About this blog

This is the official blog of Phoenix Roleplaying, a multi-genre simming site, created in August 2010.

Run by the players, we hope to achieve great things.

Where our journey takes us, who knows.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Bears do other things in the woods (Review: 'Doctor Who: The Scarlet Empress', 1998)

Yes, I admit that I've been picking these novels for a certain interest factor... and this one was chosen for it being the first appearance of a Time Lady called Iris Wildthyme. In fact it's the second, but never mind that.

I picked this BBC Eighth Doctor Adventures story up second hand on Amazon; I would like to thank the previous owner for adding some annotations to the pages that were actually helpful in explaining some jokes that I would have otherwise missed.

The 15th novel in the 73-book series, The Scarlet Empress was the second published DW work by prolific writer Paul Magrs (after a short story, also featuring Wildthyme, in the first Short Trips anthology[1]) who would later write the strange Mad Dogs and Englishmen. This is just as strange.
Where we're at
This is the early part of the Eighth Doctor's history; here he's travelling with the book-only companion Samantha 'Sam' Jones, a blonde, spiky woman from modern Earth... he likes those a lot, doesn't here.

The plot
The Doctor and Sam arrive on the planet Hyspero, a world of wonder, magic and the dangerous ruler called the Scarlet Empress. Teaming with Iris Wildthyme and a group of strange aliens, they engage in a epic journey across the planet.

What works
  • Iris Wildthyme a gin-soaked old lady who travels through the vortex in a double-decker bus that is smaller on the inside than out and is even dodgier than the TARDIS, is an enjoyable character with a lot going for her. She's also clearly a huge fibber, claiming adventures that we know the Doctor had. She also has a key weakness that is important to the plot.
    • It's worth pointing out that this is not the Katy Manning incarnation of the character; it's an earlier version, which I only found out about from TARDIS Data Core; this is the 'Beryl Reid' version, which works just as well.
  • Eight is well written and gets some good moments throughout the story.
  • There are some good meta-fictional discussions here, which the last owner happily pointed out.
  • There is definitely some strange and at times disturbing imagery; a trance with the seven previous Doctors' heads on spikes for example... as well as some bears who shave themselves and the heavily tattooed Scarlet Guards... who can meet a horrible fate.
What doesn't
  • Sam isn't a hugely impressive character; she has her moments, but there are far better out there.
  • The book itself is a bit hard to follow and the plot isn't always entirely clear.
  • The large number of past references can be a bit excessive... and suddenly going into first person mode for characters is a bit jarring.
An enjoyable tale with some very unusual imagery... but not one I'd read again in a hurry.
[1]A different version of Wildthyme appears in some non-Who novels by Magr.

Monday, 21 July 2014

General Coordinator vote begins!

Ballot papers have now been sent out for the General Coordinator elections; please vote!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Four candidates for General Coordinator

Following the election of Kevin Diamond as Elections Coordinator, he is now running the elections for our new General Coordinator.

With Silent Hunter retiring from the role, no less than four candidates have accepted their nominations for the leadership of this club:

  • Misty Wilson
  • Spart
  • Jason Andersen
  • ksabers
It's sure to hotly contested and may go to a runoff. You can ask questions of the candidates here. 

Monday, 14 July 2014

2014 Phoenix Awards voting has now commenced

Voting for the long overdue 2014 Phoenix Awards is under way, with ballot papers being sent to all registered members to vote on categories such as Player of the Year, Sim Leader of the Year and Newcomer of the Year.

If you have not got your ballot paper, please email or PM Election and Voting Coordinator Kevin Diamond, username 'Zuzutoo'.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Kevin Diamond becomes new Elections and Voting Coordinator

By a clear and emphatic margin, Kevin "Zuzutoo" Diamond has been elected the new Elections and Voting Coordinator of Phoenix Roleplaying, replacing Mischa Brendel, who had been filling the role on an acting basis.

He is in the process of running the election for a new General Coordinator, to replace the retiring Silent Hunter.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Elections reminder

If you've not voted in the EVC elections yet, you've only got until 1100 GMT (0400 PDT) tomorrow to do so. If you've not got an email, please check your spam or email the Acting EVC, Silent Hunter.
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