Monday, May 10, 2010

Torchwood Magazine # 20

Here's a few of the things I noticed in the most recent issue of Torchwood Magazine:

* An ironic news blurb "Fox Orders Torchwood Pilot Script." Didn't take the network long to decide, did it?

* The announcement of a Torchwood short story contest. I received this issue with just a few days before the deadline, and was thinking about scrambling something together when I read the fine print and learned you have to be a resident of the U.K. But I'm a citizen of the world! Once again the literary fame which is my due has eluded me.

* A short story titled "Happy New Year" by Sarah Pinborough, a Ianto-focused story which features everyone's favorite tea boy investigating another one of those ubiquitous "spikes in Rift energy". An elderly man has stumbled upon an alien device, and it seems to be literally growing a doppelganger from his body. The story has an interesting and original outcome, one that fits with Torchwood's darker tone (even though it has a mostly-happy ending).

* A very off-beat comic strip ("Fated to Pretend") about flesh-eating 19th Century French zombies taking over a present-day prison in Cardiff (turns out Jack had a fling with one of them at the Moulin Rouge). I'm not sure what to think about the story (maybe a bit too fantasy for my taste?), but the artwork by Steve Yeowell is much better than previous strips.

As a complete aside, it really is remarkable how much current pop culture is about either zombies or vampires. Twenty-second century literary historians are going to look back at this period with all kinds of interesting theories about what this means about our society . . .

* A novel feature about Torchwood fans who dress up like the characters from the show for fun. The thing about shows like Torchwood, Buffy, X-Files, etc. is that the characters don't really have costumes or uniforms, so wearing an exact replica of what a character from one of the shows wears won't result in anything different than regular clothing. (Seriously. Try going as Ianto or Agent Mulder for Halloween; without some special prop, people are going to assume you just got out of a meeting and didn't have time to put on a costume).

* Another short story titled "Photo Finish" that I'm not convinced makes a lot of sense. Bear with me: an alien ship has come through the Rift and crash landed. The ship is out of fuel, and apparently is powered by the energy of organic things. To re-fuel the ship, little blue monkey-sized alien creatures go around and trick people into posing for photos with them (charging them two pounds apiece for the privilege), but the camera not only takes real photos (which the aliens duly turn over), it is also a device (disguised by a perception filter) that reads the energy signature of the humans. Later, those energy signatures are fed into the ship's techno-organic computers and the human beings are sucked dry from a distance, their life force being used to refuel the ship. Okay. Why the hell would the aliens want to pose with their potential victims? Why would they give those victims photographs, thus leaving evidence of their very alien-ness? Why would they charge people for photos? Why wouldn't they just take "photos" (energy readings) of random people sitting on a park bench or restaurant and avoid all this trouble?
In case you're wondering, the aliens capture Jack and try to feed his life energy into the ship, but he has so much of it the ship overloads and blows up. Now, I leave to vomit.

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