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V. Richmond "V" (Huntington, WV United States)

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Doctor Who: Black Orchid (Story 121)
Doctor Who: Black Orchid (Story 121)
DVD ~ Various
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Price: CDN$ 29.99
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5.0 out of 5 stars Black Orchid, May 6 2008
This is one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes of the original series.

Black Orchid is a historial, which in Doctor Who terms means that it takes place in the past but without any aliens or other sci fi elements other than the presence of the Doctor and his companions and the TARDIS. For that reason, the episode looks a bit like a BBC period piece, although shorter.

The Doctor, played by Peter Davison, and his 3 companions arrive at the Cranley estate on the day of a charity party and cricket game. The Doctor is mistaken for a substitute cricket player that a friend of the owner had promised to send to the party. His companion Nyssa is discovered to be the double of Ann, who is engaged to one of the Cranleys. A murder and mistaken identity insue, and a family secret is revealed.

This one is short, but it is well worth your time.

Beyond Thirty-The Lost Continent
Beyond Thirty-The Lost Continent
by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Edition: Hardcover

2.0 out of 5 stars This one needed some work., Jan. 5 2002
I have read a lot of Burroughs, and this one is rather typical of his stories. The idea of the civilized man having to survive in a savage part of the world is an all too common plot line for him.
The initial idea of European civilization being severely damaged by World War I, while an isolationist North and South America growing to the height of civilization and peace was a brilliant one. The idea of someone from the Americas entering the unknown European realm is a fascinating plot idea. Unfortunately, the book was just not long enough to really develop the story.
Even if World War I had gone as badly as the story indicates, I do not believe that European civilization would have been so totally obliterated that no trace of it would remain. There should have been ruins, at least. It seems more as likely that some sort of Medieval-type society would have resulted, especially since that is so much a part of the history of that part of the world.
Further, when the Roman Empire fell, some learning was preserve in monastaries. It seems to me that something similar would have occurred if World War I had destroyed European civilization. I kept expecting the main characters to come across something of this nature, but they never did.
Third, I find it unlikely that the animals that Burroughs describes as thriving in England would be able to do so, unless the entire climate of the planet had changed, and there is no indication in the novel that this has occurred. Lions and elephants may be able to live in zoos but if turned loose with a few British winters (from what I've read of the British climate), they would certainly not become more populous than humans.
Finally, I felt that the end of the story was rushed. With the material that he had, Burroughs could have stretched this story out to a multi-hundred page novel. As it is, the edition that I read was under 100 pgs.
In all, Burroughs started with a great idea, but it just needed a lot of work.

Posing a Threat: Flappers, Chorus Girls, and Other Brazen Performers of the American 1920s
Posing a Threat: Flappers, Chorus Girls, and Other Brazen Performers of the American 1920s
by Angela J. Latham
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 23.96
22 used & new from CDN$ 12.79

4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting look at life for women in the 1920s., Jan. 5 2002
The author's basic premise is that in the 1920s, women used display to resist, while at times seeming to conform to, those who would have squeezed them into the molds of how society would have them appear. In the first few chapters, she does a good job of this. Especially insightful is the example of her own grandmother, who as a young woman in this time period, disguised both her bobbed hair and her married state so that she could continue in her chosen profession as teacher.
However, in the latter two chapters of the book, the author seems to focus more on the exploitation of women by the theatre industry and it's effects. In this, she seems to stray too far from her theme. It would have been better if she had had more examples like that of her grandmother which supported her theme, rather than diverging off of the topic.
I really do recommend this book at least for the initial chapters, which are an interesting look at the attitudes of an era that has been very much stereotyped. It gives you an idea of the some of the restrictions that would have been felt by a woman who was, not a Gretta Garbo or Clara Bow, but an average person trying to live from day to day.

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