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Jack Graham

Jack Graham wrote about Doctor Who and Marxism, often at the same time. These days he co-hosts the I Don't Speak German podcast with Daniel Harper.Support Jack on Patreon.

3 Comments

  1. James S
    February 1, 2013 @ 1:36 am

    Excellent, excellent work as usual Mr. Graham, really enjoyed reading this. And again you make me view stories I've seen repeatedly in a new light

    If you've got the time, can I strongly recommend you listen to Bidmead's lost story The Hollows of Time. I found strange and fascinating and rather wonderful, if flawed as an audio play(far too much description)

    What is more, it's really interesting how the themes you bring up here recur in different forms. Particularly the idea of The Master as a computer virus corrupting reality. It's all set in a quaint English seaside village, with references to string theory, early robotics and the codebreakers

    It's worth adding tractators are portrayed slightly differently in that story, disappointing some, but perhaps showing Bidmead's disregard for monster species in Who, in favor of individual evil characters.

    Anyway I'd love to know what you think. I found it positively Bidmeadian.

    Keep up the good work

    Reply

  2. jane
    February 1, 2013 @ 12:09 pm

    "He terminates the termites with extreme prejudice. He saves the human antheap against the crustacean one."

    It's suggested that the human colonists didn't intend to colonize Frontios, a place without wood or any combustible material. The ship crashed, their failure-proof technology failing as they're drawn to the planet — just like the Doctor. If so, then the Tractators are the cause of their own suffering.

    Which brings me to how the Doctor defeats the Gravis. He doesn't exterminate with extreme prejudice, he lets the Gravis defeat itself, letting its desire to possess the TARDIS to cut it off from its followers, rendering it inert. The bugs are left to burrow their holes, and the Gravis is carted off to a barren planet, a leader with no one to command — "exercising his animal magnetism on the rocks" as if he were some disaffected prophet.

    Unfortunately, the humans are left with their military structure intact and unchallenged. As you rightly point out, Bidmead is more interested in telling a story of Order vs. Chaos, rather than a pointed dissection of power structures themselves,

    Also, what to make of the Doctor's constant worries about the authority of his own people?

    Reply

  3. Jack Graham
    February 1, 2013 @ 1:30 pm

    The humans were going to colonize somewhere. Yes, the Tractators bring them to Frontios. I wasn't saying that the Tractators weren't the aggressors, just that their aggression has its analogue in the humans (as do so many other of their traits).

    And the Doctor tricks the Gravis very deliberately (I'm not moralising). Thus he terminates the Tractators plans, their future, even if he doesn't exterminate them… which isn't a word I used. I used 'terminates', largely because of the parallel I was drawing, and because of the consonance (or should that be 'alliteration'?) with 'termites' was irresistible. 😉

    Reply

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