Ten Little Aliens by Stephen Cole

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I was expecting to meet just the first Doctor, Ben, and Polly, and the aliens they were going to have to deal with but instead I’m in the head of ten soldiers in training, dealing with their own personal issues before stumbling upon the ten most wanted criminals of the planet. That’s a total of 20 characters on top of our main people, and it was a quite overwhelming to have to understand the connection of them all. To make things more complex, the author had to transform the text into a Choose Your Own Adventure format when everyone had to wear the websets and turn on the neural network, a telephatic way of communicating with each other. In text form, it reads as a viewpoint of each person of the same scenario. You have the option of reading in a linear fashion, or like the Choose Your Own format, you have to jump to the pages of the characters you want to follow. I was stubborn enough to read it the usual linear way. It was a relief when the network was turned off, and that’s when all of the aspects of the story fell into place and made much more sense. It was only towards the end of the novel when the first Doctor finally had a moment to shine as their main savior despite his feeble physical appearance (see book cover above).

The stone cherubs reminded me of a fatter version of the creepy Steven Moffat creations, the Weeping Angels in the TV series. There were droids and a labyrinthian cave where Polly had to drop stones ala Gretel to mark her way. It was one big riot for the group to come together and even break apart, but it all worked out in the end. I was surprised at the gore and sexual innuendo of the novel, because the Doctors and the episodes I know of (9-11) had quite wholesome seasons. I guess the author felt the liberty to write about a few adult themes, I dunno. I take my shock as a natural reaction to being a newbie Whovian, and for sure there are tons of what I need to learn from the Doctor Who history  because it’s older than me.

2 Doctors down, 9 more Doctor Who novels to go!

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World War Z

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I guess avidly watching the TV series The Walking Dead has made me a bit numb to fright at the sight of zombies here in this movie, but I do think this Brad Pitt US summer blockbuster did offer some fresh concepts on the undead. Everyone in the cinema was holding his/her breath because it was very exciting, and I really did hear the guy beside me exhale in relief after a chase scene. There are only two messages that this movie straightforwardly conveys: the zombies are now faster and stronger, and that the only cure for humankind is camouflage. Gone are the days when anyone can outrun them on a normal jogging speed. The hordes of decaying flesh literally come in waves, like a zombie tsunami. *chills* As for the story’s resolution, well, it’s simple enough, but of course the cure of the outbreak comes with a high risk. I don’t wanna spoil it, but Pitt wins an award for bravado on that one 😉

My twitter feed was filled with only one word from various people who’ve seen it: stress. The audience all got stressed out, some felt tired after all the running and the hiding of the uninfected characters. Sounds like a good movie? You betcha! Watch it for the chase and the adrenaline. Don’t bring little children. Spare your kids from the nightmares. They deserve happy dreams, always.

I’ll put Max Brook’s The Zombie Survival Guide and this one on my to-buy list in the bookstores soon.

Matilda the Musical!

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Matilda seems like the next most commercially successful work of Roald Dahl after Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. After a Hollywood hit movie, here comes the musical!  The Royal Shakespeare Company produced it for West End in London in 2010, but I only got curious about it when it created some noise in Broadway recently. The cast performed at this year’s Tony Awards, so go watch the video!

Aren’t the kids amazing? The musical should really be fun, although I am reminded a bit of Spring Awakening in their staging and choreography. Still, those kids look confident and sure of themselves that they don’t look like amateurs in theatre acting at all. Too bad I don’t live in the States to even get to watch the musical. I’ll just go watch some more songs on Youtube for now.

The Silent Stars Gone By

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I should have waited for December to read this given the plot’s occasion and circumstance. Patience is not a Whovian’s strongest trait, unfortunately. Also, I read it at a time when all fans were still mourning about Matt Smith’s announcement of his resignation from Doctor Who after this year’s Christmas special. So with such fond memories of the 11th Doctor, Amy, and Rory in my head, I immediately dived into the novel and found it a very enjoyable reading experience as I tried to imagine the three fumbling about in a deadly winter in a far-off, “Earth-esque” planet.

For those who’ve seen the 11th Doctor’s seasons, the Ice Warriors have made a comeback in this story and they’re threatening humankind’s extinction even if the warmbloods had first dibs with the planet. The accidental trip of the formidable trio to the planet though, made them discover another menacing element aside from the said Warriors. They are caught in the middle of an ecological war, and the Doctor’s negotiating skills are put to the test. It’s funny to see how quirks are translated into written format that author Dan Abnett has caught perfectly. It’s a more challenging experience though, to read and understand the scientific and technical explanations that fans are just used to hear in passing. How does one even imagine Earth’s terraforming?

Reading instead of watching Doctor Who is a new experience. I loved this book by Abnett. The title of his last chapter and the book itself are actually lines from a Christmas carol. Can you guess what the song is?

I can’t wait for my 9th and 10th books to arrive from the States next month! In the meantime, I’ve started reading about the First Doctor who’s quite a stranger to me. I’ll let you know how I feel about the very first Time Lord soon.