Under Three Hundred

The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Monday, 1 July 2019

Thunderball

Update.

There’s a new Doctor Who Magazine on the shelves, which can only mean another instalment of The Blogs of Doom. The issue has a Pertwee-era theme, so this month I plumped for everyone’s favourite rabbit poacher and sphere-hoarder, Sam Seeley. There’s also a few words on The Three Doctors from me in there.


By one of those odd coincidences, I seem to have had something released every month this year – The Bekdel Test, The Belly of the Beast, The Kamelion Empire, my book on The Dalek Invasion of Earth, This Sleep of Death and The Cars That Ate London! Well, it looks like the run will continue for a while longer as this month will see the release of The Avenues of Possibility, part of the The Legacy of Time box set, commemorating twenty glorious years of Big Finish doing Doctor Who stories. It will also commemorate eighteen glorious years of me writing them, on and off. Anyway, you can read more about the story in the latest Doctor Who Magazine (there’s a photo of me, eek) and in the latest edition of Vortex.


 But after that I think I don’t have anything coming in August. Ah well, all good things...

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

He Thought Of Cars

Update.

Today sees the release of the first Big Finish box-set featuring the ‘Paternoster Gang’ of Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint and Strax the Sontaran, characters who featured in Doctor Who  from 2011 to 2014. The first story in the box-set is one of mine, entitled The Cars That Ate London. The title is, of course, inspired by the 1974 film The Cars That Ate Paris, though the story isn’t. Instead, it is a story about a Nikola Tesla-esque scientist who intends to save the environment by bringing in electrical cars rather than those based around the internal combustion engine... When I came up with the story I’d just watched a documentary about Nikola Tesla on Netflix, and script editor Matt Fitton suggested including electric cars as they were (surprisingly) quite common in the late 19th century.


I witter on about the story more here, as well as in the previews in Vortex and Doctor Who Magazine. The box-set can be ordered here.


There’s also a trailer for the forthcoming Rose Tyler box-set, which can be heard here. Again, I’ve been asked to do the first story of the series. It’s called The Endless Night and I genuinely think it’s one of the best Doctor Who­-related scripts I’ve written. I re-read it occasionally to check. I've wittered about it previously here and the box-set can be pre-ordered here.


Also it would be remiss of me not to mention that the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine contains the twenty-first Blog of Doom. And they said it wouldn’t last. In fact, they begged. But still it endures.


Anyway, I hope all the people who buy the Paternoster Gang box-set enjoy it, and I look forward to seeing what other writers come up with in the later episodes as they get a chance to subvert the format and dig deeper into the characters.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

Been a bit busy with local elections and bank holiday stuff, so here’s a belated update...

The latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine, out last week, has another of my Blogs of Doom. I think they’re getting better. They are so hard to write – trying to think up jokes that haven’t been done before, that are accessible to the uninitiated while rewarding the dedicated – and all in a limited space. Generally speaking, if I make myself laugh while writing it – and it has to be actual, genuine, out-loud laughter – I take that as a good sign that at least one other person, somewhere, will find it mildly amusing. A lot of it comes down to picking the right subject – I’ve picked the wrong one in the past and been left floundering.

Last week also saw the release of UNIT: Incursions, which consists of three stories, the first of which is This Sleep of Death by me. Yes, I got the Shakespeare quote slightly wrong. I didn’t notice until it was too late and nobody else has noticed either so I think I’ve got away with it. In fact, I probably shouldn’t have pointed it out here. But, yes, it should be That Sleep of Death


There’s a blurb on the Big Finish site so I don’t need to go into detail what it’s about – it’s a fast-paced, spooky, suspenseful, claustrophobic tale, a little dark, a little existential. It was intriguing to write because, as I wrote it, I found the central idea to be richer and more chilling than I had expected. So then it became a process of clearing some room so that I could explore it further.

It is no surprise, no spoiler, that the story features the return of the villainous and enigmatic Static from my story Static from 2017. When I was asked if I had any ideas for the UNIT range my first question was, can I use any returning monsters? Not because I am completely lacking in inspiration, but because bringing back an old foe can be a useful a springboard that can take you in a surprising direction (not what you normally want out of a springboard). But, alas, no returning monsters were available, so I pitched the idea of bringing back the Static. Not to reprise their previous story but to tell a story which, if anything, went out of its way not to reprise it. I’ve said elsewhere, I can’t remember where, that This Sleep of Death approaches the concepts of Static from the opposite direction; for instance, most of the mysteries of Static are not mysteries in This Sleep of Death. But, of course, at the same time, I wanted This Sleep of Death to have a similar atmosphere, a similar spookiness.


But is this the last we will hear of Abbey Marston and the sinister Static? I don’t know. There are no plans at the present. But the origins of the stone circle remain a mystery, buried deep underground, and I can’t imagine the Doctor leaving a mystery unexamined. I’ve already got a vague idea for a story coalescing at the back of my mind like a pearl around grit, so it would nice to be able to write it one day. Approach the same ideas from another, completely different direction.

Anyway, it’s available to order here. Please do!