Doctor Who fiction
Decalog 3, Missing Pieces, and Destination Prague covers

Doctor Who fiction

written or edited by Keith R.A. DeCandido

"UNITed We Fall" in Decalog 3: Consequences
"Raymond's Room" in Missing Pieces
"Life from Lifelessness" in Short Trips: Destination Prague
The Quality of Leadership

When I was an eight-year-old kid, I had a small black-and-white TV in my room. One Saturday morning, I was flipping through the channels trying to find something, and there on Channel 9 (WOR, as it was then) was a show involving a bunch of people trapped on an island with a lighthouse. Much later, I would realize that this was "The Horror of Fang Rock," and that I had been exposed to Doctor Who.

That fateful Saturday morning started me on my second-longest-lived fandom (after Star Trek). I became a huge Who fan. Channel 9 was showing edited versions that included doofy voiceovers by Henry Silva. Later on, I discovered that three local PBS stations -- Channel 31 in New York City, Channel 21 on Long Island, and Channel 50 in New Jersey -- were showing the original British versions. For many years, we lived downstairs from my aunt and uncle, who would want to go out on Saturday night, and so I would babysit their young child. Those Saturday nights upstairs were often spent watching Channel 50's "Doctor Who movies," where they'd air an entire adventure straight through, rather than divided into its original 22-minute installments (which was how Channels 21 and 31 showed them).

Skip ahead to 1996. While Who has gone off the air (though an American film is in development), Virgin Books is still publishing a fairly successful line of Who novels. Like Star Trek and Star Wars in this country, Who is a big enough phenomenon in the UK to keep a book line alive even without a new product on screen. At this point, I'm an editor at Byron Preiss, and I've been talking with British writer Andy Lane about doing an X-Men story (which he did, in collaboration with Rebecca Levene, for The Ultimate X-Men in 1996), and he mentions that he and Justin Richards are putting together a Who anthology. I wind up pitching a story, they take it, and thus "UNITed We Fall" was born.

The story -- which paired two of my loves, the Tom Baker Doctor and the city of New York -- gained me a rather dubious and irrelevant distinction: I became the first native-born American citizen to write official Doctor Who fiction. (The qualifiers are there due to John Peel being an American citizen by marriage; he was born in England.) Sadly, the anthology it appeared in, Decalog 3: Consequences, one of four Decalog anthologies Virgin published, is now out of print.

While BBC Books now has the license, other companies have had a go at Who, including some charity anthologies that were put together. I contributed to one of those: Missing Pieces, which was published in 2001 to benefit the Foundation for the Study of Infant Death and the Downs Syndrome Association, and also included contributions from Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Wendy Padbury, and Sylvester McCoy. My story, called "Raymond's Room," was an offbeat tale of the Davison Doctor, Tegan, and Nyssa in Key West, Florida.

I returned to Who fiction in a big way in 2007, thanks to Big Finish Audio Productions. While BF's primary focus is audio dramas, and they have done many excellent ones in the Whoniverse, they also have a limited fiction license that allows them to do short stories using the first eight Doctors, which they put together in anthologies called Short Trips, each put together by a different editor. Editor Steven Savile invited me to do a story for his Short Trips anthology, Destination Prague. My tale, called "Life from Lifelessness," actually involves two Doctors, Tom Baker and William Hartnell, as well as the first Romana, K-9, and Susan, though it's not a crossover as such. It also involves one of Prague's most famous legends, to wit, the Golem of Prague.

In 2008, Big Finish released another Short Trips anthology called The Quality of Leadership, which was edited by me! The anthology was conceived by my old buddy John S. Drew and put together by self. The concept is simple: the Doctor has had many encounters with leaders over his lives, and this anthology chronicles a bunch of them, ranging from King Arthur and King Henry VIII, to Martin Luther and Plato, to Roman Emperor Theodoric and rebels against Rome Queen Boudicca, Spartacus, and Calpurnia, to leaders on the planets Mitidiki, Zalezna, and Rishik, to Sir William Wallace and the night manager of an American department store.

Here's the table of contents:

This is the first professional Who fiction by Peter David and Diane Duane, which rather surprised me -- and I'm thrilled to be the editor responsible for getting them to finally do so. It's also the first solo prose fiction sales for Kathleen David and Linnea Dodsdon, which I'm equally proud of. And all the stories are most excellent, if I do say so myself. You can find out yourself by ordering it from Big Finish.



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