This is the story of a young Alfred Pennyworth (the future butler to Thomas Wayne), set in the 1950s in an alternative Britain.
He was a soldier in the war, and starts a security service after the war. Produced by the makers of Gotham, Alfred reminds us of a young Michael Caine playing Harry Palmer in The Ipcress File — not just the accent, but the working class background and gruff attitude.
An interesting season, covering his first love, dealing with the local underworld, the machinations of a group of British fascists (“The Raven Society”), Alistair Crowley, family tragedy and an attempted coup by the fascists. After being arrested for two murders, his first question in Newgate is “Who’s in charge around here?”.
Along the way he gets mixed up with the CIA’s Thomas Wayne, MI6 and various shady deals. His old war buddies help him out in various ways, including gunplay and a cool bluff to rescue an advanced computer prototype.
The British government is somewhat brutal, torturing and disfiguring rebels, while carefully maintaining a balance of power. All in all, an interesting series with a few surprises: turns out Alfred’s earlier adventures were more interesting than previously suspected.
Peaky Blinders, Season 5
p class=”opener”>Tommy Shelby is now an MP, and the family fortunes are doing well. Except the manager of their finances in the USA doesn’t sell their assets in time to avoid the Stock Market crash. Over six episodes, we see how Tommy soldiers on, staying in control of the clan, getting involved with other gangs and the chinese drug trade. The biggest threat turns out to be Oswald Mosley, who decides he likes Tommy and wants him onside to help launch a British Fascist League. Tommy is working with the police to try and bring down the corrupt fascists. In the end, a grim season for the Shelby family. As always, fascinating viewing with a brilliant soundtrack.
Orphan Black — The Next Chapter
The new series from SerialBox is set eight years after the fifth TV season of Orphan Black. It’s read by Tatiana Maslany, the brilliant actress of Orphan Black who played 14 different clones on the hit show.
In the first episode of the serial box serial, we discover another clone; this one is spying on a gene scientist because the security forces think his company is up to no good. She is somewhat startled when she sees the scientist being interviewed looks just like her!
I bought the whole season for a bargain $9; the first three episodes continue the story of our clones very nicely. Tatiana is, as expected, excellent as the narrator.
(You can listen to the first episode for free at https://www.serialbox.com/serials/orphan-black)
Fandom Harvest II
There is a wonderful collection of fannish writing
in the Ansible Editions free ebooks on the TAFF site
(it is suggested you might like to donate to TAFF if you download any of them).
It was with great delight I discovered there was a sequel to Fandom Harvest, a collection of Terry Carr pieces I had purchased some decades ago. Very interesting, very funny and very well written.
Wrath of the Fanglord
This collection of fan writings was selected by Dave Langford for Minicon 33, at which he was GoH. Pratchett, Shaw, Lowe and others. Good read, funny and interesting talks, well worth a perusal.