Ep 155 – Dark Waters of Mars

New Verity!

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The first mini-arc of our Year of Women focuses on competent women, and Adelaide Brooke totally fits the bill! Join Deb, Katrina, and Lynne as they talk about Adelaide, her personality, her mission, her decisions, and much more. They also discover a possible tag-line for this year of podcasting: “It’s a whole different story when you change the POV.” Boy howdy.

What do you think about Ms. Brooke? Let us know in the comments!

^E

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Bonus…

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Book review: Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

Parable of the Sower (Earthseed, #1)Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the great things about my occasional long travel days is the ability to read an entire novel that I had been meaning to get to FOREVER and finally had time and space to read on a trip for work.

Post-apocalyptic (in the sense of water scarcity and breakdown of society) near future SF set in the 2020s with a political structure that seems rather prescient when reading it this year. Parable of the Sower is one of those books that, upon first reading, seems “simple” in terms of prose style, plot, and storytelling choices. It is NOT simple–it is rendered deeply, fundamentally understandable to the reader and the characters experiencing it through great skill.

Right up until you finish it, and the different pieces fall into place, and what you have consumed is a deep meditation on the power — and necessity — of community for survival. Because community is what makes survival worthwhile. And Lauren’s journey from her first understanding of community (of origin) to her understanding of community (of choice) by the end of the novel is one that happens subtly, but to great effect, both for her and the reader.

Outstanding novel, and I’m kicking myself for not having read it before now.

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Extra! – Love & Monstrous Commentary

New VERITY! In which Deb gets Erika to do a whiskey fueled commentary…

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Ok so the commentary itself isn’t monstrous. Nor is the episode. The amount of whiskey consumed while commentating…? Join Deb and Erika as they do a live-from-Deb’s-couch, in-person commentary! (recorded in November, 2017, during Erika’s epic US vacation-adventure)

^E

Download or listen now (runtime 59:26) 

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Episode 153 – Taran Woodbeast Defense Council

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I know Deb says this is episode 154 on the podcast, but it turns out it’s actually ep 153! (Totally my fault for providing bad information.) Anyway, join Deb, Erika, Katrina, and Liz as we discuss a Doctor Who story Liz loves, “The Androids of Tara”. Deb had never seen it before. Did she like it? Listen and see!

What do you think of this installment of The Key to Time? Let us know in the comments!

This episode is dedicated to our unofficial “seventh Verity“, Marie Cat. 2004-2017

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Extra! – Fandom and the Holidays

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The holiday season is upon us! Join Deb, Lynne, and Tansy as they chat about holiday traditions and how they intersect with fandom–Doctor Who and otherwise.

What are your geeky traditions/plans? Do you have gift suggestions? Let us know in the comments!

^E

Download or listen now (runtime 45:41) 

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Extra! – CarCast!

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Another LI Who is in the books! Join Deb and Erika from the car on I-95(!) as we talk about the weekend that was, suggest tips for good panel moderation, discuss the 13th Doctor’s new costume, squee over the news that Steven Moffat will be at Gallifrey One(!), and almost get killed by a careless driver (not Deb).

Were you at LI Who? Or do you have some ideas on how to make sure all panelists get their chance to speak? Let us know in the comments!

^E

Download or listen now (runtime 37:19) 

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Book review: A Queen from the North by Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae

A Queen from the North: A Royal Roses BookA Queen from the North: A Royal Roses Book by Erin McRae
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Purchased because I needed something fluffy and absorbing, and this did the trick, with authors whose work I have enjoyed before.

So: AU where the Wars of the Roses ( Houses of Lancaster vs. York) resolved differently. This is mostly for political background to raise the stakes of the central romance between Lady Amelia (York) and the Prince of Wales (Lancaster). I knew very little about the original history for this AU, and it was fine– explained well enough to get you through, without getting bogged down.

Come for the AU royal stuff, stay for the epic banter. I actually laughed out loud at a couple of points. One of my favorite parts of this novel is that the dialogue is not only snappy, everyone sounds like plausibly real people, all of whom have multiple modes of speaking depending upon the context in which they find themselves. Which is all the more important when dealing with the whole royalty thing. All of the characters felt like real people, stuck in enormously public roles as an accident of birth, and desperately trying to navigate that while not creating an international incident OR making bad emotional life choices. Okay, WORSE emotional life choices that may turn out okay after all.

Thoroughly enjoyable modern royal romance. Recommended.

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Extra! – Unfortunate Episode Titles

New Verity! Extra!

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It’s another game this week! A new one! This time we delve into the (entirely fictional) bowels of BBC history and learn the almost-could-have-been titles for some well-known Doctor Who stories. Hope you find this as delightful as we did! Special thanks to friend of the show Erik Stadnik for the assist in creating this game. Check out his sweet Patreon page!

Got some ideas to contribute? Let us know in the comments!

^E

Download or listen now (runtime 29:12) 

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Book review: An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

An Extraordinary Union (The Loyal League #1)An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ellen (who goes by Elle) is a spy for The Loyal League, masquerading as a slave to get information to support the Union cause. Malcolm is a Pinkerton man, masquerading as a confederate officer to get information to support the Union cause. Their works bring them together to share information.

This was a really engaging romance–Elle is super-snarky and Malcolm is a very enjoyable laid back kind of commentator. They are both really smart and brave, and they admire that about each other. They are also both exceedingly wary about their chosen line(s) of work, which require them to lie like breathing. How do you build a honest relationship when you’re forced to lie constantly?

The major romantic barrier for Elle & Malcolm is that she is black and he is white, and this novel actually forces them to reckon with that– internally, in terms of their relationship, and in terms of what it means for them socially and professionally. As opposed to “sillier” barriers you might see in period romances, this one takes on a huge, important, undeniable issue with grace and panache. Elle and Malcolm falling in love is DANGEROUS for them, not just emotionally, but physically and socially, and that danger forms the major part of the tension pulling the novel along, paired with an attempt to foil a particular military plot that could change the course of the war. They struggle with their feelings in ways that feel real, and whole, and scary. And they come out the other side with a better notion of who they are and what they want, without ever shying away from the consequences of their choices.

That said, if you’re going to call this an “issue” romance, put it in the same “classic example of doing it damned well” category as Mary Jo Putney’s “The Rake and the Reformer.” Because this was damned good. The supporting cast is well-drawn and complex, the action/spy plot is great, and their budding romance–and the challenges that come with their particular situation are handled superbly well. I’m looking forward to the next one in the series.

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Episode 149 – Here Come the Drums Here Come the Drums

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Our year of loves and lasts hits another love. Join Deb, Erika, Katrina, and Lynne as we discuss an episode that Kat really loves: “The Sound of Drums”. Yes, you read that right. Kat loves a 10th Doctor episode, and we find out why! We also talk about why the rest of us like it. There are numerous reasons, including Jack and the Master and good old Martha.

Why do you love (or not love) this ep? Let us know in the comments!

^E

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