The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

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!