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Simon Guerrier

Författare till The Pirate Loop

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Verk av Simon Guerrier

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Allmänna fakta

Romsey, Hampshire, England, UK
Challis, Debbie (wife)



This is a superlative installment in the series. While most of it is shaped around Guerrier's own theories, he uses his extensive research on the early days of the series and story editor (and this story's writer) David Whitaker as firm grounding from which to extrapolate. He suggests some ways in which the script was developed and why, focusing less on its specific plot and more on how it reflects Whitaker's goals for the series and how he may even have intended it to serve as a final story (had the series not been extended beyond 13 weeks). These are presented as speculation, but Guerrier's analysis is incisive and never fails to sound more than reasonable; if not actually a true representation of Whitaker's thinking, they at least provide interesting new approaches through which to approach his work.… (mer)
saroz | May 27, 2024 |

We got a lot fewer books last year to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of Doctor Who than we did for the fiftieth in 2013. But this really makes up for it. David Whitaker was one of the crucial figures in early Doctor Who – script editor at the very beginning of the show, author of the first Doctor Who books, writer of eight Old Who stories; but dead at 51 in 1980, and so missing the extra lease of life given to many former Who creators by the explosion in fan activity later that decade.

Simon Guerrier has done a great job of telling the story of those 51 years in 413 pages. He complains near the beginning that most previous published accounts supposedly (and even actually) by Whitaker about his own life have turned out on investigation to be substantially untrue; details are wrong, achievements exaggerated, essentially the fiction-writer’s skill deployed to his own autobiography.

But Guerrier has mined the archives, talked to relatives (though again, a lot of them died young too), and dug through the assembled Who lore of the past six decades to paint a sober and intriguing picture of a man who knew he wanted to write but didn’t quite know how to do that for a living. He also brings in some vivid social research about Whitaker’s family background and his first marriage, and looks at how the BBC in the 1960s struggled to set up a career structure that adequately rewarded creativity. (I suspect it hasn’t quite got there even today.)

The documentary and memory trail goes a bit thin at the moment when Whitaker and his first wife went to Australia, and he came back a couple of years later with his second wife. It’s also a bit scanty at the very end, when his health broke down (probably from too much smoking) and he was unable to get work. But this is understandable, and doesn’t detract from the attractiveness of the book.

Myself, I was struck on reading it by how little people actually recall about Whitaker. Accounts of meetings and conversations where we know he must have been present just don’t mention him, and the drama doc An Adventure in Space and Time wrote him out of history completely. It reminded me of the protagonist of Bob Shaw’s A Wreath of Stars, who considered himself the human equivalent of a neutrino, a particle able to travel through the Earth without disturbing any other particle. When he went fully freelance at what turned out to be the end of his life, I got the sense that he couldn’t get work because very few people remembered who he was. Awfully sad.

Anyway, this is strongly recommended just as a good read about a creator who had a big success in his mid-thirties and was never quite able to find the magic ingredients again.
… (mer)
nwhyte | Mar 24, 2024 |
Dalek Empire is a 2001-08 audio spin-off series from Big Finish (its first, actually, I believe), chronicling a Dalek invasion of the galaxy, focusing on the humans caught up in it when the Doctor's not around to save anyone. I picked it up in a sale a few years ago, but have never actually gotten around to listening to it; there is always too much new Big Finish to listen to first! The range engendered a tie-in of its own, the sixteenth volume of Big Finish's Short Trips series of anthologies, which was released between the third and fourth series.

I haven't heard Dalek Empire, but I know the broad outlines of the plot; probably there's stuff here I'd get better having heard it, but I felt okay for the most part. Most of the stories here fall into two buckets. The first is made up of character studies of Dalek Empire's three human leads: "Kalendorf" by Nicholas Briggs and "Alby" and "Suz" by Sharon Gosling. "Kalendorf" takes place at the very beginning of the series, during the initial Dalek assault, while "Alby" and "Suz" take place later on, delving into the thoughts of those characters. They were all decent stories (I liked the horror of the Daleks in "Kalendorf") best, but also the ones that I suspect would most benefit from actually having heard the series.

Most of the rest of the stories are side stories to the Dalek invasion of the Milky Way, many of them including the Doctor in some capacity. But in these stories, he doesn't go around defeating dastardly plans; because the events of Dalek Empire already proceed without him, they're kind of what you might call "future historicals," featuring the Doctor on the fringes of future history, helping the little people, but not making any significant changes. My favorites among these included Ian Farrington's "Hide and Seek," where the third Doctor and Jo help a group of refugees evacuate; Farrington captures the Doctor and Jo particularly well.

The best of them as definitely Joseph Lidster's "Natalie's Diary," which is about a young woman named Natalie trying to stay alive during the Dalek assault on her planet, aided by the seventh Doctor, Ace, and Hex. As usual for Lidster, the strength of the story is in its characterization, as Natalie slowly discovers the hardness of the world she has come into. Ace and Hex aren't focal characters, but are deftly drawn, recalling one of Big Finish's best runs. The story is framed by a history student reading Natalie's diaries sometime later, which I think is set during the events of Dalek Empire III (when the Daleks return). The other ones are fine enough, though I found Ian Farrington's "Private Investigations" and Justin Richards's "Mutually Assured Survival" kind of pointless and dull.

There are two stories that break from this format. One is Simon Guerrier's "The Eighth Wonder of the World," which isn't a Dalek Empire tie-in at all, but a follow-up to the first Doctor serial The Daleks' Master Plan, featuring the sixth Doctor and Evelyn investigating what happened to a Dalek left behind in ancient Egypt during that adventure. Guerrier does his usual clever and interesting work, but it feels too fanciful in this context; Dalek Empire just isn't this kind of Dalek story.

The other is the volume's definitely standout, "Museum Peace" by James Swallow. Long after the events of Dalek Empire II: Dalek War, Kalendorf is retired and visiting a museum devoted to the Dalek War, contemplating how time has moved on. The Doctor is there, too (who he already knows; more on that in a minute), in his eighth incarnation, contemplating some terrible action against the Daleks. It's a deftly written, powerful story about grief and anger and moving on. Clearly when it was written, Swallow intended the eighth Doctor to be thinking about obliterating the Daleks, though subsequent revelations in "The Day of the Doctor" mean that can't be the case. But it holds up regardless—you can imagine the Doctor is at some terrible low during the Time War. (Or, in a very tenuous pet theory of mine, it takes place between To the Death and Dark Eyes, with the Doctor driven to despair.)

The book also includes the script for The Return of the Daleks, a 2006 audio drama that crossed the seventh Doctor into the events of Dalek Empire, as well as a sequel to the tv story Planet of the Daleks. (Hence, how Kalendorf knows the Doctor.) It wasn't a particularly great audio (I have actually heard it; it was a freebie for subscribers to Big Finish's main Doctor Who range), and reading a script is honestly never really that interesting. It feels like it's there to pad the book out—a whole forty pages! Given how many authors contribute two stories, one wonders if the volume was put together in a hurry.

(Despite the cover, the first, second, fourth, and fifth Doctors do not appear in this book.)
… (mer)
Stevil2001 | 1 annan recension | Jan 27, 2024 |


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Associerade författare

Eddie Robson Contributor, Author
Jacqueline Rayner Contributor
Marc Platt Contributor, Author
James Swallow Contributor, Author
Justin Richards Contributor
Jonathan Morris Contributor, Author
James Goss Author, Contributor
Nicholas Briggs Narrator, Executive producer
Paul Cornell Foreword, Contributor
Peter Anghelides Contributor, Author
Una McCormack Contributor, Author
Dan Starkey Narrator, Performer, Author
John Dorney Script Editor
Ian Potter Contributor, Author
Dave Stone Contributor
E.J. Swift Contributor
Claire North Contributor
Tiffani Angus Contributor
Richard Dunn Afterword
Adam Roberts Contributor
Richard De Nooy Contributor
Howard Hardiman Cover designer
James Smythe Contributor
Kim Curran Contributor
Archie Black Contributor
Roger Luckhurst Contributor
Gary Northfield Illustrator
Sophie Waring Afterword
Rose Biggin Contributor
M. Suddain Contributor
Martin Day Author
Lou Morgan Author
Ian Farrington Contributor
Lisa Bowerman Director, Afterword, director
Joseph Lidster Contributor
Frazer Hines Performer, Narrator
Jonathan Clements Contributor
Matthew Sweet Contributor
Andrew Cartmel Contributor
Xanna Eve Chown Contributor
Ben Woodhams Contributor
L. M. Myles Contributor
Ken Bentley Director
Terrance Dicks Contributor
Gareth Thomas Narrator, Performer
Tom Webster Cover Design, Narrator
Jan Chappell Narrator, Performer
Joff Brown Contributor
Paul Darrow Narrator, Performer
Tom Allen Narrator
Richard Salter Contributor
Stewart Sheargold Contributor
Kate Orman Contributor
John Isles Contributor
Ben Aaronovitch Contributor
Pete Kempshall Contributor
Neil Corry Contributor
Mark Wright Contributor
David Llewellyn Contributor
Jenny T. Colgan Contributor
Mark Morris Contributor
Andrew Smith Contributor
George Mann Contributor
Sin Deniz Contributor
Ian Mond Contributor
Laura Doddington Narrator, Reader
Anna Bratton Contributor
Sophie Aldred Narrator, Reader
Peter Davison Reader, Narrator
Jacqueline Pearce Narrator, Performer
Jean Marsh Narrator
Jonathan Blum Contributor
Robert Smith Contributor
Samantha Baker Contributor
Marcus Flavin Contributor
Simon Bucher-Jones Contributor
Scott Andrews Contributor
Carole Ann Ford Reader, Performer
Robert Dick Contributor
John S. Drew Contributor
Peter Purves Reader, Narrator
Matthew Griffiths Contributor
Sharon Gosling Contributor
Evie Dawnay Performer
Simon Hunt Sound designer
Ron Grainer Theme composer
Toby Robinson Studio engineer
Matthew James Contributor
Chris Wing Contributor
Arnold T. Blumberg Contributor
Beth Chalmers Performer, Narrator
Michael Montoure Contributor
Mark Smith Contributor
Caleb Woodbridge Contributor
James C McFetridge Contributor
Bernard O'Toole Contributor
Steven Alexander Contributor
Tim Lambert Contributor
Stehpen Dunn Contributor
Simon Moore Contributor
Michael Rees Contributor
Einar Olgeirsson Contributor
Michael Coen Contributor
Richard Goff Contributor
Dann Chinn Contributor
Nick May Contributor
J. R. Loflin Contributor
Andrew K Purvis Contributor
Mike Amberry Contributor
Violet Addison Contributor
John Callaghan Contributor
Gregg Smith Contributor
Cameron Mason Contributor
Jeremy James Narrator
Nick Walters Contributor
Dave Hoskin Contributor
David Cromarty Contributor
Anneke Wills Performer
Elliot Chapman Performer
Gary Russell Director
Wendy Padbury Narrator
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Richard Wright Contributor
Stuart Manning Contributor
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Steve Lyons Contributor
Andy Campbell Contributor
Tara Samms Contributor
Allyn Gibson Contributor
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Sean Williams Contributor
Matt Grady Contributor
Brian Dooley Contributor
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Huw Wilkins Contributor
Richard Fox Sound Design & Music
Derek Carlyle Narrator
Lauren Yason Sound Design & Music
Bo Poraj Narrator
Alex Mallinson Booklet Design
Katy Manning Narrator
Damien May Cover Illustration
Gemma Whelan Narrator
Andrew Whipp Narrator
Rufus Hound Narrator
John Banks Narrator
Janet Dibley Narrator
David Warner Narrator
Rosanna Miles Narrator
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Roly Botha Narrator
Doug Bradley Narrator
Paul McGann Narrator
Stephen Lord Narrator
Ian Brooker Narrator
Tom Mahy Narrator
Hugh Fraser Narrator
Louis Davison Narrator
Craig Kelly Narrator
Keeley Hawes Narrator
William Russell Performer
Howard Carter Composer
Michael Praed Narrator
Becky Wright Narrator
Alistair Lock Narrator
Julian Wadham Narrator
Colin Salmon Narrator
Joseph Kloska Narrator
Peter Miles Narrator
Simon Holub Cover Design
Dervla Kirwan Narrator
Debbie Chazen Narrator
Sasha Mitchel Performer
Nigel Lindsay Narrator
Stephen Greif Performer
Brian Croucher Performer
Paul Panting Narrator
Michael Stevens Executive producer


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