James had the pleasure of talking the the Elkhart Truth newspaper about his new book "An Eloquence of Time and Space"! The interview covers everything from James' early love to Doctor Who, to the creation of the book! Learn about the most d
"They say the pen is mightier than the sword, or in this case, Doctor Who’s Sonic Screwdriver..."
You can read the article right here!
If you haven't checked out my new Doctor Who poetry book you can order a copy here!
Robot of Sherwood
Sing me a song of Merry ol Men
Sing me a song again
of Robin of Locksly
and arrows of gold
fighting off sci-fi
and the robots of old
sing me a song of the tales they will tell
when men are forgotten
and history as well
Jealous, are we?
Not real and never was
couldn't believe a twig was
anything less than a branch
heroes to brooms
to brush up the floor
replaced till there is nothing
but pretending you're for it
This episode had the opportunity to simply be the kind of fluff episode that is quickly forgotten from Doctor Who, but ended up instead being one of the most rollicking good times I've had in a while. Honestly, I haven't laughed that much since I saw Guardians of the Galaxy for the first time. This episode knew it was going to be fun, and set out to accomplish that goal, but managed to do it while also letting us explore the characters of the Doctor and Clara more, while also letting us relieve some of our favorite moments of the Robin Hood tales. The episode thrives on Nostalgia, but it doesn't treat that nostalgia as something that can be coasted on. Every time we see a classic piece of the myth, like the duel over the stream or the archery contest, we given a healthy and hilarious twist on it from the Doctor not being able to admit that Robin Hood is real.
This is really the most brilliant thing about the episode, we've been introduced to the 12th Doctor, who is much more convinced of his own correctness in a smug way than his predecessors. Last episode we saw him just give up and say “I tried, it didn't work out, its a Dalek what did you expect?” instead of trying to fix the problem to sort of gloat in his own correctness, and here the Doctor can't admit he is wrong that Robin Hood is real and has to go to extravagant lengths to try to prove he is right, while actually being totally wrong, is a fantastic twist on the way that these stories are supposed to go, and switches things up in a much needed way. We've seen the Doctor be excited about meeting people before, but its quite different to place the Doctor outside of the place the audience is most likely to be in: that is that everyone is tuning in to watch the Doctor meet Robin Hood and go on an adventure together. Having them get on each other's nerves is just not supposed to be what happens here!
The episode is also satisfying in some fairly simple ways you get from paying attention, such as the Doctor blowing up the bullseye earlier in the episode, and later it being revealed that the Doctor's arrows were electronic homing arrows because he was cheating. These kind of little details that reward repeat viewings of the episode are really appreciated, as are the little nods like showing a picture of Patrick Troughton (the second Doctor)''s portrayal of Robin Hood on the Computer.
We're also treated to more stuff about the Promised land: hey look, more robots are trying to get there. Why do all these robots want to go to the Promised land anyways? Obvious symbolism there with the robots shooting crosses though. That was probably the worst part of the episode, as it was perhaps a bit of heavy handedness too far.
Finally, the episode gets a bit meta at the end, talking about how Robin and the Doctor are both legends and their lives as people on the inside are forgotten compared to the legends of what they do. This is a message I can really get behind. While people everywhere constantly feel like they aren't good enough, like the turmoil and doubt inside them precludes them from a good memory, its refreshing to know that what a person does is remembered, and that doing good things isn't forgotten even if chosing to doo those things wasn't easy, and even if you weren't a perfect person. Because there are no perfect people, but legends and heroes can be that. So in many ways, choosing to be good is choosing to be a legend. I approve.
Next week it looks like we're getting something creepy. Excellent.
My second book, "An Eloquence of Time and Space," Is set to be released this Friday! You'll be able to buy it on Amazon.com and Createspace.com for print and Kindle!
This poetic Guide to Doctor who gives you a poem for every single story of Doctor Who, from "An Unearthly Child" to "the Time of the Doctor" (not to mention Torchwood and the Sarah Jane Adventures to!).
Oh, and it has a cookbook, essays, and a short story! Its the ultimate celebration of Doctor Who, and you won't want to miss it!
Into the Dalek
We were mesmerized by your blurring
between the outreached hand and the unreached breath
and the cold intake of our infernal gasps
there is so little left outside the pain of your guts
gurneying me and them to our tabliture
death before we even hit the brain cells
with our codeine induction into hieroglyph records
vinyl synchs of that tap tap tap when the black warps
and your eye bulges out into
the remaining space we had
to become a part of you without showing
we already knew our way around.
Dalek episodes are hard, because Daleks are commonplace. A Dalek has to appear in every series of Doctor Who for contractual reasons, so the modern era of Doctor Who has been making the best of it and trying its best to be very creative with Daleks. Usually this has meant changing the nature of the Daleks in some way so that the Daleks, while still clearly being Daleks, are refreshed in some way. Whether making them mad scientists searching for a genetic future in the “Daleks in Manhattan” two-parter, media moguls in “Bad Wolf/Parting of the Ways”, the undead in “Asylum of the Daleks”, or plotting appeasers in “Victory of the Daleks”, the formula has generally been to give the Daleks a twist to make them interesting. There are rare exceptions of course, “Dalek” was pretty straightforward for the most part, and many of the “event” episodes like “Journey's End” or “Time of the Doctor” have used the Daleks just as Daleks because the huge emotional events going on around the Daleks made any sort of twist distracting. While the conceit of into the Dalek could be called a twist, the story is strangely straightforward, and has a lot more in common with “Dalek” than it does with any other Dalek story of the modern era. That is to say that while the story seems to lead with the twist of Rusty being a “good moral Dalek” the episode's big turn is that no, he isn't. At least temporarily.
The episode goes through a lot of ideas very quickly: Soldiers, their roles, and the Doctor and Clara's relationship to them. What it takes to be a good man. What it takes to be a good Dalek.
Whats interesting here is that being a good Dalek is redefined. Its not just “What does it take to be a Dalek that other Daleks can really get along with” but “what could make a Dalek good?” strangely, the episode poses three answers to the question, and doesn't side with any of them.
1. There is no such thing as a good Dalek.
2. A good Dalek would be able to see the beauty in life and creation.
3. A good Dalek is defined by where it directs its built in tendency to destroy, rather than by the fact that this is built into it.
Points one and two are fairly straightforward, and Doctor Who has covered them before in various ways, but three is an interesting and new one. Rusty looks into the Doctor's mind and sees perfect hatred, and decides that the Doctor's hatred of the Daleks is the new ideal he need to live by. Rusty's decision to hunt down the Daleks is maybe for the wrong reasons, but Rusty also saw why the Doctor hated the Daleks, its not like the Doctor was without reason to dislike them: they're genocidal maniacs. If Rusty got rid of them, wouldn't that be a good thing? Or would a ruthless quest to destroy them be just as wrong? Its the sort of question about the Dalek's nature we haven't gotten since the Tom Baker classic “Genesis of the Daleks” and its a welcome one.
Aside from the Daleks, we also see Missy return briefly ushering someone into heaven, and have yet another segment on the importance of breathing (that one must stay breathing regularly to not die when being shrunk) which makes two for two on the breathing motif. Heaven being a recurring theme here makes me wonder if the breath has to do with the breath of life itself, with breathing being the thing that marks one as living (though that does leave Mr. Half-Face-Top-Hat-Robot from Deep Breath as being not alive, technically).
I really loved Danny Pink, and I can't wait to see more of his character. Positive portrayals of people dealing with mental trauma or PTSD is always okay in my book. Cheers to him. Danny's presence also underlines something about the episode: the Doctor is not always right. In fact, the Doctor gets this episode tremendously wrong and without Clara would have gotten everyone killed. In the same way, the Doctor gets wrong that someone being a soldier makes them an inherently disreputable person, and the episode sides with Clara. This was a bold move, and I'm curious how the “Doctor is wrong” and “the Doctor doesn't like soldiers” plot-lines will play out this year
Finally, from the 5 year old in me, this episode had some of the most intense and pretty Daleks-blowing-up that have ever been put on film, and that's worth something in itself!
Poet, Playwright, Game Designer, Writer, Freelancer for hire.