Author Archives: David

Obligatory Ditmar Post for 2015

I feel like I have been a bit self promotional lately, with the FFANZ stuff, the ebook release and trying to boost the signal of the Galactic Chat interviews I have been lucky enough to do. So, I am going to bury my own eligible works right at the bottom of the post.

Don’t feel you need to read down that far, the important message is: make sure you nominate and vote in the Ditmars! There are so many amazing people in the Aussie scene, and they are producing so much good work. The list of eligibles will blow your mind. So, if you have loved someone’s work last year, why not nominate them?

Nominations for the 2015 Australian SF (“Ditmar”) awards are now open and will remain open until one minute before midnight Perth time on Sunday, 1st of February, 2015 (ie. 11.59pm, GMT+8). Postal nominations must be postmarked no later than Friday, 30th of January, 2015.

The current rules, including Award categories can be found HERE.

You must include your name with any nomination. Nominations will be accepted only from natural persons active in fandom, or from full or supporting members of Swancon 40, the 2015 Australian National SF Convention. Where a nominator may not be known to the Ditmar subcommittee, the nominator should provide the name of someone known to the subcommittee who can vouch for the nominator’s eligibility. Convention attendance or membership of an SF club are among the criteria which qualify a person as “active in fandom”, but are not the only qualifying criteria. If in doubt, nominate and mention your qualifying criteria. If you received this email directly, you almost certainly qualify.

You may nominate as many times in as many Award categories as you like, although you may only nominate a particular person, work or achievement once. The Ditmar subcommittee, which is organised under the auspices the Standing Committee of the Natcon Business Meeting, will rule on situations where eligibility is unclear. A partial and unofficial eligibility list, to which everyone is encouraged to add, can be found HERE.

While online nominations are preferred, nominations can be made in a number of ways:

1. online, via this form.

2. via email to ditmars [@] sf.org.au; or

3. by post to:
Ditmars
6 Florence Road
NEDLANDS WA 6009
AUSTRALIA

I don’t have a huge amount of eligible work from 2014. I didn’t even enter my collection in the Aurealis Awards as it is only three stories, and I wouldn’t think it would be competitive with all the amazing anthologies and collected works we have seen over the past twelve months.

Something that I didn’t create, but was part of, and that I think was amazing (not through anything to do with me, but because of the creator) was Laura E. Goodin’s radio play, “Useless Questions”. I am not sure what category Laura would be eligible for that under, but I wanted to highlight it as something worth considering.

So. my list:

Best Short Story

  • “Our Land Abounds”, David McDonald, in Cold Comfort and Other Tales, Clan Destine Press.

Best Fan Publication in any Medium

  • “Galactic Chat”, Sean Wright, Helen Stubbs, David McDonald, Alexandra Pierce, Sarah Parker and Mark Webb.
  • “Snapshot 2014″, Tsana Dolichva, Nick Evans, Stephanie Gunn, Kathryn Linge, Elanor Matton-Johnson, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Jason Nahrung, Ben Payne, Alex Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Helen Stubbs, Katharine Stubbs, Tehani Wessely, Sean Wright.

William Atheling Jr. Award for Criticism or Review

ditmars

Useless Questions Radio Play

Earlier this year at Conflux,  my good friend Laura E. Goodin asked me if I would be willing to help her out with a performance of her radio play, “Useless Questions”. I have done a bit of acting in the past, but this was something new and I was a little dubious!

But, I was so glad I agreed, as we had so much fun performing the play. It is very hard to write good humour (especially humorous science fiction), often times it falls flat or comes across as lame, but Laura got it spot on and the audience loved it. So much so that we did a repeat performance later in the con!

While we didn’t have any specialised equipment, Laura did make a recording, which you can find here. It’s not perfect, but hopefully it will give you a sense of how much fun we had. Enjoy!

From left to right: Cat Sparks, Nichole Murphy, Laura E. Goodin, David McDonald, Stephen Ormsby and Satima Flavell

From left to right: Cat Sparks, Nichole Murphy, Laura E. Goodin, David McDonald, Stephen Ormsby and Satima Flavell

My 2014 in Review

So, 2014 has come and gone. Wow. Time flies, huh?

Looking back, 2014 was a much better year than I realised. Even though I only had one story published, there were a number of significant milestones that are well worth celebrating.

But, first, let me get the negatives out of the way.

We lost some good people last year, and some people I care about had some tough times. That puts my problems into perspective, in the scheme of things I was very fortunate. So, I don’t really want to go into details as so many others have it so much worse, but during 2014 I struggled with some medical issues and, when added to my talent for taking too much on, I had a bit of a meltdown. The medical stuff is nothing life threatening, or anything for anyone to worry about, but enough to cause some issues. It’s not an excuse, but this did contribute to me messing up a couple of deadlines and letting some people down. You know who you are and, again, I apologise. It’s something I am very disappointed with myself in, and I hope that 2015 will be a much better year for that!

Looking back at the goals that I had set myself, I am disappointed to note that I still haven’t caught up on Doctor Who! Hopefully I can remedy that before Easter for reasons that will become clear later in this post.

I also haven’t made that first pro rate sale, though I do feel that I am getting closer and closer, and I might have another announcement to make soon..

But, on to the good things! There really were some wonderful moments, and I have a lot to be thankful for. And, it’s been great to feel like I am actually making some progress with my writing.

Unfortunately, I can’t share my biggest piece of news yet, but stay tuned as it will be announced around February.

Amongst the things I can talk about are:

  • After an eighteen year career in the field (pretty much straight out of Year 11), I left IT. I was seconded to our Editorial Department for 6 months in the position of Deputy Editor of one of our magazines (though I was essentially doing the Editor’s job). I can now announce that last  week I signed a contract extending my contract and naming me Editor. So, I guess I can say that I am a full time editor and writer now! There are not many people who get the chance to make a living from writing, so I feel incredibly blessed to have this opportunity– it really has changed my life. And, this has been so beneficial to my own writing, both in what I am learning from editing, and  because I am excited to be at work everyday instead being stressed and frustrated all the time. (which I know makes me very fortunate). I also think it has made me more productive, too, if there is a writing muscle, the more you use it the stronger it gets
  • From a fiction writing POV, one of the highlights of 2014 was being shortlisted for the WSFA Small Press Award. As I said at the time, seeing my name alongside all the past nominees and winners was a huge thrill and I was gobsmacked when I found out. I never expected to be nominated, let alone win, so I wasn’t that disappointed to lose–especially to a great story.
  • After two previous nominations, winning a William J. Atheling Jr Award for the New Who reviews. I have felt very privileged to get to work with Tehani and Tansy, and humbled to tie with Galactic Suburbia, one of my biggest influences. Hopefully I can catch up on the latest seasons soon!
  • The Ditmar for Galactic Chat. A huge amount of the credit for this needs to go to Sean Wright, our podcast overlord, and it was great to see him recognised for his hard work. It felt a bit weird winning an award for having the opportunity to get to talk to some of my writing heroes. Seems like a bit of a rort, really! lol
  • Which leads on to the interviews with Ken Liu and Kameron Hurley. Wow, talk about gushing fanboy moments. Just a hint: next year wills ee even more fanboying! I have a few more writing superstars lined up for you.
  • Being asked to return as part of the Aussie Snapshot team. This one was even bigger than the last one, and we managed to cover a huge cross section of the Aussie Spec Fic scene. If you haven’t read it yet, you are really missing out!
  • Even though I had a quiet year in publications, I managed to sell some stories and I have already have three new stories confirmed for 2015 (including a sale to Fablecroft and coeur de lion) as well as something a bit longer which I can’t talk about yet (and that is killing me).
  • The release of a bundle of my short stories from Clan Destine Press, including a brand new story that I am rather proud of, and am very glad to see find a home. It already has a great review!
  • Managing to make a good start on the collaborative young adult novel I am working on, It’s definitely starting to take shape now and has gotten to that point where it has developed some momentum, and the process that we decided to use seems to be working (big thanks to Amie Kaufman for her generosity with her time and advice. I am very excited about where it is heading, and you can expect to hear more about it in 2015
  • Helping my good friend, Laura Goodin, perform a radio play at Conflux. Hopefully there will be a version available for your listening pleasure soon
  • Beating “Hold Over Funds” to become the FFANZ delegate. I am really excited about heading over tot New Zealand in 2015, i am sure that it is going to be a blast. It looks like I need to be caught up on Doctor Who by then, though!
  • Amazing fun at Continuum X and Conflux 10

Aside from all these, there is something even more important to mention. I got to spend time with existing friends, made a number of new friends and, most of all, was continually reminded of what an amazing community we have in Australia. A number of my friends had some great moments of their own, and I was delighted to see their successes (and quite often got to help celebrate them, which is always fun).

The big goals for 2015:

  • Get that elusive pro sale!
  • Finish the YA novel and get it off for submission.
  • Catch up with Doctor Who.
  • Get my solo novel done.
  • Start another conversational review series about a series of books that are very dear to my heart
  • Try and get involved in some sort of news/discussion podcast

And, that’s probably enough for now!

Hopefully I will be at a few cons in 2015. I always try and get to Continuum, and I have brought my membership and booked my hotel for the Worldcon on in Spokane. And, of course, I will be in NZ for their Natcon.

I am looking forward to 2015, which I think might be my biggest yet, and I will be hoping for the same for you!

“Cold Comfort and Other Tales” Ebook Release

A few months ago, I was delighted to announce that I had reached an agreement with Lindy Cameron of Clan Destine Press to reprint my short story, “Cold Comfort”, which first appeared in that most excellent anthology, Epilogue.

After some discussion, we decided to bundle it with another of my already published short stories–and to throw in a completely new story!

Now, in an awesome way to finish off the year, “Cold Comfort and Other Tales” is available for purchase here (direct from Clan Destine) or here (for Amazon users)–just the thing for people looking for something to load onto their new eReader!

Ambelin Kwaymullina (the author of the YA dystopian series, the Tribe, and amazing Continuum X guest) was kind enough to offer these words of praise for Cold Comfort:


“She began to run, following the blue line, not knowing were it lead but oddly sure it would take her to safety. Numbers appeared, counting down from three hundred, and she focussed on them to stop herself looking behind her. The shrieks were louder now, and mixed with grotesque slurping sounds, but she knew that to look would steal the last shred of courage from her body.”

What a great story. A believable world of snow and ice, and a tough, engaging protagonist. Vanja is a trader moving between isolated settlements, navigating the hazards of a harsh environment and sometimes prejudiced attitudes towards women as she searches for relics relating to the mysterious ‘Builders’. This story has it all: ice spiders, snow bears, and terrific action sequences – immersive and beautifully paced. More! More! More!


To say that I was happy to hear that sort of feedback from such a talented author is a bit of an understatement!

As well as helping select the right stories for this format, Clan Destine had a spiffy cover designed, which you can see below:

cool19

Inside, you’ll find the following three stories:

Cold Comfort (first published in Epilogue, from Fablecroft Publishing)
Ice spiders, snow bears and deadly cold are only most obvious of the dangers a young trader faces as she searches for the secrets of the Elders on a post-apocalyptic Earth.

Through Wind and Weather (first published in Deck the Halls, from eMergent Publishing)
A rebellious pilot races against time to make a vital delivery to a planet in need. But in the face of the worst solar storm in years, his only ally is a sentient spaceship who is an outcast even to its own kind.

Our Land Abounds (appearing for the first time)
In a world divided by war and wracked by food shortages, the Republic of Australasia is an oasis protected by its isolation and the Border Patrol. But, a chance encounter leaves a weary veteran asking whether the price of plenty is too high.

I hope that you enjoy all three of the stories, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds in my association with the lovely folk at Clan Destine Press!

Sale to Dimension6

In a delightful early Christmas surprise, I received an email yesterday telling me that my submission to Dimension6, “Red in Tooth and Claw”, had been accepted.

Dimension6 is a relatively new market, but in 2014 they published 3 issues featuring stories by:

Robert Hood
Steve Cameron
Cat Sparks
Dirk Strasser
Alan Baxter
Robert N Stephenson
Richard Harland
Charlotte Nash
Jason Nahrung

As you can imagine, I am absolutely delighted to share a magazine with names like those!

D6cover2014-res-218x300So, a sale to Dimension6 would be a great thing in itself, but added to that is the fact that the magazine is edited and published by Keith Stevenson though his press, coeur de lion publishing–one of Australia’s premier publishers. This means that this sale is a significant milestone for me.

(Incidentally, all the previous issues are available as free downloads from the site, and the annual collection is extremely cheap given what you get inside. It’s well worth taking the time to check it out)

When I first decided to start taking my writing seriously, and begin submitting, I looked around the Australian scene and there were a few publishers that stood out from the rest. Like most writers I know, I have a list of markets I want to crack, and coeur de lion publishing was right near the top of the Australian list. After all, this was the publisher responsible for, amongst many other great books, X6, one of Australia’s most lauded anthologies (and containing one of the creepiest stories I have ever read. I’ll let you guess which one).

One of the first markets I ever submitted to was Anywhere But Earth. A look at the spectacular TOC would tell you that I didn’t make it, and looking back I didn’t deserve to be in it. Still, I made getting into a coeur de lion one of my goals. Along the way, I have ticked off a number of publishers on my list, and it is incredibly satisfying to have finally been able to do the same with coeur de lion publishing.

The story itself has an interesting history, and acts as example of why you shouldn’t give up on a  story easily. “Red in Tooth and Claw” started out as “Adaptive Immunity”, and one of the other Dimension6 authors, Steve Cameron, critiqued it for me before I sent it off into the cold loneliness of submissionspace (funnily enough I critiqued Steve’s D6 story for him, too!). It did okay, getting held  for one anthology, and then shortlisted for another, but obviously it was falling just short.

I was lucky enough to get into the AHWA Mentor Program (something I would definitely recommend as value for money), and it was one of the stories my most excellent mentor, Jason Fischer, had a look at and he made a number of suggestions of how to improve it.

After a slight reworking and some tweaks, I sent it off to Dimension6, where it found a home. So, a big thanks to Steve and Jason for their contributions! One of the foundations of writing success is perseverance (or bloody mindedness), and I am glad that I persevered with this one.

In another delightful convergence, my story will appear in the July issue alongside my mentee sister, Stacey Larner (Jason’s other charge during our year of the program). I am very happy to be appearing alongside such a talented writer as Stacey.

It’s also an example of why rejectomancy is a black science to be avoided by virtuous writers. Of the three stories I subbed to Aussie markets over the past three months, there was one that I thought had a great chance of acceptance, one that I thought was worth a try but unlikely to succeed, and one that I thought didn’t have a hope in Hell.  The first was rejected, this was the second one (the third is still out there like Schrödinger’s story, neither accepted or rejected).
Just goes to show you never can tell.

So, as you can see, there are all sorts of reasons why I am absolutely thrilled by this sale. I’d say it is a great way to close out the year, but I still have a few announcements left before I can close the books on 2014, so..stay tuned!

I’m going to New Zealand!

I am very excited to announce that I am going to Reconnaissance, the 36th New Zealand National Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Convention as the FFANZ Laureate! It will be held over Easter 2015.

Thank you to everyone who voted for me in the FFANZ race, and my commiserations to “Hold Over funds”–you were a worthy opponent! Also, a big shout out to Cat Sparks and Norman Cates for being my nominators. You’re awesome!

I can’t to meet all the New Zealand fans and I plan on making sure that I am the best delegate I can be. :-)

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Galactic Chat 61 – Kameron Hurley

In this latest episode of Galactic Chat, I get to talk to another one of my favourite writers—Kameron Hurley. I discovered her writing through the Bel Dame Apocrypha (God’s War Trilogy), one of the most original works of sci fi in recent times. But, she is also one of the leading fan writers in the spec fic community, and continues to challenge and subvert many of the things we take for granted with her blogging and essays.

As usual, my inner fanboy was fighting for control the whole time, but Kameron still managed to deliver a fascinating interview, where she talks about everything from Dragonlance to blog tours, and other topics listed below.

Plus, you get to find out more about her amazing new series!

This week David chats with award winning author and blogger Kameron Hurley. Kameron has been nominated for the Nebula, Clarke and the BSFA, selected for the Tiptree honour list and this year won the Hugo for Best Fan Writer. Additionally, her essay “‘We Have Always Fought': Challenging the ‘Women, Cattle and Slaves’ Narrative” also won the Hugo for Best Related Work.

Please enjoy their chat where they talk about the influences on her most famous trilogy (including a dodgy rental apartment with bugs), when authors should speak out on issues of poor or disadvantageous contracts and what’s next on Hurley’s agenda.

You can find Kameron at her website

Credits
Interviewer: David McDonald
Guest: Kameron Hurley
Music & Intro: Tansy Rayner Roberts
Post-prod.: Sean Wright
Feedback:
Twitter: @galactichat
Email: galactichat at gmail dot com

I’m running for FFANZ delegate!

You’re probably asking, what is a FFANZ delegate?

FFANZ is the Fan Fund for Australia/New Zealand, and is designed to send a fan delegate from NZ to Australia every second year, and an Australian to NZ in the alternate year.

Duties of the delegate include:

  • Travel to New Zealand to attend Reconnaissance, to be held in Rotorua, NZ over Easter, 3rd – 6th April, 2015.
  • Visit and get to know as many New Zealand Science Fiction fans as time will permit.
  • Become the Australian FFANZ administrator until a replacement administrator is found, normally this happens when the administrator role is handed over to the succeeding NZ-bound delegate (in 2017 if a race is run every year).
  • Raise funds and maintain an account to be used by the next Aus delegate(s) in 2016.
  • Promote connections between Australian and New Zealand fandom by a trip report or other means.

So, basically, it exists to build relationships between Australian and New Zealand fandom, and hopefully benefit both communities by sharing ideas and philosophies.

I have been involved with a number of convention committees, and I have volunteered to help out with the New Zealand Worldcon bid. I hope that I can share some of the things I have seen work here in Australia, and pick up ideas from what has worked in New Zealand to bring back for future cons I am involved in..

I am the only one running so it may seem like I don’t really need your vote, but there are still two really good reasons I do. One, the voting fee goes into the pot to keep the fan fund running – the more votes the better for FFANZ. And, two, I really don’t want to get beaten by “hold over funds”! lol

You can read about my platform, and the voting process, here. If you decide I deserve your vote it would be deeply appreciated. Voting closes on December the 15th.

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This Shattered World launches in Australia!

Many of you would already have, or be meaning to, read the AMAZING These Broken Stars by Meagan Spooner and Aussie author, Amie Kaufman. These Broken Stars was a tour de force in YA science fiction, taking the world by storm—and even getting optioned!

So, it is a  very exciting day today—the day that the second book in The Starbound Trilogy, This Shattered World, is being launched in Australia!The link to the book website is here.

And, for once, we get to enjoy something before the U.S., where it launches on the 23rd of December. Make the most of that month or so to taunt your overseas friends with how awesome the book is, and the fact they have to wait!9781743319703

Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet’s rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn’s blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.

The stunning second novel in the Starbound trilogy is an unforgettable story of love and forgiveness in a world torn apart by war.

You can find out more by visiting the following links:

Twitter:
@amiekaufman and @meaganspooner and @allenandunwin
Tumblr:
FB:
Instagram:

A Conversational Journey through New Who – S06E04 – The Doctor’s Wife

David is coming to New Who for the first time, having loved Classic Who as a kid. Tehani is a recent convert, and ploughed through Seasons 1 to 6 (so far) in just a few weeks after becoming addicted thanks to Matt Smith – she’s rewatching to keep up with David! Tansy is the expert in the team, with a history in Doctor Who fandom that goes WAY back, and a passion for Doctor Who that inspires us all.

We are working our way through New Who, using season openers and closers, and Hugo shortlisted episodes, and sometimes a couple of extra episodes we love as our blogging points. Just for fun!

“The Doctor’s Wife”
Season six, episode four
The Doctor – Matt Smith
Amy Pond – Karen Gillan
Rory Williams – Arthur Darvill
Idris/The TARDIS – Suranne Jones

TEHANI:
So, much as we could happily talk all day about different episodes, we’re going back to our original remit of Hugo Award nominees, season openers and closers and specials. That means we’re skipping “Curse of the Black Spot”, which most conventional fandom wisdom will have you believe is a really rubbish episode, a condemnation I actually quite disagree with, but we’re not TALKING about that one, so that’s okay! :)

DAVID:
Pirates and swords and sirens, what more can you ask for? I quite liked “Curse of the Black Spot”, which just goes to show I continue to be completely out of touch with conventional fan wisdom!

TEHANI:
Say it with me: “Conventional fan wisdom can bite me”!

DAVID:
I also love that whooshing sound deadlines make as they fly past! (with apologies to Douglas Adams, of course).

TANSY:
I’ve come to appreciate the Dread Pirate Episode because it’s Raeli’s favourite of this season, and it has Kenny from Press Gang in it, but mostly because of Amy in THAT outfit.

TEHANI:
It’s a sincerely awesome outfit.

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And here we are, at the episode that started it all for me. Not that it’s WHERE I started watching, but it is WHY I started watching.

TANSY:
Ah, I remember it well. Neil Gaiman has a lot to answer for :D

TEHANI:
He does indeed…

If there is one thing Moffat does well, it’s seeding teeny pieces of narrative along the episodic arc to lead towards a climactic ending. Amy’s observation that the Doctor wants to be forgiven for what he did to the Time Lords, SO MUCH FORESHADOWING!

For me, the best part of this story has to be the performance of Suranne Jones as Idris/The TARDIS – she is astonishing, and has forever enshrined in the minds of fandom what the consciousness of the TARDIS looks and sounds like. It’s a bonus that she looks like a character from a steampunk story… Cosplay ahoy!

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DAVID:
Idris is a fascinating character, and Suranne’s performance is wonderful. I love the idea of a TARDIS being a living creature, though it is not a particularly new idea. It’s certainly something I have come across in the novelisation/New Adventures (after writing that, I tried to track down what I was talking about, but I think I may have gotten the character confused with I. M. Foreman. I seem to remember the Doctor meeting a woman on a hill who had a universe in a bottle. Perhaps our Who expert, Tansy, can shed some light?).

TANSY:
I had stopped reading the New Adventures/EDAs regularly by the time the intelligent and humanoid TARDISes entered the story, though I have read one or two featuring the companion Compassion who was actually a TARDIS-in-waiting, I think. Still, getting to meet *our* TARDIS is still a pretty big deal.

DAVID:
The twist I really liked was that the TARDIS stole the Doctor, not the other way around. It really does say volumes about the Doctor that his perception of such a foundational event is completely wrong! But, we all suspect that we have never gotten the *true* story of how the Doctor came to be travelling the time-space continuum, right? But, the TARDIS being a living creature really does make sense when you look at their interactions over the years. The Doctor has always treated the TARDIS with a fondness, and always tried to cajole rather than command, that speaks of more than simply the sort of anthropomorphisation directed at ships or cars.

TANSY:
That blew my mind when I saw this episode – it’s pretty rare to watch a Doctor Who story that completely changes the way you view the stories that came before it, all the way back to 1963. (though I have to say, it’s more common than it used to be) I loved that our TARDIS became so real in this story, and that it added something so enormous to the mythology.

doctorswife

DAVID:
I always enjoy stories that explore the nature of the TARDIS, and its ability to reconfigure itself – sorry, herself! I think one of the reasons I fell in love with Doctor Who was this idea of such an amazing craft. More than just a spaceship, bigger on the inside than on the outside, it is the sort of thing that a young viewer finds hard to resist. The only other craft I think of that filled me with even a fraction of the same yearning was the spaceship from Flight of the Navigator!

One trick I think they missed, though, was when they go to the spare console room. That would have been a perfect moment to break out one of the Classic consoles, and the old white walls. In a show with the rich historical fabric of Doctor Who, it’s touches like that which can really “show” not “tell” those links with the past.

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TANSY:
I agree with you on this one – it must have been a production decision, but the story calls so hard for the white walls with roundels, and I’m sure that’s what it will look like in the imaginary Neil Gaiman novelisation that we’re never going to get to read.

DAVID:
There were some great scenes in this episode, too. When the Doctor opens the cabinet and discovers he has been tricked, you can see the hurt and sadness and RAGE. It’s at that point I almost felt sorry for House because I knew that it was in for a world of hurt. Almost.

TANSY:
I was disappointed too! Any hint that we’re going to get Time Lords in the new show brings a frisson of excitement with it (yes even after The End of Time) and the idea that so many have been horrifically disposed of is very sad.

Worth a shout out for a couple of interesting details: previously-never-mentioned-before Time Lord the Corsair is namechecked in this episode (aww they do love their definite particles) and specifically mentioned as a Time Lord who changed gender with regeneration. This is the first mention of this possibility in TV canon. Also, the little white flying communication boxes are a thing from 1969 classic story “The War Games”. It had previously been teased that this episode would include SOMETHING we hadn’t seen since that story, and the little boxes were a bit disappointing for those of us who were peering suspiciously at the characters to figure out which one was The War Chief, or Lieutenant Carstairs.

thedoctorswife

TEHANI:
Personally, given my own connection with this story, I’m a bit surprised I don’t have more to say about it! I think it’s mostly “gleeful flail” when I think about the episode, without a lot of critical view. I always have to double check that House isn’t voiced by Neil Gaiman (it isn’t, it’s another one of those delightful sounding British (Welsh) actors).

I wonder how different the episode would have been if they had managed to get it into season five instead of this one, as was originally intended? What would that have done to that season (which we all quite like) as a whole?

“The Doctor’s Wife” won the Hugo AND the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation – how much of that do you think is the “Neil Gaiman effect” and how much is due to the episode itself, do you think?

gaiman_hugo

DAVID:
That is interesting! The first thing that comes to mind is that I don’t think that it would have deserved the Hugo in Season 5, as I don’t think it is stronger than a number of episodes from that season. It’s certainly a very good episode, but I am not sure it is a GREAT episode.

Which does lead on to your next question. It is a bit hard for me to comment as I am not far enough into the season to say if this is the best episode in Season 6, and whether it deserved the Hugo (which is a very subjective call, anyway!) over any of the others. To be honest, I hope it’s not the best, because I loved Season 5 and can think of four episodes from it off the top of my head that are better than this one.

Neil Gaiman certainly does have a massive fan base, but you’d like to think people vote beyond that, and if something wins it obviously resonated with lots of people. So, maybe it’s just me! Looking at the other entries, there are two other episodes of Doctor Who and an excellent episode of Community (another show I got on very late!). With all due respect to Chris, who is a great guy, I don’t think an acceptance speech should have been nominated, let alone won. So, is this better than the other two episodes, or the Community one, or did the Gaiman Effect push it over the line? I’ll probably have a better idea by the end of the season.

4-The-Doctors-Wife-promo-2

TEHANI:
And I have to say something about the title – designed just to set the fannish tongues wagging?

DAVID:
Well, it doesn’t take much, does it?

TANSY:
Another piece of fannish history here – this title first got used in the 80s as a deliberate fakeout, left on a whiteboard to see if anyone on the production team was leaking info to the fanzines. So it started out as a provocative tease and is being used here in just the same way. If you haven’t seen it before, the point at which you realise that this episode isn’t about River Song but about the TARDIS is pretty awesome and brain-explodey.

Anyone have any favourite lines from this very quotable story? I think mine is still Amy with “Did you wish very hard?” but Idris has so many gorgeous things to say, like “Biting’s excellent. It’s like kissing. Only there’s a winner.”

DAVID:
That is a marvellous line. Any writer would also agree with “Oh tenses are difficult, aren’t they?” but I thought Amy showed exactly how well she knows the Doctor, summing him up perfectly when she responds to Rory saying “He’ll be fine. He’s a Time Lord.” with: “It’s just what they’re called. It doesn’t mean he actually knows what he’s doing.”

TEHANI:
I love this:

The Doctor: You didn’t always take me where I wanted to go.
Idris: No, but I always took you where you needed to go.

And this:

Idris: I’ve been looking for a word. A big, complicated word, but so sad. I found it now.
The Doctor: What word?
Idris: “Alive.” I’m alive.
The Doctor: Alive isn’t sad.
Idris: It’s sad when it’s over.

And with that, this review is over too. But we’ll be back!

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Previous Episodes
“Rose”, S01E01
“Dalek”, S01E06
“Father’s Day”, S01E08
“The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances”, S01E09/10
“Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways”, S01E12/13
Season One Report Card – David, Tansy, Tehani
“The Christmas Invasion”, 2005 Christmas Special
“New Earth”, S02E01
“School Reunion”, S02E03
“The Girl in the Fireplace”, S02E04
“Rise of the Cybermen/Age of Steel”, S02E05/06
“Army of Ghosts/Doomsday”, S02E12/13
Season Two Report Card – David, Tansy, Tehani
“Smith and Jones”, S03E01
“The Shakespeare Code/Gridlock”, S03E02/03″
“Human Nature/Family of Blood”. S03E08/09″
“Blink”. S03E10″
“Utopia/The Sound of Drums/Last of the Timelords”, S03E12/13/14
Classic Who Conversation podcast – Spearhead from Space (1970)
Season Three Report CardDavid, Tansy, Tehani
Classic Who Conversation podcast – Genesis of the Daleks (1975)
“Partners in Crime”, S04E01
The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky, S04E0708
“Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead, S04E0910
Turn Left, S0411
The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End,S04E1213
Season Four Report Card – David, Tansy, Tehani
The Next Doctor / Planet of the Dead / The Waters of Mars
End of Time
The Eleventh Hour. S0501
The Beast Below/Victory of the Daleks,S050203
The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone,S05E0405
The Vampires of Venice/Amy’s Choice,S050607
The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood,S050809
Vincent and the Doctor/The Lodger,S05E10/11
The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang,S05E12/13
2010 Christmas Special – A Christmas Carol
Season Five Report Card – DavidTansyTehani
The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon,S06E01/02