Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The GBCCPS Season 3

2013 sees third series of prose Companion Chronicles, shorter than the previous two, sets out its stall from its bizarre subtitle onwards. These stories of the Doctor are not told by friends or enemies, but people who barely know him and invariably never will. The larynx-twisting Logorrhea of the Lookers-On sounds more like a hideous bowel complaint than the premise of a story. Does anyone really care what passers-by think of our heroes and their adventures when they aren't in a position to judge either? That could be why some stories abandon even that idea...

Guess how many of those stories don't feature the Doctor at all.

Ace and Sailor Jack: On the Overland - Al B Dickenson
Another NA-style epic and prequel to the equally-gargantuan The Boys Upstairs, the very premise was so off-putting I could barely face reading it regardless of the quality. Even the fact the narrator seemed convinced Ace was a man doesn't entice me. There's gangsters, a train, the Doctor being manipulative, if that's enough encouragement, enjoy. I didnt.

It’s Only Hydrus If I Fail - David Hogan
A corrupt dystopian colony is overthrown by the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric while those on the ground watch on in bewilderment. Despite some flair and wit, there are no surprises and the story unfolds as predictably as a falling stack of dominoes.

When Harry Met Lucy - Samuel Marks
Shortly before the events of The End of Time, Martha gets the lowdown from Lucy Saxon about life with her husband over the Season 3 finale. By necessity covering a lot of ground already explore, Master/Lucy fanfics have picked the best ideas already. Lucy Saxon's life sucked before, during and after and while there is a surprising ending the road getting there is straightforward and dull.

A Dream of Horror - Andrew Jero
A near-death experience for Nyder - if that's what actually happens - ensures this story lives up to its name in this Prisoner-esque like questioning of reality. While it's frightening and unsettling, it has no answers, offers no clues and the Doctor has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

The Irregularity - Jake Reynolds
Bad Wolf told through the eyes of the Controller. Great prose, but another piece written around a minor character in a RTD season finale so there are no twists or surprises.

Of Death - Philip Boyes
Only Jangy Giggins would be bold enough to write an epic novella formatted to such a professional degree based entirely on an offhand comment by Joshua "Lemon Bloody Cola" Wynne that he would like to be stabbed to death by Hannah Murray. A solo older Seventh Doctor encounters a hilariously gothic ancestor of Ben Chatham who is being haunted by his descendent's demise in a Hannah-Murray-knife-massacre. Lovecraft, Sparacus and LBC implode in a story so well written hardly anyone would realize it's a pisstake of the Land of Fiction's most infamous son.

The Lonely Assassins, An Anthology of Mystery by L. Nightingale - Steve Fiori
Blink retold by Larry Nightingale and his encounters with Clive Finch, LINDA and Amy Pond. Entertaining, fun and gives the Weeping Angels the brilliant nickname of "the Stone Bastards" but it doesn't add much to the TV story or the character.

Horrors of the Mind - Elinor Ekman
Dr. Todd from Kinda returns in another dream-reality tale of scientists, Daleks and the Fifth Doctor and Turlough. Although the set-up is interesting and unusual, the main character is so different from her last appearance she might as well have been someone else and it commits the cardinal sin of having her knocked out and missing the resolution of the story. Nonetheless, there's real potential here.

...He Kindly Stopped For Me - Andrew Weston
The Eleventh Doctor and Clara encounter the sole survivor of a terrible war. A neat short tale, with the nature of the narrator being kept secret until the end and probably the only story that really gets the object of the exercise, showing someone's life entirely changed by a brief encounter with the Doctor.

Logan’s Run - Samuel Marks
A lovely sequel to Season 1's The Devil's Rock as the Tenth Doctor and Logan Hawk (the pretend space adventurer actually completely out of his depth) encounter a planetary catastrophe engineered by a Sycorax and Logan finds himself having to finally walk the walk after talking the talk. It takes a leaf out of BF's book by creating a new companion (or rather recurring character) and if Logan were to return in future tales I for one would certainly not complain.

And in the usual final analysis:

Highlights - Of Death, ...He Kindly Stopped For Me and Logan's Run

Lowlights - none of them were truly awful, but the rest weren't successful while AASJOTO of course couldn't even provide enough enthusiasm to read it.

Following on from The Epistles of the Enemy, it is clear that the format can only been tampered with so much and Logorrhea of the Lookers-On has granted a formula that constantly threatens to alienate the reader. Three stories fail to do more than put spins on TV episodes, keep the Doctor at such a distance that you'd be forgiven for being surprised when he turns up at all. Creating brand new characters who go through a proper arc and tell an exciting sci-fi romp at the same time is not easy and it's easy to spot which ones went where. Ultimately, the whole saga lacks the memorable punches or even interesting takes on the Doctors themselves with the Fifth making any impact.

Better luck next time.

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