Thursday, 31 December 2020

My 2020

What a year we've had.

I haven't been as prolific as in previous years, but I have been looking after a one year old, which for the record is much more difficult than looking after a baby. With 'the terrible two's' just around the corner I'm not expecting it to get any easier any time soon, but I refuse to give myself a hard time over it.

2020 has undeniably been a challenge for all of us. Just getting through it seems like an achievement in itself.

I conceived of a documentary about the effects of the Covid 19 lockdown on a small Yorkshire village that became Carleton In Lockdown.

I managed to write some articles for Hero Collector, but so far only four have seen the light of day: Aliens: A History In Comics, Predator Comics Crossovers, James Bond: Top Ten Car Chases and 2021: The Year Ahead. I have some others are due to be published later.
Outside In Trusts No One was published containing my article, Neighborhood Watch.

I've written for several future Outside In volumes and a couple of comics collections, but more news on those as and when they are published.

I also have a new project which begins the day after tomorrow, but more news on that the day after tomorrow...

Monday, 28 December 2020

Outside In Takes A Stab Reviews

Some Outside In Takes A Stab reviews from the contributors. Ordinarily a review from the author would be less than impartial, but given the nature of the Outside In books that doesn't apply in quite the same way. On Goodreads, Outside In Takes A Stab currently has an average of .67 (out of five).

Reviewer: Daniel Kukwa
December 9, 2018 amazing

The fifth book in the "Outside In" series of critiques, and the fifth book to feature one of my articles. Buffy seems like another lifetime to me, and it feels a bit more ephemeral compared to the eternal power of "Star Trek" and "Doctor Who". That said, it certainly had an impact at the time, and while the effect of its kool-aid didn't last as long with me, it still had something to say, especially in its later seasons. So in spite of not being a die-hard fan, I hope I've contributed something worthy to this interesting collection. It's worth it just to read Graeme Burk's article on the episode "Witch" absolutely sublime tantrum.

Reviewer: Colleen Hillerup
August 17, 2019

Lots of expressions of Buffyism. Great book, but would be worth it just for Cameron Dixon's essay.

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Carruthers Ten Years On: December 2010

December 2010 on the Carruthers Blog. Unsurprisingly, Christmas dominated, not least in the copying and pasting of the entire text of A Christmas Carol. This post shows exactly how I was feeling about the Carruthers blog at the time.

It's interesting that looking back now, this post on Feminism could probably be seen as both for and against depending on your own politics and interpretation. I don't think that was necessarily true in 2010. I think it was far more obvious ten years ago that this was not a criticism of feminism, because I think feminism wasn't being called into question as readily as it is now by twats. This is not progress.

The best post featured this picture that I drew:

Saturday, 5 December 2020

Outside In Makes It So Reviews

Some Outside In Makes It So reviews from the contributors. Ordinarily a review from the author would be less than impartial, but given the nature of the Outside In books that doesn't apply in quite the same way. On Goodreads, Outside In Makes It So currently has an average of and a half (out of five).

Reviewer: Daniel Kukwa
October 28, 2017 amazing

Another fantastic celebration of classic geeky goodness from the folks at ATB Publishing. I have an article in here, in the depths of season three...but I won't toot any horns. There is more than enough within these pages to entertain & fascinate even the most discerning "Star Trek" fan.

Of the four "Outside In" volumes to date, this is easily the most outrageous, more varied, most eclectic of the bunch...and that's wonderful. TNG has always had the reputation of being the most beige of "Star Trek" series, so it's utterly delightful to read a collection of reviews and ruminations that push the series well outside its usual comfort zone. I thought my own contribution (for the 5th season episode "Silicon Avatar") would be considered wild...but there are write-ups in this collection that make it look positively tame. My personal favourite is the Pakled's hilarious sketched-out plan from season 2's "Samaritan Snare".

Reviewer: Jarrah
April 25, 2018

Some of my favourite fan mail my podcast gets is listeners telling us how we made them think about Star Trek in a whole new way. If you want to think about Star Trek: The Next Generation in 174 whole new ways, you can't do better than Outside In Makes It So a collection of essays by 174 different writers, edited by Robert Smith? Each short piece looks at one episode of TNG (or one of the TNG movies or crossover episodes) from a new and different perspective. We have feminist analysis, like Fiona Moore's analysis of "The Child"; a gripping and hilarious noir re-telling of "The Big Goodbye" from the perspectives of the holograms, by Keith R. A. DeCandido; Rich Schepis's guide to "Sins of the Father", with accompanying drink and song selections; Sarah Gorner's intro to "Sub Rosa" as Masterpiece Theatre episode; and so much more. The book includes professional authors and first-time writers. The essays in this book will make you laugh and make you think. It'll make you re-watch TNG the next time with fresh eyes, looking at every episode from a different character's perspective, or spotting new inconsistencies or moments of beauty. Full disclosure: One of my essays is included this book (a response to the TNG episode "Man of the People"), although I chose to donate my share of proceeds to the book's charity of choice, Avert so don't stand to make any monetary gain from this review.

Reviewer: Michel Siskoid Albert
May 31, 2018

Outside In Makes It So - 174 perspectives on 174 Star Trek The Next Generation stories by 174 writers including myself - may well be my favorite of the four "TV episodes from an odd angle" books in the Outside In series. At least, I read it at the most devouring of paces. Perhaps it's that I've read fewer think pieces on TNG than I have TOS and before that, Doctor Who. Perhaps by sheer volume, there were more pieces that touched something in me (whether emotional or intellectual). Off the top of my head, some favorites include Where Silence Has Lease's portrayal of deaf people, Lower Decks' ode to the redshirt, The Best of Both Worlds tracking changes in how television is delivered, and on the more humorous side of things, articles written by Spot and Riker's beard. If I weren't going off the top of my head, I'd probably be name half the articles. My caveat: Having been written in 2017, the anti-Trek abomination that is the Trump presidency looms large and several texts felt the need to take shots at it, which was a problem for me. I'm just so sick of seeing him referenced in everything, even attacks I agree with tend to annoy me. An imagined visit with Boothby after Insurrection still feels like required reading on the subject, however. I wish Deep Space Nine were next, but Buffy's 20th Anniversary beckons...