As we approach the 60th Anniversary of Doctor Who, revisit the story of Doctor Who, the occasional series written for the 50th Anniversary, explaining the origins of the programme.

Episode 5 - An Unearthly Series - The Origins of a TV Legend: First published 23 Nov 2012

The Lucy Wilson Mysteries: updateBookmark and Share

Sunday, 6 November 2022 - Reported by Chuck Foster

Candy Jar Books have announced four brand new stories in The Lucy Wilson Mysteries, the children-focussed series based around the exploits of the Brigadier's granddaughter.

 


 

The Lucy Wilson Mysteries: The Ballad of The Borad (Credit: Candy Jar Books)The Ballad of the Borad

Written by Jonathan Macho

Cover and artwork by Steve Beckett

 

 

School trips are never simple when it comes to Lucy and Hobo. There’s always an adventure just around the corner.

 

Spending the day at Bristol Zoo, Lucy hopes to have a normal day out, but it’s not long before she realises the zoo has gone wild!

 

The animals have escaped and, Lucy’s no expert, but these animals aren’t quite what Lucy was expecting: a fish-bird, a cat-snake, a tortoise-spider and a huge, lumbering elephant-frog!

 

As Bristol Zoo welcomes visitors for the very last time in 2022, Lucy Wilson joins many other visitors in looking back at what makes the zoo special to her as she says a final goodbye.

 

 

Kick-starting the new quartet of adventures is fairly-new-to-the-scene author Jonathan Macho, with his short story The Ballad of the Boradwhich is an action-packed tribute and farewell to the recently closed Bristol Zoo. Jonathan is an exciting new talent from Cardiff who’s first novel The Lucy Wilson Mysteries: The Serpent’s Tongue was very well received by fans of the series.

Jonathan said::

When Shaun asked me to pen a new story with Lucy and Hobo encountering the Borad and some animal hybrids at Bristol Zoo, it turned out to be a two-fold blessing. Not only did I get to spend more time with two characters I really love to write, but it gave me an excellent excuse to go to Bristol Zoo for ‘research’, just a few days before it closed down! The more I saw and learned about the Zoo and its history, the more clear it became that it was the perfect setting for a Lucy Wilson adventure. I hope I did such a special place justice.

 

 



 

The Lucy Wilson Mysteries: The Invisible Women (Credit: Candy Jar Books)The Invisible Women

Written by by John Peel

Cover and artwork by Steve Beckett

 

 

2020 has only just begun, and it already feels like it’s going to be full of back-to-back adventures as Lucy’s time ring sends her and Hobo on their second adventure of the year.

 

On arrival, our Ogmore-by-Sea teenage heroes have no idea where (or when) they are. They are just grateful that it isn’t lunchtime, as they crash land right in the middle of a dinner table surrounded by strange faces!

 

With invisible women lurking around every corner, how can they defeat someone when they can’t even see them? Add ghosts, ferocious fairies, Harry Houdini, HG Wells, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle into the mix, and this is one strange time travelling escapade. But who is the monster behind this kaleidoscope of calamities, and why does it want Lucy’s time ring?

 

Lucy and Hobo are about to find out…

 

Popular author John Peel, writer of the third book in the Lucy Wilson series The Midnight People, returns with his second full-length novel The Lucy Wilson Mysteries: The Invisible Women, but there’s a twist - the new novel crosses over with the ongoing Lethbridge-Stewart spin-off series, Travers & Wells.

Range editor Andy Frankham-Allen says:

First it was The Brigadier and the Bledoe Cadets paired with Lucy Wilson and the Bledoe Cadets and now… When it came time to discuss what our next crossover would be, Shaun suggested Lucy meeting up with Edward Travers and HG Wells. Then came the old ‘who to write it’, which almost always results in Shaun suggesting John Peel. I was on board with that, and knew John would be up for the challenge…

In The Invisible Women, Lucy is transported back in time for an Edwardian adventure that includes ghosts, ferocious fairies, Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, as well as some irksome invisible women. On their adventure, Lucy and Hobo pair up with popular character in the Lethbridge-Stewart series Edward Travers and his companion HG Wells, in an attempt to stop the monster behind a kaleidoscope of calamities!

John said:

Writing the story was… interesting. The two books had to have separate plots that interlinked, and yet still made sense if read alone – which obviously took a bit of planning! And the last couple of chapters (the wrap-up) had to be the same, obviously, but told from two different perspectives. The only way I could imagine doing this was to write both books together as a single manuscript, so that I could be sure that the pacing worked out and the overlaps occurred at the same time in each tale, and then leave the two respective editors to disassemble the manuscript into two books. Hey, I wasn't going to do all of the work! I was expecting the process to be challenging, but because the editors and I had worked it out beforehand, it actually proved to be a lot smoother and easier than I had feared. And also a great deal more fun.

 

 



 

The Mystery of Lucy Wilson: Memories of the Future (Credit: Candy Jar Books)The Mystery of Lucy Wilson: Memories of the Future 

Written by George Ivanoff

Cover and artwork by Steve Beckett

 

 

Melbourne, 1985. Matty is just an ordinary boy having an ordinary evening, browsing for books in his favourite sci-fi shop. Until he meets a girl. A girl who appears out of thin air, into a locked room, and can’t remember who she is or where she came from.

 

And then Matty’s day gets slightly less ordinary when he encounters time-travelling killer plant people from outer space.

 

For Matty to put things right, he must work out who his new friend Lucy Wilson is, and why he is suddenly not so ordinary.

 

Following on directly from The Invisible Women is The Mystery of Lucy Wilson: Memories of the Future by George Ivanoff, which is the first book in a three-part time travel adventure set in Australia.

George said:

The main theme of the book is memories. Lucy has travelled to Melbourne, Australia, in 1985 but has lost most of her memories. She can’t remember where or when she came from, or even who she is. Particularly important are the lost memories of her grandfather, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. In 1985, she befriends a boy named Matty who also has repressed memories. Weaving all those memories into the story as they begin to be reclaimed was the concept that inspired the novel.

 

Much of the book’s setting is based around my own teenage years. I grew up in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. The library and lifesaving club mentioned in the book were places that I used to ride my bike to. And, just like the characters in this book, in 1985 I attended Aussiecon 2, the 43rd World Science Fiction Convention, as Melbourne was the host city. It was heaps of fun, taking these elements from my formative years, and weaving them into Memories of the Future.

Fans of The Lucy Wilson Mysteries may notice the change in the series title to The Mystery of Lucy Wilson for this three-part instalment, because Lucy Wilson truly is a mystery to both herself and her new friends, but Lucy is not the only mystery in this story!

George continued:

I was really excited when I was told that I’d be able to use UNIT. in Memories of the Future. I ended up giving UNIT. an Australian branch. In my mind, they are off having other adventures around Australia now that Lucy has returned to her own place and time.”

 

 

 


 

 

The Mystery of Lucy Wilson: Rampage of the Drop Bears (Credit: Candy Jar Books)The Mystery of Lucy Wilson: Rampage of the Drop Bears

Written by Baz Greenland

Cover and artwork by Steve Beckett

 

 

Melbourne, 1985. Fred’s best friend Matty has vanished. And now he’s found a new friend, Lucy Wilson.

 

Lucy doesn’t remember much about herself, but what she does know is that she’s from the future. But time travel isn’t possible, is it?

 

Aliens, drop bears on a rampage, a Pleistocene safari, a trip to Sydney Olympic Stadium in 2000, and a vicious baby running riot through time. Will Lucy and Fred ever be able to restore the timeline, or has their life as they knew it changed forever?

 

And last in the newly released quartet is The Mystery of Lucy Wilson: Rampage of the Drop Bears by Baz Greenland, which is the second book in the three-part time travel adventure set in Australia.

Baz said:

What better inspiration for a kid’s story than evil Koala Bears? I had so much fun stepping into the world of Lucy Wilson, and throwing her into a time travel adventure with one of Australia's greatest mythical monsters, the legendary drop bears!

Lucy finds herself back in Melbourne in 1985 and she still doesn’t know who she is or where and when she’s come from! All she does know is that her time ring seems to be defunct and she’s being taken on an even bigger adventure than she’s ever been on before.

Baz continued:

It's Gremlins meets a tour through Australia's rich history – from a trip to the Pleistocene era through to the 2000 Sydney Olympics. It was an honour to follow up a wonderful story by George Ivanoff and I hope Rampage of the Drop Bears delights fans, young and old!

 


 

The Invisible Women, The Battle of the Borad, Memories of the Future and Rampage of the Drop Bears are all available to pre-order via the Candy Jar shop and will be posted out at the end of October.

 

The third book in the Mystery of Lucy Wilson trilogy will conclude next year.





FILTER: - Candy Jar - Lucy Wilson - Books

Travers & Wells: The Invisible WomenBookmark and Share

Sunday, 30 October 2022 - Reported by Chuck Foster

Candy Jar Books have released details of their next (almost annual) crossover novel, this time bringing together the 'worlds' of Travers & Wells and The Lucy Wilson Mysteries, written by John Peel:
 

Travers & Wells: The Invisible Women (Credit: Candy Jar Books)Travers & Wells: The Invisible Women

Written by John Peel

Cover by Richard Young

 

 

Wells had come to a post with a sign on it. He gestured to a poster that had been hastily slapped over the Rules and Regulations. It was at a bit of an angle, but very clear: PARK CLOSED, BEWARE OF THE FAIRIES.

 

Armed with new knowledge about their journey across parallel Earths, Edward Travers and HG Wells find themselves in 1919, London, on an Earth not too dissimilar from their own.

 

They are soon embroiled in a mystery surrounding fairies in St James’ Park. They are joined in their investigation by Leonora Goodwin, a woman with a secret… but at least they can see her! For on their heels are a group of invisible women, all intent on stealing Travers’ time ring for their own nefarious purposes. Someone is pulling the strings, orchestrating events, drawing Travers and Wells ever closer to an enemy from the past!

 

Luckily, they have a two secret allies. A bald-headed boy, and his friend… A brown girl with big hair and the most peculiar hat! Travers and Wells are not the only time travellers this time!

 

Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen said:

First it was The Laughing Gnome, and then Bloodlines… and now… When it came time to discuss what our next crossover would be, Shaun suggested Lucy meeting up with Edward Travers and HG Wells. It was a great idea, and made a nice change from her bumping into her grandad. First we had Lucy without Hobo, then we tried to shake things up with the last crossover by not actually having Lucy in it at all (sort of), so this time we knew we definitely wanted Lucy and Hobo. Then came the old ‘who to write it’, which almost always results in Shaun suggesting John Peel. I was on board with that, and knew John would be up for the challenge…

John Peel said:

When I was just starting my writing career, Terry Nation offered me a lot of advice. One piece was this: ‘If an editor ever asks, “Can you write me this?” always say yes. Then panic. And then go away and work out how you'll do it.’ (He never took very much seriously.) But it was good advice, and made me accept some writing assignments I would otherwise have passed up. It was very applicable in this case, where I was asked to write two interlinked novels simultaneously and for different age groups – certainly nothing I would have attempted without being asked!

Andy continued:

John has written plenty for us so far, but he hadn’t done a Travers & Wells, and as I knew it was time to start thinking ahead, and working just how many books I actually wanted the series to be, it seemed John was the perfect choice to just go away and get on with the writing while I worried about the future.

John continued:

The characters were interesting – Professor Travers, explorer and scientist, matched with a young and somewhat naive Herbert George Wells – possessing great imagination, but very little actual experience. They're still learning to act as a team, and being thrown into bizarre and dangerous situations. And the challenge of writing something that would have the vague flavour of Wells' stories without actually copying him was intriguing. Writing the story was… interesting also. The two books had to have separate plots that interlinked, and yet still made sense if read alone – which obviously took a bit of planning! And the last couple of chapters (the wrap-up) had to be the same, obviously, but told from two different perspectives. The only way I could imagine doing this was to write both books together as a single manuscript, so that I could be sure that the pacing worked out and the overlaps occurred at the same time in each tale, and then leave the two respective editors to disassemble the manuscript into two books. Hey, I wasn't going to do all of the work! I was expecting the process to be challenging, but because the editors and I had worked it out beforehand, it actually proved to be a lot smoother and easier than I had feared. And also a great deal more fun.

Shaun Russell, Range Editor of The Lucy Wilson Mysteries said:

Being presented with two books, one not a Lucy Wilson, was interesting. It took a bit of wrangling to work out how to edit them. Andy edited both first, with his main focus on the Travers & Wells story, and then I primarily focused on the Lucy Wilson story, making sure everything still linked. We tweaked things in places, playing around with the respective perspectives. I think we’ve all pulled it off, and as this crossover sets up a big shift in the Lucy Wilson books, I’m looking forward to seeing what people make of it.

 

The Invisible Women can be ordered from the Candy Jar website.

 

The series continues next year with A Modern Shangri-La by Sarah Groenewegen, and The First Moon by Andy Frankham-Allen.





FILTER: - Candy Jar - Books

The Temporal Logbook 3: Changed Lives.Bookmark and Share

Friday, 21 October 2022 - Reported by Marcus
The Temporal Logbook 3: Changed Lives. (Credit: Pencil Tip Publishing )

Out now from Pencil Tip Publishing is the Doctor Who charity short-story collection, The Temporal Logbook 3: Changed Lives.

“Encountering the Doctor will change your life, and not always for the better…”
 

A traveler in eternity, the Doctor has touched countless lives, bringing salvation to some and agony to others, but always making a difference. In these pages, a selection of Doctor Who fandom’s greatest writers, reveals the joys and pains a meeting with the Doctor, can bring.

 

Through galactic battles to sixties London, Temporal Logbook III: Changed Lives brings stories from Kevin Mason, R Morgan Crihfield, Matthew Kresal, Russell McGee, Luke Dyer, Greg Maughan, James Silvester, Hamish Crawford, Shaun Collins, Richard Peevers, James Hornby, Alison Winter, Paul Burns and Rob Nisbet.

 

All proceeds from the publication are being donated to SETTLED. an independent charity providing free and trustworthy information, advice and support in different languages to EU citizens in the UK.

As the UK leaves the European Union, EU citizens must make an application to stay in the UK. SETTLED helps to ensure that EU citizens gain Settled Status and to respond to the difficulties that they face – now and in the future.

 

Foreword by Yee Jee Tso (Chang Lee from the 1996 TV Movie)

 

  • Edited by James Silvester | Assistant Editor: Brenda Katzeff
  • Cover designed by John Swogger
  • ISBN: 978-1-7772108-4-7
  • 278 pages | US Trade Paperback | $26.98 CAD / $23.98 USD / $26.98 AUS/NZ / £12.98 GBP

 

Copies can be purchased from the Pencil Tip Publishing store on Lulu.com.





FILTER: - Books

Black Archive #60: The Sun MakersBookmark and Share

Thursday, 1 September 2022 - Reported by Marcus
Black Archive #60: The Sun Makers (Credit: Obverse Books)

The latest in the series of Black Archive books from Obverse Books looks at the Fourth Doctor story The Sun Makers

‘Don’t you think commercial imperialism is as bad as military conquest?’

 

The Sun Makers takes Doctor Who not just to the edge of the Solar System far in the future, but also to the edge of what the series can accomplish.

Drawing on the brutal history of the British East India Company, Georgian satire, and Holmes’s contemporary British 1970s world of tax inspectors, striking workers and missed production targets.

The Sun Makers is an adult dystopian political and economic satire where the monster is a bureaucratic Company and the Doctor’s allies are criminals and violent proletarian revolutionaries. And there are some jokes about tax in there as well.

THE SUN MAKERS is available now in paperback and electronic formats, direct from Obverse Books and from selected online retailers.

 




FILTER: - Books

Black Archive 59: Kill the MoonBookmark and Share

Sunday, 5 June 2022 - Reported by Marcus
Kill the Moon (Credit: Obverse Books)

The next release in the Black Archive series will be the Twelfth Doctor story Kill the Moon

A contentious episode provoking passionate responses, Peter Harness's 2014 story straddles the divides between science fiction and fantasy, optimism and pessimism, masculinity and femininity. All these tensions extend into its ambiguously metaphorical conclusion. 

In addressing complex issues of personal and political choice, Kill the Moon asks fundamental questions about structures of power and responsibility in Doctor Who, and about the evolving relationship between the companion and the Doctor.

With access to seven different drafts of the script, plus 3 early pre-script outlines, Darren Mooney dissects a story that has been described at various times as ‘something truly special’ and ‘nonsensical pseudo-science’ and wonders why its reputation has become worse over recent years.

Mooney is a pop culture critic and author living on the east coast of Ireland. He is a member of the Online Film Critics Society and the Dublin Film Critics’ Circle. He features regularly on Irish radio, publishes a twice-weekly column at The Escapist, runs his own blog and shares a podcast. He has also written other books on The X-Files and the films of Christopher Nolan.

Kill the Moon is available now in paperback and electronic formats, direct from Obverse Books and from selected online retailers.





FILTER: - Books - Twelfth Doctor

Lethbridge-Stewart: the end beginsBookmark and Share

Saturday, 16 April 2022 - Reported by Chuck Foster

Candy Jar Books has announced the first book in its final series of Lethbridge-Stewart novels.

The final year of Lethbridge-Stewart novels is split in two halves, with the first a trilogy of novels set during Lethbridge-Stewart’s time as a teacher at Brendon School. This first of these, A Most Haunted Man, sees the return of Sarah Groenewegen to the series, with her first novel since 2017’s The Daughters of Earth, although her most recent short story featured in the UNIT: Operation Wildcat collection.

 

Lethbridge-Stewart: A Most Haunted Man (Credit: Candy Jar Books)A Most Haunted Man

Written by Sarah Groenewegen

Cover by Martin Baines

 

 

In 1977, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart suffered a shock so great that he was hospitalised. Not that he can remember what happened. Teachers found him, knocked out cold beside the obelisk on the hill. No signs of an attack. No bumps on his head, and no memory of why he lay where he fell, who he’d been with, and great chunks of his past torn from his mind.

 

It wasn’t like any form of amnesia described in the textbooks. The clinic discharged him back to Brendon Public School and he resumed his duties as a teacher of mathematics and rugger.

 

Two years later and a series of nightmares send him back to the clinic. Then come the pranks played by identical twins, his own erratic behaviour and short-term memory loss leading to a breach of the Official Secrets Act. Someone else is living in his house, driving his car, and making changes to the school he loves.

 

It seems that the demons haunting him prove too big for him to fight on his own.

 

 

The 2022 series was put back a little when it was discovered the book planned to open the year was a little too close to the events at play in Ukraine. Thus, Spheres of Influence has been put on indefinite hold. Hopefully it will see the light of day at some point but, for now, and to make up for the delay, Candy Jar Books have also decided to reprint the very first Lethbridge-Stewart novel, The Forgotten Son: Special Edition, with a brandnew cover by Richard Young.

Head of Publishing Shaun Russell said:

When it became apparent that the themes and events depicted in Spheres of Influence too closely echoed current events, Andy Frankham-Allen and I quickly came to the decision that to release it at this time would be, at the very least, insensitive. Putting it on hold did mean bringing forward the rest of 2022’s books, and finding a replacement. Fortunately, Andy quickly solved that problem by commissioning a third Brendon novel, turning the first three titles into a loose trilogy. For myself, I decided it would be a nice idea to reprint The Forgotten Son with a new cover, to hopefully make up a little for the delay. I must stress, however, that the content remains the same from the previous revised version.

 

A Most Haunted Man is set two years after the Brigadier’s traumatic encounter with his future self in the Doctor Who television serial, Mawdryn Undead. Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen said:

This is another of those books which started an idea that came up through discussions with Shaun – a good two years ago, at least. It was a while before I realised it was the perfect fit for Sarah. I’d been wanting to do another novel with her, and she came back for a short story in The Laughing Gnome: The HAVOC Files, so it was great when she agreed to do another novel for us. The only real prerequisite, other than the core idea, was that it had to be set during the Brig’s time at Brendon when he’d lost all memory of the Doctor.

Sarah Groenewegen said:

I adore writing for the Brigadier, and being able to explore different facets of this much-loved character has been great fun. When I was offered another novel in the series, this one set in 1979 and during the Brig’s post-army career as a school teacher, I immediately said yes. It’s an honour to be asked to contribute a novel to the final season of Lethbridge-Stewart novels, which has proved to be a terrific series of stories.

Sarah’s previous novel, The Daughters of Earth, delt with the breakdown of his relationship with his then-fiancée. In this book, Sarah’s dealing with a breakdown of a different sort::

I wanted to explore how he deals with strange goings-on when he has forgotten so much, and when he doesn’t have his soldiers to call on to help. My brief was to write a psychological thriller, in which the Brig’s identity and life is stolen from him. The novel allowed me to explore the nature of identity theft, and memory loss, and the combined uneasiness of not being able to trust your own mind. I added a set of identical twins to the mix, a boy at Brendon, and a girl at a local comprehensive. They are at the cusp of their own change from creepy kids who enjoy playing tricks on people, to young adults facing choices.

Setting the book in 1979 also freed Sarah up from the ongoing narrative, and gave her a chance to explore a different facet from the usual setting of the early-70s:

The setting was apposite because of the feeling of being on a cusp of change, but without knowing its direction. In that, it parallels much of today’s politics. I found it cathartic to explore similar themes of being seduced by the apparent certainty of authoritarianism — even with the attendant feeling it could turn on its own to destroy at a moment’s notice. 1979 proved to be a watershed year in Britain. The full assault on the unions, LGBTQIA people, and appeals to jingoism of the worst kind were all yet to come; and for a while the political turmoil that brought much of the UK to a standstill ceased. It’s hard to think that in this day and age of TV-on-demand, the stations that are now ITV were off air for much of the year. 1979 was an amazing year for British pop music. Punk began to segue into the New Romantic movement, and rap, reggae and disco attracted huge numbers of fans. It was fun delving into the music of the time through a few of the kids who are important during the story.

 

The cover is by popular artist Martin Baines, returning from the success of his recent cover for UNIT: Operation Wildcat:

I was partially inspired by a German poster of a classic British film. My last Candy Jar cover I did was for the UNIT anthology, Operation Wildcat. It was very flash, bang, wallop. Because of this, I enjoyed tackling a more psychological concept for this book.”

 

Both A Most Haunted Man and The Forgotten Son are available to purchase from the Candy Jar website.

 

The final series of Lethbridge-Stewart will be split in two parts over 2022, the first half is the Brendon trilogy and will continue with Legacy of the Dominator by Nick Walters, and The Overseers II by James Middleditch. The second half will be the final in the road to UNIT narrative which began in 2015, with novels by Natasha Gerson, John Peel, and Jonathan Blum.





FILTER: - Candy Jar Books - Books - Lethbridge-Stewart

World Book Day: Kindle books from Candy JarBookmark and Share

Friday, 4 March 2022 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Candy Jar Books (Credit: Candy Jar Books)

Candy Jar Books have announced a number of book titles available to download for free on Kindle as part of World Book Day 2022, which took place on 3 March 2022; the offer features a number of their chilldrens' books, including from The Lucy Wilson Mysteries, and from today also includes some titles from the Lethbridge-Stewart series. 

The full list of titles includes:

The giveaway continues over the next four days.





FILTER: - Books - E-Books - Candy Jar Books

Totally Tasteless - new reprint availableBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 1 March 2022 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Totally Tasteless (2022) (Credit: Ten Acre Films)

Ten Acre Films is releasing a limited edition reprint of Richard Marson's revealing biography of Doctor Who's 1980s producer:
 

Totally Tasteless: The Life of John Nathan Turner

For more than a decade, John Nathan-Turner, or 'JN-T' as he was often known, was in charge of every major artistic and practical decision affecting Doctor Who, the world’s longest-running science fiction programme. Richard Marson brings his dramatic, farcical, sometimes scandalous, often moving story to life with the benefit of his own inside knowledge and the fruits of over 100 revealing interviews with key friends and colleagues, from those John loved to those from whom he became estranged. The author has also had access to all of Nathan-Turner’s surviving archive of paperwork and photos, many of which appear here for the very first time.

This edition includes a new afterword, gathering thoughts and tributes from John's friends and colleagues, along with previously unseen photographs.

 

 

The 330 page softcover book is limited to 250 copies and is released on 14 March 2022. It is available to order from Ten Acre Films.

 





FILTER: - Books - Biographies

UNIT: Operation Wildcat and Other Stories updateBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 1 March 2022 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The UNIT Files: Operation Wildcat and Other Stories (Credit: Candy Jar Books)

Candy Jar is adding a further four stories to the line-up in the previously announced UNIT Files: Operation Wildcat and Other Stories, with new stories from established writers John Peel and Chris Lynch, plus two new writers to the series.

Range Editor Tim Gambrell explained the thinking behind the changes:

I love situations like this, because they focus everyone’s creative energies. It started with a quick conversation with Shaun Russell just before Christmas. Shaun felt we needed to add a bit more value for our readers, and I was keen to make sure we weren’t just replicating the (successful) formula of the Lethbridge-Stewart HAVOC Files books. So, the collection has expanded from 9 stories to 13. But we didn’t want to delay the publication, as it had already been announced for pre-orders, so I had to work quickly.

John Peel, who most recently penned the first Benton Files book with Tim, said:.

What are a writer’s second-favourite words to hear? Would you like to write me a story about…? (The writer hopes that they are attached to his absolute favourite words: Here’s an inordinately large amount of money, but they so rarely are!) So, when I was asked, "Would you like to write a UNIT story, with dinosaurs in it?", how could I refuse? (As you can see, I couldn’t)

Then came the inevitable dance of what the editor liked and what I felt happiest writing. “Would you include this?” “Can I use that instead?” That continued until we were both comfortable. Then it was time to buckle down and do the actual writing – which, for the writer, is where the fun really begins. Getting into the mood, resurrecting beloved characters and doing horrible things to them…

Tim continued:

I had an idea for a story to act as a coda to Invasion of the Dinosaurs. John, being the great writer he is, turned that on its head and came up with Here We Go Again, set just before Invasion of the Dinosaurs! However, Ian Ball – who is the second of three new writers in the collection – ran with some of the ideas I’d pitched to John, while developing some threads set up in Here We Go Again. Ian has written The Ptower Bridge Pterror, so we’ve ended up book-ending Invasion of the Dinosaurs.

Chris Lynch – who recently wrote the free Lucy Wilson Christmas download story, The Gray Lady of Martyr’s House - provided the next story, Honourable Discharge:

It's simple. When UNIT calls, you answer! Honestly, what writer could resist the chance to craft their own corner of this world and leave a footprint in the sand next to the Brig? For my story I wanted to explore what happens in the aftermath of a UNIT adventure, the price paid by ordinary soldiers who defend Earth alongside the extraordinary heroes we know about, and what happens when one of them doesn't quite measure up to the high standards we expect. It’s a little dark, a little weird, but hopefully a part of the world of UNIT you’ll enjoy discovering.

 

Tim continued:

Chris immediately came back with a cracking idea that put the Brigadier centre stage. It felt like I’d lit the blue touch paper – he produced the goods really quickly! As with John’s and Ian’s stories, I was also able to ensure some minor continuity between Chris’ Honourable Discharge and Martin Parker’s Old Fowlkes’ Home.

Martin had pitched a story for the Lethbridge-Stewart range, which was unused. It became clear the story could be adapted relatively simply to work as a UNIT story instead. It’s not always easy to adapt stories in this way. You’ve got two choices, basically: you adapt / re-write as you go along, leaving alone what already works – which can be fiddly and frustrating, or you put aside everything you’ve already written and start the piece again from scratch. Neither option is necessarily any quicker to deliver. But there was a lot I liked about the story as it was, and I was keen not to lose that. So, I encouraged Martin to concentrate on the aspects we agreed needed wholesale re-writes.

Martin added:

It’ll be great to get my story out there with readers. It’s a bit longer than the others in the collection, I think, but we’ve worked to keep it tight and focused. I had to learn not to be precious about the story as it already was. Best of all, I can imagine it being on TV. I think when you’re writing material like this, with established characters, that’s the most important thing – to be able to picture it easily in your head. I hope the readers will, too.

 

The story line up for The UNIT Files: Operation Wildcat and Other Stories::

Benton's First Day, part one, by Tim Gambrell

Norwegian Would, by Simon A Brett

Shadow, by Iain McLaughlin

Operation Wildcat, by Sarah Groenewegen

The Gift, by Sharon Bidwell

Parasite, by James Middleditch

How to Negotiate with a Sentient Tree in Shoreditch, by Baz Greenland

The Aftermath of Aberbuwch, by Jonathan Macho

Here We Go Again, by John Peel

The Ptower Bridge Pterror, by Ian Ball

Honourable Discharge, by Chris Lynch

Old Fowlkes' Home, by Martin Parker

Benton's First Day, part two, by Tim Gambrell

 

The UNIT Files: Operation Wildcat and Other Stories, is available to pre-order from Candy Jar, and comes with an art card and a free copy of The Benton Files 2, with new stories by George Ivanoff and Kenton Hall. The Benton Files 2 can also be ordered separately.

 




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Black Archive #57 - Vincent and the DoctorBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 16 February 2022 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Black Archive #57 - Vincent and the Doctor

The latest release in the Black Archive series looks at the eleventh Doctor story Vincent and the Doctor.

Pain is easy to portray, but to use your passion and pain to portray the ecstasy and joy and magnificence of our world. No one had ever done it before. Perhaps no one ever will again.”

 

In Vincent and the Doctor, acclaimed British screenwriter Richard Curtis sets out to right a wrong. How could it be that an artist so loved and whose paintings now sell for millions, could be so unappreciated in his lifetime? Is it right that he died not knowing how much his work has added to the pile of good things in the world?

Cue the Doctor, Amy and the TARDIS. Surely they can fix this injustice? But can time travel also be used to cure depression? One invisible monster is defeated, but when it comes to handling the troubled artist the Doctor finds himself completely out of his depth.

This Black Archive considers how the voices of the writers, the artist, the monster and the paintings combine and clash to create a living work of art in itself… one that cannot be contained within its many frames.

 

Paul Driscoll is a member of the Black Archive editorial team and has written two previous entries in the range, on The God Complex and the 1996 television movie, as well as a book on Stranger Things. He is also co-owner of Altrix Books.

Vincent and the Doctor is available in both paperback and digitsl formats, and can be purchased directly from Obverse Books and other retailers.





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