5 Nerdy Places I Want to Travel To

{Header photo taken by Richard T. Sutton.}

With thanks for the prompt from The Nerdy Girlie.

When I was younger, my mom had the book The Dictionary of Imaginary Places. Written as part encyclopedia, part travel guide, it took on the conceit that imaginary places were real, and described everything from Oz to what a Hobbit was. Almost all the entries contained glorious maps of these fictional places, and many of the entries included illustrations as well.

I remember devouring this book, even the entries on places I hadn’t visited yet and ones I tried and never got into. I loved the concept that I could easily find out the details of Narnia and the surrounding area, for example, and learned more about other fictional worlds.

So when I first hear the phrase ‘5 Nerdy Places I Want to Travel To’, I immediately think of fictional places: Narnia, Hogwarts, Prydain, the Shire, and Discworld. Of course, it’s a bit difficult to travel to any of those places in real life (although I did go to the Kilns, which may very well have been inspiration for Narnia).

The Nature Preserve outside of the Kilns. If that isn’t Narnia, I don’t know what is. Photo by Angie Fiedler Sutton.

For real life visits, I decided to discount the handful of places I’ve already been. So, most of London was out (although I would love to go back), as well as the many nerdy places here in Los Angeles. I’ve also visited Laura Ingalls Wilder’s final home in Manchester, Mo., and went to Williamsburg, Va., when I was 7. And, of course, I regularly go to a Ralphs for grocery shopping – although I have yet to see any Night Vale creatures there.

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Virago: Part the Fifth — Dark Bath

First chapter: Part the First — Fire & Rain

Previous chapter: Virago: Part the Fourth — Sisters

Kelsey blew on her cup of tea. She felt like she had been in this house that reeked of onions and mildew for ages. The window pane in the kitchen was cold to the touch, but the rain didn’t sound as violent anymore. Kelsey meandered into the next room, where she expected to find Barbara. It was a small parlor, with even more lace doilies and tired furnishings.

“Hello?” Kelsey looked around for her host, but the only sign of life emanated from the candles next to the television. They had been recently lit, and the wan flames wavered with uncertainty.

She could hear the click of metal against metal from nearby. It could only be the dryer with her hoodie inside. She followed the sound and yanked open the dryer door. Tearing off the musty sweats and an oversized shirt, she tugged on her own clothes. She was zipping up her hoodie when she finally heard movement. It was enough to make her uneasy. Barbara hadn’t disappeared on a pleasant note.

Continue reading Virago: Part the Fifth — Dark Bath

Tea & Review: This ‘Detective’ Isn’t the Only Liar

{All images courtesy BBC One.}

Sherlock, series 4, episode 2, “The Lying Detective”
Written by Steven Moffat
(based on the works of Arthur Conan Doyle)
Directed by Nick Hurran
Produced by BBC (in partnership with PBS Masterpiece)

Sherlock co-creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have almost made a career out of outright admitting they are lying whenever they are interviewed with regards to plot points in Sherlock. Interview after interview, they state one thing, to only state in the next interview the exact opposite. Their argument, which does have a point, is that no one really wants to be spoiled as to the plot of the show or where it’s going. But rather than outright just stating ‘spoilers’ ala River Song in Doctor Who (or a variation of ‘no comment’), they gleefully troll the fans of the show with their deception, thinking it’s all in great fun.

So, when they said that this series of Sherlock would be wrapping up most (if not all) of the major plot points so far (which is another clue that this is most likely the last series), I took it with a grain of salt.

And in “The Lying Detective”, we definitely didn’t see much resolution. As usual, there are spoilers and speculations ahead, so turn away now if you haven’t seen the episode.

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Tea & Review: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Warning Spoilers! 

Closing out 2016 was rough. That’s partly the reason why it took so long for me to plop myself in front of the computer to post something, anything really.

But I’ve been kind of inspired. Kind of being the operative word.

Right before we closed out 2016 a friend, and sometimes Tea & Fiction contributor Sydney Sun recommended a Netflix show to me.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

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Looking Back at ‘Leverage’ – Let’s Go Steal Us a TV Show

{All photos from the Leverage Wiki.}

Leverage is a television show that – like the schemes used by our lead characters themselves – doesn’t seem like it should be anything special but ends up being so much more than meets the eye.

Premiering on TNT in December of 2008, the basic idea wasn’t anything new: a group of criminals (a thief, a hacker, a grifter, and the muscle) all join forces under a man who is good but wants to help others who can’t get help through normal means. Pretty much The A-Team, Mission Impossible, and so on, it’s the ‘bad guys make the best good guys’ trope for the 2000s. Created by John Rogers and Chris Downey, the show ran five seasons and continues on in tie-in novels. And while there’s the occasional ‘not great’ episode, every single one of them is a joy to watch.

I had originally started watching in the second season when I had heard that Wil Wheaton would be making a guest appearance. If I remember right, this was one of his first appearances on television since he had taken a break post-Star Trek and was the first in a line of ‘evil’ characters he was cast in. I had also been seeing the show pop up a lot in my perusal of TV Tropes, and it sounded interesting enough to give it a try.

I fell hard.

Nathan Ford helps a man in season 1’s “The Snow Job”.

It’s one of those shows you watch more for the characters than the actual plots, and it’s filled with geek references and clever quips that make the tropey premise work. (I literally squeed the first time they made a reference to Doctor Who.)  There are also a number of shout outs and crossovers from other shows I liked, from one of the main characters being Christian Kane from Angel to a recurring part for Mark Sheppard (from Firefly and before he popped up on Supernatural and Doctor Who) to shows being directed by Jonathan Frakes and Frank Oz.

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The Phone Call

The Phone Call

by Rosie Gonce

“Hello, is this Samantha Harvey?”

Sam sighed and reluctantly said “Yes, it is.” emphasizing the annoyance in her tone. No one ever called her Samantha. It was an immediate sign that it was someone she did not want to talk to.

Telemarketer or bill collector? she wondered, trying to remember if there was a bill she had forgotten about.

Why are they calling so early?! The clock on her wall read 6:10 am.

“It says here that you are the ‘In case of emergency’ contact person for Nathaniel McDouglas.”

Sam’s heart sank. It sank the way it always did when someone mentioned Nathaniel.

“Well…Um…” Sam gulped.

This was awkward, she thought.

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Tea & Review: ‘Six Thatchers’ Needs a Deeper Look

{All images courtesy BBC One.}

Sherlock, series 4, episode 1, “The Six Thatchers”
Written by Mark Gatiss
(based on the works of Arthur Conan Doyle)
Directed by Rachel Talalay
Produced by BBC (in partnership with PBS Masterpiece)

And we’re back to Baker Street. Finally.

As I often state, being a Sherlock fan is one of immense patience. Three episodes a season (albeit episodes that are the same length of movies), with wait times between series that have entire shows start and canceled while we wait. And while technically it’s been only a year since we last saw Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman grace our screens as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, as I noted in my review of “The Abominable Bride”, the Christmas special was almost completely character development for Sherlock, and very little actual plot.

So we have been left with the questions still unanswered at the end of series 3 over two years ago, including whether Moriarty was actually still alive somehow, Mary Watson’s background as an assassin, and what Sherlock and John were doing during those two years after Sherlock jumped at the end of series 2. As with my other reviews, there are spoilers in this review, although I try not to give away TOO much. So, if you haven’t seen it, I’d turn away now.

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Celebrating a Timeless Classic

Twenty-four years ago today, I was seven years old. From what I can recall: I was an awkward youngin’, in love with Star Trek The Next Generation, Star Wars, Power Rangers and Sailor Moon (though that would come out in a few years). Oh, almost forgot. I was a big time fan of the FOX’s X-Men the Animated Series. I guess I was a geek before I knew what a geek was.

But on January 4, 1993, my world basically changed in the best way possible. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine debuted.

Like I said, I was already a big fan of Star Trek. I religiously watched Star Trek: The Next Generation and got the chills every time Captain Picard got super passionate. It was always refreshing.

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