50 Years of Doctor Who: Ranking the Doctors

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Well folks, “Day of the Doctor” was excellent. And now we eagerly await the start of Peter Capaldi’s era. So, now that the 50th anniversary’s episode has aired, I’ve decided to reveal my rankings of all eleven Doctors. I await your flames. (note: This list excludes the War Doctor, because I don’t think one episode and a 7-minute short is enough to base an opinion on. But for the record, John Hurt was excellent in his portrayal.

11. Paul McGann (#8)–I’ve only seen the one movie. I haven’t listened to the audio dramas.  But I am going to buy at least one or get it as a gift.

10. Patrick Troughton (#2)–I’ve only seen a handful of Troughton’s run, because that’s all that’s available.  But what I’ve seen, I’ve enjoyed and I respect his contribution immensely.

9. William Hartnell (#1)–The grandpa you always wanted. That’s the first Doctor in a nutshell.  I have seen quite a lot of his run and I admit Hartnell has charm.  I just wish all his episodes were available.

8. Christopher Eccleston (#9)–I love the way Eccleston portrays the Doctor’s pain at all the destruction he caused and how he’s asking himself if he should even continue his mission. And then he meets Rose.

7. Colin Baker (#6)–Colin Baker’s run should’ve been so much better than it turned out.  I feel so sorry for Colin. He got the dream job he always wanted, and then Michael Grade turned it into Hell. And the bad scripts brought it further down.

6. Peter Davison (#5)–Davison’s Doctor was the gentlest of the Doctors and that makes his run all the more heart-wrenching because it’s the most tragic. It contains the first on-screen death of a companion since Hartnell’s era. This era is middle of the road for me. I do enjoy Davison’s performance, but Tegan kind of ruins it for me.

5. Matt Smith (#11)–I love the energy and child-like wonder the Doctor brings to the role and he makes the show so much fun.  He’s basically the Peter Pan Doctor.

4. Jon Pertwee (#3)–Pertwee’s run is so much fun! The Master, The Autons, Bessie–what’s not to like?

3. Sylvester McCoy (#7)–McCoy’s run is probably, in my opinion, the most underrated run of the entire series.  It was right after the “Trial of a Time Lord” saga and got off to a bad start, but when Ace comes into the picture, it really picks up and continues on to a great end.  McCoy did his best to save the show from the brink of death and in my opinion, he succeeded, even though the show was cancelled.

2. David Tennant (#10)–Tennant is just awesome! He plays the role so well and I like the fact that he’s so popular, because he clearly deserves it. He brings in so much fun to the role and the funny moments really work, and so do the tender moments. He is a Doctor who has finally broken free of his inner prison caused by the Time War and is just perfect. He’s also almost as crafty as McCoy’s Doctor.

1. Tom Baker (#1)–Tom Baker is still my Doctor.  He had the longest run of all the Doctors.  He brought such joy to the role. The best part is that you were never sure exactly what the Doctor was going to do. His plans were so much fun to watch and he gleefully exploited all his enemies’ weaknesses. This is a Doctor who loves to cause his enemies to underestimate him, leading to their inevitable downfall.

And there you have it. I’m not sure where Capaldi will go, but not one of the Doctor’s runs were bad, so I can’t wait!

 

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50 Years of Doctor Who: The Matt Smith (2010-2013)

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“The way I see it, every life has a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant.”

As I post this, I am eagerly awaiting Peter Capaldi’s start as the 12th Doctor.  Why has Doctor Who maintained popularity, despite a cancellation?  I believe it’s because the premise has so much freedom.  It’s also because, in my opinion, not one of the actors has done a bad job as the Doctor.  So let’s conclude this with a spotlight on Matt Smith.

About Matt Smith

At 31 years, Matt Smith is the youngest actor to play the Doctor (before him, it was Peter Davison).  He was born in Northampton, England. He initially wanted to be a football player, but that changed when he contracted spondylosis.  (this was alluded to in “The Lodger”. ) He became an actor in 2003, starring in BBC productions based on works by Phillip Pullman (of The Golden Compass fame). His first major role was in Party Animals in 2007.

Changes

  • Russell T. Davies stepped down as show-runner and handed over the role to Steven Moffat.
  • The show went through four different openings, with the fourth bringing back the feature of the Doctor’s face. This is the most an opening has had.
  • Beginning with Series 6, each season was cut in half.

Conclusion

Although Matt Smith isn’t my new #1 Doctor (he’s #5 for me), I’m sorry to see him go.  I’ve enjoyed his child-like energy and the familial relationship he had with Amy, Rory, and River.

The Companions:

River Song (Alex Kingston)

With Matt Smith, River became even more interesting. We learned she has Time Lord DNA (in “A Good Man Goes to War” and “Let’s Kill Hitler”) and that her parents are Amy and Rory.  She is also the Doctor’s wife and was conditioned by a conspiracy to kill the Doctor, but eventually overcame it.

Amy Pond and Rory Williams (Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill)

First Appearance: “The Eleventh Hour” (note: Rory does not officially join until “Vampires in Venice”)

Last Appearance: “The Angels Take Manhattan”

Amy and Rory are the only married couple we’ve ever seen in the TARDIS.  For this reason, I thought it best to spotlight them simulataneously.  Amy’s determination makes her an excellent character and I love how she plays the Doctor’s moral compass.  Rory was the companion time could not kill, though it tried several times (it finally caught up with him in “The Angels Take Manhattan”, sadly), and he had lots of awesome moments.

The Paternoster Gang [Madame Vastra, (Neve McIntosh), Jenny Flint (Catrin Stewart), and Commander Strax (Dan Starkey)

First Appearance: “A Good Man Goes to War”

Most Recent Appearance: “The Name of the Doctor”

These three characters are not companions in the traditional sense, but they are too important to skip over.  They specialize in paranormal investigation and it’s hinted that Vastra and Flint were the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson (note: Steven Moffat also controls Sherlock) and have aided him several times. Strax is my favorite of the three.

Clara Oswin Oswald (Jenna Louise-Coleman)

First Appearance: “Asylum of the Daleks” (does not officially join until “The Snowmen”)

Most Recent Appearance: “The Name of the Doctor”

Clara is “the impossible girl”.  She appeared to the Doctor in three different timelines before he finally acquired her in “The Bells of St. John”.  She fought the Great Intelligence (an old enemy dating back to Troughton’s era in the missing episodes “The Abominable Snowman” and “The Web of Fear”)  by spreading herself out throughout the Doctor’s timeline, eventually meeting all his incarnations.

Best Stories

“The Eleventh Hour”

This is an excellent introduction to Matt Smith’s character and the arc for series 5.

“The Beast Below”

This is a story that greatly imitates Classic Doctor Who while keeping things fresh.  I thought the “space whale” was a neat idea.

“Time of the Angels/”Flesh and Stone”

The Weeping Angels are back and even creepier than before! We also learn much more about River Song.

“The Hungry Earth”/”Cold Bood”

This story reintroduces the Silurians, who haven’t been seen since “Warriors of the Deep”, during Peter Davison’s era.

Vincent and the Doctor”

The Doctor meets one of my favorite painters, Vincent Van Gogh.  I love the ending!

“The Pandorica Opens”/”The Big Bang”

The first finale of Matt Smith’s era resolves the arc of series 5 and shows the Doctor at his most methodological. He is a true guile hero.

The Impossible Astronaut”/”Day of the Moon”

This story introduces the Silence and answers more questions about River Song.

“The Doctor’s Wife”

Neil Gaiman’s first story for Doctor Who proves he has what it takes to write for the show (was there ever any doubt?).

“Let’s Kill Hitler”

A story where Rory punches Hitler? YES, PLEASE!

“The Doctor, The Widow, and The Wardrobe”

Verity Lambert, the first producer of Doctor Who, described the Doctor as CS Lewis meets Father Christmas.  So why not an episode that pays tribute to CS Lewis? It’s my favorite Christmas episode so far.

“A Town Called Mercy”

This was a great western-themed story.

Bells of St. John”

Clara officially joins and we get reintroduced to The Great Intelligence. I should also note that “The Web of Fear” has mostly been restored with some animation.

“The Rings of Akhaten”

Clara learns the responsibility of being a companion in this beautiful story.

“Nightmare in Silver”

Gaiman’s second story brings in Warwick Davis of Willow and Return of the Jedi fame. It’s excellent! Please Mr. Gaiman, write more stories!

Worst Stories

“The God Complex”

I’m not bothered by the fact that two atheists have run Doctor Who since its revival because, for the most part, both have treated Christianity with an air of respect. This is a hypocritical episode and I did not enjoy it at all.

The Power of Three”

I wanted to like this one because it was introducing Kate Steward, the daughter of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. Although I really hope we see more of her, the story was so slowly paced that I could not really enjoy it.

 

 

 

 

 

The Fictional Spectrum: Kevin Blake (Eureka)

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Doctor Who is just one of many sci-fi programs I watch. This time around I will talk about a program called Eureka, which played on the Syfy Channel for 5 seasons, focusing on the character of Kevin Blake.

I suppose I should start by explaining the premise of Eureka.  It’s about a town founded by the scientists who participated in the Manhattan Project that is now populated almost exclusively by geniuses.  The only non-genius person is Sheriff Jack Carter, the main protagonist.

Jack’s romantic interest is Allison Blake, who has an autistic son named Kevin.  At first, we learn that Kevin is a math savant.  In the pilot episode, he figures out that he and Jack were born on the exact same day of the week.  Later, in the same episode, he’s the only person who can complete an equation that will thwart a major crisis that is causing things to disappear.

Kevin is portrayed very well by child actor Meshach Peters in the first two seasons.  He gets a major story arc in the second season, when it’s discovered that he has a mental link to an alien artifact.  When the arc is over, he is absent from season three.  Apparently, he was absent because they were getting a new actor, Trevor Jackson (who also played Young Simba in the Broadway version of Lion King)

With the new actor and new season came a retcon. When the main cast went back in time to the town’s founding, they change history.  As part of this new timeline, Kevin is no longer autistic.

I really don’t like the direction of the final two seasons, and Kevin is one of the reasons. He was fine just the way he was. Autism is not, nor should it be, something you can just turn off. This can send a bad message to autistic children who may be watching the show (it actually is very family-friendly), that they would be better off if they were “normal”.

 

One Faith, Many Paths: SarahAnn Dozier

This month, I interview SarahAnn Dozier, a woman who is diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Here’s what she had to say:
1. Can you give me some information on cystic fibrosis for those unfamiliar with it?
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a genetic illness. It is estimated that about 1 in 25 Caucasians are carriers of the gene. If two carriers have a child, there is a 1 and 4 chance that their child could get it. There are hundreds of different cf genes and it affects more than just whites. It is caused by the faulty transfer of salt in the body that is caused by a missing set of base pairs on Chromosome 7. This faulty transfer causes mucus to be thicker than it is supposed to be, which leads to breathing problems, digestive problems, and sinus problems. There is even a type of CF related diabetes.
2. One of the reasons pro-choice advocates give for keeping abortion legal is that people who are born with disorders (like yourself) lead miserable lives. How do you respond to this claim?

I lead a very happy life. My live isn’t always perfect, but it is far from miserable. I have a husband and a daughter and my parents and brothers and friends. I might get sick more than other people, but that doesn’t make me miserable. I have seen friends die from the same illness I have, but that doesn’t stop me from pressing on in my own life. I walk in the Great Strides Walk (the cf walk) to help others have a better life.
3. How long have you been a Christian?

I have been a Christian since I was a child. I decided to follow Jesus at a very young age.
4. Tell me about your childhood.

My childhood wasn’t anything special. My dad was military, but we lived in Arizona for about 7 years, from when I was 3 to just before 10, so we weren’t a moving family. We moved to Georgia when he retired a few months before my 10th birthday and I have lived here since. I have three brothers. They weren’t very nice when I was growing up. I didn’t even really realize that I went in the hospital more than other children until I was a little older. There were always other children in the hospital when I went in and my younger brother had a hospital stay when he was 3 for a hernia operation. I spent my time riding my bike and playing on the playground. My mom was very strict, though. She didn’t let me go over to friend’s houses until I was a teenager. She had been told that exercise was bad for me, but now they know it actually improves the lungs. The life expectancy when I was born was about 5, then it moved to 12. When I was 18, it moved to 30. Now the life expectancy is about 35. I am 34, but I am sure I have many years left if the kingdom doesn’t come first. Middle school was rough because I was picked on over my clothes. High school was better. I am a quiet person and I am unsure how to talk to others, so I didn’t have many friends. The few I did have were close and I still keep in contact with them even today.
5. Is there anyone in your life who inspires you to be a better person?

Other than Jesus? 🙂 My dad has inspired me. We didn’t have much money. We were a family of 6. When my dad retired, it was hard for him to find a job. He worked a job that was three hours away and would drive back on the weekends for a while. He delivered pizzas in his spare time to make sure was had food. My brothers caused a lot of trouble and even ended up in trouble with the law. He did what he could to keep us together as a family and to keep up fed and clothed.
6. Tell me about your child, Rane.

Rane is my miracle baby. My husband and I had been wanted a child and trying for almost two years. One night, I was woken up and started praying. I was thinking of Hannah, who prayed for a child. I prayed God would give us a little girl. I said we would dedicate ourselves to raising her to know Him and to love Him. About a week later, I went into the hospital with pneumonia and I forgot about that prayer. A few weeks after I got out of the hospital, we discovered I was pregnant. I was considered a high risk pregnancy because of my cf, but we had a healthy baby girl, just like I had prayed for. She does not have cf, but she is a carrier. They said I had soft marker for downs syndrome during my pregnancy and wanted to do an amnio to test. We told them no. This was our little girl and nothing was going to change that. I did not have a good feeling about the amnio, anyway. She just turned two and she is amazing me everyday. She had been meeting almost every milestone early, with the exception of walking. She is a blessing.
7. Who is your favorite Biblical figure besides Jesus? I don’t really have a favorite figure.

I like Ruth and Hannah and Sarah, but I also like David and Luke and Paul and Elijah. There is just so much you can get from studying the different characters, I can’t pick just one.

8. What is your current job?

I currently tutor math at Sylvan Learning Center. I tutor elementary through high school. I have a b.s. in Mathematics and I have been certified in secondary education, but I was getting sick too much working full time, so now I tutor.

9. What is your favorite Bible passage and why?

I have several, but one of my favorites is when Hannah was praying for a child. She was so deep in prayer that she was thought to be drunk. She trusted God so much that after Samuel was weaned, she dedicated him over to the church. The thought of being able to give up the child that you desired so much to be raised by another, even if it was a man of God, shows so much trust in God that it inspires me.

10. What would you say to others who are suffering from conditions similar
to yours? 

Life can be tough sometimes. Sometimes you get sick and there isn’t much you can do about it other than take your meds and do what the doctor tells you. Throughout it all, keep your eyes and trust on Jesus. God takes care of the sparrow, He will take care of you.

Special: From Seeds to Starlight

One of my ambitions in life is to meet a writer. Now, thanks to Facebook, I have. I met Clay Gilbert when he joined Fans For Christ. I picked him out and friended him, and since then, I have enjoyed our conversations on Facebook. He and I share many interests and he asked if I would help him promote his book. I could not refuse after I read sample pages from it. clay

Here’s a synopsis of the book, which is the first in a trilogy:
Annah, a young female of a world on the Edge of the Sea of Stars named Evohe, feels there is no place for her among her people. She is seen as strange both for her appearance, which is different than that thought to be normal for an eighteen-cycle old seed-maiden, and for her dreams, not of finding a mate and making a homeplace and a family with him, but of exploring the Sea of Stars that she looks up
at every night and longs to see. Her parents lie at rest in the Elder Grove deep in the woods near her homeground, and, since the passing of Lilliane, the elder who had been her guardian since she was fourteen cycles old, Annah has lived alone; the ‘girl who walks with no one.’

She remains alone until the night she sees a great fire streak from the starry sky above her parents’ homeground and, following its path, finds the wreckage of what she knows from the shared Memories
of her people is a star-vessel of the sort her own people had once traveled in. Inside the ruined craft, she finds a human male, badly injured and close to death. Torn between the Memories that tell her
the people of Earth were responsible for the near-extinction of her own world and the voice of Spirit that insists all life is the same, she nurses him back to health, finding in the human Gary Holder a
mirror of her own search for belonging and desire for a larger purpose. Their growing connection, and the Evoetians’ sense of humans as enemies, sets in motion a chain of events that may either destroy Annah’s world a second time, or lead to a new future of understanding: a new age of the Shapers.
All right, below is an interview with my good friend and Annah, the heroine of his book.
These are Clay’s questions:
1) What was your childhood like?
I was an only child, and did most of my growing up—from age 5 to age 18—in an upper-middle-class, suburban neighborhood in Knoxville, Tennessee. I was always encouraged to read, and writing came along with that. I wrote my first story—and it was science-fiction—when I was four. I read everything from Shakespeare to Stephen King and, of course, lots of comic books—when I was a kid. My dad worked, and, in my teen years,
my mom worked as a day-care teacher for the Methodist church my parents and I attended. But my parents were always around for guidance and support. My mom used to compare our family to the Cleavers on “Leave it to Beaver”, and, while I think that’s a stretch—looking back, it was pretty idyllic.
2) I know you are not a Christian. What are some things about Christianity that you like? The simplest answer I have is that Jesus is my favorite part of Christianity. I like the idea of “Love one

another. Judge not, lest ye be judged.’ “Forgive other people, just like you’d want them to forgive you.” I like the ethics; the ways that Jesus taught that people should treat one another right here, right now. I know that he also said “I come not to bring peace, but a sword,” but to me, that’s a sword of division between the low standard of how the world wants people to be, versus the higher standard of how God wants people to live. And I like that, too. And I think the highest standard we can live by is to truly love each other.

3) Who are your favorite writers and books by these writers?
My favorite writer these days is Clive Barker, with Stephen King as a very close second. I think everyone who reads this ought to go
out and buy “Imajica” by Clive Barker, and the first book of his “Abarat” series. I also think people should read “The Stand” by Stephen King, and all of the “Dark Tower” series—really, these are just starting points. I think most of the works of both men are worth checking out. My favorite single book in the English language is “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville—for the story, and for the sound

of the language. Ray Bradbury is another favorite writer–”Dandelion Wine” and “Something Wicked This Way Comes” are my favorites of his. Dan Simmons’ “Hyperion” is one of the best things to be published in science fiction in my lifetime. Definitely read that. J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” is something I go back to every few years or so. Frank Herbert is another favorite. The whole “Dune”
series is good, but really, that first novel is a masterpiece; “Dune” itself. Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” books. Robert Heinlein is a favorite, particularly “Stranger in a Strange Land.” A little book by Roderick MacLeish; a fantasy novel called “Prince Ombra.” Go read that, because few other people will tell you to—but it’s wonderful. William Shakespeare is one of my eternal favorites—go read the
history plays, and “The Tempest”–and then read the rest of him.

4) How did this book come about?
Every now and then in a writer’s life, there are ideas that come to you, and you try to tackle them, and you just can’t, and they slip away—and if you’re lucky, like the people who slip away from you sometimes, they come back. When I was a teenager, I wrote a forty-page short story called “Anna”, about a man who crashed on an alien
planet and was nursed back to health by a female alien—being. The “Anna” of that story is not the “Annah” of this one—or if she is, she is a very, very old, future version of Annah as she appears in this book. We shall see. But that was very much a mother-child, or even mentor-student relationship, and not a romance at all—but there was a sense of two people being changed by the very idea of being open to one another’s differences. But the story didn’t work in that form, and to be honest, even the ideas were bigger than I was able to handle. So that story sort of went on the shelf, and I don’t even know where that forty-page manuscript is, although for years I did have it in a file box. Good stories come out of experiences, filtered through fiction—and in 2010, I’d had a run of several years of relationship conflicts, friendship conflicts, lots of rough—and some really good—experiences in my own life which led to the idea of a guy who just finds himself feeling like he’s on the outside. And he meets someone who feels like she’s on the outside. And they’re different from each other in very many ways, but they find a way around all of that, to arrive at a common core of understanding, all the while the whole world around them is busy not understanding itself. And that was the story—and Annah herself showed up, as good characters always do—ready to play her part in the story—a story that turned into a trilogy, and will likely be even longer. It’s also about this world we live in—a world where we distrust each other because of labels like religion, or skin color, or the languages we speak. The post 9/11 world doesn’t let us get away from those kinds of divisions, and I thought it was about time for a story about pushing past differences and remembering that, as the Beatles—and Jesus—said: “All you need is love.”

5. How did you get involved with PDMI?

In December of 2012, when I finished writing “Annah”, I was fed up with years of getting to the holidays, and then to New Years, and making the same resolution every year: THIS is going to be the year I get a novel published. I had a deadline in mind for Amazon/CreateSpace’s Breakthrough Novel Contest. I put off a plan to apply to grad school—the timeframe was roughly the same as that for the contest—and resolved to make SOMETHING happen on the book front. All the contest wanted was a synopsis for the first round, and they didn’t take a look at manuscripts at all. “Annah” got shot down in the first round, and I was bummed. So, figuring I had nothing to lose, I self-published an older manuscript of mine, a young-adult science fiction novel called “Eternity.” And the day those files were uploaded to Amazon, I found myself talking to a couple of old friends from Alabama, who knew a guy who knew a guy, as they say. This ended up being my introduction to Tc McKinney, co-founder and co-owner (with his wife, Nessa) of PDMI Publishing. After a short conversation, Tc expressed interest in seeing the manuscript of “Annah”. A couple of days later, I had a contract in my email. A couple of weeks after that, my contract was amended to include the two thus-far planned sequels to “Annah”, and two vampire novels, one of which, “Dark Road to Paradise”, was published in May. “Annah” is due out this month, and I expect sequels to both of those will follow next year. In addition, shortly after signing me as an author, Tc hired me onto PDMI’s editorial staff, drawing on my years of experience as a college English teacher. One thing led to another over time, and I am now the Chief Editor of PDMI Publishing, in addition to being one of the publishing house’s authors and a co-founder of Rara Avis, PDMI’s science fiction division, along with author and illustrator Virginia Lori Jennings, whose works are also published by PDMI.

6. What do you do in your spare time?

What is spare time? Hah. Seriously—my days are full of editing, writing, and currently, studying for the GRE, so I can go back for my PhD next year. I like to read, when I do have some time—I’m currently reading Stephen King’s sequel to “The Shining”, “Doctor Sleep.” I enjoy listening to music, but I do that all the time, particularly when I’m writing. I play keyboards, and I’d like to get back around to working on some music again. Maybe in 2014. I also enjoy science-fiction, fantasy and horror movies and TV shows.

7. What was the last good book you read?
Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

8. What advice would you give to anyone who wishes to write a book? Read a lot. If you can’t read, you can’t write. Know what’s been done, but don’t be frozen in place by fear of plagiarism. If you’re true to yourself, what comes out of you will be yours. Trust your characters. Write for YOU, not for the market—if you love your story, eventually, someone else will, too. No one is going to love everything. WRITE REGULARLY. Writing is work; it’s not about waiting around for the muse. Above all—do it, don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t—and don’t YOU tell yourself that, either.
And now, let’s talk to Annah!
1. Who are the Shapers?

I think I should tell you, instead, what Shaping is. Shaping is the notion of using one’s actions to affect the world, to bring the natural energy of the world—including, and most importantly, its people—into Balance. It can be done through anything creative, for creativity is the nature of life, and of the First Ones, who created all life. Shapers—and truly, a Shaper is merely one who uses Shaping—can use music, written language, spoken language, building, planting, dancing and even that which you call sex—to bring Life and people into Balance. Shaping was once the foundation of our whole way of life on Evohe, but as our world fell out of balance, and people no longer sought to listen to the First Ones, or even to our own Elders who had gone before us, Shaping was feared, and its ways pushed into secrecy. That has changed now, to a large extent. My teacher, Serra, helped to begin that change—and I, and my Circle, have helped the change to grow. Hopefully, now, Shaping has returned to Evohe for good. But one thing about the Shadow is that it only recedes; it does not disappear. We must learn the Balance between light and shadow, for the good of ourselves, and for the good of all. That is what Shapers are meant to do: to practice that balance for themselves, and to help others who cannot find it so easily without aid. There are, though, always those who grow angry at the idea that they need anyone’s help.

2)Why do you feel left out?

(sound of merry laughter) Oh, I no longer do! But I did, for a long time. I do not look as most females of my world look, and this was even more true in the time told about in the first book you will read soon. It was completely unheard of, when I was born, for a female bloomling to have golden hair, like mine, or blue eyes. And although my Becoming began, and my first blood-time came and went, and many more since, and my body did change—I never grew as curved as nearly all the others did—and I grew quite a bit taller than they ever did. I am taller now than Serra was when I first met her—and she seemed as tall, to me, as one of the great trees in the Elder Grove! (laughter again) It was quite a relief, when I met Holder, to find someone whose eyes I could look up into. It was not a feeling I had had very often. I do believe the First Ones made me what I am, and who I am, to teach me how to find my place—and so I could teach others. That is what has happened—and it was no accident—nor was I.
Like the bent branches of a tree, or the darkened paths of a forest grove—we may not always be able to see the beauty in the Pattern—but it is always there.

3.What are your planet and people like?
One thing you must understand is that my people have what I have heard called ‘racial memory’–and for us, it is very literal. We are each born with the Memories of our entire race, although they get released into our consciousness a little at a time. So I live with at least three Evohes in my mind—the one of my people’s Memories, which was, at one point, destroyed by the humans, and no longer even exists—the one that existed when I was growing up, which was a young
world, newly re-Shaped by our people following the Breaking of our world by the humans, and had very few living things other than our people themselves, and a few varieties of plants and animals—and the Evohe of now, which is a living bridge between what our world once was, and what it can and will be in the future which the First Ones are still singing into being, like an evolving melody whose key
and pitch remains yet to be heard. But I suppose I have not really answered! (joyful laughter) Our people are as diverse as that of any
other world, but on the whole we are simple folk, who strive to move with the rhythms of life, and find our balance in its cycles. If I have done anything for our people, it is hopefully to remind them that all things have a place in Balance, however strange they seem, and that the worlds beyond ours have just as much harmony in the Song of All as does Evohe. And I, and my Circle, and the generation of new Shapers who are growing up now, will continue to help to remind them—for that is our place and purpose.
4. Are there any plants or animals unique to your world?
Not so many as the Memories tell me there were before the Breaking of our world, but they are slowly being restored. There are plants that are good to eat, as there are on Earth—the spicegrasses, which, Holder tells me, are like plants that grow there, but they would not grow easily in the too-changeable climate of Earth. Then there is the meatbark tree, and animals like what we call the–‘not-birds’ is a good term—they are furred animals and can both walk on the ground and fly for short distances through the air. We have fish like those of Earth, but the fish of Evohe can all stay for short periods on dry land if they must, for their skin, like my own, allows them to take nourishment from the rays of the sun, when no solid food is available, and take in water directly through their pores. New life is evolving on Evohe every day, as this world is still remembering what it used to be, and what it can be again.
5. Do you live on Earth now? If so, how are you adjusting?
No, Holder and I live on Evohe. Our friend, Kale Goodman, and his mate, Irie, who is also from my world, are living on Earth now, and we go to visit them from time to time. The humans’ “porthole” achines—no, that is the wrong word—PORTALS–make it very easy to travel from this world to that. Earth is too crowded, and, while it has become a friendlier place than I think it must have been when Holder first came to my world, and during the war which came after—there are simply still too many machines and things which are—not life. There are many things about it that I like, though, and it is fun to visit, to see new things, and to hear about all the changes from Kale and Irie who, it seems, like that pace of life better than Holder and I do. I like to explore—to steer a star-vessel from one point of light to another, and to see all the wonders that world offers me, in the time I have to see them. But I am enough like the other folk of my world that, when my exploring is done, I want the scents and sights that I am used to, and the hearth-fire to warm my body, and that of the one I love, so that he and I may warm one another, in the place that is ours to call home.

Well, that’s it. The book comes out this month and I will be purchasing it myself. When I do, I will post a review here!