Inverarity (inverarity) wrote,

Lila Zill and the Thorn Circle (also: Torchwood and Caprica reviews)

"Lila Zill and the Thorn Circle"

I've been looking back through the notes I made when I first conceived of Alexandra Quick, before I even started writing book one. I started out by writing lists of names for people and places. I'd actually forgotten most of these.

I have a long list of girls' names I wrote down. Then I have the three that made my short list: "Bonnie," "Lila" (short for "Lilian"), and "Alexandra."

Also, "Quick" was not the only surname under consideration. I have "Green" (which became Alexandra's mother's married name), "Stone," "Amber," and "Quick," and below all those, a circle around "Lila Zill."

Lila Zill? Really? I was going to name my main character "Lila Zill"? I swear I don't remember that...

Also, Charmbridge Academy was originally the Lockwood Institute. Then it became Evangale Academy, and "Lockwood's" became a department store in the Goblin Market. (Which ended up being Grundy's.)

The Invisible Bridge was originally the Oleander Bridge (I have no idea...).

Ben Journey was originally Ben Cordwainer, and Lilith Grimm was originally Lilith DeVries.

Most of my early notes about the story are pretty close to the final plot. There are some details that were significantly changed from my original outline, but the general direction of the story stayed the same.

Some smaller details that changed: Alexandra was originally going to find a Nix in Old Larkin Pond, not a kappa. And she was going to come back to the pond at the end of the year for a rematch with the Redcaps. (Like I don't already pack too much into my conclusions.) Also, instead of breaking into the Registrar's Office, she was going to break into the Dean's house. Heh.

Torchwood: Children of Earth

Morally ambiguous heroes doing awful things for the greater good

This was a brilliant mini-epic. Seasons One and Two were "meh" for me. But Children of Earth was how sci-fi series should be: small and self-contained, tying up all the loose ends, and doing dramatic things that you can't do when you need to keep all your options open for the next season. (Though I understand they are planning a Torchwood Season Four now.)

I can't believe that Torchwood fans wanked most over the fact that Ianto died. They killed Owen and Toshiko both at the end of Season Two. Why is Ianto dying such a big deal? He was the least interesting character on the show. I didn't even know what he was there for until the kissy-kissy with Captain Jack started, and then I was like, "Oh, fanservice."

You have a storyline involving the government handing over millions of children, ugly questions about class, utilitarianism, sacrifice, and the end of the world, and what really got to fans was the demise of their favorite slash pairing? Bleh.

There were a couple of things that annoyed me about CoE's plot. First, we never see any evidence that these aliens are anything more than spacefaring drug addicts. Do they have ships? Weapons? They can obviously engineer some nasty viruses, but it's actually not that easy to wipe out an entire species with biological warfare. (A virus with the contagiousness, speed, and fatality we see on the show would not survive long enough to infect large portions of the population.) So I was annoyed that all the governments of the Earth fold without even considering the possibility that the 456 were bluffing.

Also, I don't care what kind of scheme you come up with: there is no way you will get every country on Earth to hand over 10% of its children. Even relatively docile and unarmed Britain would rise up; in America, you'd have armed insurrection, and many governments around the world would simply collapse if they even attempted such a thing. And you cannot make millions of children disappear and then cover it up. It's not even remotely plausible that the secret cabal in London could have believed they'd get away with the "innoculation" story. (Like no one in Britain would notice that it was only the kids from lower class schools being rounded up?)

These are the kinds of plot holes that bother me, even if I can otherwise enjoy a story. (Which is why I worry so much about plot holes in my own stories, because I picture a reader like me saying, "But wait a minute, what about...?")

The ending, though, sold me. Jack Harkness is such a magnificent bastard.


I was a Teenage Cylon

Battlestar Galactica would have been much better if it had been half as long. (See above.) Caprica is a prequel to BSG. It's pretty good, although it's more of a multi-family drama with sci-fi elements, and the connection with Battlestar Galactica ia tenuous. There actually is not a lot of sci-fi in terms of tech; the only real futuristic hardware we've seen is the prototype Cylon/Zoe, and it's just a subplot.

On the one hand, Caprica City looks and feels an awful lot like modern Los Angeles. (It's actually shot in Vancouver, apparently.) Caprican society in general is awfully "American." However, the roles of religion are interesting; mainstream Caprican society is pagan/libertine in nature, while one of the subplots is a radical monotheist terrorist organization. (And no, the "Soldiers of the One" aren't a clumsy stand-in for Christian/Jewish/Muslim terrorists; their religion is a fairly generic monotheism that carefully avoids resembling any real-world religions too much, but is still different in concrete ways from Caprican society's mainstream paganism.)

I've been enjoying it, though it looks like the kind of show that could easily slide into Teh Suck if given another season. Fortunately or unfortunately, I don't think that's likely.

Watch it now before it disappears; ratings are in the tank. (You'd think after Firefly and Dollhouse, "SyFy" (ugh) would know better than to air a new sci-fi series with no established target audience on Friday nights.)
Tags: alexandra quick, caprica, reviews, torchwood

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