Doctor Who

Doctor Who is the longest running science fiction series on television, lasting 26 years on the BBC, followed by a glorious comeback starting in 2005. The series follows the adventures of the Doctor, a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, who travels in a time machine called the TARDIS which is bigger on the inside than the outside. The series' appeal was always due to a versatile format that explored horror, science fiction, humour, action and historical adventure with a uniquely British wit and clever scripting that made up for its occasional deficiencies in production values.

Not surprisingly, Doctor Who is my favourite television series. For a decade, I edited the Doctor Who fanzine, Enlightenment for the North American fan club the Doctor Who Information Network. I have also written short fiction for officially licensed anthologies based on the series over the past decade, as well as stories for DWIN's fiction anthology Myth Makers. Now I currently write and edit non-fiction books about the series.

Non Fiction

Who is the Doctor: The Unofficial Guide to Doctor Who - The New Series
by Graeme Burk and Robert Smith?
ECW Press
"Damn you Burk and Smith?. I have just lost four hours to your blasted book. And I only meant to glance at it. It is nightmarishly more-ish." - Neil Gaiman

My first book! I co-wrote this! Who is the Doctor is what we hope to be the definitive guide to the post-2005 New Series of Doctor Who. My co-author Robert Smith? and myself set out to write a guide to New Who that is populist, entertaining, fascinating and full of interesting detail, rather like the guides to the Classic Series we used to read back in the '90s. When we got back an enthusiastic blurb from Neil Gaiman, we knew we had done it. It was a 14 month journey to write and edit this and both Robert and I are immensely proud of the result. It was our first experience with a large-scale publisher, so there was quite a learning curve but we were helped by a wonderful editor, Jen Hale, and a really great team of people at ECW Press.
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  • Time Unincorporated: The Doctor Who Fanzine Archive
    Volume 3: Writings On The New Series (2011)
    edited by Graeme Burk and Robert Smith?
    Mad Norwegian Press

    The final volume in the Time Unincoporated collection of Doctor Who fan writing edited by myself and Robert Smith? focused on the new series. It featured mixture of reprinted fanzine pieces and original work. This volume had much more originally commissioned work, with about 20 authors contributing new essays, including McCoy-era script editor Andrew Cartmel, Doctor Who authors Steve Lyons, Keith Topping and Kate Orman, Back to the Vortex author (and old friend) Shaun Lyon, as well as works by some of the best writers in Doctor Who fandom including Dave Owen, Scott Clarke, Sean Twist, Ari Lipsey and many, many more. It also featured an introduction by new series writer and World Fantasy Award winning author Robert Shearman. As ever, there were some of my own articles on Doctor Who included. It was a good collection of great writing, though my opinion of it is tinged with frustrations during its publication, including the fact that our names were accidentally left off the actual cover of the book! (The image is the solicitation version)
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  • Time Unincorporated: The Doctor Who Fanzine Archive
    Volume 2: Writings On The Classic Series (2010)
    edited by Graeme Burk and Robert Smith?
    Mad Norwegian Press
    Mad Norwegian, which publishes many fine books about Doctor Who, started a series of collections of fan writings called Time Unincorporated. Volume 1 featured the writing of Lance Parkin (including his work which I edited in Enlightenment and his 30,000 word essay for the 40th anniversary of Doctor Who which I commissioned and edited). Volume 2 Writings on the Classic Series, was edited by myself and Robert Smith? and will featured reprints from fanzines including Enlightenment, Shockeye's Kitchen, Dark Circus and others as well as originally commissioned material. Several of my Enlightenment articles were reprinted, including "Talons of Stereotyping", my analysis of racism in The Talons of Weng-Chiang, "A Year In The Life", my ode to 1977 in Doctor Who and "Half-Canadian On His Father's Side", my tribute to Sydney Newman's uniquely Canadian contribution to the creation of Who. It's probably the most comprehensive volume of fan writing on Doctor Who ever published.
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  • Back to the Vortex (2005) and Second Flight: Back to the Vortex 2 (2006)
    written by J. Shaun Lyon
    Telos Publishing
    Shaun Lyon, a legend in Doctor Who fandom for his work on the Outpost Gallifrey website (RIP) and the Gallifrey One convention in Los Angeles, was commissioned by Telos to put together an guide to the new series and from this put together these two volumes which were about series one and series two respectively. Shaun is a great believer in the diversity of opinion within Doctor Who fandom (unsurprising since he founded the Doctor Who Forum) and wanted an international panel of fans to also review each episode. I was asked to represent Canada and I was pleased to do so. Shaun worked hard, and fought even harder, to keep this aspect going even though the coordination of it was difficult (it's telling that the first thing Telos did after Shaun left was ditch the panel reviews). I found some of Telos' copy-editing a little heavy-handed and was especially amused to find their British sub editor didn't understand the colloquial expression that Rose was "totally crushing on the Doctor" (obviously they haven't been to any Kevin Smith films). Nonetheless I feel privileged to have been included and I was genuinely pleased when a number of people told me they felt my reviews were among the best in both volumes.
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  • Short Fiction

    "Doctor Who and the Adaptation of Death" (2008)
    Doctor Who: Transmissions
    edited by Richard Salter
    Big Finish Productions
    My latest "officially published" short story came about when former Myth Makers editor Richard Salter finally managed to get the job editing a Big Finish anthology. Richard's anthology, Transmissions centred around stories about forms of communication. Richard--who wanted stories that pushed the edge with storytelling styles-- really wanted me to do something that would use screenplay format. I suggested an idea that was based on watching the response fans of 1950s Superman George Reeves to the film Hollywoodland about dramatizing history where a screenwriter is put on trial by aliens who don't like the film that has been made about them. Compared to other anthologies, it was a breeze to do-- no rewriting whatsoever (though Big Finish balked at displaying my screenplay segments in Courier because it was "too expensive to use another font"). Personally, I had fun as it was an opportunity to do something Woody Allen-esque in Doctor Who-- consequently it's my least popular story. But I'm still tickled that I managed to get the title through Big Finish and BBC Wales.
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  • "Present Tense" (2008)
    Myth Makers 15
    edited by Scott Clarke and John Anderson
    DWIN Publications
    My best mate Scott Clarke asked me if I would write something for the latest issue of Myth Makers and he's done so much for me in Enlightenment I couldn't deny him. The story came from an image that I've had in my head for a while of the Tenth Doctor standing over Rose and pointing a gun at her-- I love David Tennant's Doctor and wanted to have the Doctor go to some of the darker places I've seen Tennant go to as an actor. From that came the basic plot (the Doctor and Rose don't remember who they are and get embroiled with Kray-like gangsters in London's East End in the 1960s) but I couldn't make it work until I realized I should tell the story entirely in present tense, moving backwards and forwards along Rose and the Doctor's timeline. That, and the wonderful characters Russell T Davies created, made it probably my favourite Doctor Who story I've written to date.
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  • "Reversal of Fortune" (2003)
    Doctor Who: Short Trips - Steel Skies
    edited by John Binns
    Big Finish Productions
    This short story came about from an e-mail from the blue from editor John Binns (whom I had never met but admired his TV Zone reviews from afar). He told me the concept for the anthology (stories set during lengthy journies in space and/or confined spaces) and I came up with the idea of "Reversal Of Fortune" as a way of subverting the format. I enjoyed the challenge of writing a story 'backwards', and I loved being able to pull the ripcord with narrative technique. My one disappointment is that my story's one major stylistic flourish was nixed: as the story only features two characters for much of it, I wrote the dialogue integrated in the prose, using dashes, in the style of Ondaatje, Lawrence, Atwood and others (even Kate Orman and Jon Blum in their novella Fallen Gods). Ah well, you can't win 'em all.
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  • "The Second Book of the Dok'tar" (2003)
    Myth Makers Presents 5: Essentials
    edited by Richard Salter and Scott Clarke
    DWIN Publications
    I wasn't going to contribute to this issue of Myth Makers as I thought I had done enough, but then they had writers fall through and I had to admit I felt like I was missing out of an important party. The brief was to write a story illustrating an essential element of Doctor Who. For me, that was the series' secular quality (I know it's odd for a Christian to say this, but there you go). I wrote an entire Doctor Who story as a scriptural text, complete with detailed scholarly footnotes. The fact that I work at a grad school probably didn't help the latter aspect! To add to the effect, I even laid it out like a Biblical passage, complete with chapters and verses. It was a lot of fun. This issue of Myth Makers is sold out, but I'm happy to show you the final product.
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  • "Costume Drama" (2003)
    Myth Makers 13
    edited by Richard Salter and Scott Clarke
    DWIN Publications
    "Costume Drama" is probably the oldest short story idea I've had. I submitted it as part of a proposed Decalog anthology back in the Virgin publishing days. The anthology was rejected though editor Peter Darvill-Evans said very positive things about my story. I submitted it for Decalog 3 and Short Trips and Side Steps to no avail. When another idea for MM13 fell apart, I decided it was time to tell this story. I'm glad I did--I love the characters in this story and enjoyed the chance to write sumptous, Victorian-like prose.
  • This issue of Myth Makers is, sadly, sold out but it's hoped to be reprinted soon.
  • "The Inheritors Of Reality" (2002)
    Myth Makers 12
    edited by Richard Salter and Scott Clarke
    DWIN Publications
    My good friends Scott Clarke and Richard Salter became editors of DWIN's fiction anthology Myth Makers and I wanted to help them out with the best story I could think of. Short Trips and Side Steps provided pastiches of Doctor Who in just about every media (TV, films, comics, TV annuals, even the stage play) but one: the Choose Your Own Adventure books. As I loved those books growing up, what better thing to do but to do a version of that for a postmodern grown-up audience? I plotted it with post-it notes on the wall in my parents dining room and had an absolute blast writing these tiny little stories that comprise the broader whole. It's gotten the best reviews of any story I've ever written.
  • This issue of Myth Makers is, sadly, sold out but it's hoped to be reprinted soon.
  • "Turnabout is Fair Play" (2000)
    Doctor Who: Short Trips and Side Steps
    edited by Stephen Cole and Jacqueline Rayner
    BBC Books
    My first published story! I got the opportunity to pitch as the result of having a Doctor Who novel rejected (after a 15 month wait). I submitted "Costume Drama" (figuring it would be a surefire hit) and the outline of a goofy little story where Peri winds up in the body of the Sixth Doctor that I thought was funny but wouldn't go far. Guess which one they picked? I wrote the story as a tribute to Mary Rodgers book Freaky Friday (which unlike, and far better than, the film, was all from the point of view of the body-swapped teenager-in-mom's-body) which is why you don't see the Doctor in Peri's body. It was a little bit tumultuous at the end with editorial changes being made to my manuscript (taking out some of Peri's Americanisms and changing the monologue-like recounting somewhat) after I had signed off on the proofs--something of a publishing no-no, but I took it on the chin. Otherwise it was a good experience. The rumour that the Javaman was based on certain British genre magazine editors is entirely probable.
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