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.
“Why don’t you have print books?” Fran Bitney, a friend of mine, asked me.
I like Fran, she’s one of the local Keycon people. Very nice, very sweet person. Her mother is a poet. We’re on speaking terms, we have friends in common, no animosity, friendly enough. So when I say friend, that’s basically the category of people who don’t throw rocks and sticks at me when they’re sure I’m out of range.
Look, I take what I can get.
Anyway, Fran asked the question.
I’ve been doing eBooks. Been really fine doing eBooks. Been happy doing eBooks.
I have avoided doing print books.
Theoretically you can. There’s presses like Friesen that do small print runs. If you want to pay for a hundred or a couple of hundred and try and sell them, go ahead.
There’s Print On Demand (POD), and that’s getting better and better. There’s companies that do POD – Ingram Spark, Lulu.com, Amazon, Draft2Digital, probably others. There’s even POD machines in bookstores, McNally Robinson, the local independent bookseller had one.
I haven’t really been interested. The possibility is there, but so what?
Basically, if you’re self publishing 98% of your sales will be eBooks. That’s just how it is. You don’t get to be in bookstores, where print books are sold. You don’t get to have the commercial infrastructure of major or medium presses and publishers with their infrastructure to push print books. Print books are expensive, that’s asking people to take a big chance.
Den, what’s up with all this self publishing crap you’re doing? A question that absolutely no one has asked me, and no one cares about. But I’m going to explain myself anyway.
So here’s the deal. It was 2017, my father had just died, my first novel ‘The Mermaid’s Tale.’ had been released by Five Rivers Publishing, they were going to do an audiobook, and I had a contract to do a second novel, ‘The Luck.’ My pseudo-career as a writer was finally taking off.
I’ve been trying to be a writer since my grandfather died, over twenty years ago. Hell, I’ve been trying to be a writer since I was a teenager, since before I was a teenager, but it was after grandfather died that I decided to get serious about it.
I started writing and sending out lots of short stories. I joined a writers group and worked alongside some people who went on to be pretty big names. Slowly, I was selling stories here and there, even getting reviews in an age when those were almost impossible to come by, getting honourable mentions in Years Best anthologies, doing chapbooks, studying marketing and just focussing on getting my stuff out there – I subscribed to Locus, Science Fiction Chronicle, Scavenger’s Newsletter, Rising Star, the zine markets you name it. I wrote a novel, started looking for an agent, wrote another novel, sent it out, went to conventions, won a writing grant, even got tagged for a nonfiction book.
I gave it a pretty good shot, and it looked like I was getting somewhere, might even break through. Or that’s what I heard, later on.
But you know how things go; life comes around and kicks you in the nuts. Boss went crazy, relocation, burnout, flirting with bankruptcy, shit happens. There was a lot of shit, it’s tedious and not worth getting into. To make it as a writer, it’s a pyramid. At the top of the pyramid are luck and connections, either of those will guarantee you. Below that is talent and hard work. Beneath that, you need a certain income and stability. Anyway, the bottom of my period was wobbly, so I kind of fell out of the game.
But I never stopped writing. Not necessarily novels or commercial work, but writing nevertheless, for me, for others, for Bill Hillman or Chris Nigro, on alt history, for web sites, for anywhere, or just random stuff. For me, writing is somewhere between a pathology and a therapy.
Well, admittedly this is late. Be nice, I’m finally catching up after the beating Covid handed me in May and June.
Yeah, June. Did I post on June 2, 2022, saying I was finally recovered? I wish. It’s insidious, you think you’re fine, until you actually try and do something, then everything takes twice as long and is twice as hard. There was steady improvement. But I think it took me the middle of June to shake the damned thing completely. I got my fourth shot as soon as possible. Had a bunch of health issues to deal with, still dealing with them, and a lot of catching up to do.
Normally, if I’m there and doing things, I’d be announcing on the blog in advance, to make sure people had extra time to skip readings and avoid my stuff. Also, it’s kind of handy to have the note so I can update my artists resume.
Honestly, I was barely functioning this Keycon. I was clear of the virus by the time it rolled around, and definitely not infectious. But I was still depleted. I was good for a few hours, then it was time to go home, or find a soft spot on the floor for a nap.
This Keycon was a bit interesting for a few reasons. It was physically back for one, which was nice for the people attending. Keycon is the huge social event for the Winnipeg fan community, and while I’m not really part of that community, or any community, I respect that importance. And let’s face it, that social event is the primary function, no one really cares about writers or panels or programming. It works on other levels, and that’s a good thing. The point is it works.
As of June/July, 2022, literally twenty years after the show went off the air, long after almost anyone else cared, my long, long relationship with LEXX comes to an end, with the release of trade paperbacks of each of the four volume LEXX Unauthorized series, and the release of an audio-book version of volume one.
This feels significant, if only to me. But here I am, I’ve got a blog, so I’ve got a forum to talk about it.
To begin with: What is LEXX?
It’s a television series that ran four seasons from 1997 to 2002, about an organic spaceship, a ten mile long dragonfly designed to blow up planets. The ship was stolen by a wayward crew of misfits – Stanley Tweedle, a former security guard fourth class; Zev or Xev Bellringer, a rebellious wife and escaped love slave; Kai, an undead former assassin, and 790 a love-struck robot head.
Over the course of four seasons, they fought an evil empire, destroyed a planet sized bug, presided over the destruction of an entire universe, went to heaven and hell, and ended up on Earth, where things didn’t go well.
It was also a marvellously surreal and subversive show, owing as much to Barbarella and film makers like Bunuel and Jodorowsky as it did Star Trek and Star Wars. It frequently indulged surrealist and absurdist sensibilities, introducing stunning images and ideas. It was, quite simply unique.
And it was a thoroughly Canadian product, even a regional product, conceived, produced and populated by Atlantic Canadians, from Salter Street Films in Halifax. The background story of its creation and production was almost as unconventional, bizarre and entertaining as anything on camera.
I loved it.
I loved it enough to write books about it.
How about that war? Huh?
Nobody saw that coming. Go figure.
Exactly how or why the war started, and what the motivations are is a bit of a mystery. When you look at it, there doesn’t seem to be a precipitating incident. Relations had not worsened. There was no crisis. Instead, Russia calmly builds up troops along the border for several months, assuring that everything is business as normal, and Whoops! Invasion!
To be fair, Russia has been invading Ukraine since 2014, when they took over Crimea and set up the phony Donbas and Luhansk “People’s Republics.” Since that time, there’s been ongoing low level terrorist attacks and fatalities arising from Donbas and Luhansk. So this seems to be a continuation of Russian aggression starting in 2014.
But why now? The situation’s been reasonably stable for eight years. It’s not like any of the conquered areas were destabilizing or boiling over. It was an unhappy state of affairs for Ukraine, but Russia was still sitting pretty. It’s not like the Crimeans were revolting.
There were some issues in Crimea. The Ukrainians cut off the canal that supplied water, and Crimean farmland was undergoing desertification. But that wasn’t yet a crisis, and the Russians had invested in desalinisation.
On the lefty side, there’s the theory repeated and regurgitated this is all NATO’s fault. Basically, the idea goes, NATO’s relentless expansion as a warmongering alliance relentlessly enlisting new members has pushed Russia into a corner. Expansion has left Russia no ‘comfort’ space, and therefore, it’s defending itself by invading Ukraine.
Okay, got to call bullshit on that one. NATO’s last eastward expansion was 2004 – eighteen years ago. That’s when Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia joined. Call me crazy, but if the expansion was eighteen years ago, I’m not convinced. What? The Russians didn’t notice? Nobody gave them the memo? The mail was really slow? Seriously.
Just putting up an interview that I did with Sea Lion Press, a noted British Small Press specializing in alternate history. I think it’s pretty good.