Sometimes modern discussion is simply tiresome. At this point, I’m thinking, in particular, of the band of screeching howler monkeys that constitute that ‘Anti-Woke’ crowd, and their endless, brainless war on anything that offends their delicate sensibilities.
Currently, one of the ongoing controversies seems to be black people in fantasy. Or ethnic representation in fantasy. I suppose it’s a good time to have that discussion, since we have four major Fantasy series currently running on television – The Witcher on Netflix, Dance of Dragons on HBO, the Lord of the Rings spin off on Amazon, and Willow on Netflix.
This is pretty unique, I don’t think we’ve ever seen so many fantasy series on at once, or so much money spent so ambitiously. Good thing, I suppose.
But here’s the problem: There are black elves.
I’m almost speechless.
Black actors getting cast as elves? There’s more to it, the whole argument is over multi-racial casting in fantasy, so we have black and Hispanic and Asian actors and actresses being cast randomly with white actors in a multitude of roles, from townsfolk to elves, dwarves, forest dwellers, soldiers, etc.
This apparently, is the ‘worst thing ever’ and a sign of the imminent destruction of our civilization at the hands of intersectional wokism!
July, 2022. Oh man, do I just suck at marketing and self promotion? Apparently yes. Here’s a book that is so absolutely brilliant, so amazing, so revelatory and groundbreaking that it turned into a trilogy all by itself.
So what do we have in the first volume, the early years?
- Well, now that Jody Whittaker is out of the way, we can give proper credit to Barbara Benedetti, the first woman to play the Doctor, through a series of four, unlicensed half hour adventures in the 80s. Back when Doctor Who was at its lowest point, with the trial of a time lord, the attempted cancellation, the disastrous first McCoy season, there was Barbara, effortlessly hitting it out of the park. Go ahead, compare Mindwarp and Time of the Rani to the Wrath of Eukor and Visions of Utomu. I dare ya.
- The early Super8 film years of fandom and fan films, including a bunch of lost gems, and featuring the Image Makers, Ocean in the Sky and Mission of Doom
- The early video wave, including the gothic Troughton/Davison crossover Spectre from the Past;
- The recreation of Tom Baker’s Sontaran Experiment… with Cybermen
* The Reign of Turner and the odyssey of the Federation
- Vaulkherd, Rutan and The Alliance, the stories of Sharon Horton, the second woman to play the Doctor
The Reign of Timebase and the Rupert Booth Doctor, the true Doctor of the 90s, with 12 episodes comprising five stories, plus three shorts
Review – Regenesis
Review – Phase Four
Review – Paradise in Chains
Review – Long Shadows
Review – The Hidden Face
Finally, reviews of great overlooked films Resurrenction of Evil, The Chronotron Effect, Dealers of Death and Time and Again
August, 2022 – Here’s me forgetting to do self promotion. But featuring….
- The Complete History of Doctor Who stage plays, including
- Curse of the Daleks
- Seven Keys to Doomsday
- The Ultimate Adventure starring Colin Baker AND Jon Pertwee
- The Karnak Trilogy
- Empress of Otherwhen
- The Bedlam plays – from Planet of Fire to the Dalek Masterplan
- The Three Trials of Davros
- The Power of the Daleks, Reimagined
- Millennium Trap
- Recreating Masters of Luxor
- The thirty year Odyssey of Devious
- The Reconstruction of Marco Polo
- The Strange Tangle of Copyright Confusion
- Explaining the lost episodes
- LEGAL fan films
- Colin Baker’s The Stranger Series
- Sylvester McCoy in Do You Have a License to Save this Planet
- The Brigadier and Sarah Jane facing off the Great Intelligence and the Yeti in Downtime
- Sontarans and Rutans confronting familiar faces in Shakedown
- The Auton Trilogy, Zygon, Sil and the Devil Seeds
Holy cow! There’s amazingly good stuff in here. I mean, for a Doctor Who fan, this is all flat out terrific. I can’t believe I’m the one who wrote it.
September, 2022. I am absolutely the worst guy for self promotion.
- The History of the Audio Doctor Who Universe, from Slipback to the Audio Visuals, to the BBV and Big Finish
- The Story of Doctor Who animation pioneered by fans right up to Lost in the Dark Dimension and the BBC ‘lost serial’ animations.
- Trident, Doctor Who’s version of Pulp Fiction.
- The Holly Terror and the Ghost Pirates, Patrick Troughton reincarnated
- How to Stop a Time Lord, heart from Romania
- Fire and Ice, and the series that almost was
- Death Takes a Holiday, featuring Colin Baker, and Gene Genius featuring Sylvester McCoy, blurring the lines
- The four season epic serial of the Little Red Doctor
- The brilliance of Velocity
Well, I don’t really listen to audiobooks. Maybe I should. I listened to my friend Julie’s 12 episode Calamity Jane western audio podcast and that was pretty good. So maybe I should give it a shot.
Because Audiobooks are exploding all over the place these days. I’d heard about it the last couple of years, but I hadn’t quite realized how much.
So is this meaningful? Well, I looked up the statistics. And there’s a tangled knot of information. But here’s how I break it down. The US book industry (I’m assuming that includes Canada) is worth about 30 billion dollars in 2019-2020, the last year before Covid. Now of that, the big five book publishers, Penguin-Random House, Hachette, Harper-Collins, McMillan and Simon-Schuster, the guys you find dominating bookstores, represent about 10 billion dollars in sales during this period. There’s maybe another seven billion represented by the big five Educational publishers, the guys who do school textbooks and stuff. The rest, I assume divides up among the small and medium publishers, specialty houses, etc., the small fry.
Hey! My latest collection of short stories. Released October 14, 2022. This actually very belated. I should have posted this months ago, and posted it on Facebook months ago. I am so bad at this self promotion thing it’s unreal. I think I’m way too self effacing. I retained Paul Carpentier to copy edit for me, and he couldn’t stop talking about how funny it was, both at World Fantasy and afterwards – I almost wanted to run away and hide. There’s something in me that just doesn’t know what to do with praise, that won’t believe it, that suspects or expects an attack or something. I really have to overcome that.
Anyway: The story behind Drunk Slutty Elf? What can I say? My latest book, but for Drunk Slutty Elf and Zombies, the follow up, which is done and just waiting on the cover. I have some hopes for this duo, and I plan on pushing them for all they’re worth.
Well, here’s the roundup for another year of smashing my head against the wall. So how’s the writing career. At the very least, I can say that I worked hard. Perhaps not every target was hit, or every possible mission was pursued, but I put the hours in.
Opened up with a project, Twilight of Echelon, for At Bay Press, a collaborative effort with Robert Pasternak, an artist, and three other writers. My part of it was about thirty-five, inter-related short stories and about 40,000 words. I’m not sure what the other writers have been up to. It’s still in the editing phase, and I think the release date is October, 2023. The money is zilch, but At Bay Press is a pretty reputable publisher, I’ve always wanted to work with Pasternak and other writers. So… one of those things you do.
I finally went back and re-did my old Doctor Who books. Basically, they’re explorations of Doctor Who fan films, reviews of the history of the genre, the very best examples, along with explorations of fandom, changing culture, technology and buried parts of the show’s history. Possibly a stupid topic, but it was what got me into self publishing in the first place. For years, I’ve been quietly researching and updating as new films were created, lost films were rediscovered, as the show and technology continued to evolve. It was time to sit down, do some serious revisions, updating, fix up old problems, cover new ground. The duology became a trilogy, and I think I wrote perhaps 100,000 new words give or take.
No novels this year. I did knock off a few short stories here and there. Total probably comes to about 30,000 words. I slipped some into new short story collections. Maybe reserving one for an upcoming collection. One thing that was significant was that I started sending stories out to markets again. Collected rejections, but did get a personal rejection from Analogue. At least I think it was personal, maybe they just have an upper tier of form rejections. Not sending out to many magazines though. Frankly, I’m not really interested in floundering around with the middle and bottom level markets and fringe anthologies. I don’t really give a damn about that. I suppose there’s some ‘validation’ from getting published in some mid-tier anthology or small press market. But I already know I’m a good writer, there’s no one I care about impressing. Does that sound like a swelled head? Trust me, I can show you my sales records, that’s a good reason for humility.
Finally, I had a completely non-commercial project – an alternate history chronicle of the Peter Cushing Doctor Who movies. My idea was to extend the franchise from two movies, to a handful lasting into the seventies. It was fun to do deep research, and to tell stories and sub-stories about the vagaries of B-movie films and opportunistic film making, to explore how stories evolve and shape themselves for different mediums and audiences. I think that ran 80,000 words, totally non-commercial, but entirely therapeutic. I suppose it was a waste of time, it didn’t advance my writing career one bit. Nobody read it. It was completely non-commercial. But you know what? I don’t’ care. I’m always chasing the brass ring, and it’s always out of reach. Sometimes, it’s you just have to do something that makes you happy. And I really needed to do something that made me happy.
No novel projects this year. But it adds up, that’s somewhere around 250,000 words ballpark. Somewhere between 220,000 and 280,000. I think that’s a pretty reasonable rate of work, and even if a big chunk wasn’t conventionally useful, I don’t think any writing is ever truly wasted. You learn by doing, you get better by doing.
Overall – I released five of my own books this year:
A Pirate’s History of Doctor Who
Another Pirate’s History of Doctor Who
The Last Pirate’s History of Doctor Who
Drunk Slutty Elf and Other Stories
Drunk Slutty Elf and Zombies