Monday, June 29, 2015


Well now.

BF have done it again. First they convinced the BBC to let them do Benny stories, then stories with 5/6/7, then they managed to convince the self-described "George Lazenby of Time Lords" to return to the role. They got Daleks and Ice Warriors Cybermen and the Master, and eventually Sontarans too. They not only dragged Janet Fielding and Matthew Waterhouse back to the fold, they managed to get Tom Baker and Lalla Ward to do stories together (this is seriously so fistworthy it really is). They even briefly brought Jon Pertwee back from the dead but decided some bloke called Tim Treolar would do as a replacement.

It says so much that the only Classic Series elements that BF haven't succeeded in returning are Jackie Lane and the Movellans. Which is a story just begging to be told! Dodo's sneezes give the Movellans the clue to wiping out the Daleks, mwahahaha!

Of course, there has always been one big freaking line BF have not been able to cross and that's the new series. Everything prior to the TV movie is their domain, but of course in recent years Nick Briggs has tinkered with the boxsets of Gallifrey, Dalek Empire and Dark Eyes to rapidly plug the gap up to the opening scene of Night of the Doctor but they can't go any further, can they? OK, Joseph Lidster throws bits of the Time War into past Doctor stories and Nev Fountain committed The Kingmaker a story where not one but three Doctors were abused (being 4, 5 and 9) but apart from that...

And then we had a UNIT boxset - with Kate Stewart and Osgood.

And from this trickle has come the flood!

And then Torchwood Chronicles with John Barrowman.

Churchill's missing adventures with the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors (particulary Victory of the Daleks and A Christmas Carol).

A boxset where -
  • the Fifth Doctor meets the Weeping Angels (on audio, just think about that)
  • the Sixth Doctor versus the Judoon (could be good, given the idea is Gene Hunt as a space rhino)
  • the Seventh Doctor against the Sycorax (is anyone surprised by this pairing? Anyone?)
  • and the Eighth Doctor meets the Sontarans in the Time War (again, but this time they go "Sontar-Ha!" and presumably the Ood considered themselves too good for this)

But then... then...


No bullshit. This is genuinely happening.

I know! The very idea, if I suggested it to your face, would rightly get me a smack in the mouth! Does she not, on screen, make it clear the youngest Doctor she ever met was David Tennant? That she keeps photos of all Doctor faces to know which ones she could risk talking to? Even given given Eight's notorious predelicition for amnesia (he was still forgetting everything in Dark Eyes 4!) could anyone really scrub away the memories of that curly-haired harridan?!?

(Quick reminder: huge fan of Alex Kingston herself, really am)

But come on! And then we get the River Song Diaries with all those stories that Steven Moffat himself abruptly decided he couldn't be arsed to tell. The Bone Meadows, Easter Island, Bill the Fish, Singing Towers... nope, he cut to the chase and effectively killed off the character off-screen!

Still, if BF think The Android Invasion was worth an epic sequel, one line of dialogue from Moffat is good enough - but given even he didn't want to go into the pornographic details beyond such innocent phrases as "Picnic at Asguard" conjure up...

Where will it end? Will the Tenth Doctor finally meet Galanar in Dalek Empire? Can we get more Donna stories? Are there 11/Jack tales to be told? And given Eccleston said he was always willing to do DW on audio and the entire production team is different, will he prove he's actually up for it? If he doesn't, that means it'll just be another job for Nick Briggs - he's already tried it in Night of the Whisperer or something.

Anyway, BF's wholesale absorption of NuWho (and logically now only actor availability prevents them doing stories with War/9/10/10.5/11 and their respective companions) will piss off those vast majority of fans who run facebook groups saying DW died in 1989. Yes, Gabriel Chase, Kyron Mallet, Monsieur Cookson (subsitute "79") and many more can now suffer in shame and humiliation!

And, like we always said, BF would do stories with River Song before they did them with Ben Chatham...

Saturday, June 20, 2015

YOA in "Quoth The Indian Minah"

[Late night. Dave sits on the couch, sleepily reading a Watchman hardback. Just as he's about to doze off, there's a knocking from the hallway. Dave starts awake, dropping the book.]

Dave: Jeez... Who's door-knocking at this time of night?

[Yawning and stretching, he gets to his head and crosses to the hallway.]

Dave: Nearly tomorrow. Then I'll have got through another day. Oh, let joy be unconfined.

[There is another knocking. Dave starts.]

Dave: Man, I need some prozac. I am tense. [calls] Yeah, yeah, I'm coming...

[He opens the doors. There's nothing there. Dave peers out of the door, keeping his body inside the house.]

Dave: OK, this is either a youtube prank or a serial killer. I don't know which is more frightening. Fee, fi, fo, fum... Heh... Phe... Phoebe...

[A voice seems to whisper: "Phoebe".]

Dave: Fuck this.

[He slams the doors shut and lock them. Panting to calm down, he hurries back to the living room. He crosses to Nigel's door and tries it. Locked. He tries Andrew's silo.]

Dave: Andrew?


Dave: Are you in there?

[Another knocking. Dave whirls to look at the glass-fronted patio doors.]

Dave: That's not the wind... is it?

[Swallowing, he cautiously opens the patio door. An Indian Minah hops inside.]

Dave: Oh Christ. An Indian Minah. Canetoads with wings. Bugger off, go on.

[The bird doesn't move.]

Dave: What, are you trained or something? Do you have a name?


Dave: Well, don't expect to be friends with me, pal. I can barely keep the ones I've got now. Do us a favor and cut to the chase. What you say?


Dave: No wonder people don't keep you as pets. Give me a budgie any day of the week.


Dave: Are you taking the piss or something? Get out! Shoo! [sniffs] What's that smell? Did you crap somewhere? Oh well, at least it'll take my mind of things...


Dave: Like some flying pest like you will keep me distracted for long. What's the point? What is the freaking point, Mr. Indian Minah? Tell me that.


Dave: Exactly. There's no point. I'm never going to see her again, am I?


Dave: Why the hell am I asking you? I bet you don't even know what I'm talking about, do you?


Dave: You're deaf, aren't you? AREN'T YOU, YOU DEAF FEATHERED BASTARD!

[Dave kicks the Indian Minah and it flutters off. He slams the doors.]

Dave: I am never telling anyone about this. It would be a crap anecdote. And even worse poem...

Friday, June 19, 2015

Anyway, Moving On...

Let's forget (if not forgive) the atrocious necrophilia of the Sevenverse and focus instead on a question that has left me bewildered and frustrated for more than twenty years.



OK, bit of context. That is a panel from Fellow Travellers, a comic strip by Andrew Cartmel from 1990 where the Seventh Doctor and Ace save the caretakers at Allen Road from some alien Hitchers. The Doctor bursts in, deciding that rather than explain he's the employer and there's danger coming, but act like a total twat that everyone will assume he's talking absolute bollocks and ignore him. Since he hasn't even bothered to tell Ace what's going on, this rescue mission is not off to the start.

And then we get that panel of some freaky hulking glowing robot lumbering towards the house.

But that isn't a Hitcher, who are shown to be invisible and can only perform Hulk-like transformations to passing organic life forms.

The giant robot doesn't appear in the strip again. It isn't mentioned. It just stands there.

And even after being printed, reprinted and reprinted again - even the latest compilation The Good Soldier offers absolutely no explanation for what the hell that thing is or why it's there. Why did they draw it? Is it meant to be some kind of ordinary thing you'd find near a house? Is that what bustops look like in Kent?


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Blake's 7: Lucifer III This Time It's Personal

Yes, that final installment of "really-is-that-the-best-you-can-do?" PGP novels which are published and everything has been released. It takes a truly unique mind to make a reader pine for stories where Avon and his pet Sea Devil were forced to recreate old episodes at the demented whim of Nala Snevets, but I found myself at times yearning for the nihilistic pointlessness and characters saying "You tell me" a lot.

So. Where were we? Um...

...seriously, trying to remember. Basically, if you liked any characters in Blake's 7 they are now all dead. They died horribly and pointlessly and more often than not their corpses were multilated and defiled by some nutters with pump-action shotguns, or some dodgy Oriental stereotypes, or the Alien Greys as apposed to the Human Greys or something. And if you're - somehow - interested in characters from previous books, well, they all died in similar ways.

So, all that's left is a scraping-the-bottom-of-a-barrel evil empire (all the others have been shot by pump-action shotguns) while Avon deliberately travels in a shitty, fuel-inefficient spaceship with a retarded computer called I Am George and Orac, who dreams of better times when Paul Darrow hadn't written any of this shit and only had his appearance on The Adventure Games as a career low. (You seen that? I know, right, but in fairness how anyone would deal with that demented chaos escapes me...)

After a soul-crushing dramatis persona listing all the dead characters - but not Soolin, for some reason - and reminding us we've had to watch the destruction of the European, American, Russian and Chinese Federations in the same tedious inevitability, the plot itself starts.

The first prologue has Travis in his snowy hunting lodge ambushing a squad of ninjas who are stupidly named after their social status - Alpha, Beta, Gamma, etc. - without any motivation beyond trying to be a Bond villain and showing off how he totally is a badass.

The second prologue has Travis having a flirty champagne dinner with Servalan as they discuss their plans to conquer the Federation and kill Blake. This is utterly, utterly, beyond-sparacus wrong and although Darrow says at the start of the book this is a warped history percieved by Avon, surely even he wouldn't get it so wrong? I mean, he really thought Servalan and Travis had dinner parties? That they enjoyed?!

Fucking insane.

Then there's part one - The Past - which describes the prologues as "non-events". They are, mate, in more ways than one. This then follows a very uninteresting history of the Federation with all the Cold War super powers creating Federations and gangster syndicates, and it's all like some action montage spliced from The Godfather and The Karate Kid and I'm not even reading this shit, I'm skimming through it.

Part two - Present - kicks off with Avon left alone on the Liberator flight deck shortly after Cygnus Alpha and trying to interrogate Zen. This goes nowhere, but Zen announces that the Federation have passed new laws so terrorists like Blake don't get trials. And Avon is surprised that Blake has named the ship Liberator, presumably contradicting canon so Avon can remember Blake as a deluded Christ-like visionary. How thrilling. I'd forgive the changes if they were interesting.

Anyway, Blake uses the Liberator to attack some asteroid or other, but Servalan, Travis and all their funky pals in the Quartet are there and it all goes pear-shaped. Avon has to tell Blake about Travis and Servalan, including the fact the former might just want some payback because of the whole "eye" business. Blake is amazed at Avon's genius, ruffles his hair and sings "For He's A Jolly Good Fellow..."

No, wait, sorry. Brain slid off the page there.

Part three - Past Imperfect which rather worryingly implies that the previous was meant to be taken seriously - is some bollocks about a teenaged Servalan killing some Chinese hookers or some crap.

Part four - Present Company - is a rewrite of Time Squad with the 'not-Daleks-some-guys-in-sandals' plot removed and replaced with some Oriental warships that only let the Liberator attack Saurian Major because the lead Chinaman and Avon went to Cambridge together. Over the finest French absinthe, Avon negotiates a treaty before he, Blake and some chav named Vila teleport down and meet some vulgar brood mare called Cally who Avon considers an uncultured mare.

Cut to Travis and Servalan drinking champagne ("what else?" as the text reminds us) and listening to Bowie as they text about how ghastly this rebel business is. Then some Chinese assassins have a Darrow-patented knife fight in an arctic wasteland for some reason or other. Meanwhile, Blake who couldn't go to the toilet without asking Avon for permission, agrees to smuggle some Chinese stuff to Earth but then they run away.

I should stress, I'm making this sound more exciting than it actually is.

Part five - Dark Past - reveals that rather than any no-fist whimpering about Anna Grant, Avon actually SUCEEDED in robbing the bank AND got away scot free with all the money. He was then worshipped like a god by the Orientals who thought he was just so damn awesome and his degree from Cambridge made them totally want to decree this as canon.

Part six - Requiem - is a rewrite of Duel where the only important bit is Blake blubbering to Avon on why he didn't kill Travis because, um, it was like a dream or something. Travis meanwhile bitches to Servalan he promises he'll get round to killing Blake on the weekend, and then he'll do the washing up. Servalan agrees and they all drink champagne and talk about how Avon is much cooler than Blake. Oh, and when Project Avalon fails and Travis is sacked, Avon is the only one to think there might be repercussion because he is the only one on the Liberator not a barely-hominid milk-fed gimp. Especially Vila, who everyone hates.

Part seven - The Magnificent Machine - kicks off with the aftermath of Orac. While Travis yawns and tells Servalan that, seriously, he promises he will kill Blake one day and then has rough sex with her, all the Liberator crew are worshiping Avon as a technological-demigod and confident he will be able to master the awesome power OF TURNING ORAC ON!!!! After lots of wire-cutting and booby-trap removing that only the wonderful Avon could ever manage, he turns Orac on and screams that the plexi-glass fishtank will do what Avon says OR HE WILL FUCKING BLOW YOUR BRAINS OUT THROUGH YOUR FUCKING ARSE YOU FUCKING FUCKER'S FUCK!

"I'm not sure I like you," says Orac quietly, but agrees because Avon is the main character.

Meanwhile, Travis and Servalan watch a video of the Liberator exploding on youtube. It's probably nothing.

Part eight - Adagio - starts with Avon telling off Vila and Cally for getting dialogue and announces that now DSV1 has been blown up the next logical step would be to wipe out Central Control and everyone agrees with him. Travis and Servalan somehow know this, but still aren't fussed. More champagne!

Part nine - Fast Forward - reveals that after Gan's death Blake was mad with paranoia and instructed Orac to bug the Liberator and record every conversation. But lo, the Great Leader did not prepare for the genius of Avon who simply re-iterated his original conversation with Orac who wisely wiped all the recordings before Blake could listen to them. Avon tells Blake off for independent thought but agrees to help him take down Star One (there's no explanation in the text clarifying what it is, so any new readers would be completely lost - no doubt this would all be explained in further rewrites). Blake sobs with gratitude.

Part ten - Lento - has everyone bitching about Travis' escape in Trial and generally foreboding about a possible Andromedan invasion from "undiscovered galaxies".

Part eleven - Decline - informs us that the gods "got a good laugh" out of the Season B finale. Apparently Servalan didn't take over the Federation but had some power bloc or other tell her to stop wasting time drinking champagne and do something. Blake admits he is so utterly pathetic that Avon should be in charge from now on and about bloody time too.

Part twelve - Fall - has Servalan reveal all that subtext Nala Snevets saw in Hall Mellanby was true, and Avon bigs up how he's not a Travis clone because he actually kills people. Mellanby proves to be "untrustworthy" when he turns out not to be bullet-proof and Servalan murders him. Bit harsh, there.

Part thirteen - Hiatus - yay, Tarrant turns up on the Liberator. Since he could be useful fighting Federation gunships, Avon lets him stay but is mightily pissed off that Cally, Vila and Dayna survive the episode - thank god Blake and Jenna are gone. The others, however, now fear how awesome Avon is and constantly conspire to stab him in the back but Avon is just too damn amazing for them to even try.

Part fourteen - Confusion - reveals that the whole Anna/Sula/rebellion thing has really been exaggerated and no one really cared what happened there. Seriously, you emo freaks, it was of no importance whatsoever. Avon is far more interested in meeting up with his Chinese fan-club and then killing them. The Chinese chase the Liberator through a cloud of "space dust" but aren't stupid enough to go through. After seeing Terminal on the scanners it takes them five seconds to work out the plot, because Asians are real clever.

Anyway the space fungus eats away the Liberator, kills Zen, but luckily Servalan escapes in an escape pod which isn't infected with fungus. Lucky. Since everyone except Avon spotted the corrosion right away, they managed to get off the ship. Avon smiles as the Liberator is blown up but, with no context of any kind, just looks like a concussed stoat.

Part fifteen - Clarification - those damn Chinese know everything that happens in the next couple of episodes because they're just so damn clever. You know Servalan, she's only cool because she pretends to be Chinese with all her cunning and death traps. Despite knowing every last detail of Xenon Base, they don't do a single sodding thing. Meanwhile, Avon decides to fight the Federation and use Tarrant as a replacement Blake figurehead type but it won't work because Tarrant's stupid and Avon's too much of a cool rebel to form a proper alliance. Also, Servalan is not Sleer, she's just wandering around trying to rebuild the Federation because some other guys told her to.

Also the ending of Season D is rewritten, so the troops kill everyone but leave Blake and Avon standing so Avon kills Blake as he tries to explain he didn't betray him. Avon, apparently "always shoots first and asks questions later" as this gives him more chances to smile enigmatically.

Part sixteen - Desolation - summarizes the first book of this trilogy of excremental narcissm. Except apparently the Federation troopers were killed by Blake's rebels trying to save Avon, who were then killed by Groucho Marx in this version. Servalan and the Chinese bitch about not being able to find Orac.

Part seventeen - Another Time, Another Place - kicks off with the ongoing tale of Avon wandering around killing people for no good reason. Orac whines that he'd really like to be owned by someone less tedious an asshole, and maybe he could remove all the bombs he's strapped to the computer? Avon laughs like a buzzard in pain and continues his pointless quest.

Part eighteen - Last Man Down - has Avon crash his ship and take up his father's hobby of shooting helicopters with pump-action shotguns. Finally some Chinese people turn up and suggest that maybe Avon is a self-destructive moron trying to die in a pointless gunfight to make amends for being a collosal fuckwit. Avon shoots at them, so they send in their ground troops onto the ship but Avon empties the fuel tanks and intends to strike a match and kill them all in a blaze of... well, blaze. The army become stir-fry and Avon sneaks out of his ship with Orac...

...only to be shot by a sniper. Badly injured, Avon keeps trying to shoot people until some Chinese girl gets sick of this shit and decides to cut his head off.

The guard remained by the pod. Xian strolled towards the almost prone Avon. She looked down at him. ‘End of the line,’ she said coolly.

Avon tried to smile – and failed. ‘But for whom?’ he said.

Xian laughed – a charming, girlish laugh. ‘You’ve fought hard and well, Avon,’ she said, ‘but you never really had a chance, did you?’

‘Is that what you’re here for – to offer me another chance?’

Xian shook her head. She glanced at Orac. Avon placed a protective hand on the computer’s shell. His blood stained it. ‘You’re dying,’ Xian said, still maintaining a coolness.

‘We all die – it’s just a question of when.’

With astonishing speed, Xian extracted the sharp knife from her belt and slashed at Avon. At the same time, he attempted to rise – thus deflecting the blade from his face to his upper torso. Blood seeped through his jacket and he sank back into the sand.

Xian frowned, then raised the knife once more and prepared to deliver a fatal thrust. As swiftly as she had produced her weapon, Avon plucked the Bowie knife from his boot and, as Xian leaned forward, he slammed it into her stomach and twisted the blade upwards so that it pierced her heart. Xian looked surprised. Her eyes clouded in death and she fell backwards into the dust.

‘You haven’t lost your touch, have you?’ Orac said.

Avon crawled alongside Xian’s corpse and lifted her gun from its holster. The guard by the pod raised his rifle. Avon shot him. Then, exhausted, he fell back once more. ‘Arm yourself,’ he said to Orac.

‘Is this the end?’ the computer asked.


The sun was high and bright when the dragon guards of Lyn Wei approached – cautiously.

Avon lay motionless in the sand, as if sleeping. His face was deathly pale, his eyes tight closed, but a faint smile played on his bloodless lips.

Orac had obeyed its last instruction, but it paused before detonating the explosives within it. Explosives that would unleash tiny metal darts that would rip into any number of the dragon guards as they drew near.

‘Avon?’ Orac said.

Reply came there none.

And Orac wept.

As did I, gentle blog readers. As did I.

As the late Rik Mayall said, "THIS IS SHIT!!!!"

Friday, June 12, 2015

Of Course!!!

I considered many a topic for this post. The demise of the MX, the deaths of Christopher Lee and Ron Moody and James Last, the heartbreak of Journey's End (seriously, you'd never find Moffat do something that epic - he had to invent three brand new characters for Day of the Doctor because he didn't have anyone to bring back...) or even the fact I've finished novelizing two, count them two, PMG audios. Maybe even the mysterious Mardi Knopfler who's linking me up to anti-NuWho facebook groups as some kind of pagan sacrifice to the great god Kyron.

But no, what I feel needs to be posted is the following image from a comic book which shows how insular and skeptical society has become since the 1960s when everyone was open-minded enough for this panel to comprise serious science fiction.

. . . OF COURSE!!

And people today bitch about moon-eggs and magical forests...

Friday, June 5, 2015

What if? - WOTD sequel!

Inspired by the interest of Matt "Boxor" Marshall, my interest has returned briefly to War of the Daleks. Suppose - just suppose! - that instead of being dropped like a leprosy-infested brick with "property of J. Saville" written on it in Princess Diana's blood, the authors of the 8th Doctor Adventures had gone with it? Perhaps even tied it into Alien Bodies and its portents of a future Time War?

After all, if War of the Daleks could retcon four different TV stories surely the BBC books could retcon War of the Daleks? After all, even the most sympathetic pro-Peel reader would notice some anomalies. Why was Davros in the 40th Century and not the 20th? Why were the imperial and the renegades mixed up? How come Mechanoids knew about Movellans if they were Dalek inventions? Why was Skaro no longer radioactive? And how come the planet Antalin is a Dalek-infested water planet yet simultaneously supposed to be the sterilized cinder left by the Hand of Omega?

There's a passage in War of the Daleks which gives the interesting idea that the conspiracy to save Skaro was in fact a conspiracy - Skaro wasn't saved, but the Dalek Prime was going through this elaborate ruse to make people BELIEVE an elboratue ruse had already happened...

The Dalek Prime was suddenly picked out by a spotlight, one that made him look even larger than he really was. Again, Davros sneered to himself – even his casing was a simple redesign of Davros’s own carriage. He’d also seen Special Weapons Daleks about, another of his own innovations. Clearly, the Dalek Prime was unoriginal, snatching what he could of Davros’s and laying claim to it. Little wonder, then, that he was insisting that they were on the original Skaro. He didn’t dare admit that Davros had done something he couldn’t undo.

And instead of some pissweak "Delgado versus Dalek Invasion of Earth versus Survivors" bollocks, the tenth book in the 8DA range looked forward rather than back...

NOTE: I came up with the following after five minutes' thought...

With Sam missing, the Doctor searches the nearby solar system and discovers to his shock this is the star system he blew up with the Hand of Omega. But, upon closer examination he discovers the ruined planet of "Antalin" is genuinely Skaro!

Suspicions aroused, the Doctor returns to Thal space to meet up with his pals Chayn and Dyoni and together they discover the real truth: long ago, the Daleks convinced their enemies the Thals that entirely the wrong planet was Skaro so they would fight and die for an entirely random planet but now that the genuine article has been destroyed, the Daleks have been forced to keep up the pretence living on False Skaro.

On False Skaro, the Dalek Prime's efforts to unify the Dalek race are coming apart as his deception is uncovered - not only did he not save Skaro, he didn't build the Movellans or even execute Davros. The Davros he tried and destroyed was an android duplicate to lure our the dissenters. But thanks to the actions of a Spider-Dalek, android Davros has survived.

False Skaro is plunged into civil war yet again and this time the Thals move in to wipe out the winner. The Doctor, however, realizes he may have unleashed an even greater conflict - a faction of Daleks, encouraged by the Doctor being fooled the first time, are now determined to take on the Time Lords.

The future war in Heaven has drawn closer and it's all the Doctor's fault...

Oh, what might have been!