Matthew Kresal was born and raised in North Alabama though he never developed a Southern accent. His essays have been featured in numerous books and his first novel Our Man on the Hill was published by Sea Lion Press in 2021.
Seeking Answers "Somewhere In the Skies"
In the last seven decades, there's been a lot written on the subject of UFOs. Both for, and against, their existence, government cover-ups, where they're coming from, and any number of other topics along the way. Despite all the volumes published, and the words written within them, it seems at times that the people involved often get left behind, swept up in the debates around the topic. Going some way to rectify that is Ryan Sprague's 2016 book Somewhere In The Skies with its decidedly "Human Approach to an Alien Phenomenon."
Revisiting 'The Day After Tomorrow'
2019 marks the fifteenth anniversary of the release of The Day After Tomorrow. Co-written and directed by Rolland Emmerich in the midst of his being the modern "master of disaster," it was a sizable hit in cinemas and a TV re-run staple. How well has it aged though?
'Doctor Who: The First Doctor Adventures Volume 2' Review
The end of 2017 saw the release of the first volume of The First Doctor Adventures, a set that reunited the members of the case who played the original TARDIS crew in the docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time. Perhaps aided by David Bradley having also just played the First Doctor on television via the Christmas special "Twice Upon A Time," the set was well-received. So it was no surprise that a second set soon followed in its footsteps, recorded at roughly the same time. How would this second set work out as it tried, once more, to recreate the feel of those ambitious early years of Doctor Who?
Lifting Off to 'The Calculating Stars'
All stories start with a simple question: "What if?" That is especially true of the alternate history genre where writers imagine versions of history where things might have been different. In it, writers have presented everything from Axis victories in the Second World War (such as The Man in the High Castle) to JFK avoiding an assassin's bullet (such as in Bryce Zabel's Surrounded by Enemies). Human spaceflight, which has seemed grounded for so long, has also been a topic popular with writers such as Stephen Baxter with his tale of a 1980s Mars mission in Voyage. Few, however, have been as compelling or convincing as The Calculating Stars, the opening salvo in Mary Robinette Kowal's Lady Astronaut series.
The Dream and the Nightmare of 'Red Plenty'
The Cold War has receded into history. With it went the Soviet Union, the communist superpower born out of the Russian Revolution of 1917 that collapsed in 1991. Making sense of it has been a difficult proposition at best. Going some way to fill in the gaps for a popular audience is Francis Spufford's Red Plenty with its compelling look into the era of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, that time when the dream of Red Plenty seemed within grasp.
Review—'Doctor Who: The Mega'
Given its more than 50 year history, it comes as no surprise that there would be stories written for Doctor Who on TV that never got made. From 2009 to 2013, Big Finish produced a sizable number of them as audio dramas in a range entitled The Lost Stories. Serving as the finale was the sole Third Doctor entry for the series, The Mega.
Revisiting 'Washington: Behind Closed Doors'
Before House of Cards, before The West Wing, there was Washington: Behind Closed Doors. Broadcast in six parts on the ABC network in 1977, it followed hot on the heels of its source novel, former Nixon aide John Ehrlichman's Roman à clef The Company(later republished under the miniseries' title). The result is an intriguing blend of fact and fiction.
Regenerating 'Doctor Who: The Classic Series' with Ronn Smith
For fifty-five years, Doctor Who has been keeping viewers entertained with the adventures of the Time Lord through time and space. What began as a series of TV series has turned into an ever-expanding universe. The Doctor's adventures can be experienced not just on TV but in comics, novels, and audio dramas and anything in-between.
'Doctor Who: The Eyeless' Review
The return of Doctor Who to our screens in 2005 meant an end to fifteen years of ongoing literary adventures for the Time Lord. Though the novels spawned during that period were always technically "TV tie-in," they seemed to push the boundaries of the program. When the New Series Adventures started up, it seemed to very much be an end to an era. And yet, from time to time, writers from that period have returned to the Who literary fold. One such example is Lance Parkin and his 2008 Tenth Doctor adventure The Eyeless.
'Doctor Who': "Old Soldiers" Review
Between 2007 and 2014 (and the occasional release since), Big Finish Productions released an extraordinary range of Doctor Who stories. Focused on the first four Doctors, the Companion Chronicles focused on the traveling companions to those Doctors either no longer with us or not working with the company at the time. It was a chance for lesser served characters like Steven Taylor or Liz Shaw to shine in their own stories. It was also a chance for better-known characters (and their actors) to show a different side, such as with Nicholas Courtney's Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart in the December 2007 release "Old Soldiers."
'Doctor Who': "Arachnids In The UK" Review
Warning: Potential spoilers for the episode below. Having established the new look, feel, and tone of the series, and a noteworthy trip back to 1955 Alabama, showrunner Chris Chibnall takes his TARDIS crew back home to Sheffield. This trip back home for the Time Lord's human companions isn't anything new. After all, Russell T. Davies did so with Rose Tyler and Martha Jones in the earliest years of New Who. It's a way of grounding the program, and its lead characters, in something akin to the real world. Albeit one with, as the title might suggest, giant spiders!
'Doctor Who': "Rosa" Review
When Doctor Who began in 1963, its creators intended for it to be at least semi-educational. Indeed, it was part of the reason why time travel became a part of the show's fabric with historical adventures involving Marco Polo and the French Revolution being among the show's earliest outings. While the educational intent had considerably faded by the end of the 1960s, time traveling and the idea of meeting historical figures have remained part of the fabric of the show even into its 21st Century regeneration, often involving romps with people such as Charles Dickens or Agatha Christie. It's something which former UK Children's Laureate Malorie Blackman and new showrunner Chirs Chibnall also use in "Rosa," the season's third episode.