A Pirate’s History of Doctor Who

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

Another Pirate’s History of Doctor Who

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.

The Last Pirate’s History of Doctor Who

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

CRAWLING TO THE MOON

BOOK LAUNCH – MARCH 11, 2023

Together with Benny the Antichrist

 

That’s about it for now.  Going to Blog about them later.

Thinking About Audiobooks – Part One

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.

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Drunk Slutty Elf and Other Stories

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.

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2022 – Writing Year in Review

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

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WORLD FANTASY NEW ORLEANS, REVIEW AND RUMINATION

Well, World Fantasy Convention 2022 in New Orleans is over, and as usual, it is followed by my ongoing existential crisis.

Overall, the big positive of the experience was that it was New Orleans. Storied, marvellous New Orleans, capital of French North America, traded back and forth between the Spanish, French, British and the Americans, birthplace of Jazz and blues, center of Cajun and creole culture, gateway to the Mississippi and entrance to the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, the ultimate crossroads, alluring, magical, historical, every bit of it steeped in romance. There are other remarkable cities in North America, but there’s none quite like New Orleans.

I’ve wanted to see it my whole life. I remember being heartbroken by Hurricane Katrina, horrified by the devastation, but heartbroken by the idea that something unique and marvellous might be destroyed forever, that I’d never get to see it.

My brother, in a moment of insight, tells me I’m A to B. That my trajectory is a straight line, I am purpose driven as an arrow, launching relentlessly towards a target. I am object oriented. I couldn’t just go to New Orleans. I needed a purpose.

And the World Fantasy Convention gave that to me – a reason to be there.

I took advantage of it, arriving several days early to play tourist and go sightseeing, delighting in buying overpriced merch, because this was New Orleans tourist junk. I took the tourist tours on double decker buses and ghost walks, spent Halloween night on Bourbon Street, rode the streetcars to the ends of their line, took a ferry. I wandered all over the French Quarter, Algiers Point, the Waterfront and Riverwalk, Garden District, Business district, visited the Graveyards. Ate in restaurants. Made and hung out with friends. There was music and musicians everywhere, on streets, in restaurants, everyone playing. I love the way people spoke, the cheerful rush of words, the playfulness of the banter.

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Goodbye Whittaker

Well, The Power of the Doctor aired this week, officially bringing the Jody Whittaker/Chis Chibnall era to an end.  The five year reign of Jody Whittaker, through three foreshortened seasons and a handful of specials is over and done with. So it goes.  What a waste of time and money.
I don’t suppose this matters to anyone. The Misogyny brigade will cheer. The feminist brigade will gnash their teeth.
But honestly, I ended up watching Legends of the Sea Devils three times over a few months, and it broke me. I’ve rewatched Flux,  Whittaker’s third series. I rewatched her Dalek specials.  I’ve been rewatching episodes from the first and second series.
And you know what? It’s just terrible.  Half assed, appalling writing, trite and cliched. Endless dropped threads, subplots that get abandoned. Even the episodes we’re supposed to like because they’re ‘good for us’ are sub-par and trading on their virtue.  Once in a while something good or interesting comes along, a notion, an idea, a bit of characterization. But it’s immediately ganged up on and beaten to death by the mediocre elements.
But watching it all over again made me realize something.
Whittaker herself?  She was terrible.  She was absolutely terrible.
Maybe she’s a really good actress in other movies or television series. But she’s not here. Her performance is flat, wooden, preening.  It’s a terrible, inconsistent performance without a scintilla of life or charisma.
And before you call me a misogynist pig, I’ve actually written books about Women playing the Doctor and succeeding. The Pirate Histories of Doctor Who.  Barbara Benedetti played the Doctor through four stories from 1984 to 1988, and the Seattle actress was flat out brilliant.  Sharon Horton played the Doctor in two stories, one of which was a three part serial in the 1990s, and she did it well.  Lily Daniel played the Doctor through two episodes of the Ginger Chronicles a decade ago.  Krystal Moore played the Doctor in Doctor Who – Velocity, through nine short episodes, right now.
They all brought different interpretations to the Doctor – confidence, resilience, flamboyance, cleverness, compassion. But they all had one thing in common: They were better Doctors than Whittaker.

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