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Doctor Who Re-watch – Season 12

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Season 12

fourthbannerA brand new era begins with the arrival of Tom Baker and it is, in my view, one that out stayed its welcome. Even today, ask almost anybody to describe the Doctor and it’s Tom Baker they describe… despite the popularity and presence of David Tennant and Matt Smith, Tom Baker is still widely regarded as the Doctor. I’m not sure if I’d agree, but I do feel that Baker owned the role for so long that he had something of a schizophrenic time, many eras within his era. For me, the best three years of Doctor Who are those produced by Philip Hinchcliffe and Robert Holmes, and they start with season twelve.

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DOCTOR WHO RE-WATCH – SEASON EIGHT

Previously: season 1 | season 2 | seasons 3/4 | season 5 | season 6 | season 7

I have much to say about season eight, say you may want to grab a cuppa and get comfortable. For a start, it almost feels like a completely different show. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, though, since Doctor Who has survived for so long because of its ability to renew itself from time to time. But this is a different kind of reshaping.

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Season Eight line-up: The Master, The Doctor, Jo Grant, The Brigadier

Most of the elements that made the previous season such a success are still here, only the tone of the show is so different that it feels like everything has completely changed. The Doctor is still working alongside UNIT, only now he seems quite comfortable in his position. He says he’s trying to repair his TARDIS, and we do see him working on it, but there’s no sense of urgency to his desire to leave Earth – even though he does take a couple of opportunities to escape the planet as soon they present themselves. Each time he ends up back on Earth, and despite his words, his tone and smile implies that he’s really not bothered. If the Doctor’s attitude has changed since we last saw him, then so has UNIT’s. They seem much more relaxed as an organisation – cosy, to use a word that’s bandied about a lot when talking about the Pertwee era. And it’s true. The Brigadier is no longer the only regular officer; he now has Captain Yates as his second, and Sergeant Benton truly becomes a series regular this season. There’s an attempt to extend the ‘UNIT family’ a little further with the introduction of Corporal Bell in The Mind of Evil, but alas she only appears in one more story. Which is a shame. We don’t see much of her character, but it stands to reason that the HQ staff would be the same story by story, and so having familiar faces around makes sense. Alas, beyond the Brigadier, Yates and Benton all we have is the Doctor and Jo. Oh yes, Jo.

Now, I like Jo. Always have. It’s very easy to develop a soft spot for her. She’s so sweet, initially quite naïve, but over time she wins you over with her honesty and obviously love for the Doctor. But her introduction helps to soften up the whole UNIT scenario, adding a very human face to the organisation and serves to anchor the Doctor to Earth even more (curiously doing the exact opposite to what the production team wanted – they were very keen on getting the Doctor off Earth again!). But she’s no Liz. Which is a shame, as I mentioned in the previous season review. I liked the new dynamic, of the Doctor actually having a companion (or assistant, really, in Liz’s case) who was an adult, someone with their own mind and own objectives. Our first bona fide adult companion since Ian & Barbara left. Yes, I know Steven was an adult, but he wasn’t really written in any way equal to the Doctor, whereas Ian & Barbara were never second fiddle to the Doctor, and likewise neither was Liz. But Jo… For all her loveliness, she’s not an adult, but a girl in her late teens with an awful lot to learn. And so we’re brought back to the dynamic of Doctor/Companion we’ve seen time and time again. Luckily the chemistry behind Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning is such that this never becomes an issue, and they sell her completely. Initially he’s frustrated by her, as she does her best to prove herself as a valid UNIT agent, but he slowly softens up and warms to her.

The Brigadier has also changed since we last saw him. As I pointed out, in season seven he very clearly kept the Doctor around for his own purposes. There was no actual friendship between them. But from the outset of this season you can see a friendship there. Sure, it’s still charged at times, a mutual frustration between the two men, both of whom think they’re in charge, but there’s a nice sense of familiarity that wasn’t really there before. Again, this rather suggest a lot transpired between seasons. Another thing I’ve realised about the Brigadier – he really doesn’t believe a word the Doctor has said about the TARDIS or his travels through time. At this point he just accepts what the Doctor says, but really thinks the man is just an eccentric alien, a brilliant one at that, who happens to own a police box. The first time the Brigadier actually sees the TARDIS is in the lab in Spearhead from Space, and he doesn’t even witness it materialise (with a pop! for some reason) until Colony in Space (which is, in narrative terms, at least six years after he first learned of the TARDIS in The Web of Fear). And the Doctor’s line to Jo just after returning from the future says it all; the Brigadier would never believe where they’ve been. As we later learn, the Brigadier really has little idea of what really exist inside the box. I suspect the Brigadier even believes the Doctor built the console while at UNIT.

This season is also notable for introducing the Master to the series. Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks decided the Doctor needed his own Moriarty – a mirror opposite. And so the Master was created, another Time Lord in a similar mould to the War Chief from The War Games. (It’s of no surprise that a large section of fandom believe them to the be the same character – they certainly share a lot of similarities, alas the War Chief may be aware of the Doctor, but it’s very clear from their initial dialogue that the two men have never actually met before The War Games.) The Master is an old friend of the Doctor who is out for universal domination and to just generally cause problems for the Doctor. The only downside with the Master as a recurring villain in season eight is the ease with which he has always beaten, and how often he had to team up with the Doctor to defeat the aliens he brings to Earth. This does somewhat weaken him, and suggests, as many commentators have said over the years, that it’s just some game between the Doctor and the Master. With hindsight, Dicks and Letts have gone on record to say they believe having the Master in every story of season eight was a mistake. There was a time I agreed with them, until this rewatch. I’ve found, to my surprise, that it actually works and creates the first proper season arc since the first season (in which the arc was the Doctor trying to return Ian & Barbara home). The ongoing story of UNIT being on the watch-out for the Master adds a nice layer to the season, creating nice sense of continuity between the stories, given it an almost Nu Who feel. Unfortunately, Colony in Space rather spoils that, other than the bookend scenes with the Brigadier in which he mentions they’re following up reports on Master sightings. Taking the Doctor from UNIT at that point, in the middle of such an arc, only succeeds in damaging the pace of the ongoing story, and when the Master happens to turn up on the same planet… Well, it makes no logical sense at all, and just feels so contrived. With the Master being captured by UNIT at the end of The Dæmons they create a sense of completion, leaving the viewers feeling that that we really have followed a season long story. One with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Just a pity Colony in Space exists in the season, really.

A word on the ratings. They were high! Better than Doctor Who has had in a very long time, and by far the most consistently rated series in about four years. Whether you like the ‘dumbing down’ of UNIT and the softening of the tone, and I’m still in two minds about it since I adore season seven’s tone, there’s no doubt that what Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks did was create a very successful formula that secured Doctor Who as a real hit once again.

A quick mention of links to the Lethbridge-Stewart series of books (because, you know, it’s how I make my living)… In The Daemons the Doctor points out the Brigadier would have made a good accountant, and later the Brig says he should have run a bank instead. All this suggests the Brigadier is very good with numbers, which makes perfect sense as the Lethbridge-Stewart books reveal he did originally train to be a maths teacher. Another subtle link is the final scene of season eight, reportedly written by Richard Franklin and Nicholas Courtney themselves, in which Yates jokingly asks the Brig if he wants a dance, to which the Brigadier says he’d rather a pint. And thus why, when he arrives in Bledoe in The Forgotten Son, the first thing he does is say he could do with a pint. And, of course, the Brigadier’s lack of belief in half of what the Doctor says is echoed in the Lethbridge-Stewart books: ‘Really, Miss Travers, next thing you know you’ll be expecting a police box to turn up, too.’ Lethbridge-Stewart could tell Miss Travers was disappointed with his response, but he still wasn’t convinced by the idea of time travel, regardless of what Professor Travers had once told him.

And so to the countdown. Well, to be honest choosing a worst and best is incredibly easy. I have a little more trouble with the middle stories (well, second and third best), and they may well change next time I watch it. From worst (and, I’m sorry, but I can’t say least favourite as Colony in Space is just a very dull story, with very little to recommend it) to best, then:

  • Colony in Space
  • Terror of the Autons
  • The Claws of Axos
  • The Dæmons

Which makes the winner…

Dr Who-Mind of Evil

DOCTOR WHO RE-WATCH – SEASON SIX

secondbannerFor the longest time, this was my favourite season of Second Doctor adventures — simply because this was pretty much the only almost-full season we had for Patrick Troughton (only The Tomb of the Cybermen existed in full outside of season six,  and even then that only from 1992).  Things have changed a bit since the days of BBC Video; now we have a fair whack of season five on DVD (as mentioned in the last entry), which upon this re-watch has made me re-evaluate Patrick Troughton’s tenure as the Doctor, and the superiority of season six.15390_original

There is an awful lot to recommend this season, so much creative energy is displayed on screen. From the fantasy and literary layers of The Mind Robber, to the sleight of hand used throughout The War Games with ten episodes of ‘loop narrative’ that works despite itself. And, of course, there is that final episode of the season, which totally dismisses almost every idea behind the Doctor’s origins up to that point. And in so doing, establishes several elements of Doctor Who lore that are still the backbone of Doctor Who today.

Yup, we finally learn that the Doctor is a renegade from the vaunted Time Lords, beings of immense power and total mastery over time itself. Not only is he one of these near-immortal beings, but he stole the TARDIS and went on the run because he was… bored. Yes, boredom is what drove the Doctor. The need to get involved, instead of observing from afar like the rest of his people (well, almost the rest of his people — there are two other exceptions, at this point in the show’s history). Of course, this need is not evident when we first met the Doctor, so it is fair to say that this bit of back story has a hint of revisionism behind it. Willingness to become involved, and fight against evil, without some selfish or nepotist reason, only came towards the end of season one.

So, despite all the greatness seen on screen, including the set-up of UNIT (a creative move that would set the template for the following five years of the series, although the UNIT set-up is based on much of The Web of Fear from the previous season), there was a lot of upheaval behind the scenes. An increasingly frustrated star, tired and overworked by the gruelling filming schedule, a script editor who seemed to find fault in almost every story idea, often to the point of cancelling scripts at the last minute, and a producer who was asked to move onto another BBC TV show, leaving behind a replacement producer who, arguably, created more problems than he solved. And yet, in spite of all these things, and with scripts that were being written mere weeks before production, the season was for the BBC management something of a triumph. Alas, the viewing figures were saying something completely different. By the episode eight of The War Games they were at an all-time low of 3.5 million! Something needed to be done… Change was in the air, in more ways than one.

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The Second Doctor regenerates

Picking a favourite story is not easy here, since season six contains so many favourites of mine. The Mind Robber is a inventive tour de force of television, The Seeds of Death is the first Troughton story I ever saw, and The War Games — ten episodes of epicness. The worst story is simple enough, so I shall start with worst to best…

  • The Krotons
  • The Dominators
  • The Invasion
  • The Mind Robber
  • The Seeds of Death

Which leaves, in mind, one of the most epic adventures of Doctor Who ever…

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News Update

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Nash Point Lighthouse

It’s been a little while since my last post, so a quick update.

I have just finished watching season seven of Doctor Who, so I’ll be adding new entries for both seasons six and seven soon. The entries have been delayed by work on my next Lethbridge-Stewart novel, Beast of Fang Rock, which, much like Horror of Fang Rock back in the ’70s, has come about due a lost (manu)script and is, thus, a last minute replacement. All this means a shift of focus for me, and a quick turnaround.

As such I’ve been heavily involved in the writing of Beast, with 17,978 words written in the first week. Which is not bad going, considering the amount of research needed to get this book right. Research which includes reading up a lot on lighthouses, visiting them, and watching all kinds of documentaries.  All this plus the usual research for a book that takes place in the late ’60s.

Brig FangI can’t tell you too much about it at the moment, except that it is not only a sequel to Horror of Fang Rock, but also serves as a prequel, revolving as it does around the legend of Fang Rock as told by Reuben in the Doctor Who serial. The mysterious Beast that prowled the rocks in the 1820s, claiming the lives of two keepers and driving a third out of his mind.  I can also tell you that I have the ear of Terrance Dicks during the writing, with him passing comment on its development. His role in the book is not as big as we’d hoped, however, due to his other commitments. We also have the cover all ready to go, which Terrance has called ‘powerful stuff’. The cover is by a Doctor Who artist of some repute, and we look forward to sharing it with you very soon. (A very minor piece of it is displayed above, and the ‘title card’ is below. Hints are always fun!) And as I like to do, I can share with you the names of the cast (as it currently stands):

  • Colonel Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart
  • Anne Travers
  • Lance Corporal William Bishop
  • Daren Woodward
  • Mr Slant
  • Corporal Sally Wright
  • Harold Chorley
  • Stephen Worman
  • Owain Vine
  • Dr Gautum Jhaveri
  • Jim Saunders
  • Mark Powell
  • Jennie Rudge
  • Reuben Whormby
  • Vince Hawkins
  • Lord Henry Palmerdale
  • Ivan Richards
  • Tim Gambrell
  • Archibald Goff
  • Jacob Travers
  • Charlie Crane
  • Alfred Scott

For now I’ll leave those names with you, let you make of them what you will…

Fang Title

Lethbridge-Stewart: The Schizoid Earth details revealed!

It’s with great pleasure we can finally unveil the cover for the next book in the Lethbridge-Stewart series; The Schizoid Earth by David A McIntee…

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“Lethbridge-Stewart was supposed to be in the mountains of the east. Things didn’t quite go according to plan.

On the eve of war, something appeared in the sky; a presence that blotted out the moon. Now it has returned, and no battle plan can survive first contact with this enemy.

Plagued by nightmares of being trapped in a past that never happened, Lethbridge-Stewart must unravel the mystery of a man ten years out of his time; a man who cannot possibly still exist.

Why do the ghosts of fallen soldiers still fight long-forgotten battles against living men? What is the secret of the rural English town of Deepdene? Lethbridge-Stewart has good reason to doubt his own sanity, but is he suffering illness or injury, or is something more sinister going on?”

David A McIntee has written novels for Star Trek, Final Destination and Space: 1999 and over fifteen books and audio dramas for Doctor Who since 1993, including the Brigadier-centric novel, The Face of the Enemy. David said: “To be honest it (the series) is something I’m amazed hasn’t been done before – it’s just such a natural and obvious thing. The form it’s taking is also cool because it has the flexibility to move between styles and genres – thriller, SF, horror, etc – while maintaining a definite identity. As for the Brig himself, he’s one of those characters where the casting was so perfect that it just made the character so memorable, and who (usually) feels so right.”

The cover art is by Nathan Hudson, who works for Cosgrove Hall as a background artist. Cosgrove Hall is the animation company who produced the animated episodes for the DVD release of the 1969 Doctor Who adventure The Invasion, which featured Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and the first appearance of UNIT. Nathan has worked previously with Candy Jar Books as the cover artist for the runaway time travel hit Tommy Parker: Destiny Will Find You and the acclaimed See You in September.

The Schizoid Earth also features an exclusive foreword written by Amanda Haisman, daughter of Lethbridge-Stewart creator Mervyn Haisman, in which she publicly talks about her father and the legend he created for Doctor Who.

The next in the series (due out in September) is Beast of Fang Rock by Andy Frankham-Allen and Terrance Dicks, followed by Mutually Assured Domination by Nick Walters.

Andy Frankham-Allen has been a Doctor Who fan since his childhood. Andy is the former line editor of Untreed Reads Publishing’s series Space: 1889 & Beyond, and has penned several Doctor Who Short Trip stories for Big Finish and Candy Jar’s Lethbridge-Stewart: The Forgotten Son, as well as Companions: Fifty Years of Doctor Who Assistants. He said: “There’s been such a warm reception to the first book, I must thank everybody for all their kind words. My next book is a dream come true. It’s an idea I’ve had rattling around in my head since 1998, so it’s great privilege to be able to make it a reality, and even more so due to Terrance Dicks’ involvement with it.”

Nick Walters has written five novels for Doctor Who since 1998. Nick said: “After the Doctor himself the Brigadier is the best-loved character in Doctor Who. I met Nick Courtney a number of times and he really is a splendid fellow. He brought a real humanity and vulnerability to the role without compromising the essential toughness of the character. Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart is the chap you’d want on your side in a fight – any fight – and it is a real privilege to be exploring what made him into the character we came to know and love.”

The story of Colonel Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart is fully licensed by the Executor of the Haisman Literary Estate, Mervyn Haisman’s granddaughter Hannah Haisman, and endorsed by Henry Lincoln.

The Schizoid Earth can now be pre-ordered directly from Candy Jar, on it’s own or as part of two different bundles…

LETHBRIDGE-STEWART- Announcements!

I am very pleased to announce another freebie — this time an Easter thank you from everybody at Candy Jar Books. An eBook introductory pack for the Lethbridge-Stewart series.

Candy_Jar_Ambush_cover_SmallThe ebook includes:

  • The Ambush! – A short story originally published in Doctor Who Magazine #438, now extended with new scenes. It is set during the Doctor Who serial The Web of Fear, and serves as an introduction to the Lethbridge-Stewart book series.
  • We Won’t Let Him Down – An extended version of the final chapter of Candy Jar Books’ Companions: Fifty Years of Doctor Who Assistants, focussing solely on the television adventures of the Brigadier.
  • What Lies Beyond – A brief look at some of the Doctor Who novels that have featured the Brigadier over the years that pertain to the future of the Lethbridge-Stewart series of novels.
  • Graeme Harper – An extended interview with Doctor Who director Graeme Harper (the only director to have worked on the classic series and the revived series) from the book Calling the Shots, in which he talks about Nicholas Courtney, the man who brought the Brigadier to life.
  • Original Prelude – Never-before-seen original prelude that was written to open The Forgotten Son, set during the final moments of the Brigadier’s life.
  • The New World – The opening chapter of The Forgotten Son, the first novel in the Lethbridge-Stewart series.

The Lethbridge-Stewart ebook can be downloaded for free as a pdf from Candy Jar Books or downloaded for 99p on Kindle from Amazon.

We can also announce that sadly Lance Parkin is stepping away from the project for the moment. Shaun Russell, head of publishing at Candy Jar, said: “Lance is such a huge talent in the world of Doctor Who and we have left the door open for him to return. Hopefully, one day, Lethbridge-Stewart will make it to Det-Sen.”

Doctor_Who_and_the_Horror_of_Fang_RockAs a result we’ve had re-organise our 2015 release schedule, bringing forward David A McIntee’s The Schizoid Earth. A replacement novel will follow a few months later, which is a prequel/sequel to Terrance Dicks’ acclaimed 1977 Doctor Who serial, Horror of Fang Rock which starred Tom Baker. Beast of Fang Rock will be written by Terrance Dicks and me. And, as originally planned, 2015 will still be rounded off with Mutually Assured Domination by Nick Walters.

And the news doesn’t end there. We are finally able to announce the details of our authors for the 2016 schedule. They are, in no particular order;

  • John Peel (whose Doctor Who books include the first original novel published by Virgin Books in 1991 and the critically acclaimed War of the Daleks, as well as novelisations of four Dalek serials from the 1960s)
  • Jonathan Cooper (ex-Doctor Who correspondent with the Mirror.co.uk and author of two Space: 1889 novels)
  • Adrian Rigelsford (author of the aborted thirtieth anniversary special The Dark Dimension, and Doctor Who reference books The Hinchcliffe Years and The Harper Classics).
  • David A McIntee (our first returning author, this time with an authorised prequel to one of the most epic Doctor Who adventures of the 1960s).
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(l to r) Jonathan Cooper, Ralph Watson, Shaun Russell, Nick Walters, Terrance Dicks, Andy Frankham-Allen, Hannah Haisman

So, exciting times ahead! In the meantime, while I edit David’s book and work on Beast of Fang Rock with Terrance, I hope you enjoy the free eBook. More special releases coming soon from this site!

LETHBRIDGE-STEWART LAUNCHES

LSbanThe day is here. After almost eight months, Lethbridge-Stewart the series officially begins today. Pre-orders have been shipping the past week, but today is the day that sees the first book in the series available to the public at large. It’s been quite a long journey, but worth every second, although now the book is out there I’m in a position of waiting to see how well I, and the rest of the team at Candy Jar Books, have done my job. Reviews have started coming in, and here are a select few from pre-order readers:

It felt like I was watching it on television, picturing it clearly in my mind’s eye as I was reading, hearing the characters’ voices as I watched the events unfold.  Much like The Sarah Jane Adventures offered a deeper look into one of the Doctor’s best loved companions; Lethbridge-Stewart offers a deeper understanding of one of his greatest human allies. – Katt at Nerdversity

A very good launch to a new series of books looking at Lethbridge-Stewart’s history between The Web of Fear and The Invasion. Very well written, if you know your Who you’ll probably be one step ahead of Alistair, if you don’t you’ll enjoy it just the same. Well recommended. – Goodreads’ reader.

Screenshot 2015-02-24 15.35.50I did have a worry that like some of the New Adventures – which I think I read somewhere was an inspiration to the author – this story wouldn’t fit in with the fictional universe of Doctor Who in the 1960s – by being too modern in its approach. But this achieves the aim of presenting something broader and deeper (to coin a phrase from the NA series) than ‘60s Who without compromising its style and principles. I almost felt this was the novelisation of a spin off series broadcast just after the watershed on a Sunday in 1968 – faithful to its time but still doing something a little different than the parent series. – Reviewer on GallifreyBase Forum

With a number of mysterious layers to intrigue and entice, the puzzle over the colonel’s background and the disappearance of a dead soldier to keep you guessing, The Forgotten Son is a superb opener to the series, mixing recognisable Who lore, suppositions by cast members, tear-jerking dedications, a foreword by the great Terrance Dicks, and the familiar smile of the man we came to know as the Brigadier. – Kasterborous

10947198_10152633322626190_5616946692644792625_n… Which do rather suggest that it’s not a bad book. I certainly hope so. In many ways this is the culmination of my journey as a writer thus far, where my professional career smashes head first into the most important fictional escapism I had growing up. And, of course, from a fan point of view, I am aware of how many people are invested in the lead character and the responsibility resting on The Forgotten Son as the first book in the series.

The book can picked up from any book shop (although they’ll probably need to order it in), with digital editions available from all good eBook stockists. You can buy the paperback online direct from Candy Jar Books, or various retailers via Amazon, and places like the Book Depository.

Alternatively, if you can wait until Saturday, you can drop by The Who Shop in London and buy a copy there, and get it signed by not only me, but Terrance Dicks, Ralph Watson (who played Captain Knight in The Web of Fear), Hannah Haisman and, if you time it right, maybe even get a scribble from David A McIntee and Nick Walters. We’ll be there from 13:30 to 15:00.

News Update – Lethbridge-Stewart and Space: 1889 & Beyond

merryxmasFirst of all, a very Merry Christmas to all my readers. I hope you all get a chance to spend the festive time with your loved ones, get some lovely presents (including many books!) and have a most awesome New Year!

Over at Type 40, the Doctor Who blog run by me on behalf of Candy Jar Books, we’ve arranged a very special Christmas gift for fans of Sir Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart and The Web of Fear; an exclusive interview with Hannah Haisman, the Executor of Mervyn Haisman’s Estate and the licensor of the Lethbridge-Stewart book series.

badgeSpeaking of the series. Plans are gathering apace; we have a special gift coming early next year to precede the release of the first novel, although I can’t say what it is at this time, but I think it’s something a lot of long-time Who fans will truly love. We’ve also got five books planned for 2016 — yup, we’re planning on moving up to five books a year, although the fifth book of 2016 will be a special event that fans will be able to interact with. More news on that coming late 2015! Of the four novels planned for 2016 we’ve got three of the four authors confirmed, with the fourth confirmation imminent. As per our forthcoming 2015 series, it will feature three names well known to Who fans, bringing back authors who’ve been missing from Who prose for way too long. These authors will probably be announced in the summer of 2015, when the writing of our 2016 season begins. As well as the three ‘big names’, we’ll have a brand new name to Who prose, although this author has form, with novels published elsewhere. Part of our mandate is to introduce new authors, not only new to Who (although possibly established elsewhere) but giving new authors their first published work. It’s something Doctor Who has been doing since 1988, and it’s a tradition we intend to keep up. Without such a policy the world may never have experienced the works of such names as Paul Cornell or Ben Aaronovitch. We’re also mindful of the limited number of female writers in the worlds of Doctor Who, and so we hope, with our increase to five novels a year from 2017, we’ll have more opportunities to vary our author selection to include established names, first-time authors, and bring more female authors to the series. On top of all that, very provisional plans are being made and storylines discussed with authors for the 2017 and 2018 seasons – assuming, of course, the series continues that long. I choose to believe it will. 😉

LogoBeyond_2In other news, the end of the current series of Space: 1889 & Beyond has been officially announced in a somewhat unplanned way on Facebook (the first I knew was when I happened across the post two days ago). This statement was made by Jay Hartman of Untreed Reads: ‘Dear Space: 1889 & Beyond Readers: Due to various reasons, Untreed Reads will not be releasing new titles in the series moving forward. However, this does not mean the series will be ending altogether! Stay tuned to this page as things continue to develop. Thanks so much for your support over the last few years!’ One day I will go into these ‘various reasons’, but for now all I will say that it was a mutual decision made by all the authors of the series following a long period of dissatisfaction with the lack of marketing and promotion for the series, which ultimately affected sales in a detrimental way. The Facebook page has been shut down for now, although it will be re-activated at some point in the near future. As intimated above, none of this means the series as a whole is over… Plans are, tentatively, afoot for a print run of the series, which will lead to the eventual continuation of the mission of HMAS Sovereign and her gallant crew as they traverse the aether beyond the asteroid belt. As well as these we hope to release a series of stand-alone novels set elsewhere in the fictional universe of Space: 1889 & Beyond, making the property more accessible to those unwilling to commit to a serialised set of novels. Alas, until these plans are confirmed and the legal side of things sorted out (which could take a while – red tape being what it is!), it could be a while before the series is taken out of the limbo it has found itself in. Until then, the series continues to remain on sale in digital form, which allows everybody a chance to catch up. 🙂

So, the year ends with a bit of a mixed bag. As one series of novels ends (for now) I find myself moving from one range to another, with the arrival of Lethbridge-Stewart. It’s sad that Space: 1889 & Beyond has temporarily ended like this, as we all spent a lot of time and effort on that series, and I feel we created some really good stories and made some nice in-roads with great themes and characters. But, the future looks bright for me as I guide a legend of Doctor Who and get to work with some authors who inspired me back in the ’90s and I get the joy of bringing back some of the best Who authors out there, some of which have been sadly neglected by Doctor Who prose since 2005.

See you in the New Year!

Andy Frankham-Allen 😀