UNIT: Operation Fall-out and other stories
Candy Jar has announced the second of its UNIT Files short story collections, Operation Fall-Out.
Range Editor, Tim Gambrell explainsd how the book's format differs from the previious collection::
The book features eight new short stories, all set during August 1973. Each of the stories are connected, to a greater or lesser extent, and feed into an ongoing narrative that readers will hopefully find both enjoyable and rewarding. The stories feature the UNIT team of the Brigadier, Benton, Captain Turner, Sergeant Walters and Corporal Tracy from The Invasion, as well as introducing a wider cast of regular UNIT characters.
Opening the collection is Gary J Mack, with his story Designer Death. Gary recently published a collection of speculative stories, Impossible Fruit, and a novel, The Secret Magpie. He said:
It was nice to be asked to write the opening story, if a little daunting. I had a detailed brief from Tim, which was very different. I’m used to writing my own stories, under my own steam, so it was a pleasant change to work with another writer/editor’s clear vision. I think I stuck (mostly) to the original brief. It was a joyous experience. Well, it’s a UNIT story, and I got to write it. Big tick off my bucket list. Thanks for the wonderful opportunity.
Gary’s story was pivotal to the collection because there were aspects that he’d either created or fleshed out from my brief which would determine details in some of the later stories.
The second story, Beyond What We See, is by James Hornby, who has previously written for Arcbeatle Press and BBV. James said:
Although I wanted the book to have a through-narrative, I was conscious that each author needed to have their own voice and style. James’ story was so different to Gary’s; it gave me real confidence that we could deliver the book we’d set out to create.
Next up is Jamie Hailstone’s story Fever. Jamie is an author and journalist. He has contributed to Big Finish’s Short Trips range, as well as writing for Obverse Books, but he is probably best known for his Professor Howe novels for Long Scarf Publications:
When I began looking for writers for this collection, I cast my mind back over those I’d known or worked with previously, particularly outside the universe of Doctor Who, for fresh perspectives. One such was my old friend Katy Darby, who runs Liars League London. Katy wasn’t keen to be involved herself, but she recommended Tessa North to me. Tessa then recommended Doris V Sutherland as well and suddenly I had my next two new authors lined up!
Story four is The Four Callers, by Doris V Sutherland – an author who’s dabbled in horror, science fiction, bizarro, comics and non-fiction:
The Four Callers is a wonderful character study while also being an engaging story. I knew the sort of piece I wanted from Doris, but when this landed I realised I’d got so much more. And it’s a brilliant kick-start to the second half of the book.
The Four Callers leads directly into the fifth story, The Fourth Floor, by Tessa North. Tessa has previously written for the Eleventh Doctor Chronicles range for Big Finish. She said:
Sixth in the collection is what’s become the titular story, Fall-Out, by writer, poet and academic Matthew Griffiths. Tim said:
Fall-Out takes the events from the previous two stories and ramps the pressure up even more. Matthew explained:
I can be unequivocally positive, though, about the experience of working with Tim. He and I are old friends, and it was a pleasantly different experience to work collaboratively on the plotting and development of the story. I hope the economy of my prose does his overall plan justice, with just a little of the poetry he'd expect from me.
The seventh story is Station Keeping, by another Matthew, Matthew Kresal. a writer, critic and podcaster from Alabama. He has written for Obverse Books’ Silver Archive range and his novel, Our Man On the Hill, was published in 2021 by Sea Lion Press
The previous three stories feel like they are building up to something big but Station Keeping is another step-change to afford the reader some breathing space before the finale. Sergeant Walters takes centre stage, and the story owes something to the first Benton Files book – although it’s not necessary to have read that.
The final story in the collection is written by Tim himself:
As range editor, I needed to keep a close eye on where the other stories were going and how they were progressing, as well as introducing any ongoing narrative strands where necessary. It made sense, therefore, for me to write the final story that pulls all those strands together. I can’t say any more than that, because I don’t want to give anything away. But what I can say is that this whole process has been an enormous learning curve for me. I’ve loved working with all the writers, developing the stories and seeing our cast of UNIT characters come to life. I hope that between us all we’ve succeeded in creating an engaging and varied collection of stories that rewards readers – and not just the first time.
Operation Fall-Out and other stories is available to pre-order from the Candy Jar website.
Candy Jar’s range of UNIT novels will be kicking off in earnest this summer. The first series will comprise four books to be released during the second half of 2023. First up will be The Return, by Tim Gambrell, which will be picking up UNIT’s story in the immediate aftermath of The Invasion. Books two and three will be from Candy Jar and Doctor Who stalwarts Iain McLaughlin and Nick Walters and currently have the working titles The Catacombs of Seville and The Secret of Foxfell Forest. Both of these stories will take place simultaneously. The first UNIT series will end with a sequel to The Return, again written by Tim Gambrell. More informaton on these titles will be released closer to their publication.