CONTENTS
 
 
PIE IN THE SKY
DOCTOR WHO

Who, Me? Anything, Anytime!

Like so many people who grew up with ABC TV's pre-news Hour of Power, I have retained a great fondness for both The Goodies and Doctor Who. I am a fan in the truest sense of the word, not a fanatic, and although I'd love to see The Goodies' incidental music dejunked and released, it's not the sort of obsession I bore people with at parties. Yes, I've downloaded the Mania font. No, I don't wear a long, multi-coloured scarf.

Doctor Who being the more enduring (if not necessarily the more endearing) of the two programmes, unsurprisingly it has loomed transdimensionally large amidst my writerly ambitions. I have a couple of Doctor Who story ideas bubbling away -- one each reflective of my background in ancient history and science fiction -- and would more than happily serve them up as short stories, audio or television scripts, or (joy of joys) novels.

Echo of Achilles. The year is 327 BC and Alexander the Great is marching deep into Sogdiana (modern day Uzbekistan). As the First Doctor and Steven -- and with disturbing simultaneity, the Fifth Doctor and Peri and also the Tenth Doctor and Martha -- become embroiled in the Callisthenes Affair and the Pages' Conspiracy, it soon emerges that Macedon's great warrior king is living out an identity crisis. He has come to believe his own propaganda and now thinks himself to be at once the son of Zeus, a descendant of Hercules and the one true successor to Achilles. History has recorded many stories about Alexander, but how much truth lies windswept and buried in the sands of Sogdiana? What, when fact meets fiction, is history? And how safe can that history be when Alexander's goat horn helmet plays host to an alien parasite grown fat on their union? Perhaps Callisthenes holds the key to understanding, but Alexander has thrown his official historian into a cage and so the truth now resides very much on the wrong side of the lock. With events playing out both on and off the record, what really is the difference between Alexander's lust for power and his power for lust? As the king invites Steven to join him in conquering the world, and Peri and Martha to sit beside him as queen(s), the Doctor(s) must face up to the disquieting prospect that Alexander's may not be the only personality thus split by the fissures of history.

The Pranksters. A long time from now in a galaxy far, far removed, two humanoid races face off in a Homeric but hamstrung war, their militant zest soured somewhat by randomly appearing voids in which the traditional laws of physics turn gratingly twisted. Interloping on their battlefields are two alien species -- the mischievous Pranksters and the diabolical Pinheads -- and also, when the familiar wheezing, groaning noise dies down, the First Doctor and Steven, who have reached a heated impasse following events in The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve. While the Doctor proclaims that history must remain sacrosanct (only to tut and tsk at the combatants' bumbling incompetence and so be flattered into helping them design siege engines), Steven is caught in a practical joke and thence drawn into a running battle with the Pranksters. Before the time travellers can extricate themselves from these distractions, a pocket of grotesque physics shoots them fifty years into the future, where the Homeric war has been greatly advanced and the TARDIS now is lost behind the battlements of a vast, impregnable city. Forced into further meddling, the Doctor must risk proving himself right: will his interference finally impart too great a strain on the already over-stretched timelines of history? And if the situation isn't dire enough (what with the nefarious Pinheads bent on learning the secret of time travel, and the Pranksters' japes escalating far beyond a joke), further bouts of warped physics soon send the Doctor and Steven skimming forth across the surface of time, bound by causality's repercussions and seemingly headed for a date with Nemesis.

 
 
EXCERPTS
 

  - random selection from the unpublished memoire, Freefall