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Bookmark and Share UNIT fannual is in the pipeline

3/16/2014 08:26:00 am - Reported by John Bowman

The publishers behind the unofficial Peter Cushing Dr. Who fannual are seeking story pitches for a similar follow-up volume - this time centring on UNIT.

Entitled The U.N.I.T Fannual 1974, the setting will be "the near future" following the end of the Doctor's exile on Earth, with the stories showing how the organisation is coping without his help as scientific adviser.

In the Writer's Guidelines, editors Scott Burditt and Shaqui Le Vesconte say:
The setting is 'the near future' in terms of the original airdate of the early-mid 1970s but no specifics, please. Britain has a space programme (Ambassadors of Death) and is still seen as a prime mover in global politics (The Mind of Evil/Day of the Daleks etc).

The Doctor, after the events of The Three Doctors, has been given back use of the TARDIS, if not total control, so events are parallel with Season 10 - how do U.N.I.T cope in the Doctor's absences? Sometimes Jo is with him, so she is also absent (Carnival of Monsters, Frontier in Space, etc.), on other occasions she is present (such as when the Doctor is testing TARDIS or wants a solo exploration - re: Metebelis 3 in The Green Death).

It is worth noting that U.N.I.T did not only deal with alien threats. In the Doctor's absence the threats can be from any quarter which is 'odd' or 'unexplained'. The Silurians/Sea Devils and Inferno showed 'alien' threats can be from Earth too. They can be environmental (The Green Death) or technological (Inferno), as well as 'paranormal' (The Daemons). Inspiration can also be drawn from the Doomwatch and Quatermass series, or other similar formats like Kolchak, The X-Files, A Town Called Eureka and Warehouse 13.

Innovative looks at 1970s technology/environmental issues/paranormal/military issues would be preferred over straight sequels to televised adventures. Create new characters and threats that U.N.I.T has the remit to deal with! Remember that U.N.I.T, being United Nations, is also an international taskforce - we're not limited by a BBC budget to the home counties of England!
The main characters will be Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Captain Yates, Sergeant Benton, Jo Grant, Corporal Bell (who appeared in The Mind of Evil and The Claws of Axos), Sgt Osgood (who was in The Daemons), and Dr Harry Sullivan. Other characters associated with UNIT from The Invasion to The Three Doctors can also be used, with the editors stating that Harry Sullivan has been included as the sole exception. As far as the fannual's continuity is concerned, he has been newly seconded as UNIT's medical officer and does not yet know of the absent Doctor's physiology.

It is preferred that the Doctor doesn't appear in the stories, although he can be mentioned as being away, for example. The guidelines say that this book "is essentially U.N.I.T's 15 minutes of fame - so don't overshadow them!"

They further state:
You are writing from the viewpoint of early 1973, and can use the U.N.I.T continuity up to and including Season 10 up to Planet of the Daleks, so you have no knowledge of any stories beyond that point. While we do not mind writers having a knowledge of U.N.I.T stories/chronology beyond this point, please do not make wholesale references or hang whole plot devices on them. In fact, we would prefer you use your knowledge to skirt any continuity-busting issues! This also applies to later related series like Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures and K9.
They add:
Unlike the Cushing fannual, where we allowed a free-for-all in terms of story and scope, we would prefer initial story pitches before committing, so we have a balance and not 12/13 stories of alien invasion only. We would prefer the scope of: aliens/UFOs, space programme, supernatural/paranormal, strange creatures, unusual phenomena, ecological, technological, psychic/spiritual and if you have any unique story ideas beyond these too. There may also be a vague arc, and we want some stories to fit this.
The fannual website also gives a recommended reading/viewing list.

Burditt told Doctor Who News that the announcement of the follow-up publication had gone down very well with fans, adding:
The U.N.I.T Fannual 1974 is in the very early stages of development. I'm aiming for December 2014 for a finish date. Submissions will be kept open until the last minute but it's being suggested that after a pitch is successful the stories/art should be completed within two months.

Anyone can pitch for the art. I'm very much in need of comic strips for the fannual. Quite a few illustrators from the Cushing gig are back on board with us. Once the stories are given the green light, the art will be done straight away.
Story pitches should be sent via fannual@outlook.com. The same address can be used by people interesting in contributing art and comic strips.

UPDATE - 6th APRIL: The publishers announced today that new story pitches must now be submitted by Wednesday 30th April to be considered for inclusion. They stated:
We would like at least a page of A4 detailing your idea and how the story will progress. Please don't send us just a few lines of random ideas and expect approval . . .

Once your story pitch has been approved by this date, you have two months to produce the story. Please aim for at least 4,000 words, but we are totally flexible with anything more than this figure, as long as you aren't writing a novel!

We are open to your ideas for special features too . . .