Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

“The Last of the Gaderene” by Mark Gatiss (2000) — Doctor Who


Some­thing mys­te­ri­ous is hap­pen­ing with mys­te­ri­ous peo­ple mys­te­ri­ous­ly at a near­by aban­doned air­field, which is the cov­er for an impend­ing alien inva­sion. Already the aliens have tak­en pos­ses­sion of sev­er­al Very Impor­tant Peo­ple at the Defense Min­istry to smooth oth­er every­thing and are hunt­ing for the Lost MacGuf­fin in order to begin the inva­sion. For­tu­nate­ly some­one was old friends with the Brigadier and knew just how to bypass secu­ri­ty to con­tact him direct­ly. The Brig, of course, sends the Doc­tor, after he gets back from a lit­tle side trip that has noth­ing to do with the main sto­ry, and soon every­thing turns into (pseu­do) Zom­bie Apoc­a­lypse! with vil­lagers get­ting implant­ed with alien embryos to con­trol them to hold off the UNIT troops until the actu­al inva­sion begins. All is saved when a WW II Spit­fire air­plane dives into the tele­por­ta­tion beam and halts the inva­sion permanently.

⇒ Con­tin­ue read­ing ““The Last of the Gaderene” by Mark Gatiss (2000) — Doc­tor Who”

“The Harvest of Time” by Alastair Reynolds (2013) — Doctor Who


Mys­te­ri­ous events involv­ing dis­ap­pear­ing oil rigs and a secret Defense Min­istry project attract UNIT’s atten­tion, espe­cial­ly when the Mas­ter’s involve­ment becomes appar­ent. The Mas­ter is being used as a con­sul­tant by a Min­istry of Defense com­mu­ni­ca­tions project but in real­i­ty he is using them to broad­cast a tachy­on res­cue sig­nal to his past and future selves. How­ev­er, the rapa­cious alien race of the Sild inter­cept the sig­nal and use it to pluck var­i­ous incar­na­tions of the Mas­ter out of time, start­ing to erase him from exis­tence. Then the alien inva­sion begins, whose object is to cap­ture the Mas­ter him­self as the Mas­ter Stroke of their Mas­ter Plan of cre­at­ing the Mas­ter Com­put­er, built of all the incar­na­tions of the Mas­ter they were col­lect­ing. 1 They don’t find him, thanks to the inter­fer­ence of the Doc­tor who came to res­cue him, which only leads to the aliens cap­tur­ing him any­way in the far-flung future. But that is exact­ly what the Mas­ter wants, because the Mas­ter is in con­trol of the com­put­er, not the Sild, as they discover.

⇒ Con­tin­ue read­ing ““The Har­vest of Time” by Alas­tair Reynolds (2013) — Doc­tor Who”

Doctor Who Novels Reviewed

Over the past month, I read three Doc­tor Who novels.

Three Doc­tor Who nov­els, select­ed at ran­dom at the library with­out even check­ing the contents.

Three Doc­tor Who nov­els which all had ele­ments of mind con­trol. Even with the propen­si­ty for mind con­trol in the ear­ly Doc­tor Who episodes, this can hard­ly be coin­ci­den­tal, can it?

Two Doc­tor Who nov­els with the Mas­ter. That’s a lit­tle more believ­able as those two nov­els fea­tured the Third Doc­tor. Still, I did­n’t know that about one of these two before I select­ed it.

So: three Doc­tor Who nov­els with mind con­trol ele­ments. Three reviews in the next three weeks. Watch for them.

‘Reply Box No 666’ — “The Champions”


“Craig Ster­ling, Shar­ron Macready and Richard Bar­rett These are the Champions. 

“Endowed with the qual­i­ties and skills of super­hu­mans — qual­i­ties and skills, both phys­i­cal and men­tal, to the peak of human per­for­mance. Gifts giv­en to them by an unknown race of peo­ple, when their ‘plane crashed near a lost civil­i­sa­tion in Tibet. Now, with their secrets known only to them, they are able to use their fan­tas­tic pow­ers to their best advan­tage as the Cham­pi­ons of law, order and jus­tice. Oper­a­tors of the inter­na­tion­al agency, Nemesis!”

“The Cham­pi­ons” was a British tele­vi­sion (ITC) pro­duc­tion, star­ring three indi­vid­u­als, Craig Stir­ling (Stu­art Damon), Shar­ron Macready (Alexan­dra Baste­do) and Richard Bar­rett (William Gaunt), all of whom work for a NATO law enforce­ment orga­ni­za­tion named Neme­sis (this being the Cold War era) and its head, Tremayne (Antho­ny Nicholls). who was not aware of the pecu­liar abil­i­ties of his three best agents. On their first mis­sion in Com­mu­nist Chi­na, their plane was shot down over Tibet, where they were res­cued by mem­bers of an advanced, hid­den civ­i­liza­tion and returned to full health and beyond. Their treat­ment gave them extra­or­di­nary phys­i­cal and men­tal abil­i­ties: enhanced sens­es, strength and reflex­es, supe­ri­or intel­lect, a lim­it­ed pre­cog­ni­tive abil­i­ty and a psy­chic link between them, among oth­er things they were then unaware of.

Some of the episodes involved ele­ments of hyp­no­sis and mind con­trol, but episode ‘Reply Box No 666’ stands out because of the hyp­no­sis scene involv­ing Macready as the seduc­tive (appro­pri­ate­ly enough, as she did seduce her sub­ject back to her room pri­or to the induc­tion) hyp­no­tist. ⇒ Con­tin­ue read­ing “‘Reply Box No 666’ — “The Champions””

Samuel Youd — RIP

The name Samuel Youd is not that most any­one would imme­di­ate­ly rec­og­nize. Even I did­n’t at first.

How­ev­er, his pseu­do­nym of John Christo­pher would be imme­di­ate­ly rec­og­nized by SF fans any­where. That was the name used for the author of a large num­ber of SF nov­els, includ­ing the YA tril­o­gy known under the col­lec­tive name as the “Tripods”. The Tripods tril­o­gy (“The White Moun­tains”, “The City of Gold and Lead”, and “The Pool of Fire”) was about an Earth that was con­quered by aliens who moved about the world in almost “War of the Worlds” tripods. To con­trol the pop­u­lace, every­one was “capped” at the age of 14 with a met­al device that main­tained the aliens’ con­trol over human­i­ty. But not all human­i­ty: an under­ground move­ment, employ­ing agents wear­ing fake “caps” recruit­ed young men to act as under­cov­er agents, even­tu­al­ly able to infil­trate the alien base and pro­vide the infor­ma­tion to restore humanity.

There was also a pre­quel nov­el, “When the Tripods Came”, pub­lished in 1988, almost 20 years after the first pub­li­ca­tion of the first book of the tril­o­gy. This nov­el final­ly dis­closed how the alien “Mas­ters” first con­quered the world: through a hyp­not­ic tele­vi­sion pro­gram called “The Trip­py Show” that reduced resis­tance to the alien conquest.

Samuel Youd’s career was not lim­it­ed to just these sto­ries: he was a pro­lif­ic writer who used sev­er­al pseu­do­nyms as well as his own name. Oth­er than the “Tripods” series, he is best remem­bered for his post-apoc­a­lyp­tic nov­el The Death of Grass, the sec­ond work pub­lished under his John Christo­pher pseu­do­nym, in 1956.


  • The tril­o­gy was adapt­ed as a com­ic strip in the ven­er­a­ble “Boy’s Life” mag­a­zine, from May, 1981, through August, 1986.
  • The first two books of the tril­o­gy would even­tu­al­ly be trans­lat­ed to tele­vi­sion by the BBC, but the third book nev­er got past the script stage.


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