GUEST POST – Enlightenment of the Daleks: a Theory of their History

by James Blanchard

 

“Temmosus: We’ve changed over the centuries. Why shouldn’t they? The once famous warrior race of Thals are now farmers.

Dyoni: But the Daleks were teachers, weren’t they, Temmosus?

Temmosus: And philosophers.

Ganatus: Perhaps they are the warriors now.”[1]

In Dialectic of Enlightenment, Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno (building on Hegel) posit that the earliest humans realised themselves as individuals, or separate selves from the rest of the world, when confronted with nature. The tree or mountain or waterfall becomes the Other, the thing which the Self realises it separate from. But more than that, the encounter with nature is awful and terrifying, for nature holds absolute power over the early human; it can grant them favour or destroy them entirely. For that reason, the worship of nature and the association of ancient gods with natural forces is common in ancient societies – the forces of life and death are transformed into gods and demons.[2]

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GUEST POST – Myth v. Reality: the Thirteenth Doctor in the Expanded Universe

by Z.P. Moo

 

She’s here and she’s hit the ground (well, floor of a train carriage) running, the era of Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor has finally truly got started! It’s an exciting new era and, as someone who really enjoyed “The Woman Who Fell to Earth” and “The Ghost Monument“, it’s a good time to be a fan.

Except… that’s not really all true is it? If you’ve been closely following the expanded universe series for the last year and a half then you’ll have already encountered the Thirteenth Doctor a number of times before that episode had even had its title confirmed.

So the question is the following: What do these other appearances tell us about the Thirteenth Doctor’s role within the larger story of Doctor Who? And what do these things tell us to expect from her future episodes?

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GUEST POST – Amy Pond, mental health and me

by Jonne Bartelds

[Content warnings: mentions of depression and suicide.]

 

But if you’re out there and you’re drifting in space, the one thing that I wanna tell you, the one just little transmission from my spacecraft to yours is just the thing that I wish someone had been there to tell me those two nights when I tried it. It’s the simplest and most powerful phrase in the English language, I think:

I understand how you feel.”

– Oliver Thorn (Philosophy Tube), Suic!de and Ment@l He@lth

I understand. Really, I do.”

– Amy Pond, “Victory of the Daleks

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GUEST REVIEW – “The Lost Dimension”: Just another Who story?

by Z. P. Moo

 

For their now-annual summer event, Titan Comics Doctor Who ranges came together in 2017 to create the second-highest-profile multi-Doctor story of the year. The Lost Dimension is an odd beast. On one hand it’s an offshoot of one of the weirder and less coordinated areas of the expanded universe in the oft-overlooked comic medium, and yet it adds vast swathes of new information to the canon (in so far as such a thing as canon exists) and several interesting ideas and touches on a number of unusual concepts that the whole thing simply demands attention.

So for that reason I’ve decided to examine it and pick out some of what it touches on for closer inspection. It’s more than just another Doctor Who story.

Consider this your spoiler warning.

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GUEST POST – A Theory on the Origins of the Time Lords

by Enigma

 

Writers tend to be a bit vague on the ancient history of the Time Lords, don’t they? Some vague, mythologized notions and then handwaved away like it’s more trouble than it’s worth. Shame, really, Gallifrey’s got some real world building potential. You could pretty easily build a history from the, frankly still very little, fragments of modern Gallifrey (which I’m counting as Rassilon on) and the connection between the Time Lords and the TARDIS. So I figured, why don’t I take a stab at it? And I think I’ve come up with a perfectly solid prehistory for the species known as the Time Lords.

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GUEST POST – Cosmic Sciences – “Colony in Space”, and beyond

by James Blanchard

 

It is February, 1513, and somewhere in the region of Florence, Niccolò Machiavelli is strapped to a wall, his own weight steadily dislocating his shoulders. In the last few years of his career, the vying and scheming and warring of Popes and Princes has turned his home upside down. To anyone else, a united Italy would be a failed promise of the past, an empty chair in paradise. Instead, a few months later, Machiavelli writes a book.

Meanwhile – a long time ago on Gallifrey – a child is taken from her father’s estate, to become a student of the Cosmic Sciences. She hopes to be a master of them. Before she can, though, she must look into time, into a space in space, and report what she sees. In that schism, she sees both beginning and end, a trillion bricks made of tiny paradoxes, building a city where streets are made of time and homes of memory. She learns a truth, and, we’re told, goes mad.

In her future, there will be a colony in space. Built into the cliffs is the last vestige of a fallen civilisation, called the Primitives. Only its ruler has retained the ability to speak. Two fates are open to it: either it destroys itself or destroys the whole universe.

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GUEST POST – “Planet of the Ood”: the Terror of Empire

by Ricky Starr

 

It may-  or may not- surprise those outside of the UK that many people in Britain still hold the British Empire in some esteem. Much of this is due not to a cruel imperialist agenda, but simple patriotic ignorance. Indeed, Britain is a country that adores itself; it is successful in sporting endeavours, and can engage in collective enthusiasm for such peculiar things as the birth of a (royal) baby or winning a few games of football, with newspapers who typify headlines such as “BEST OF BRITISH”, so it is probably not a surprise that it seeps into some sort of collective consciousness that quite likes the union jack and thinks that maybe it should be in more places. It is not, apparently, a dangerous mindset. Yet, the average Brit does not ask questions. They do not attempt to reconcile xenophobia with a veneration for Mo Farah, and, similarly, they do not consider the implications of the foggy memory of Empire. They do not, as the Doctor points out, ask where their clothes came from, or who made them. The self-congratulatorily named Great Britain is far too busy thinking about itself, and its direct needs and wants and comforts, to worry about the wider implications even of a tax cut, or, in a more extreme sense, Primark clothes and imperial slavery.

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GUEST POST – South London Forever: Doctor Who and the Inner City

by Janine Rivers

 

And I don’t know anything,

Except that green is so green

And there’s a special kind of sadness

That only comes with spring.” [1]

south london1

A striking image: England’s capital city, caught in a stranglehold of vegetation.  A forest in the middle of Trafalgar Square, branches entwined in traffic lights, the Houses of Parliament rising out of the woodland in defiance, transformed into some storybook castle.

We hear news reports from the rest of the world; we hear other languages; we see the planet from afar, overrun with green.  But this is not a story about the rest of the planet, as the opening sequence establishes. This is a story about a city. Something has happened to London.

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GUEST POST – Chris Chibnall, Lizard People, and the reversal of narrative dead-ends

by Z. P. Moo

 

We’re getting a new showrunner in the form of Chris Chibnall!

Old news, I know, but one thing I recently noticed on a big marathon rewatch of the Matt Smith era of Doctor Who was that in all his pre-showrunner contributions there is only one classic series monster that we have seen Chibnall’s vision for.

That being the Silurians. In a total of four stories he has written for them in two. That’s half his portfolio of Doctor Who scripts, which means it is a good idea to take a closer look at these reptiles and see what new perspective he could bring to them.

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GUEST POST – Halfway Out Of the Dark, or why “A Christmas Carol” is so damn good

by Jonne Bartelds

 

It’s pretty much impossible to pick the best Doctor Who episode. After all, there’s 50+ years of televised content, not to mention the Expanded Universe, which, like our own actual universe, just keeps on expanding. Then there’s the fact that Doctor Who is so varied, spanning so many different genres, writers, directors, styles. Doctor Who, as a whole, is essentially a whole bunch of different shows, which all attract different kinds of people. So I don’t think you can objectively pick a best episode, and I won’t. What I can do, is make a case for my favourite episode.

Picking a favourite episode is still hard, though. There are so many I love, and which one I love the most tends to shift depending on my mood. But the one I always end up coming back to is A Christmas Carol. It is without a doubt the best Christmas special New Who has had (and with this much smaller pool, I think I can say that objectively). It is the rare episode of Doctor Who that I would actually consider nearly flawless. Everything comes together in such a beautiful way. It is funny and heartbreaking, it is dark and yet full of hope, and it is gorgeous.

The phrase ‘halfway out of the dark’ pops up a few times. Let’s talk about that, because it is really the core essence of this episode.

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