Saturday, 27 October 2012

Warren Ellis, Doctor Who Idea Factory

Since the comments here I have been considering this.

I am a Warren Ellis fan and I want a Warren Ellis episode of Doctor Who. This is rooted in his SF and adventure stories more than his superhero work, which still has plenty of spare ideas. His dialogue would be an added bonus, I think, but it’s the ideas that really work.

A lot of it straddles the line of cyberpunk and transhumanism, very much depending on what people have done to them and how they feel about it. That doesn’t fit the Whoniverse very well so what else would? (The Cybermen don’t work with it, and there isn’t much transhumanism on display aside from throwaway lines in Utopia: “Oh, you might have spent a million years evolving into clouds of gas and another million as downloads, but you always revert to the same basic shape. The fundamental human. End of the universe and here you are...”)

Individual issues of Transmetropolitan contain the kind of mad societies that would suit a single episode of the Doctor and companions solving their core problem. The Revivals, an underclass of people brought back from cryogenic suspension and then abandoned to go mad in a future they can’t deal with. The Reservations - experimental archaeology taken to its ultimate extreme, entire cultures recreated in isolation to see how they work, and including some for creating possible futures.

Planetary, likewise, could fuel episodes with oneshots like a group breaking quarantine to enter Monster Island, or the secret history of cannon-based space travel in the 1850s. Or the final issue’s concerns about turning on humanity’s first time machine and it being the earliest point time travellers could come back to and uncertainty becoming certain and the room therefore filling up with them immediately...

Roughly every other issue of Global Frequency (probably not the one about the massacre or the Simon Bisley one) contains an idea that would unpack neatly into a Who or Torchwood episode. A Cold War psychic spy whose powers are breaking down. A sound that makes people serve it. A bomb on the wrong side of the city in rush hour. A database that contains every secret.

Orbiter, where a space shuttle disappears... and returns ten years later loaded with alien technology.

Ocean, with the discovery of stasis pods in the waters of Europa, and a corporate space station run by people whose minds run on company software for the duration of their contracts.

Frankenstein’s Womb (which directly influenced the Mary Shelley episode of The Door In Time) has Mary enter Frankenstein Castle on her way to the Villa Diodati and there see the Creature, her own future and the future her writings create.

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