress is very good.

2. Game of Thrones is back! As far as I am concerned, this show is actually titled The Women of Game of Thrones, Plus Some of the Dudes Who Help Them. So I am very happy with the episodes so far.

3. Bomb Girls season two is quite fun. I am given to understand that the show was not renewed, so I hope they wrap it up gracefully.

4. Once Upon a Time is on hiatus for another week. I was explaining to some people this weekend that OUaT is really 30% of a good show, 40% of a perfectly acceptable show, and 30% What the HELL Were You Thinking. Moreover, the show either does not keep a comprehensive bible, or they don’t consult it often enough. But I am looking forward to new episodes anyway.

5. I tried watching more of Heroes this weekend. When the show aired I stuck out the first two seasons, despite a vast, simmering indifference towards over half the plots and characters. But this was SUPERHEROES on TELEVISION, and I am a person who not only watched every episode of Misfits of Science, I own bootleg dvds of same. So, you understand, it takes a LOT to make me stop watching a super-powers television show.

I watched Great American Hero, for pity’s sake.

I have watched Manimal.

Heroes is on NetFlix, so I am giving season three another try. I swear, though, Suresh and the Petrelli boys put me right to sleep. They may be even more tediously uninteresting that Fitz on Scandal. (Whose scenes with Olivia I now fast-forward through.)

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June 15 2012

1. Adventures in cooking continue apace. I bought some vegetarian fake sausages at the co-op yesterday, and made a chipotle-bean-tomato thingy that was REALLY good. And, even using pre-made fake meats, it is still lower in salt than, say, an egg cheese mcmuffin. The bread I make for myself is lower in salt than commercial bread. The beans I make for myself are lower in salt than commercial beans. If I could make cheese, I bet it would be lower in salt than the cheese from the store.

2. M is afraid of tornadoes. To deal with this he watches endless episodes of the tv show Stormchasers.

If we give nothing else to our son, we have given him the idea that the answer to fear is knowledge. However scary reality is — and tornadoes are plenty scary — it is less scary than wondering in ignorance. Everybody knows that the feeling you get when you finally see the monster in the movie is relief, not greater terror.

3. I rewatched the classic Doctor Who story “The Happiness Patrol” this week. There’s something odd in that story, something about the performance of femininity. The actual members of the Happiness Patrol are almost all women, and are attired in exaggerated — even for the 1980s — makeup and hair. Femininity as performance, as statement. And at the same time, compliance and fake smiles and getting along with others are the rewarded behaviors. Expressions of anger, or fear, or resentment are punished.

The whole thing smacks as a metaphor for a woman or child living with an abuser. In some ways. I’m not saying that’s what the writers meant, and the metaphor is not perfect. But there is some serious creepiness under all the pink and glitter.

Spoilery thoughts about Doctor Who

I saw “A Good Man Goes to War” this weekend. My thoughts on it are behind the cut-tag.

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