The new Doctor is good? I remember watching the reruns of OG Tardis on Sunday evenings after swimming, with a ham sandwich and crisps and that was good too. Eccleston’s reboot was a reboot and as far as I recall, Tennant was the golden boy of pre-watershed BBC sci fi. We could go here or there with the younger fella and it’s entirely possible that things got too serious after that.
I feel like this new medical professional strikes the right balance between a more gritty, lived in (dare I say it, post ‘Force Awakens’) world and what was always ostensibly intended to be a show both for children and also children hiding behind sofas. Only time and exterminators will tell. All that aside, Jodie Whittaker seems to have the necessary ticks down in homage to all that’s gone before and the chops to make that screwdriver her own. I’m drawing up plans but couldn’t say for sure if I could manufacture one if called upon.
Simon Stålenhag’s ‘The Electric State’ (Simon & Schuster, 2018) could be as perfect a cross you’ll ever find between Cormac McCarty’s ‘The Road’ and Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. There are also echoes of ‘The Last Of Us’ in there - which I think might be too easy to say - as well as something more out of Bethesda’s stable. However, that being said, I’ll take care to note here that this is certainly pre-post apocalyptic in nature, even if it is certainly headed toward the end of days. It’s colourful, dark and terrifying to the point that you can’t really look away, as though you had some kind of addictive window to another universe plugged directly into your brain. Whatever happened in this deeply nostalgic, deeply disturbing version of late 90s America, it becomes pretty clear very early on that not all is well and hasn’t been for some time.
We’re almost certainly closer than you think and may even have passed the point of no return a while back down the road. Stålenhag’s juxtaposition of the familiar and the strange is just as great as I thought it would be and that found fiction aspect works superbly in conjunction with his narrative through-line. Both ‘eerie’ and ‘nostalgic’ are being thrown about with total accuracy. It is an imagining of present and a future much of our own making and one that we are perhaps thoroughly incapable of escaping, even if we wanted to. There is also the possibility that it is a book about the impossibility of going back and what we might find should we try. Also, he is a fan of The Psychedelic Furs and for that reason, podium material. I’ll say that if you’re in the market for great sci-fi and/or art, this fulfils that quota quite perfectly and you shall fail to be disappointed.
So I went home, as people are sometimes want to do. Rumour has it this may be the last winter we’ll be there and that’s more strange than I can properly put into words. The first night, I wandered our darkened house alone, running my fingers over picture frames, books and ornaments. I looked for some semblance of self in family photos - ones that I know must contain me - yet it all seemed so long ago as to be completely removed from this or any other life I might have led. At the same time, it felt very much like five minutes ago, as though I had just stepped out the door for a moment. I walked through each room and breathed deep of their singular, mythological air.
The Lady Of The Well once asked me what it was like, to have grown up in one place and lived in the same house for so long. She could not fathom the experience, having moved about with sporadic regularity for as long as she has memory to draw from. I explained to her that sometimes ghosts are real and they are simply shades of your former self. I see them running through halls, caught from the corner of a careless eye every so often; sat around a dining table, lying on the living room carpet, climbing trees that stood in place an age ago. Sometimes I hear them and they are always there and they are all happening at the same time. She said that sounded sad and it can be.
But then, time is.
JD - TACOCAT
[Props to Simon Stålenhag for the thumbnail image]