100 FATHOMS BELOW is here!

Today is the day! It’s been a long road, but 100 Fathoms Below is finally being released today by Blackstone Publishing! Click here for a description of the book, some great advance reviews, and buying options!

Doctor Who: “The Woman Who Fell to Earth”

After what seemed like an interminable wait — one which actually exceeded the amount of time the show was on hiatus in the 1980s! — Doctor Who‘s eleventh season has finally arrived, starring Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor in her first episode, “The Woman Who Fell to Earth.”

And I loved it.

Chris Chibnall, the new show runner, has breathed new life into what had, in my opinion, grown stale under Steven Moffat. There was a wonderful, season one/Christopher Eccleston-era feel to the whole thing. The cast is extraordinary. I love that Graham, Ryan, and Yaz all know each other, from family and from living in the same town, and I have the very pleasant sense — almost relief, really — that it’s not anything bigger than that, not some Moffat-esque tilt at destiny or forced “Impossible Girl”-type mystery. They are written and performed realistically, marking a welcome change from the often cartoonish characters and walking bundles of charming quirks we’ve seen so much of.

Jodie Whittaker is a revelation as the Doctor. She’s energetic without bringing the weird, sometimes off-putting mania that Matt Smith did. I’ve been missing the feel of the Eccleston and Tennant eras of Doctor Who for a long time now, and this feels like a return to form. I thought the incidental music throughout the episode was fantastic, and Segun Akinola’s classic version of the iconic theme was delightful.

Do I have quibbles? Sure, I always do. It didn’t seem to take the Doctor very long at all to make a brand new sonic screwdriver out of whatever just happened to be available in that old warehouse. She’s finished just as some other characters come to tell her they’ve found something that we saw them find right before she began work on it. There’s a lot of getting from place to place so quickly as to almost be magical. Karl was hilarious and should also be a companion. Okay, maybe not, because that would be a lot of companions, but still, I liked Karl.

It’s only the first episode of the new season, but I’m already very, very pleased. To me it feels like Doctor Who is back, and for the first time in a long time I can’t wait for the next episode.

100 FATHOMS BELOW Goodreads Giveaway!

Blackstone Publishing is giving away five hardcovers of 100 Fathoms Below on Goodreads! Enter today for a chance to win!

We Sold Our Souls

We Sold Our SoulsWe Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“We play fucking metal! I don’t want to sing about your sad feelings! I want dragons.”

Grady Hendrix’s WE SOLD OUR SOULS may wear the skin of a road-trip horror novel, but at its heart it’s a love letter to metal, music, creativity, and never selling out. It’s heartfelt and, at times, as brutal as any modern horror novel, yet it’s also filled with in-jokes and references for readers who listen to the right kind of music. (Not all of it is metal. If you’re a fan of Joan Jett’s early band the Runaways you’re in good company here.)

I can’t speak highly enough about how authentically Hendrix has written about being in a band and, more poignantly, the bleak period that comes after, when you’re no longer making music and are forced to take crappy, low-skilled jobs and move back in with your parents. The dark side of the rock-and-roll dream — what happens when you don’t make it big — is rarely explored in fiction, but in Hendrix’s novel it cuts like a knife. The supernatural elements are compelling and smartly underplayed, but horror fans will still love it. So will metal fans. But WE SOLD OUR SOUL’s true strength lies in its character study of Kris Pulaski, the guitarist who almost made it big but, right on the cusp of greatness, lost everything. The other members of her band, Dürt Würk, are also extremely well drawn, but this is Kris’s story, and Hendrix brings her to life so well I felt like I’ve known her for years. WE SOLD OUR SOUL is a fun novel, but it’s also special one for anyone who has ever faced the trials and frustrations of trying to be a creative artist.

By the way, Dürt Würk’s TROGLODYTE sounds like a great album, and I would absolutely listen to it if it were real!

View all my reviews

 

 

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