Writer's Blog

A place where I write about the writing life and writing projects in progress

June 27, 2011

  • Time Unincorporated on Radio Free Skaro
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    Robert Smith? and I are interviewed about Time Unincorporated 3 on this week’s Radio Free Skaro podcast. Steven Schapansky gave a superb interview, asking us all manner of great questions about the collection, how it came to be, how it was put together as well as about our upcoming work on Who Is The Doctor. I acquit myself well, in spite of having a coughing fit two-thirds of the way through that completely threw me off my game. Dr. Smith? is eloquent as always.

    I think we’re about 45 minutes or so into the podcast, but Radio Free Skaro is always well worth a listen anyway, so why would you want to fastforward?

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    June 22, 2011

  • It’s Real. It’s Mine - This Time It’s Personal (actually it was last time too…)
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    With Time Unincorporated Volume 3 now real and tangible and available to purchase, I thought I would do a sequel to last year’s blog post where I talked about the circumstances under which I wrote my essays for Time Unincorporated Volume 2. So here we go…

    Not counting the introductions to each section, I ended up contributing eight pieces (actually closer to seven-and-a-half) to the book; two more than last time, but it feels more interspersed throughout. Here’s what I wrote:

    “He Said, She Said” (2008) (co-written with Deborah Stanish): For ten years I edited the Doctor Who Information Network fanzine, Enlightenment, and one of the many great things in that zine is Deborah Stanish’s “Love & Monsters” column. I suggested that Deb and I co write a piece, a correspondence about the difference between old school Doctor Who fans with their sense of outside the universe dynamics and the new fans who were into shipping. So we wrote two letters to each other. When it came to publish it, I had to cut it by about 40% to fit. The book now features the original, unexpurgated version. Actually, I originally submitted it to Mad Norwegian Press’ excellent and Hugo-nominated collection on Who, Chicks Dig Time Lords, only to have it rejected by the editors. (The nice thing about editing the MNP’s other essay collection about New Who is that I didn’t have to take no for an answer!). I love this piece for the range of views and how it expresses the differences between male and female fandom. And I love it because it caught something of the freewheeling nature of our usual correspondence by e-mail. (Someone listening to us arguing with full on intensity at Gallifrey last year stated we should hold our own podcast where we do nothing but argue with each other; I fear it might melt any MP3 file!)

    “Everybody’s In The Play” (2006). Back when I was editing Enlightenment, I would occasionally exercise editorial privilege and review a story from the current season of Doctor Who that I liked. In 2006, that was Love & Monsters (a story I still love to bits, if not molecules). As the story is a confession by a fan of the Doctor, I wrote my review in the same manner, which was fun. I wrote this, as I did with so much that I wrote during the time I lived in Toronto, in longhand at my local laundromat during the 2-3 hours I occupied it during the evenings when I finally accumulated six weeks worth of laundry! It took a lot of quarters but I got a lot of writing done.

    “Counting To Ten” (2010). The book had a section on David Tennant’s tenure as the Doctor and I really wanted a good, thoughtful essay that anchored it, that talked about all that David Tennant brought as an actor and what made his Doctor great. We thought we had someone to write it…and then they couldn’t do it. So, a couple of days before we delivered the manuscript to Mad Norwegian Press, I took my laptop to Starbucks, got a skinny vanilla latte and started typing. A few hours later, I had it in reasonable shape. I sent it to Robert, who hates Tennant (to put it mildly).Robert replied, “I really like it, even if you are quite wrong grin” High praise indeed! It’s probably my favourite of my pieces that are in the book.

    “Special Blend” (2010). Every year I review the DVD Boxset for the latest season of Doctor Who for Enlightenment (this year’s is stupidly late in fact). I did one for the season of specials, written in longhand in the lunchroom where I was working at the time. In Time Unincorporated 3, we were going to publish my review of Tennant’s finale, The End of Time from my last issue as editor of Enlightenment. (It’s a review I’m still quite proud of). Robert begged me to put the Specials DVD review in as well because he wanted to include something about The Waters of Mars. So we deferred my review of The End of Time to use in Who Is The Doctor and we ran this instead.

    “The Ten Commandments of Doctor Who Spinoffs” (2007). A typical Enlightenment editor dilemma. Need a piece to fit the cover of an issue. No one is available to write it. So, off to do my laundry and bash it out myself while waiting for the dryers. Actually, as soon as I thought to do it as Ten Commandments of writing spinoffs, it suddenly became very easy to write.

    “How To Get Fired From Torchwood” (2007, 2010). In 2007 I did an article for Movement magazine in the UK about Battlestar Galactica and Torchwood and how they showed two sides of the coin when it came to responsibility and consequences. Robert thought it might be a good piece for the book if I took out all the Galactica stuff out and expanded the Torchwood material. It originally ran a bit longer as I ran a list of all the ways a person should have been fired from Torchwood but weren’t. In editing the book, MNP publisher Lars Pearson asked if I could cut it down as he felt I was being too negative (and there was another, better written, roasting of Torchwood in the book by Cameron Dixon). I took his point and obliged.

    “Like a Hovercraft” (2007). I needed an Enlightenment editorial. I watched the pilot of the remake of Bionic Woman, found it horrendously po-faced and serious and suddenly I knew I wanted to talk about how the greatest thing they brought back with the new series was its sense of humour. Easy.

    “Dear Matt Smith” (2009). Two days before I was to send a mega-late issue of Enlightenment to the printers’, they announced Matt Smith’s casting. Stop press. After three days of watching the Internet melt down over Smith’s casting (which seems hilarious given how wonderful Smith turned out to be) I had a basic idea: a letter to Matt Smith telling him how wonderful and odd Doctor Who fans are. All this said, I still think the “What if Facebook existed in 1974” graphic we had in the issue to accompany it (illustrated by my genius friend Scott Clarke) was much better than this piece. Here it is:


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    June 20, 2011

  • We Have Launch!
  • Time Unincorporated 3 had its official launch at Bakka Phoenix Books on the weekend. It was a wonderful event with a great turnout even though it was the height of summer! Here’s some photos of the event, taken with my camera and, where noted, stolen from my friends Mike Doran and Kim Van Rooy!

    It starts with a sign… (Photo by Mike)

    And here’s the book (Photo by Mike)

    Here’s the happy co-editors… (Photo by Mike)

    Me with my Goddaughter Cadence (I dedicated my half of the book to her!) (Photo by Kim)

    I say something amusing about someone and Robert laughs… (Photo by Kim)

    And here we are signing (or I am anyway. Robert is mugging to the camera).

    More signing

    More signing (and more mugging from Robert). I’m hard at work at a TARDIS doodle…

    We have a brief Q and A and reading. (Photo by Mike)

    It was an amazing experience. We sold a ton of books (and Bakka has some more, so if you’re in Toronto stop by and pick up a copy!) and it was wonderful to see the support of some many people for this book.

    Time Unincorporated 3 is now available for order from and Get yours now!

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    June 17, 2011

  • InnerSpace!
  • imageAs we get closer to the Time Unincorporated 3 launch, I’m a guest on the SPACE channel’s InnerSpace podcast. Producer Mark Askwith interviews me about all things Who: Series Six, the upcoming 2012 season and, of course, Time Unincorporated 3.

    It was interesting doing the InnerSpace podcast. Most of them have been done over Skype, but this one was done at SPACE’s headquarters in Toronto in a cramped recording booth! (Natasha Eloi almost took Mark’s place…I think I would have been too nervous with her that close in the booth!)

    Mark is a great interviewer. I’ve been a fan of his for decades. Not only did he produce Prisoners of Gravity, one of the best programs about science fiction ever, Mark also published my first piece of writing. When he ran the Silver Snail comic shop in the 1980s, he published an in-house fanzine, Tales From The Snail. When I was 14 I wrote a review of Marvel’s Doctor Who comic book and he published it.

    25 years later, I’m writing and editing books about Doctor Who and Mark’s interviewing me on podcasts. Isn’t that amazing?

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    June 11, 2011

  • Who In Progress #2
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    This sprawl is my editing of the book, which takes on board feedback from a number of gracious people who agreed to read the book as it was written.

    Robert and I have complementary skills: I’m more interested in how the work coheres structurally, and how it flows overall, whereas Robert is very good with the language and the grammar.

    We have just under three weeks before deadline. It’s going to make for an interesting ride…

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    June 06, 2011

  • Time Unincorporated 3 Book Launch - June 18
  • imageTime Unincorporated 2 arrived in a giant box from Iowa without much fanfare (beyond meeting a bunch of contributors at C’est What and having to deal with an openly hostile waitress.) This time, we decided to do it right.

    Thanks to Chris and the good people at Bakka Phoenix Books and DWIN, we’re having a proper launch for Time Unincorporated Volume 3. It’s happening Saturday June 18 at 3 pm at Bakka Phoenix Books, at 84 Harbord Street in Toronto.

    If you’re in the Toronto area, and if you’re a fan of Doctor Who… come on out and celebrate the launch of the largest and most diverse collection of writing about Doctor Who the new series. Hell, come on out if you’re a fan of me (or, more likely, Robert Smith?). I’d love to see you there, and you won’t be disappointed with the book!

    You can get the PDF of the flyer here. And the Facebook event page is here.

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