Sunday, 31 March 2013

Summer Falls

Winter Is Coming! as the book by one Amelia Williams goes on sale... Thanks to da professor for spotting this.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

I don't know where I am

The Bells Of St. John

And we’re off!

Well, I was good and avoided spoilers, so I got to go “whoa...” quite genuinely more than once.

So for those who also wish to avoid spoilers and thus go “whoa...” quite genuinely, click this cut later!

┓┏ 凵 =╱⊿┌┬┐

Friday, 29 March 2013

Behind The Sofa expanded second edition

From Gollancz this time, as reported by SFX.

Revised and expanded second editions normally make me a bit grumpy as an early adopter, but in this case all profits go to Alzheimer’s Research UK so I’m cool with it. The original was great, so a wider rerelease comes highly recommended. And now with Sophia Myles and the mighty Bernard Cribbins!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Art Of The Time Lords?

This DWAITAS thread noticed that the brass ball with blue and orange lipstick-looking points at the front of the Anomaly opener in Primeval is also the spinny thing on the Eleventh Doctor’s console in 2010...

And on the tray of alien artefacts in Torchwood... and a bomb attached to Lister in Red Dwarf...

(Correction: apparently it's not actually) by artist Chris Bathgate. (Which again raises the question of where it came from...)

So what might the other objects in the series be? They’re all quite abstract, but some suggest different shapes and sizes.

Take a look for yourselves before letting my ideas below the cut influence you...

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The Stamps Of Time

I have the Doctor Who stamps and they are awesome. And apparently record-breaking.

They even have a little TARDIS-shaped hole in the envelope so you can see the TARDIS on the info card insert. I have no idea why, but they do. And the classic Doctor one is in black and white!

Still not sure what the poor Ood did to deserve a space on the monster set, though. Indeed, the tiny comic in the presentation book describes him as a rogue Ood. Yes, it has a tiny comic! I am uncertain as to its place in canon...

New Radio Times, episode guide to Series 7B

And double-gatefold cover and name for the alien mummy and the faceless guys in top hats and dropping a star name for the finale and apparently The Last Cyberman is now Nightmare In Silver and oh, my dears, such spoilers we have! Maybe not the level of poor old Dalek Sec, but not for want of trying...

And the same tagline for Clara’s first cover as Martha got, “Who’s That Girl?”, although I reckon here it’s more pointed...

Monday, 25 March 2013

"A purple whisk would be even more exciting!"

SFX talk to Matt Smith, avoid spoilers apart from that returning monster one you surely cannot have avoided by now, and end up chatting about whisks.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Doctor Who And The Sincerest Form Of Flattery

The Pirate Planet is roughly the point where Doctor Who starts borrowing shamelessly from Star Wars - Landspeeders, wise monk types and K-9 all in a single episode.

Which naturally makes me think what other classics might have had a similar effect? Not a crossover, but borrowing motifs and integrating them into the Whoniverse.

We’ve already seen how Quatermass and The Avengers lead to the UNIT years, and the imprint of Buffy and Farscape on the Davies era and Harry Potter And The Time Of Moffat, so what other classics of the genre might the show have tried on for size?

The Doctor meets Clara... in a magazine?

Clever feature for The Times following their cover.

Possibly a magazine from the 1950s.

The prologue.

Or prequel if you will.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Dr. Livingstone, I Presume?

It’s the 200th birthday of Dr. David Livingstone. Not a Google Doodle, so here’s the totally awesome Ray Harryhausen statue at the Livingstone Centre in Blantyre instead.

50 great Who-ish moments from 50 years of Who

A big list on io9. Many of them dialogue, many of those about the Doctor's philosophy and/or loneliness.

Monday, 18 March 2013

"I'm getting a Dr. Who game together, and I need people's weird stuff"

Hello internet, I’m back after a weekend away, so a bit late to be passing this request along, but hopefully we can provide something suitably odd for a prospective Doctor Who GM.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Don't Panic

So to mark the event of his birthday, what Douglas Adams flavoured Doctor Who might inspire a game?

The Pirate Planet is the least famous of his three serials, and the most straightforward adventure as well. Space pirates! But what about this dropped plot thread, mentioned here? “Adams had conceived a drug addiction allegory, about a company which preys on people who fear death by offering machines which can slow time for them -- but at an exorbitant price. The company goes bankrupt, however, leaving one old lady in need of a source of fantastic energy.”

City Of Death is one of the classics (number 8 in the Mighty 200, while TPP is at 109, and on The List provided by Russell T Davies to show Julie Gardner what Doctor Who could achieve) so it’s too well-known to borrow from heavily with classic fan players, but the basic idea of a conspiracy working together across time could easily be used again. Or consider the earlier versions detailed here. Aliens cheating at a big casino... maybe they’re after a particular prize?

Shada is well-known for different reasons. It’s the unfinished classic of Doctor Who, since restored with the Fourth Doctor in bridging narration, the Eighth in animation, and Gareth Roberts in novel adaptation, as well as Adams recycling rather a lot into his Dirk Gently books. This means several versions exist, so you could lift from any and all of them. You could borrow the central MacGuffin of a Time Lord prison - a place isolated in time as well as space, with the most terrible criminals of millennia in there together. See also Timelash!

He also had a hand in Destiny Of The Daleks, so the Movellans are fair game too.

And from his time as script editor, we nearly saw a Gallifreyan political thriller by Christopher Priest and an alien world by John Lloyd of Not The Nine O’ Clock News and a great many things since like currently QI.

You could also quite fairly swipe plot elements from Life, The Universe And Everything, since it was nearly a Doctor Who story as well. The Krikkitmen started as a stand-in for the Daleks, apparently, although I doubt they would have cared quite so much about the Ashes. Note the reuse of a Time Lord prison and its basis in slow time - here enough to cover an entire planet and preserve it past the end of the universe!

Douglas Adams

Today’s Google Doodle.

I really don’t have to explain this one, do I?

Apparently its also Alex Kingston and John Barrowman’s birthdays as well... maybe everyone in the 51st century shares a birthday...

(And apparently this is my 666th post. Hail Gabriel Woolf!)

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Terror Of The Terileptils

Following on from the preceding nostalgic ramble, and Friends Of The Ood, some ideas for a highly obscure monster that I still love a bit.

The only Terileptils we’ve seen on screen are fugitive criminals, so again they might appear as a friendly-ish alien species. Still a bit warlike, and keen on making aesthetically pleasing killer robots, but probably not out to wipe out all indigenous life on Earth. Their government was part of The Alliance at the Pandorica, so willing to work with others to prevent the total destruction of the universe too...

So they’re advanced technologically, have an underworld, a bit fighty, like art...

A Terileptil artisan shows up in an otherwise unconnected story about killer robots, having been hired to make them by the villain.

Terileptil art thieves, planning a heist on a futuristic gallery (a space station, naturally, perhaps with localised gravity inspired by M.C. Escher) to steal a great classic like the Mona Lisa (the real one) or The Thinker or The Scream or Dogs Playing Poker. Happily using robots as a distraction, playing havoc with the systems (like the gravity).

A Terileptil team is doing well in this year’s robot gladiator arena, although they do rely on points for style more than they really should. (Borrow some suitably weird combat robots from Infinity for visuals.) So when one of them is murdered, the rival teams, the bookmakers, and a whole lot of other suspects have motive, means and opportunity. How long until another death? And how long before the travellers are targeted for sticking their noses in?

Revisiting The Visitation

Mentioning to Siskoid that his pilgrimage through Doctor Who was getting to the point I was around for, it occurred to me that the first TV story I really remember (as opposed to the comics or toys, of which I have spoken before) is Logopolis, mostly the end, probably as repeated before the start of the Fifth Doctor’s initial run in The Five Faces Of Doctor Who.

But the first TV story I could really tell you about from experience was The Visitation, the one with the Terileptils, sneaking about London in 1666, altering the Plague, and accidentally causing the Great Fire of London.

I knew that, unlike the Master from a few stories earlier (or the Daleks and Cybermen from the toys) the Terileptils were new, but I remember being impressed by the robot Death and their brightly coloured fishy look, clearly from a more exotic part of the space aquarium than the Sea Devils. I soon realised they weren’t going to become a big deal, but I still have fond memories of them.

(Oddly enough, real aliens using a fake ghost to scare people off is a bit Scooby Doo, isn’t it?)

I suspect it lodged in my mind most of all for the setting. Aliens in the future, or on a spaceship? Normal. Aliens in the present? Common enough. Aliens in Pudding Lane? Here was something I knew about from history at school (which now seems odd as I was seven, which seems a bit young for the Black Death) and no other show had something like that happening. Pseudohistoricals remain Doctor Who’s “killer app” to me, something it does better than anything else. You get schooling brought to life - and a monster to keep you interested if there aren’t enough swordfights anyway. Fantastic!

Basically, yes...

Via Euan on FB:

From Sam Hall.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

An Adventure In Conventions And Events

BBC to throw a three-day convention birthday party for Doctor Who in London for the fiftieth anniversary.

Hmm. Might have to try and pop along to that...


New DWM! Mostly sensible the-show-is-back and interviewing-actors stuff this month, but the end of the comic had me going 8o and that’s all I’ll say on the matter.

Coincidence? Or Not?!

Two SFX front page news stories made me notice something.

The hair! The tie! The waistcoat! The angle of the head!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

More photos

Which means more spoilers. And more of the same spoiler. And a new monster.

Among other things.

And Jessica Raine is in the fourth episode which also stars Dougray Scott. And both looking rather 50s... or early 60s... although apparently she isn’t reprising her role from An Adventure In Time And Space as Verity Lambert.

Which would be a heck of a Celebrity Historical for the 50th anniversary show, now I think about it...

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Space looks angry!


Toys: Less kvetching, more action (figures)!

Well, it seems I don’t personally know anyone who has the stuff needed to cast and resize action figure parts... but a customiser I’ve traded with before does. It would cost a bit, so probably not practical to get all the parts for the new Cyberman and the new classic monster and any new monsters I want, but I could certainly afford to scale up the Clara figure. Hmm...

(I should probably mention this on the Doctor Who Toys forum if I decide to go for it.)

It Is Time...

If you don’t want to know which classic alien is coming back in six weeks or so, don’t follow this cut!

Monday, 4 March 2013

The First Doctor Sourcebook review

By Gary Schaper on RPGnet.

GM's Day

... leads to a lovely week-long pdf sale at DriveThruRPG which includes Cubicle 7 among many other publishers (not least our friends at White Wolf).

Does your GM have Aliens And Creatures, The Time Traveller’s Companion, Defending The Earth, or both editions’ adventure books? Perhaps they’d run the adventures for you if they did...

How about Primeval or Dark Harvest or The Laundry while you’re there? Or that Victoriana adventure about the mummy might be adaptable. Or the Cthulhu Britannia one set on the Bass Rock... or... and those are just the ones I can give a personal recommendation to...

Doctor! Who! Magazine!

New DWM, now with thirteen exclamation points on the cover. And apparently the numbering has gone a bit superhero comic, with Clara getting her second Episode 1...

They note in the comments that “the Doctor Who BBC Wales team is referring to the next episode as 'Episode 1 of Series 7B'.” So there we go.

Meanwhile, Caro Skinner talks to SFX about Gaimanish Cybermen.
A baby born with HIV has effectively been cured.

Which is not a total cure. But it’s certainly something to celebrate.

World Music

Miriam Makeba, defining voice of world music. (Another in the Google Doodle series.)

She did remarkable things in her life, spoke for the fight against apartheid, met presidents and more. I can imagine the Doctor being a fan. Trying to get in to Kennedy’s birthday party to see her?

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Friends Of The Ood

A second set of Who stamps, with the TARDIS and four iconic monsters, three I can’t argue with... but the Ood?

Sure, they were scary - as possessed victim/weapons of ominous disembodied voices - in The Impossible Planet, The Satan Pit and The Doctor’s Wife, and their ultimate plan in Planet Of The Ood was creepy as all get-out, but we all have our off days, on the whole they’re not exactly the Master, are they? No, they’re lovely.

So let’s have some lovely Ood.

The Ood are off being wise and prescient and all-seeing, turning up when least expected (not generally in the loo) to offer guidance and advice, with optional ominous visuals and cryptic warnings, and also a nice cup of tea.

A temporal wonkiness leads to an Ood arriving in 1920s Rhode Island and fighting a time monster with the aid of H.P. Lovecraft, who is in two minds about the whole thing due to both dreading its tentacular foulness and appreciating its impeccable manners.

The TARDIS lands in a 44th Century explorer spaceship with a heroic multispecies crew including an Ood communications officer. It’s a minor detail of the Trek-alike adventure, which might make savvy players wary but is a total red herring. Include a running gag as it translates the monster’s threats in that perfectly placid and soothing voice: “Destroyer Prime says ‘My intention is the tear out your entrails and wear them as jewellery.’ How should I respond?”

Friday, 1 March 2013

Something you likely know, but nice to see...

Alasdair Stuart covers the Doctor sourcebooks on the SFX website.

New poster!

The Doctor! Clara! A motorbike! The Gherkin!

Oh yeah, and some monsters. Reflected in the larger shards.

Including that one returning after decades away - look at the big shard near the front wheel, and one of the ones between the bike light and the Gherkin.

And, er, the Spoonheads. They may be scarier than they sound.

Happy St. David’s Day everyone!
Want to sound off about the fiftieth anniversary and get your opinion printed in SFX?

I thought you might...