Posted onJuly 19, 2016
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Coming soon from Obverse Books is A Target for Tommy – an unofficial “fanthology” of Doctor Who adventures to support Children’s writer/Who author/all-round decent bloke Tommy Donbavand.
Tommy is currently undergoing treatment for throat cancer, leaving him unable to undertake the school workshops that provide a substantial part of his income. He’s been documenting his battle against cancer in this moving and painfully honest blog which I urge you to take a look at.
Paul Magrs and Stuart Douglas had the idea of putting together a collection to show support and raise some funds to help out. A veritable cornucopia of writers have rallied round to provide stories. Here’s the full line-up:
Sharon Trezenga – Street of the Scream
Barry Hutchison – Curse of the Bog Women
Paul Magrs – Miss Hawthorne and the Alpaca of Doom
Andrew Hunt – The Triplet Impertinence
Sarah Hadley – Sweetie
Elton Townend Jones – The Blurred Man
iain McLaughlin – The Other Three Doctors
Lawrence Burton – The Time Wrestlers Edit
Andrew Hickey – The Bogeyman
Daniel Blythe – The Channel Hoppers
Kara Dennison – Doctor Who and the Viking
Andrew Lawston – Time War Cutaway
Nick Campbell – The Secret Keeper
Nick Wallace – 13 Synopses
Matt Bright – Eyebrows and Fish
Rachel Redhead – The Doctor and the Witch
Philip Ardagh – What the Who?
Philip Marsh – The Palace
Roy Gill – Deus ex Food Machine
Ian Potter – Leo Reflects
Simon Forward – Companions
Blair Bidmead – Significant Others
Stuart Douglas – Mapp, Lucia and the Lords of Time
Una McCormack – Directors Cut
Simon Bucher-Jones – The Ox Bow Train
Stewart Sheargold – Rock n Roll Alien
Paul Cornell – The Last Doctor
Steve Cole – Dr Who and the Mytex Power
The pleasure of collections like these is the chance to be a little playful – or as Matt Bright put it “to do whatever the hell you want and screw canon and ponderous self-importance”. I took the chance to write something involving the original TARDIS team of Ian, Barbara and Susan.
I first encountered this line-up in “Doctor Who and the Daleks” – David Whitaker’s brilliant novel adaptation of the original Dalek story. It was a much-read book for me as a kid, and I think for that reason they all seem to be very vivid and distinct characters in my imagination. Deus Ex Food Machine is an affectionate interlude that takes place between some of their adventures. Here’s a tiny sample:
I sat on the couch in the TARDIS lounge, my fingers picking at the bindings on my leather gauntlets.
“Here, let me –” said Barbara.
I offered a smile of thanks.
The Doctor was as brisk and blithe as ever. For such an old man, it often seemed to me he recovered surprisingly quickly from our various trials and excursions. “I fancy we could all do with some dinner,” he announced. “Venusian Night Fish for me.”
“Of course, Grandfather.” Susan crossed to the food machine, and started tapping buttons.
“Wait a minute, child! I haven’t given you the code.” The Doctor drew a diary from his pocket and began to leaf through the pages. “No, no, no… Ah, yes! That is it. X L 4 2 8 5 J… Or could that be a ‘K’? Dear me. Whoever wrote this had the most appalling handwriting…”
Susan waited obediently. She had long since memorised the sequence for all the old man’s favourites, but she would never have hurt his pride by pointing that out.
“Whoever tied these knots,” said Barbara, picking away, “had the most devious technique possible.”
“That sounds about right.” I sighed and rubbed at the bristles on my chin. “I can’t wait to get cleaned up. My grooming has rather gone to pot these past weeks.”
“Oh, I don’t know.” Barbara shot me a glance. “I think that beard rather suits you, Ian.”
“Oh yes, Mr Chesterton. Do keep it!” said Susan, her eyes glinting mischievously. “It’s absolutely fab!”
“Hmmm. Don’t think I can’t tell when I’m being teased…”
I sank back on the couch.
It had been another of the Doctor’s typical misadventures – and I was still recovering…
If this sample intrigues you, please hurry over to Obverse and grab a copy! And if it doesn’t – surely one of the other brilliant stories will! So – what are you waiting for?