The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Invisible Empire

Happy new year, faithful reader.

Over on the Big Finish website, and in the new edition of Doctor Who Magazine, is the announcement of the rest of this year’s line-up of Doctor Who audios. It includes one story by me, Revenge of the Swarm, two full-length stories script-edited by me, Mask of Tragedy by James Goss and Signs & Wonders by Matt Fitton, and an anthology of four one-part stories also script-edited by me, featuring Of Chaos Time The by Mark Ravenhill, Breaking Bubbles by LM Myles, An Eye For Murder by Una McCormack and The Curious Incident of the Doctor in the Night-Time by Nev Fountain.

You can read my ‘press release’ comments on the Big Finish website. I’d like to add, though, how proud I am of all the stories, and how much I enjoyed the process of working with all the writers, old and new. With these stories I was given a bit of a ‘free hand’ as to whom I commissioned (apart from Nev, who had already been asked) so I was determined to find a few great new writers. James Goss was an obvious choice for the main range, given all his great work on the Companion Chronicles, his work for AudioGo, his marvellous Doctor Who novel and his award-winning stageplays. Matt Fitton I asked because I could think of no-one better qualified to finish the ‘arc’ he had begun. And for the anthology, well, I didn’t think I’d get Mark Ravenhill as he’s busy writing for the RSC but thought it was worth asking him and was utterly flabbergasted when he said yes so enthusiastically. I’d very much enjoyed his play Nation and his opera The Coronation of Poppea. LM Myles and Una McCormack came to me via recommendations; I emailed various people asking for suggestions and their names came up most often; I’d read and admired Una’s Doctor Who books and knew of her work on Big Finish’s Blake’s 7 range, while I knew of LM Myles from the Verity Podcast and Chicks Dig Time Lords. It’s an interesting thing, that when I first set out to find new writers I checked over on Gallifrey Base at the various threads about how Big Finish should use new writers for potential candidates but couldn’t find any (people tend to suggest Terry Pratchett and JK Rowling and other writers of that standing)! So there you go. The only shame is that there were several other writers I would’ve liked to have approached, but only had four slots available.

I didn’t commission myself for Revenge of the Swarm, as I was already scheduled to do something for that slot, but I did push very strongly to include a returning monster, and the Swarm from The Invisible Enemy was the top of my list, because I’d had a great idea for a story featuring the Swarm five years ago and had been dying to get a chance to write it. Some people over on the forums have suggested there is something cynical or ‘barrel-scraping’ about this; that couldn’t be further from the truth, as I can’t imagine the Swarm being a major selling point (!) and it’s always much more cost-effective to tell stories without returning monsters. Revenge of the Swarm came about solely because I was so excited by the idea and the thought of telling a story in the same ‘world’ as The Invisible Enemy, with its rather loose interpretation of the concept of ‘science fiction’ (an oxymoronic phrase at the best of times). And also because The Invisible Enemy is the first Doctor Who story I have clear memories of watching; I remember the Doctor covered in silvery fur, I remember the mind-brain interface scene, I remember the cliffhanger to part three with the reveal of the nucleus. In particular, I remember watching the scene where Leela is attacked by antibodies and thinking ‘I’ve seen this before’ so I must’ve watched both the original broadcast and the repeat. As I say in the blurb that it’s both a prequel and a sequel to The Invisible Enemy; to clarify, it is to The Invisible Enemy what The Godfather Part II is to The Godfather. Anyway I hope you enjoy it, and next on my list is the Malus.

The new DWM also includes a review by me of the new Doctor Who DVD release of The Enemy of the World, yours truly filling in for the much-better-at-reviewing Gary Gillatt.

One last thing, back before Christmas, when I had spare time, I spent an hour or so putting together a little Doctor Who Locations Challenge thing. You can have a go here. (My score is 65).

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