Wednesday, 15 November 2017

#bookreview: Doctor Who: Myths and Legends | Richard Dinnick

Doctor Who: Myths and LegendsDoctor Who: Myths and Legends by Richard Dinnick
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you're looking for an analysis of how these myths and legends fit into the core Doctor Who world/fandom or something like that, you're looking in the wrong place. If you want a review of how much you'd like this collection of short stories even if you're not a hardcore fan, I guess that's where this review would fit. (Note: I have watched some Doctor Who as my siblings are fans, but I'm generally too lazy to follow a TV series. Don't kill me.)

Doctor Who: Myths and Legends is a collection of shorts, mostly based in/around Gallifrey, or at least various Time Lords, that makes for light sci-fi reading. This is probably harsh judgement, based off the fact that I've just finished reading Paula Guran's Swords Against Darkness, but it is what it is: light reading. The stories are short, in some cases, almost simplistic, and some feel as if they end too abruptly. Some background knowledge about the Doctor Who universe is encouraged; I'm guessing that a true fan would decipher what was going on in The Unwanted Gift of Prophecy better than I did.

However, the stories are based on myths (well-known examples include King Midas, Medusa, the Trojan Horse, and Pandora's box; others are a little more obscure), so anyone interested in retellings of myths would probably like these science-fiction spins to those classic tales. Doctor Who fans need not fret - Lord High President Rassilon makes multiple appearances, as does the Doctor, though not in every single story. You will also meet the Daleks and the Weeping Angels.

The stories I enjoyed particularly include The Mondas Touch, The Terrible Manussa, The Angels Of Vengeance, The Jeopardy Of Solar Proximity, and The Multi-Faceted War.

Note: I received an e-galley of this book via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Monday, 13 November 2017

#musicmonday: Sinking - Jars of Clay

I was reminded that I haven't been posting Music Monday songs.

Here's a random.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Short + Sweet Theatre Penang: A Completely Biased Review

In the interest of full disclosure, I'll say right from the start that I have stakes in this.

Not very high stakes, but some stakes. So yes, I am biased, but I shall try to be as unbiased as possible.

Now that's out of the way, let's begin.

What to expect in general:
A mix of everything. There's drama, comedy, and confusion. (We'll get to the last in a bit.)

I haven't been to watch S+S in a while so I didn't know quite what to expect. There were eight short plays altogether - half in BM, half in English. It used to be mostly in English with maybe one play each in Mandarin/Hokkien and BM (or something like that), so whilst I'm maybe sad that there were no Chinese ones this round (despite my comprehension of that being near nil), I think that this turned out to be a pretty good mix.

Overall, the scripts were biased towards drama-type shows, with two (clear) comedies, and one... that I couldn't decide if it was trying to be comedic or serious... which leads to confusion. Out of the eight, I thought four were really good, two were okay... and I don't know what to think about the other two. My brain pretty much just went ? ???? ???!?!

Last general comment: Accents, OMG ACCENTS. I really love the Malaysian accent, I do. Except when it makes everything sound so awkward. Like. WHY YOU ALL SPEAK SO CINA. I know you all are Chinese but don't be so cina can ah. (Speaking about two of the English plays. The other two were okay. The BM ones were pretty fine except one, where the loghat was a bit strong so I couldn't follow everything.)

Right. I'm not going to give a rundown of each play, but I'll highlight the four I really liked, in all its biasedness.

Happy -- of course I liked this. I wrote this. Well, I wrote it in English and they translated it into BM, and I still think it's awesome. I usually hate everything I write the more I read it (hahahaha) so having watched this twice (Tuesday at full dress and Wednesday at opening night) means that they did really well!

The Setup -- How can I not like this? It features Penang superstar names like Chen and Lucille Dass, so it can't go terribly wrong. Though, to be honest, Lucille wasn't quite stellar in this. I had questions about her weird overacting and blocking choices (though that's probably more a director thing rather than an actor thing).

Overheard at a Cafe in Taman Tun -- Of all the skits, this felt the most natural. It was also one of the most static, but the actors were strong enough to carry it through. A lot of listening, though.
(Note: LGBT themes if you're the squeamish sort.)

Death is Satu Permulaan -- Malay slapstick at its best. Just park your brain at the door and enjoy. The comedic timing was spot on.

Tickets are still available for shows on Thursday - Saturday, so do do do do dooooo go watch! And also come say hi. :D

Head to the FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE for more details.

Friday, 3 November 2017

#nanowrimo updates

I'm taking a break from #fridayflash in November (not that I was terribly consistent before) because I'll be posting writing updates from NaNoWrimo over at my Patreon page. (Or you can just see my graph on the sidebar.)

If you want sneak previews of the snazzy new novel I'm working on, head over to and become a patron! You'll only be charged once I publish the novel.

Friday, 27 October 2017

#fridayflash: Open skies

Clear blue skies. Not a good day for dying. Nadira focused on putting one foot in front of the other. Tiny beads of sweat collected around her neckline and she looked up at Riz. He'd stopped a few steps in front of her and was gazing out into the distance, his hands outstretched.

"What are you doing?" Nadira asked as she stopped beside him.

He dropped his arms and shrugged. "Waiting."


"It's stupid, you know? The way we internalise things. Our perception is skewed from birth."


"Okay, maybe not from birth. But from young, anyway."

"What do you -"

"It's nothing. Come, let's go."


The air was still. Stifling. They'd hugged awkwardly when they met for lunch, rearranging limbs around each other. When had he grown so tall? He'd been an inch shorter than her the last time they met. When he'd suggested they take a ride after lunch, she'd said yes, because how could you deny a childhood friend you haven't seen in decades - at least a decade?

So here they were. Not that she knew where here was. Hot. Sunny. Dry. Sand. She could disappear into this desert and no one would find her for months.

"It's in our heads, as much as we try to deny it. As much as we say we're good enough, we're capable enough, we look at our work, our careers with hypercritical eyes and pick out all the problems, all the hiccups. And then we look at the Other and say it's good. Even when they're doing just about the same as us. Or worse. But they're failing with confidence and we're... we're performing with self-rejection."

"Riz?" Maybe she should have declined. After all, she hadn't met him for so long, she didn't know if he was safe, if he was sane. "Is something the matter? Why are we here?"

"Open skies. The heavens are open, but we install our own glass ceilings."

"I'm getting worried here."

His lips quirked upwards. "I'm not going to kill you. Or do anything to you. I'm just..." He slumped on the ground against his car. "I'm just so tired."

Nadira sat down beside him. After a while, she put her arms around his shoulders, pulling him close to her chest. "Rest. Tomorrow will be better."

Dust and sweat. Cigarettes and spice. Clear, blue, open skies. A day for living.



What I used: a boy has a crazy idea, ending up with him and friend in the desert.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

#bookreview: Dancing Dragon or Headless Chicken

Dancing Dragon or Headless Chicken: Unleashing The Leader In YouDancing Dragon or Headless Chicken: Unleashing The Leader In You by Robert J. Kirby
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nonfiction books hardly ever make my to-read list, but this was given to me by a writer friend of mine (who happens to be his daughter) and the title was super catchy. So *shrug*

As leadership books go, I suppose this is useful. It's got all the things I've heard before in the millions of leadership seminars I've attended for work and church. Dancing Dragon or Headless Chicken focuses heavily on the self-awareness side of things, following the spiel of "you should lead yourself first to be able to lead others." There are the usual probing questions to answer and exercises to complete -- which puts this book in the category of much-more-useful-when-done-in-teams (instead of reading solo, like I did), so if you're looking for an introspective type workbook/discussion group type of leadership book, this would definitely ping your radar.

And because I'm a ridiculous person, I would have liked this book better if he'd worked more with this Dancing Dragon/Headless Chicken imagery throughout the book, rather than just the intro and the end. Because, you know, I'm running around like a headless chicken enough. I'd really like to see this Dancing Dragon in my head too.

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Note: Also updated the weightage system above to include non-fiction stuff.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

#bookreview: The Hush | Skye Melki-Wegner

The HushThe Hush by Skye Melki-Wegner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Chester Hays is a musician—a very good musician. But he hasn’t been (and doesn’t have the money to) audition at the Conservatorium. Which means he isn’t a Songshaper and he shouldn’t be able to connect to the Song or play Music—that special sort that was made of sorcery and secrets—but he can. And he doesn’t know how. Or how to stop it. Travelling from town to town in search of his missing father, Chester makes a terrible mistake out of pride—and suddenly he finds himself on the run from the authorities, hiding in a secret world that shouldn’t exist and doing things he shouldn’t be able and isn’t allowed to.

The Hush is brilliantly written. This magical steampunk world comes alive and sucks you into it like whirlwind. Revelation upon revelation is thrust at you, the rhythm of discovery and rest keeping you as off-balance as Chester, layered secrets seeping out the way magic itself seems to seep into the Hush. Behind it all is the thrum of danger; danger that leads to imprisonment, torture, and even death.

It is also a stark commentary on the real world, where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, nobody cares about the disappearing poor, and second chances hardly ever exist—if you’re not from the right family or the right background. It’s also a story of the poor and the disenchanted rising up to make a change—hoping to improve their lives. It has echoes of Robin Hood, of strong women fighting against their tormentors, of self-sacrificing love, of betrayal and conspiracy.

All woven together in an enthralling melody that catches your ear and won’t let you go.

Note: I received a digital copy of this book for review via Edelweiss. All opinions are my own.

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