Daily Archives: Sunday, 25th Nov 2012

Weight and Stuff Report – 25 November 2012

Oooops, up again today. And it was a singularly inactive day as the step count demonstrates.

Here’s a bridge:

Tyne Bridge

Tyne Bridge

Camera: FinePix X100
Aperture: ƒ/4
Shutter speed: 1/1200s
Focal length: 23mm
ISO: 200
Taken: 10 November, 2012
Location: 54° 58.011′ 0″ N 1° 36.407′ 0″ W

Terry Pratchett – A Blink of the Screen: Collected Short Fiction

Terry Pratchett is of course best known for the extensive Discworld series, and other novels. But somehow, between all the books, he has managed to write some shorter pieces. Some of these were written for anthologies, some for various publications, making many of them hard or impossible to track down.

Well, here they are. The first half of the book consists of non-Discworld stories, including some from very early in Terry’s career (the first having been published when he was 13). These are a bit of a mixed bag – some clearly better than others, and a couple which were later recycled into more developed works (there’s a Gnome story that’s an early version of the Bromeliad trilogy, and what amounts to a first draft of the Long Earth). There’s lots of Terry’s trademark humour to enjoy, and a deal with the Devil that works out quite nicely…

But it’s the second half that most readers will be interested in. This contains a nice selection of Discworld Stories, including some of the popular characters – Granny Weatherwax makes a very welcome appearance, Cohen the Barbarian meets some Trolls, and there is much more besides.

Each piece has a short introduction from Terry, and well, you’re going to read it anyway, aren’t you?

If you haven’t read it already, get on with it!

Doctor Who – The Claws of Axos (Special Edition)

This is another of the improved releases, rather than a shiny new one. The original DVD came out in 2005, and I gave it a short review at the time. I’ve nothing further to say about the story itself, other than that it’s still good fun. The extra features, however, do deserve a mention.

In addition to most of the bits from the previous release, there is some new material that adds a bit of value:

Axon Stations! I’m sure there’s a special department in BBC Worldwide devoted to coming up with silly titles for these “making of” documentaries. This is a fairly typical one – many of the usual suspects talk about making the serial, and it’s all good fun.

Living with Levene The increasingly ubiquitous Toby Hadoke goes to see John Levene, who played Sergeant Benton, and tries to get to know him. John is what I think is known even in acting circles as “a character”, so this does get interesting….

The original version also included a short piece on how the serial was restored for a proper colour release from NTSC tapes. This appears to have been left off the new version, so if you’re a fan of technical details of that kind, you may want to hang on to your original DVD…

Anyway, it’s a good example of 1971 Doctor Who. The Master gets himself into trouble with his latest alien allies (again), the Doctor and the Master form an uneasy alliance, the UNIT mob are in full effect, and it all looks nicely restored.