Crisis Management: “Crisis On Infinite Earths Parts 1-3”; Black Lightning Week 9

IT’S HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Somewhere in time, little Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim lay in their beds dreaming of heroes. They got their shot to tell their hero story when The CW wanted to follow up Smallville with a more grounded superhero story and landed on a Green Arrow show, that was basically a Batman show with a touch of Lost.

I don’t think when Oliver Queen became something else, they had this cold open in mind (How could they? No one could have predicted this), but it’s spectacular. The Monitor explains the explains the origin of the multiverse, and we jump to Gotham, on Earth-89, the Batsignal blares in the red sky, then it’s Earth 9, where Hawk and Robin (TITANS!) gape at the same. The Ray on Earth-X (no Citizen Cold though. Damnit!) And then Earth 66, New York City, where an aging Dick Grayson (BURT WARD) gasps, “Holy Crimson Skies Of Death.”

The Crisis has begun. I’m sitting on my couch in Montclair, New Jersey, sipping on a cup of coffee, sobbing. TV has always been my main source for the DC heroes who are my favorites. Reruns of Batman, afternoon syndication of Batman: The Animated Series, Saturday morning first run of Batman Beyond , then Smallville and then The Arrowverse.

Anyway, let’s move on to the rest of the first episode. Which is good, though, doesn’t quite live up to that spectacular opening.

Part 1 (Supergirl, Season 5, Episode 9)

Lyla as Harbinger is travelling around gathering the heroes. Before she can get to Earth-38, Kara, Alex, J’onn and Brainy try to reach out to Argo in order to warn Clark and Lois what’s about to happen. We flash to Argo where they’re playing with baby Jonathan. After the warning, Clark, Lois, and Alara (Seeing Elizabeth Tulloch and Erica Durance hug was another tearful moment!) Tyler Hoechlin continues to be amazing as Clark. The new parents and grand aunt put the baby in a pod and send him towards Earth, quoting Superman the movie. SO MANY TEARS!

The other intros work in their way, Kate shaking down a Wonderland gang member, Barry surrendering, knowing it’s time, Sara and Ray losing at bar trivia due to a time anomaly Ray created at Woodstock. (The most Legends-y intro they could possibly get.) Oliver and Mia on the beach in Lian-Yu.

They get to Earth-38 and Alex and J’onn spearhead an evacuation to Earth-1, Alex recruiting Lena to build the portal. (Will Lena see Lex? I hope so!) Meanwhile, Brainy has tracked Jon’s pod to Earth-16, Star City, the year 2046. Sara, Lois and Brainy go to get the baby, and Sara and Oliver have a moment of resolution. She assures him that their trip on The Queen’s Gambit was lifechanging and magical. Again, I cry.

On Earth 38, the heroes make their stand, fighting shadow warriors. Also Oliver gives Mia a Green Arrow suit. They don’t save Earth-38, but they do evacuate something like 3 billion people. Which is exceptional. But in the fight, Oliver is mortally wounded.

That’s right, in the first episode of Crisis On Infinite Earths, Oliver Queen, The Green Arrow, dies. It’s emotional, but I’m guessing there’s still more to think about. Anyway, I cried a lot.

The episode had a lot to do setting things up. I do wish Clark and Ray seeing each other for the first time had gotten a bit more of a beat. But I guess we’re saving that for the Kingdom Come stuff. Which I’m OK with. Seriously though, that cold open was amazing, it’s a high bar for the rest of the crossover to clear.

Part 2 (Batwoman, Season 1, Episode 9)

I mentioned in the intro that I mainly associate my DC fandom with Batman: The Animated Series and Smallville, which is how I knew this episode was going to be a lot for me. It’s also a heavy Sara episode, and includes Constantine, and Mick Rory, and an alternate Waverider where instead of Gideon, Leonard Snart is the AI.

So, I like this one.

Anyway, The Monitor tells our heroes that they need to find the paragons across the multiverse. (While Baby Jon cries.) We have two already, Kara is the paragon of hope and Sara is the paragon of destiny, they need to find a Kryptonian who is the paragon of truth, and the paragon of courage, “The Bat Of The Future.” Lois, Iris and Clark go looking for Supermen, and Kate and Kara go to find a future version of Bruce Wayne.

Meanwhile, Lex gets his hand on the book of destiny and is a step ahead of the the Super-team, trying to kill all the Supermen. When they reach The Kent Farm of Earth-167, (Smallville) that Clark is chopping wood, and Earth-38 Clark notes that he could do that with his bare hands. They tried to suss out if he’s the Supes they’re looking for, but then Lex shows up.

Clark kind of sighs loudly as Earth-38 Lex begins lecturing him about their destiny as enemies, living parallel lives, written in the stars, and then he reveals some Kryptonite which DOES NOTHING, because this Clark gave up his powers to be a dad. OF COURSE HE DID. The Clark Kent of Smallville hated being a superhero. He and Lois walk into the house, living happily ever after, which kind of sucks but is also a nice ending for them.

On Earth-96, team find the supermen, goes to the Daily Planet, where they encounter an older Clark again, this one, who looks like Ray Palmer. It’s a tremendous gift to see Brandon Routh be perfect as Superman once again, this Supes having lost everyone he ever loved to a chemical attack by The Joker. (Like Ryan Reynolds, Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill, Routh was good casting let down by a bad movie) Lex shows up and makes the two Supermen fight eachother. Once they get his head on straight they bring him back, he’s our Paragon of Truth. (Fun detail, Lois is charmed by all of the Clarks, not just hers. She gets kinda flirty with Welling and Routh.)

In Gotham of Earth-99, Kate and Kara hit Wayne Manor, where they find a shirtlesss Luke Fox and Bruce in an exo suit. (That we hear Kevin Conroy’s voice before we see him is a nice touch. We learn that is this reality, Bruce was irrevocably injured after killing Superman, and Kate tried to follow in his footsteps and was killed. Conroy is perfect, obviously, and his switch from tired cynicism to unhinged evil is pretty great. After Kara confronts Bruce, a fight ensues and Bruce dies. After returning to the Waverider it’s revealed that Kate is in fact the Paragon of Courage. I AM SHOCKED I TELL YOU! (Also on a fun note, Kara thinks Luke is cute, which Kate thinks is weird. Luke is cute, and if Kara stays on Earth-1 I could see them developing into something. Though developments elsewhere suggest the multi-verse will be destroyed.)

Speaking of Earth-1, Mia and Sara need to find a Lazarus pit because Mia is determined to resurrect Oliver, they find one on Earth-18, which is guarded by Jonah Hex, they fight him and it’s awesome, and Constantine does a spell to restore his soul, it doesn’t work, so that’ll be fun. Barry is on this errand too, but he doesn’t do much but mope.

Black Lightning: Season 3: Episode 9: “The Book of Resistance: Chapter 4: Earth Crisis”

Like Supergirl in past crossovers, Black Lighting’s role is going to be limited, and the show has always kind of done it’s own thing anyway, but they do a great job of using the trappings of Crisis, to explore their themes of family, war and the cycle of violence. Jen finds herself confronted with a red sky and goes into a coma, where she is brought to an in between place, confronted by two alternate versions of herself. Earth-1 Gen, who poisoned Freeland’s water supply to cure metas and wound up in ASA custody, and Earth-2 Jinn, who fully embraced the path that our Jen is on, becoming a living weapon for Odell.

Earth-1 is a real bummer for the Pierce family. Because of Gen’s activities, Anissa opted to stay closeted, because this Jeff is much more political and a criminal and a lesbian would be too much of a liability. (Oddly, Earth-1 Alex was closeted as well. We’re so used to Sara, Nyssa, Ava, William and Curtis, perhaps the Team Arrow is more tolerant than the rest of their world. Is Earth-1 really conservative? Captain Singh is married to a man though…but Sophie stayed closeted in the military…) Lynn and Jeff never got back together, and an ASA raid on Christmas Eve gets Jeff shot and killed.

Earth-2 tells a familiar story, Jinn actually reminds me a lot of Not-Laurel, she’s all bravado and murder to cover up her soft beating heart. Things turn so that she herself winds up killing her father, on Odell’s orders, while she recites, “Who’s life is it? What am I going to do with it?”

Our Jen tries to calm her doppelgangers and learns that she needs to stand up for herself, and that her family is the most important thing, but she doesn’t wake up in time, and the world is consumed by the Crisis, as Jeff is blinked out of existence. (My guess, he’s on the Earth-74 waverider which is currently parked on Earth-1.)

Part 3 (The Flash, Season 6, Episode 9)

I once joked but didn’t really joke that I would just watch a show that was John Diggle yelling at people. Bad guys, good guys, people who were too slow delivering food. Each episode would begin with Digg staring someone down and saying, “Now, you listen here,” and THANK GOD, his arrival on The Waverider, finding out that Oliver died and was resurrected and that Lyla was missing, lead to him yelling at both Sara and The Monitor. In fact his rant to Mornobu even began with that epic “No, you listen, I am not losing Oliver and Lyla.” (My joke was, “Now you listen here, my wife and children are hungry and we ordered this pizza 45 minutes ago with a promise that it would be in here in 30.” Said pizza guy would then retreat in tears, but Lyla and Baby Sara or JJ depending on where on the Flashpoint timeline you are, would have pizza.)

We’ll get to Diggle who inexplicably still doesn’t have a Green Lantern ring (WTF?) in a bit. We’ll start with yet another spectacular cold open, The Huntress (ASHLEY SCOTT! From the Birds Of Prey show I do not care for!) runs from an anti matter wave, talking over com to Oracle (who I did like on that show!) saying she won’t make it, she loses contact before she gets there.

Back on the Waverider, after Digg hands Sara here ass. (Metaphorically, he probably couldn’t beat her in a fight, let’s be honest here. He’s good, I love him, but he can’t beat her.) The heroes regroup, and discuss their next steps. Ray announces that the Paragon Detector is ready. HOORAY! They find out that the other paragons are Honor (J’onn), Love (Barry. BARRY AND IRIS’S LOVE OUTSHINES THE SUN!) and Humanity (Ryan Choi!) Iris, Ray and Ralph head to Ivy Town to find Ryan Choi, who immediately fanboys out on Ray. (As he’s likely to pick up the Atom Suit when Routh leaves, this is a fun intro for him)

The Monitor gives Cisco back his powers bascically because, “Your reasons are stupid, You’re Vibe.” (I agree with The Monitor and Cranky Cisco is fun!) so Cisco, Killer Frost and Barry head to find the source of the Anti-Matter Wave. (This is after Pariah and and Lyla, now infected by the Anti-Monitor fight. Poor Digg.) When they find it, they are SHOCKED, SHOCKED I say, to find The Barry Allen of Earth-90 (John Wesley Shipp!) powering the Anti-Monitor’s weapon with a cosmic treadmill. They free him but that basically activates a suicide mode. OH NO! Also appearing as if from nowhere, Jefferson Pierce! Jeff quickly freaks out that he was the only one saved. “Lynn, my daughters!” But he helps the Flashes and their friends shut down the ray, but it’s not quite enough. The Flash of Earth-90 decides to take our Barry’s speed in order to save him and run out the clock. Barry objects, strenuously, but Barry-90 does his thing, and we get a quick clip from The Flash as his story ends.

After all of this Jeff and Barry bond, talking about their fathers, their odd situations and quoting Dylan Thomas. That the surviving group of heroes view themselves as those raging against the dying of the light is wonderful. Fighting that darkness the hardest is Kara, who is considering teaming up with Lex to use the book of destiny to rebuild their Earth. Kate talks her down, telling her that she’d fight her if she needs to. The way they’re mirroring the traditional Batman/Superman relationship with these two is great, twisting to fit Kara and Kate in ways that it never quite would with Bruce and Clark. Kate eventually confesses to Kara that she’s carrying Kryptonite, which she stole from the Bruce of Earth-99, Kara says that she trusts her with it.

While all of this is happening (this episode is PACKED) Digg, Mia and Constantine go to Earth-666 and get a pass to Purgatory from Lucifer (Tom Ellis! I don’t watch Lucifer but my understanding is that I would probably like it a lot.) Turn out purgatory is Lian-Yu! Convenient! They find Oliver, Digg gives him a lecture about brotherhood and being their for eachother, and he finds himself again, but then they are confronted by Jim Corrigan, (THE SPECTRE) who explains that Oliver has to become…Something Else. (My name is Oliver Queen…)

As the Anti-Monitor succeeds in wiping out Earth-1, our paragons are taken to The Vanishing Point. (See Legends.) As they begin to get their bearings, Clark-96 begins to fall and disappear in red light, and he transforms into Lex! Kara is pissed but they have bigger fish to fry, they have to restore the universe.

And that’s it. That’s the cliff hanger, all worlds have been consumed 6 heroes and Lex Luthor have to stand.

We’re checked out until January 14. I’m really glad I managed to keep up this season, y’all. Particularly glad I reinvested in Arrow, as Mia has been a delight in the crossover.

Random Notes:

  • Lois despairs being in the middle of the greatest news story in history and not being able to report it. The Monitor nods that this is indeed quite a lot, she then asks him for his story. He gives her bits of it, and remarks that he sees why she’s the greatest.
  • The cameos were pretty wonderful. People we’ve heard might be around but we haven’t seen yet includes Lynda Carter. Welling and Durance’s scene has really grown on me and Conroy was perfection. Burt Ward kicking things off and Ashley Scott getting her due was incredible. Truly though, John Wesley Shipp & Brandon Routh owned the returns. Shipp’s history on The Flash as Henry Allen and Jay Garrick does contribute to his hitting home, and Routh getting to redeem his Superman was such a gift.
  • I continue to be worried about Jen and Khalil. I will always worry about Jen and Khalil
  • Non DC-Verse cameos include Wil Wheaton as a doomsdayer and one of the guys from The Tick, also Ryan Choi is played by Osric Chau who played Kevin Chen on Supernatural, and so now I’m going to be worried about him a lot too, because Kevin was a very worrisome character.

OK, Thanks everyone for putting up with my ramblings this half season. Thanks especially to my IRL friends and family and coworkers who nodded politely while I went through twitch fits regarding the Arrow catch up.

Whether I track the back half of the seasons is going to depend a lot on how things shake out in January. We’ll talk.

60 Books In 2019 #57: The Book Of Dust: La Belle Sauvage By Phillip Pullman

Last week, we discussed how my reread of His Dark Materials inspired by the HBO/BBC adaptations resparked my interest in this world, and how I was looking forward to The Book Of Dust.

La Belle Sauvage takes place during the first year of Lyra Belaqua’s life, and while she’s important, (chosen one) the people who become important on her journey later only flit around the edges here. (I squealed when Farder Coram showed up!)  The story is mainly about a boy from Oxford named Malcolm who spends time at the convent where she was first surrendered by her parents, and develops a brotherly protective feeling for the baby girl.

Of course, as he gets caught up with Lyra, Malcolm finds himself in danger of The Magesterium, who are even scarier here than they are is His Dark Materials. The sinister child army of The Order Of St. Alexander really freaked me out. But Malcolm and his friend Alice also battle a terrifying Magistereum opperative with a hyena daemon, who has lost a front leg.

Which leads to my favorite part of this book, which is the use of daemons. You really see them as a manifestation of the character’s souls here, and the way we grow and the mystery of them. Malcolm fascination with how baby Lyra and Pantalaimon interact was shared by me! What a fun detail that babies in this world chatter to their daemon who chatters back! That daemons can’t talk until their humans can. That baby daemons are even more flighty and changing than child daemons!

The book was delightful, a bit thicker and deeper than it’s predecessors, so I’m going to hold off on The Secret Commonwealth for a bit, because there’s a lot digest here.

Up next is Soy Sauce For Beginners by Kirsten Chen.

60 Books in 2019 #56: Underworld: An Abandon Novel By Meg Cabot

I blame this one on the completely brilliant Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe. If you’re not reading Lore Olympus get on it, it’s completely brilliant and lovely, retelling the story of Persephone and Hades in a hilarious romantic and beautifully illustrated way. (Psyche and Eros are also there.) Anyway, while I was searching for books to finish out the year, I remembered that hey! Didn’t Meg Cabot take on Persephone and Hades too? I love Meg Cabot!

I’d read the first book a while back, and I think it’s important to note that while I really like Abandon, I was disappointed in Cabot and her publisher’s choice to extend the story and the similarly timed Airhead over Jinx. All three books came out within around a year and were clearly cashing in on the new pop culture environment where genre stories about teen girls were a hot commodity. Of the three Jinx (about the most powerful witch born to a line in 100 years) was my favorite, I didn’t care for Airhead at all and while I like Abandon, I just never picked up the sequels.

I mention the moment it came out because it’s very hard to remove Abandon and thus Underworld from the behemoth shadow it came out under. I’m talking of course about Twilight. Like Twilight, the Abandon series features a teenage girl clearly destined to a great love in a supernatural context. The male half is vaguely stalkery but totally sexy in a broody Byronian mode. Cabot, of course, can write circles around Stephanie Meyer, and Pierce Oliviera is way more active than Bella Swann, but the paralells are hard to ignore.

At the end of Abandon Pierce finds herself transported by sexy underworld demi-god John Hayden (who she is very in love with and who has been watching over her since she was a child. See, kinda weird.) Pierce is none too thrilled about this, but John insists it’s for her own good. They have breakfast and they realize that means Pierce has repeated Persophone’s mistake. She can never leave the Underworld now. Of course they leave anyway, when they need to save Pierce’s cousin Alex from himself.

Underworld is a middle chapter and so I guess I’m just going to have pick up Awaken soon and see how this all shakes out. It’s a fun take on the myth and I’ve always loved Cabot’s voice. Up next is The Book Of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Phillip Pullman. I’m excited to return to Lyra’s world and see her grown up. (Which I think is the deal here?? Dunno, we’ll see.)

In The Shadow Of Adaptation: His Dark Materials

I didn’t read His Dark Materials as a kid or teenager. It’s not likely because it wasn’t allowed, as a lot of people have assumed, when the movie came along my mom was warned about it and when parents asked her she shrugged and said, “if your kids and their faith can’t accept some philosophical challenge brought on by some fantasy fiction I’m not doing my job right.”

I’ve mentioned my specific and peculiar theological education before, stemming from my mother’s faith, my family’s legacy of Jesuit instruction and philosophical bent, my progressive all girl’s Catholic high school and reading constantly. So that’s the background that I brought to His Darks Materials when I read it in my 20’s. I loved the books, diving headlong into Lyra’s world like I did with most fantasy fiction.

At the time I was much more devout so the heresy felt more shocking and I’m sure in my even more devout than that I would have dismissed the whole thing outright. Reading the books again now, where I use Catholicism still as my main barometer of the divine, that is, it’s the way I know how to interpret God, The Universe or Whatever, so it’s the tool set that I use, I find the books a beautiful exploration of another way.

Philip Pullman would hate that of course, he’s a strident outspoken atheist of the “anyone who believes in the divine in a ninkompoop” stripe, but you know, that’s fine. If I weren’t a Catholic, Secular Humanism would be the philosophy that makes the most sense to me. To articulate it as Joss Whedon did, “If nothing we do matters, the only thing that matters is what we do.”

Anyway, the books are amazing and I’m glad I revisited them. HBO & The BBC’s joint venture on adapting them has yet to fully win me over. I get what they’re doing and like the approach. Rather than the pretty glittering world of the reasonably awful film The Golden Compass (an impeccably cast but misguided movie) His Dark Materials feels lived in and old, a little dreary in some ways, but mysterious and beautiful in others. I like the cast, Ruth Wilson is appropriately terrifying and mesmerizing as Mrs. Coulter, and Daphne Keene was pretty much born to play Lyra. (My favorite aspects of the story, world hopping and angels don’t enter the proceedings until book 2 which means I’m a year out from the things I like best in the series, including Will Parry, my favorite character.) Note: I wrote this before I watched last night’s episode. Obviously, we now have Will. HOORAY!

I’m looking forward to seeing how the show moves forward. We’ve finally met Iorek Byninson and Lee Scorcesby. (LIN MANUEL MIRANDA!) That really gets the story moving a bit more. There is a lot of world building in this series that has to get out of the way but it felt endlesss.

My difficulties with a lot of atheist material is certainty. Again, Jesuits, we don’t like certainty. Life is questions, unending questions, meant to be answered through study, meditation, prayer, discussion and debate. What I love about His Dark Materials is that Pullman is championing those very things, he reached different conclusions than I have in my life. And that’s deeply worthwhile.

I’ll probably do one more “In The Shadow Of Adaptation” this year. I bet you can guess what is. But for the moment, I’m finishing up the last five books in my Goodreads Challenge. Love you all!

In The Face Of Adaptation: Watchmen

Alan Moore wrote Watchmen to be unadaptable.

This is the common wisdom and it’s probably true, since Alan Moore has notoriously hated every adaptation of his work save the Justice League Unlimited take on Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow? (He’s right, it’s both a fantastic episode and a great adaptation. It’s also my favorite thing he wrote, but I’ve never read Swamp Thing…)

I read Watchmen in college, as a burgeoning closeted comics geek, it was an acceptable starting point. Watchmen wasn’t a comic book, (the horror!) it was literature. 

I didn’t get it. I saw the movie. I liked that fine. But still, didn’t get it.

I read Watchmen again a few years ago, after diving headlong into comics and superhero fandom.

I got it that time.

It’s a brilliant work.

I still don’t quite get the movie.

Also, while recognizing Watchmen’s greatness and even liking the book itself, the way the comics industry learned all the wrong lessons from it continues to piss me off. Not everything needs to be Watchmen. 

Anyway, why revisit this graphic novel that I’ve always appreciated more than I actually liked? Because HBO is airing a TV show based on it obviously!

Rather than adapt that which cannot be adapted (how does one show all of time happening to Doctor Manhattan at once on film? ONE CANNOT!) Damon Lindelof has opted to further explore the deeply interesting world that Moore created.

Watchmen the show, takes place in an alternate 2019, the 2019 of the Watchmen, where a culture shaped by masked vigilantes and accelerated technology and President Robert Redford. Of course bits of our history still happened, so the world is both alien and familiar.

And I was wary. Being not crazy about Watchmen, and even more nervous at attempts to do more with it, I didn’t know what to expect going in.

It’s good. It’s damn good. It’s thoughtful and darkly funny, and opaque, and uses TV the way the novel uses comics.

Also Regina King is the shit.

Anyway, I’m curious how the whole thing ends up, but I’m super intrigued with how things are going. Now that Adrian Veidt and Laurie Blake are in the mix, I’m even more excited for how things are going to progress. Doctor Manhattan’s appearance feels imminent. Or not, an anticlimax of  that sort would be both very in the spirit of Watchmen and Lindelof’s pedigree.

We’ll see.

60 Books in 2019 #55: Sorcerer To The Crown by Zen Cho

Sorcerer To The Crown has a lot in common with Jonathan Strange And Mr. Norrell, at least superficially. It’s about magic as a science and field of study in mid 1800s England, it’s about a reluctant practicitioner getting in over his head with Fairy kind (in this case dragons) and it’s about the way the British Empire steamrolled history and people who weren’t upper middle class white men. (In this case the two main sorcerers are African children transported to England as babies.)

The book examines colonialism through magic, which is cool, and has dragons, which is cooler, and a sort of Jane Austen style slow burn romance between said sorcerer Zachariah Wythe, and his young student Prunella Gentleman.

You’d think I’d have liked it more, but for some reason the book just didn’t absorb me. I don’t know why, but I had a lot of trouble reading more than 20 pages at a time for this one, which made for slow going. (Which is why I haven’t read anything else in a bit.) It’s well written but it just didn’t grab me.

Anyway, we’re nearing the end here. Up next, I’m not sure, actually, I am, but it’s rereading, which doesn’t count towards this goal. (But it’s been 3 weeks and I’ve been staring at Watchmen…I need to read it again, folks. I just need to. Also, His Dark Materials.) 

60 Books in 2019 #55: Doctor Sleep By Stephen King

Like just about every Stephen King book I’ve read. (I think we’re up to 11 now? 5 Dark Towers plus The Wind In The Keyhole, The Stand, Different Seasons, On Writing, The Shining, It, Needful Things, and Doctor Sleep, so yes, 11!) Doctor Sleep has a lot going on.

In addition to being a sequel to The Shining (Danny Torrance is all grown up!) it’s a love letter to Alcoholics Anonymous, and about psychic kids and the things in this world and others. (GUYS! REMEMBER THAT TIME THAT I READ THE SHINING  AND I COMPARED DANNY TO JAKE CHAMBERS? IN DOCTOR SLEEP HE TURNS TO SOMEONE AND SAYS “THERE ARE OTHER WORLDS THAN THESE” AND I LITERALLY BURST INTO TEARS BECAUSE I LOVE JAKE SO MUCH. Danny, or Dan as he’s known as a grownup is cool too.)

Dan Torrance inherited a lot of things from his Dad, his temper and alcoholism paramount, but also the ghosts. The metaphorical ghosts of that most traumatic winter at The Overlook, but also the literal ghosts of The Overlook which followed Danny and Wendy around for a few years until Dick Halloran taught Danny to lock them away in a Shining constructed lock box.

The True Knot are a nomadic band of energy vampires who drive around the US in RV’s hunting kids who shine, though they call it “the steam.” They’re immortal and nasty and great. I’m sure on a different level of the Tower they’d have found good work with The Sombra Corporation. Their leader, Rose The Hat is ancient, powerful and terrible.

Abra Stone is the most powerful Shining kid ever, and The True want her. When Dan crosses her path by coincidence (or is it?) they become entwined on an adventure. Danny and Abra’s parallells are obvious. Her father is also a writer attempting to finish a book. (He’s not a violent drunk, however…so that’s different) They’re both gifted, affable, kind and empathetic.

In his adulthood, Danny finds a talent for helping people cross over from life to death, which is where the name Doctor Sleep comes from.

Anyway, Dan and Abra fight Rose and The True Knot, and also, Dan goes to a lot of AA meetings. Also Danny releases all his ghosts. Both the metaphorical trauma of his past, and also you know the literal ghosts that tried to kill him when he was five.

Like I said, there’s a lot going on. There’s stuff about 9/11 (which again, in The Song Of Susannah I think? There are advertisements letting the Tahine know that they should be in New York that day. I’m sure The True are related, like It and The Dandelo.) (LOOK, I JUST WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE DARK TOWER ALL THE TIME OK?)

Book’s good. Looking forward to the movie.

Up next is Sorcerer To The Crown by Zen Cho, which was actually recommended to be way back last year when I was asking friends for non white, non male writers who’s work I might like.