A podcast exploring the written worlds of Doctor Who...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Oops: A Correction to Episode 32 and An Addendum

So, if you've listened to Episode 32, in which Sean and I discuss Trevor Baxendale's Fear of the Dark, you may have heard me say that, as this story is set immediately following "Arc of Infinity," that it would be followed by "Mawdryn Undead." Of course, that was wrong--the next story would be "Snakedance." Now, the reason I really shouldn't have gotten this wrong, aside from the fact that I love "Snakedance," is that, in some ways, Fear of the Dark is a sort of inversion of "Snakedance." In each, one of the Doctor's companions is, via her dreams, contacted and eventually possessed by an ancient evil which seeks to re-establish a physical presence in this world. Except the one ends with death everywhere and the other ends with absolutely no death. There are even references to Tegan's snake dreams in the novel, further drawing attention to the connection between the two stories.

And that's where, as you'll also have heard if you listened to the episode, my biggest issue with the novel lies: it didn't feel very fresh. It felt like a story we'd read or seen before, either with The Pit or "Image of the Fendahl," or "Curse of Fenric," or "Snakedance"--it just felt predictable. Of course, Sean disagreed with me--as did several listeners who've kindly let me know how wrong I am. So, take everything I've written above with a grain of salt.

Anyway, I also forgot to include links about Downtime in the post announcing it, so here they are. Remember, as always--SPOILERS AHEAD!

Downtime at the Doctor Who Reference Guide  
Buy it at Amazon.com! 
Reviews at the Doctor Who Ratings Guide

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Erik Cheats and Picks Downtime

As the headline makes clear, I (Erik here) have made a slight cheat in my selection for September. Oh, but before we get too far into that, here's where you can download our August episode on Trevor Baxendale's Fear of the Dark. Also, here's a complete list  of all the novels being reprinted as part of the 50th Anniversary Collection. Who knows? If they sell well enough, maybe more of these books will be brought back into print. Stranger things have happened, like that time I was in a completely black room and I thought I saw...

Where was I? Oh, yes--the cheat! Well, it's not really a cheat, I suppose, but we do tend to try to rotate through the various Doctors when we select our books for both the PDA and the VMA ranges. While we've done an equal number of books starring all of the previous classic Doctors (1-6), and I was technically free to pick a book featuring any of them, it's been a year since we've done a book featuring the Second Doctor, and I was leaning in that direction, until I got a mischievous twinkle in my eye and decided, instead, to pick Downtime. And I'm sure the silver control ball I found the other day in no way influenced my decision.

If you're unfamiliar with its history, Downtime was a direct-to-video, independently produced, Doctor Who spin-off made by some long-time fans that featured both actors from the series--Elizabeth Sladen, Nicholas Courtney, and Deborah Watling, among others--and behind-the-scenes people with experience of working on Who: director Christopher Barry and writer Marc Platt, plus Ian Levine, about whom, the less said, perhaps the better. It was not officially licensed by the BBC, however, and therefore couldn't feature the character of the Doctor or the TARDIS, which Platt worked around by focusing the story on other characters to which they could secure the rights. When the time came to novelize his script for the Virgin Missing Adventure range, Platt seemingly saw no reason to insert the Doctor, and so it is the only book in that range not to focus around any incarnation of the Doctor, though several apparently make cameo appearances.

From the back cover:

Across the room, in a high-backed leather chair, Victoria saw the old man from the reading room. His face was curiously young for someone so long dead.

In 1966 the Doctor defeated the Great Intelligence, but he knew it wasn’t a final victory. And his companion Victoria, whose mind had once hosted the evil entity, might still fall prey to its power.

Now it seems that his fears are justified. In a Tibetan monastery, the monks display unearthly powers - UNIT are investigating. A new university has opened in London with a secret agenda that may threaten the whole country. Victoria, abandoned in an age very different from her own, and haunted by visions of a father she refuses to believe is dead, is slipping into despair and madness. But are the visions which plague her really hallucinations? Or has the Great Intelligence once again made Earth its target for invasion?

So, join is for that discussion in September! Happy reading!

In the meantime, you can email us at dwbcpodcast@gmail.com & follow us on Twitter: the podcast--@DWBCpodcast, Erik--@sjcAustenite, and Sean--@tardistavern.