Viewing posts tagged mccoy

Leave the Girl, It's The Man I Want: The Doctors Revisited (Sylvester McCoy)

It's one of those days where, as I'm going to bed, I say "crap, I forgot to format and queue Last War in Albion, I'd better run a TARDIS Eruditorum in its place." Whatever am I going to do in a month when I don't have TARDIS Eruditorum for that? In any case, Last War in Albion is Friday this week.

I noted on Monday that it was an obvious mistake to ignore the fact that Moffat's ex cathedra statements on the history of Doctor Who have always been performative, both in his cranky Internet fan days and in his "not allowed to have opinions anymore" days. Which makes the introduction to Remembrance of the Daleks at the end of this episode something to behold, in that Moffat both admits that he thought Season Twenty-Four was a disaster (which I disagree with, but recognize that Moffat is exactly the sort of Doctor Who fan for whom the panto aspects of Paradise Towers, for instance, are going to be disqualifying in considering any other merits it may have), and then frames his reaction to Remembrance of the Daleks in terms of the fact that his own television career ...

There's Another Way: Throw Away Your Guns (The Family of Blood)

When trying to fix a link in this entry I seem to have irrevocably broken all of its formatting in a way I can't fix, so I've posted an alternate version here.

Outside the Government 7 (Down)


I do not mean my criticism of Oh No It Isn’t! to suggest that Virgin’s Benny line simply misused the character. It didn’t. Oh No It Isn’t! is a fantastic Benny novel, and its flaws are almost entirely as an attempt to launch the line, instead of being what it would have been happier being, a particularly silly entry within the line. And there are other books that absolutely play on what Benny is specifically suited to. Lawrence Miles’s Down, for instance, although it falls just short of being a successful book in its own right, is a book that absolutely could not work with any other lead character.

The setup of the book is simple enough: Benny is fished out of the water on an alien planet and spends the majority of the book explaining what happened to her. This explanation is overtly structured as a pastiche of classic adventure fiction in the H. Rider Haggard mould, with chapter titles such as “Dirigibles of Death!” and “The Primordial Soup Dragon!” The exclamation points are, to be clear, part of almost all of the chapter titles. There’s a character called Mister Misnomer who is ...

Outside the Government 6 (Oh No It Isn't!)

I’ve been saying that the chronology through these parts is wobbly for a while, and have in fact said “now the chronology gets really wobbly” before, but in any case, as Amy Pond would have it, here’s where things get complicated. After weeks of violating real-world chronology in favor of maintaining in-universe chronology, despite believing neither in the idea of a Doctor Who universe nor in an absolute timeline of the Doctor, now I’m even going to bugger that up. And not even in order to go back to a real-world chronology. In order of release the next few entries go the TV Movie, The Dying Days, Oh No It Isn’t!, The Eight Doctors, Down. In-universe they go the TV Movie, The Eight Doctors, The Dying Days, Oh No It Isn’t!, Down. You will notice that the order we’re doing them in, Oh No It Isn’t!, Down, the TV Movie, The Dying Days, The Eight Doctors, is distinctively neither of those actually rational orderings, instead proceeding along that terribly nebulous logic of “thematic reasons.”


So, some explanations. Terrance Dicks’s The Eight Doctors is written so as to follow directly from the events ...

Time Can Be Rewritten 36 (A Death in the Family)


Lungbarrow at least attempted to feed directly into the TV Movie. It didn’t last. There’s about three dozen stories, mostly from Big Finish (whether audio or their Short Trips series), that feature an “older” version of the Seventh Doctor. Arguably the first one of these actually comes just three months after Lungbarrow in the form of Terrance Dicks’s The Eight Doctors, but claiming that would involve trying to reconcile The Eight Doctors with the Virgin line, or, for that matter, with anything at all. But I’m two weeks ahead of myself.

A Death in the Family, ironically, only minimally features the post-Lungbarrow Doctor, focusing primarily on what is normally taken as a pre-Virgin Doctor situated between Survival and Timewyrm: Genesys. (Though even that’s difficult to square away, as we’ll see.) The post-Lungbarrow Doctor appears, and is indeed absolutely central to the story, but as a peripheral character lurking in the background. But despite the relative briefness of his appearance he’s central to affairs. A Death in the Family is at its heart a story in the vein of Battlefield in which the infamously manipulative Seventh Doctor falls into the schemes of the one ...

The Leaves on the Trees are Bright Silver (Lungbarrow)

I'll Explain Later

Lungbarrow is the final New Adventure featuring the Seventh Doctor, and ostensibly leads straight into the TV Movie. It dusts off the script that Marc Platt had to revise into Ghost Light, which was originally a bevy of revelations about the Doctor’s past and the nature of Gallifrey. As a book it becomes even more sprawling, finally rendering explicit the whole of the not-actually-Cartmel Masterplan, establishing at long last the relationship between the Doctor and the mysterious Other. The Doctor is the Other reincarnated. So that’s a thrilling shock. At the time Dave Owen wasn’t thrilled, calling it “rather more frustrating than rewarding” and saying that “it’s weird and wunderful - but, unfortunately, never simultaneously.” Lars Pearson, more recently, went with calling it “one of the most ambitious ‘Who’ novels ever, worthy of considerable praise.” Pearson’s view carries the day: it comes in fourth in Sullivan’s rankings with an 83.6%, which is good for a tie with fifth place. DWRG Summary. Whoniverse Discontinuity Guide entry.

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It’s March of 1997. No Doubt remain silent at the top of the charts. After two weeks the Spice Girls have a single out ...

Pop Between Realities, Home in Time for Tea 48 (Alan Moore's Spoken Word Pieces)


People who like this blog and in particular this entry are essentially certain to enjoy JMR Higgs's new book KLF: Chaos Magic Music Money, which is, by his description, "a story about The KLF, Robert Anton Wilson, Dada, Alan Moore, punk, Discordianism, Carl Jung, magic, Ken Campbell, rave, Situationism and the alchemical properties of Doctor Who." See? Right up your alley if you're reading this. The book is announced here, with links to where you can buy it in the US or UK.

The Cartmel-Virgin era began with overt and self-conscious parallels to the work of Alan Moore. Actually, that might be a little strong. Let’s try this: Andrew Cartmel was a comics fan, and he stole from the best. Sylvester McCoy’s audition piece, itself spun into the bulk of Mel’s departure scene in Dragonfire, was directly inspired by Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen. And much of Cartmel’s tenure as script editor can be read straightforwardly as an attempt to do Alan Moore’s Doctor Who. Given this, it’s a surprisingly honest one that understood what Moore was actually doing on a level beyond “he was adding lots of sex and violence to what ...

You've Got Some Battle Scars There (The Room With No Doors)

I'll Explain Later

We’ve actually legitimately skipped Bad Therapy, which tries to fix up the whole Peri thing, and Eternity Weeps, which casually kills off Liz Shaw and less casually divorces Jason and Benny. It’s not well liked.

The Room With No Doors properly begins the winding up of the New Adventures, and also ties Kate Orman with Paul Cornell for number of books in the range, with So Vile a Sin putting her over the top two months later. Note that the majority of her books came out in the last year. And they were all good to boot. 16th century Japan and a lot of angst on the part of the Doctor and Chris. Dave Owen deems it “a humorous book that is never dull, and frequently delightful,” which I’m not entirely sure is actually a description of this novel. Lars Pearson goes with “a much needed epilogue to the Virgin New Adventures,” which is notable as an actually plausible review. The Sullivan rankings put it at thirteenth, with a 78% rating, making it Orman’s second most liked book. DWRG Summary. Whoniverse Discontinuity Guide Entry.

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It’s February of 1997. Blur are at ...

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