Before there was Amy Pond and Rory Williams, there were Gwen Cooper and Rhys Williams (surname coincidence? Hmm…). The settings are different, but the fundamentals of the love story are the same: a girl who’s ordinary in situation but extraordinary in spirit, and a boy who loves her for precisely those qualities. The love story shows the dynamic of dramatic change they undergo when a girl like that finds a world as extraordinary as she is, and runs to join it. Does the boy resist and make her choose between the world of wonders she’s uncovered and his ordinary, anchored life, or does he make his mind up to love her enough to change and go with her, to help her be the woman she could be?
As the beginning of a week of geeky valentines, Tony put two of Torchwood’s best and Welshest, Gwen and Rhys under the spotlight.
To understand the story of Amy Pond, you have to understand the nature of fairy tales.
When we first meet Amelia, she’s a child making a wish, not to go to some stupid ball, but to be safe from the noises she hears through the crack in her wall. She wishes to Santa, and instead she gets a fairy godfather, who talks like a child in a grown-up’s body, walks like a giraffe made of rubber bands and – crucially – grants her wish. She makes another wish, to come with him in his strange blue box, and he makes her a promise that as soon as it’s safe, she can. He disappears, and Amelia sets her mind to wait for him.
Tony took a look back at one of the best companions in the revitalised version of Doctor Who – Amy Pond, the girl who waited.
There are many marks of the Eleventh Doctor, but one of the most potent is the drawing together of odd or disparate elements of storyline with a word or a line, a ‘that can happen’ that suddenly changes the world you’re looking at.
Coming in fresh to the Eleventh Doctor adventures from Titan Comics at issue #8, there’s a lot of ‘that can happen’ to contend with.
Tony took a look at the latest issue of the Eleventh Doctor comic from Titan Comics.
The Twelfth Doctor’s a deceptive character to get a hold of. After the rent-a-gob chatter-factory of the Tenth and the thing-in-progress elastic giraffe of the Eleventh, the more acid, taciturn Twelfth is sometimes an awkward match for the fundamental Doctor – the good, the kind, the righter of wrongs. If this is true in three dimensions on the TV screen, how much harder is it to get the balance of his character right in two dimensions, in a comic book?
As WarpedFactor continues to feature Titan Comics releases, Tony took a look at the latest Twelfth Doctor release.
‘We currently use just ten percent of our brain. Imagine what we could do if we used a hundred percent.’
From the very beginning, it’s a premise that gets geeks salivating, because it invites speculation of the highest, broadest kind – What would we use those extra percentage points for? What would they allow us to do?
Tony caught up with the sci-fi drama-cum-indie lecture-cum-shoot-out, Lucy.
The Eighth Doctor on Big Finish – a unique experience.
It’s almost impossible to underestimate the impact of Big Finish audio on the life of the Eighth Doctor. Without the audios, he’d have had one on screen adventure, a lot of increasingly confusing novels, and then a regeneration. With the audios, he’s one of the most infectiously enjoyable incarnations of the Time Lord, from his post-TV Tiggerish self, through darker days, different universes, love, loss, isolation, hopelessness, despair and a kind of redemption in the Dark Eyes series – all before he gets to the Time War and his final choice on Karn. It’s frankly impossible to pick out all the Eighth Doctor highlights, or even to come particularly close, but eyes down and we’ll give you a handful of great jumping-in points.
In his final introductory piece, Tony looked at some jumping-in stories starring the Eighth Doctor on Big Finish.
In the first of an occasional series, we talk to pulished author Wendy Jones.
Who are you and what have you published?
Wendy Jones – Doctor, wife, mother and now novellist. Two books so far – The Songbird and the Soldier and By My Side, both romances, both published by Harper Impulse.
Concise. Let’s get deep and meaningful. I’m going to lob this question then retire over here to do my Sigmund Freud impression. Why do you write?
Oooh, errrr… I’m not your usual writer. I sort of fell across it by chance. I became completely caught up in a dream one morning. I had woken early and so I lay there thinking, ‘What would have happened if I hadn’t woken up right then?’ and ‘What must have happened to get to that point?’ I kept thinking and thinking about it and eventually started writing it down. I wrote every night for 6 months. Then I thought, ‘Well I might as well try and make something of it; I’ve come this far.’ My dad encouraged me to give it a go, saying I had nothing to lose, and so I did. By then, I guess I had the bug.
Ah, the bug. All hail the bug. We love the bug here at Fylerwrites. Speaking to writers, there are those who must have a particular environment and a particular time to write, and those who write anywhere. What about you? Do you have a routine?
Simple answer: No. None at all. I write when I can, if I can. I may write all day, or not for weeks.
And how do you write? What’s your process?
How do I write? Slowly (mostly). My ideas come over time. I wrote the story that is in with the editor at the moment in only 3 months, which was incredible for me, but usually it’s more like 9. I have no set pattern of inspiration. I generally have the idea of what I want to happen to the main characters, but then I have to work on how that happens. They just evolve, like an onion, one layer at a time, going over and over the story to see what’s missing with each read through.
The Songbird and The Soldier.
Both your published works so far are romances. What drew you to that genre? I love the ‘falling in love’ part of any story. I love the drama, the excitement. I may sometime dabble in other genres or most likely, subgenres, but it will always be a love story at heart.
How long were you a starving artist? How long were you submitting before you were published? I think it was 4 or 5 years before I got published. I wrote one story a year and tried maybe a dozen agents with each manuscript and never got much more than, ‘No thanks, not for us’ back from them. I had no idea if my writing was nearly brilliant, or dross.
So is writing your main job now you’re published by a traditional publisher – and a leading one at that?
Well yes, it’s my main job, but if I didn’t have a husband to support me, I’d starve. I read somewhere that you generally have to get to your 14th book before you see any kind of supportable income. Only another 12 to go then!
What’s the hardest part of writing for you? For me, the hardest part is starting a new novel. It’s a confidence thing. The ‘will I be able to write another one?’ stuff sneaks around in my head. I procrastinate and avoid it for ages until I finally bite the bullet and just start. Once I’m a couple of chapters in, it gets easier, but the first few are like pulling teeth.
You initially self-published The Songbird and the Soldier. What’s the difference between self-publishing and traditional publishing for you?
Traditional publishing is SLOW!! Self-pubbing, you’re (mostly) in control. Traditional, it’s out of your hands. This can be frustrating. The up side (personally) is the validation of your work. It makes me less guilty about ignoring the family to get some more writing done.
So do you feel like an author now? Are you going to be putting ‘Author’ on your passport soon? Absolutely not! Well… I did when I went for a meeting at HarperCollins in London and I have started admitting to it when asked what I do, but… Maybe it’s like a ladder: people like JK are on the top rung. I’m still languishing somewhere near the bottom.
By My Side
Any advice for those of us who still can’t even see the ladder?
Get to grips with some grammar, analyse stories as you watch and read them for why you liked/didn’t like them and how the writer achieved this and when you’re done, get an outsider’s opinion. Get an impartial editor to read your work *coughs JF into her hand*. The rest is finding a publisher/agent who likes the same thing as you. It’s just luck.
Read more from Wendy Jones at Amazon today. You won’t regret it.
Part of the fundamental joy about Doctor Who is its freedom to be anything, to go anywhere. That translates into media as freely as it does in the imagination – books, audio plays, online fan fiction, and comic strips are just as fertile a ground in which the Doctor can have adventures as the official TV show. This is a truth that kept the annuals filled, that launched the careers of many of today’s TV Who writers in the Virgin New Adventures, that has kept Big Finish in business for fifteen years, and that since at least the 80s has made the comic strip in Doctor Who Magazine a highly respectable medium in which the Time Lord can live.
It’s time to welcome a new player to the prism of new Who adventures. Titan Comics has commissioned original stories and turned them into comic books, interjecting new ideas into the mythos, giving die-hard fans new sparks for their imagination, and perhaps just possibly even winning some harder core comic book fans to check out the Doctor in other formats too in a geeky medium-crossover.
As WarpedFactor began reviewing Titan Comics titles, Tony read the company’s new adventure, The Weeping Angels of Mons.
‘Regeneration – it’s a lottery,’ said the Tenth Doctor in the 50th anniversary special.
Except of course in reality, it isn’t. Regeneration is one of the hardest decisions for any Production Team to make – who is your new incarnation going to be? How are they going to be different from the previous version? What’s the fundamental core of the character, and how do you show that while entirely changing the actor on whom you’re relying to bring life to the part?
There’s only ever been one Rani.
It’s all change in the Big Finish world, as an old favourite makes a return – in a new body. Tony weighed in on the new Rani.
“Ooh, crumbs, Chief, I think I’ve gone all wibbly-wobbly…”
Y’know, research for WarpedFactor articles is a very strange business.
Here I am, brain the size of a planet, 43 years on an increasingly rapid-running clock, and how did I spend last night?
Watching as many episodes of Dangermouse as I possibly could. This surely can’t be the right way for 43 year-olds to behave. But as I watched the entire first season of adventures with everyone’s favourite super-agent, I had an idea whose time surely should have come long before now. What if David Jason, household name in the UK and voice of Dangermouse as well as sooooooo very much else, had ever been offered the keys to the Tardis. What would that have been like?
Tony plays with time and causality and ends up in a universe where David Jason is the Seventh Doctor.