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Doctor Who: Night Terrors

Today’s villain: flats.

“Night Terrors”, by Mark Gatiss, is a run-of-the-mill romp, right? Silly, positively rubbish villains…

The fact that they were creepy as hell didn’t prevent me from shouting at the screen “Oi, Gatiss! Creepy dolls? Really?”

Check! River Song-less, angst-free, and seemingly random plot concerning alien kids, Doccy as a Social Services man, and a companion detour?

Doctor Who: Now starring Rory Williams, Amy Pond, and – most importantly – Amy Pond’s hair.

Checkity-check! Guy being eaten by his carpet?

No comment.

Big check.

In every respect, it seems that Night Terrors is a silly, throwaway rompity-romp. Not terrible, but certainly not necessary. Right?

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Doctor Who: Let’s Kill Hitler

(The collective fan reaction to the episode.)

Oh my dear, dear giddy aunt. “Let’s Kill Hitler” is a mad, impossible, brilliant, heartbreaking, hilarious spoiler of an episode. As usual with Moffat, it’s flawed, but show-stopping. Spoilers under the cut – because, after all, “You’ve got a time machine. I’ve got a gun. What the hell! Let’s kill Hitler.”

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Doctor Who: The Almost People

Well. Someone had fun with his literary terms book.

The Doctor's gone identity mad.

Yay! Clooooooney time! And what a nice time it was, eh? I squeed (oh, Doctor, you met your best friend ever), I wibbled a bit (cloney Scottish fellow and his kid – aww, for lack of a better word), oh yeah, and my jaw dropped (spoilers).

Rory becomes evil, after the jump! (Okay, not really. But his girlfriend is evil!)

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Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton, is a cautionary tale of science gone too far. As everyone knows, it’s about scientifically reproducing dinosaurs, and how that’s the worst idea ever. Why is it so horrible? As mathmatician Ian Malcolm says, you can’t reproduce a wild animal and expect it to do what you want it to do. In other words, if you make dinosaurs, expect them to act like dinosaurs; i.e. unpredictable.

The plot of Jurassic Park starts good and ends with velociraptors eating everyone. In the beginning, something mysterious is eating kids. It’s a monster! It’s a lizard! It’s a…dinosaur? (This took a few chapters and I was wondering when they would get to that.) Wow, I couldn’t have guessed that. A book with a big dinosaur on the cover turns out to be about dinosaurs? This craziness gets to a archaeologist who investigates it and then gets invited to Jurassic Park. This is where they’ve been making dinos. They’re convinced that none have gotten out, but they have.  More people are invited to the party and they take a completely safe tour. Then disaster strikes. And then velociraptors start eating everyone. Most of the action sequences in this book seem handmade to be a movie. And it is a little heavy on the “Run! They’re gonna eat us! (chomp chomp)” parts, but it’s worth it for the sciencelicious “What would happen if I did this?” parts. There’s also a nice web of info that we’ve got to untangle. You get lots of “Oh…so that’s it!” moments because of that.

The characters in Jurassic Park, like in The Da Vinci Code are pretty darn stereotypical. You’ve got your Villains, your Heroes, and your Brainy Science Types. But it’s really not about the characters. The plot makes up for them.

The science conundrum in Jurassic Park is not good for the people who read it and then thought they would whip up a nice batch of dinosaurs from the mosquitos in amber, because you actually cannot make any. I’ll quote from a nice article called Are Movies Science?: Dinosaurs, Movies, and Reality. “We must find intact DNA of the species in question. Amber is one of the better preservatives of DNA, so dinosaur DNA in amber would be good. Problem: DNA degrades over time, even in amber. After several million years, many lethal losses of pieces of the DNA would occur. These gaps in the DNA strand cannot be repaired; their information is lost forever. We cannot improvise the genetic code of an organism.” That’s just one thing in a long list of problems, which means we are not getting a pet triceratops. But fortunately, the book is not about how great it would be if we made dinos. It’s about how horrible it would be, which means even if we could, it would probably end in disaster. Everyone seems to overlook that, or at least say Michael just said that so he could have a T. Rex for himself.

Jurassic Park is a good book on the edge of greatness, but not quite there because of the velociraptors eating everyone. It’s still a pretty good book, though, so you should read it and remember that when the next big things are personal dinosaurs, don’t buy them.