Official Lawrence Miles Statement

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Dogsbody D

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Aug 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/17/99
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I'll Get My Coat: The Final and Definitive Statement of
Lawrence Miles

(Supposing you found out that everything you thought was
completely right. Wouldn't that be scarier?)

Hi. This isn't an attempt to start a discussion of my own, because (a)
I'm not actually connected to the WorldWide Web, and (b) I don't know
anything about newsgroup protocol anyway. (For example, I've only
just figured out that there's no such thing as a sarcastic tone of
voice on the internet, and that people therefore can't tell when you're
taking the piss. Remind me of that the next time I say anything about
any other Doctor Who writers. Or their pets.) This is my version of a
press release, I suppose. Am I allowed to do that, or what?

Firstly: yes, *Interference* is my last Doctor Who book, and no, I have
no idea why anybody thinks I've got another one coming out in March. Until
a few days ago, I was seriously thinking about writing one more, simply
because Stephen Cole told me that it wouldn't be *too* hard getting hold
of the rights to use the Daleks. Frankly, a Dalek book sounded too good
to resist. Now, however...

Well, to be honest, I feel like I've lost my mandate. The thing about
*Interference* is that I took the writing of it very seriously indeed, which
I suppose is a bad habit for a Doctor Who writer, but what can you do? That
bloody book *changed* me; it made me face up to things I hadn't wanted to
think about, and as a result I feel like a completely different individual to
the one who started work on it. And because I was so lost in the guts of it,
because I believed (and still believe) that it's the best thing I've ever
written, I ended up convincing myself that it was a Great Work. "Great" with
a capital "G", of course, meaning "very big" rather than "very good". It
never occurred to me that anyone might see things differently. I mean, I knew
a lot of people wouldn't like it, obviously, but I think I assumed that even
those who hated it would see it as a work of High Bigness.

Stupid mistake, really. The truth is, *Interference* is *so* big - not
just in length, but in the amount of ground it covers - that everybody
can find something in it they object to. Which means that even people who
like the book only like it conditionally. I don't know exactly how to
explain this, but ... writing's a vocational thing for me, not just a
job. I think every book I've written has been better than the previous
one, because I feel as thought I've got a moral duty to make sure it
happens that way. And here's where the problem lies. If I wrote another
Doctor Who novel, I'd have to make it better than *Interference*. But
the reaction to *Interference* has been so "conditional" - just look
at those magazine reviews, for God's sake! - that writing my Great
Dalek Novel would be a horrible, heartbreaking experience. Bettering
*Interference* would be a gut-wrenching task in itself, but at the
same time I'd have to be aware that nobody really liked *Interference*
much to begin with. All in all, I'd probably go mad.

I think it was the review in DWM that finally settled things. I mean,
I'm used to bad reviews by now, and I've had a lot worse in the last
couple of years. But it wasn't what Ness Bishop said that hurt so
much, it was her reasons for saying it. All the things she had a
problem with in *Interference* are side-effects of the way I write...
in short, it's not the book that's the problem, it's me. I have to
face the fact that whatever I write from now on, I'm never going to get
a better response, because that's who I *am*. Which is as good a reason
for retiring as you'll ever hear.


There are two kinds of Doctor Who writers, of course. There are people
who do things the old-fashioned way - John Peel immediately springs to
mind, for some reason - and there are people like me, who only exist to
mess things up a bit. I wanted to write a Dalek book because none of the
messing-things-up writers have ever gone anywhere near the Daleks;
because I imagined that when the news reached the newsgroups, even people
who didn't like any of my other books would be surprised/confused/curious.
(And I know I'm not the only one to feel that way, seeing as one other
less-than-traditional writer also planned a Dalek book that fell through...)
However, after *Interference*, I have to face up to the truth. For an
awful lot of people, it wouldn't be a case of "Wow, Lawrence Miles is
writing a Dalek book". It'd be a case of "Christ, doesn't he *ever* give
it a rest?".

Which is what I mean when I say that I feel like I've lost my mandate.
It's not polite for any writer to keep churning out books and expecting
people to buy them, especially when he knows that most of the readers
aren't on his side to begin with. And if even the people who quite like
*Interference* are having problems with large chunks of it, then I've got
to acknowledge that the longer I go on, the less people I'm going to
have behind me. I don't have the ego to fight a single-handed war
against the continuity, basically. Which is why I'm not writing any more
books, which is why I'm not even going to be tempted by the prospect of
Daleks, and which is why - ultimately - this is going to be my last
posting around here for a while.

Goodnight and thankyou,

L.M.

P.S. Whatever Gary Gillat says about the DWM interview, I don't remember
giving my "frank opinions" about any of the other writers. Then again,
David Darlington kept buying me vodka throughout the afternoon, so my
memory of things isn't exactly perfect. I know I said something damning
about Christopher Bulis at one point, but *that's* hardly going to set
the world on fire.


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
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Shaun Lyon

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Aug 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/17/99
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Lawrence Miles wrote:

> Hi.

What truly amazes me is that, in the circles I travel (American
fandom), Lawrence Miles is without a doubt currently the most popular
novelist of the group. I may be oblivious, but I'm at a loss to
understand this; I haven't seen much of the negativity. (And certainly
I'm well plugged into American fandom...)

Cheers!

Shaun
http://www.gallifreyone.com
--
Posted via Talkway - http://www.talkway.com
Exchange ideas on practically anything (tm).


JeffWorks

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Aug 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/17/99
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Shaun Lyon says that, in America, Laurence Miles is the most popular novelist.
In THAT case, I think all of us who like his work (and I unfortunatley haven't
read any of it) should praise him before he decides to go hang out with the
B'omarr monks and give up writing altogether!

o--c
___
| _ _ _ | | _ _ _
| |_ |_ |_ | | | | | |_| |/|_ remove "hormel" to reply
|_| |_ | | |_|_| |_| | \ |\ _|
Building the foundations for a spookier tomorrow...


Richard Rhodes

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Aug 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/17/99
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I'd just like to say - haven't read "Interference" yet: will be soon - but I
have read "Alien Bodies" - one of the best and most challenging 8th Doctor
stories - and one which kept me reading the series when I'd come to the
point of giving up on it!

So sod the critics and keep up the good work. OK there'll always be those
people who dislike something about what's been written - one of those
things. But at least you've got the guts to do something fresh rather than
vapid recycling.

So - do the Dalek book - or else we'll send the boys round!!!

RICHARD


Dogsbody D <mark...@menace.ndo.co.uk> wrote in message
news:7pc7fh$b1a$1...@nnrp1.deja.com...

Andy

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Aug 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/17/99
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Hey come on, so you wrote a bad book. Stop crying about it, learn from your
mistakes and make the next one better.

Christmas on a Rational Planet, Alien Bodies and Dead Romance have all been
excellent. One bad book (and I mean one, Interference isn't really two
books) is no reason to give up.

I hated Interference, but go ahead and write your Dalek book.
I'll buy it.

--Andy

LennyTyke

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Aug 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/17/99
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I would like very much, I think, if someone could pass this message on so that
Lawrence Miles could see it - simply because I feel I want to apologise for my
response to Interference, which his statement makes plain was very personal to
him.

I wrote that I hated the story, that it seemed to rip off one of my ideas and a
whole lot more vitriol besides.

However, the source of the majority of my reasons for disliking it came from
one reason, which in part Lawrence Miles identifies himself - that it tries to
do too much. For me, there is a perfectly good, solid, and potentially
brilliant story in there (which I recognise as being basically the same as the
proposal I sent off - but perhaps I'm not as good a writer as Mr. Miles yet!).
However, it is brought down by a whole heap of baggage that was unnecessary in
the end. Ideas, which maybe part of this 'story arc' we hear so much about,
but none the less broke with the spirit of Dr. Who as I recognised it.

I don't know how much of the story, as opposed to the style, was this 'it's not
the book; it's me' business. The story was a poor one, when expanded to two
volumes. A lot of the side-elements (such as the Doctor in the prison) felt
to me like betrayals of the fundamental core of Dr. Who; not its internal
history, but the very nature of the story itself. But these are surely just
individual concoctions; not a part of the 'self' of writing?

And yet, I know that the style of writing and the way of putting things
together actually is good. To a certain extent, it might be classed as genius
(on the strength of Alien Bodies alone, I placed Lawrence Miles as 3rd best
writer in the BBC ranges). To lose that, from one poor showing, would be
tragedy of the highest order.

I would say this: It is extremely obvious now, looking back at the two novels
in question, that Lawrence Miles put a great deal of himself into them. I
would say that with Doctor Who that is a mistake, to a certain extent (after
all, it is impossible to write without putting something of oneself into the
story!). 'Doctor Who' is a joint effort, a product built up over thirty-six
years by the teamwork of scores of authors, I don't know how many script
editors and producers, and at least eight actors.

I wrote that Interference was like a smiley scrawled on the face of a
masterpiece that had been built up out of many spots of paint by the artists
before. The image holds, I think, but I do not mean it as a completely
negative criticism - in some fiction, such personal expression is great. But
I would say that there is less room in an on-going saga like Doctor Who for
personal expression than in a stand-alone work.

I would very much like to read more Doctor Who written by Lawrence Miles. And
it wouldn't take much to improve on Interference. Interference suffers from
trying too hard to be a masterpiece in its own right. A novel with less
ambition but more passion for the entirety of Dr. Who (whether to confuse the
issue or otherwise!) would always outshine Interference. Interference was big
in scale and length. The latter was its main problem; the former was neither
here nor there.

If only one part of this message reaches Lawrence Miles, I want it to be this:
Lawrence Miles, you can easily better Interference, simply by not trying to
better it (that sounds like Alice in Wonderland or doublethink, but it does
work!). And even I, a great hater of Interference, would hate that one bad
spot should be reason enough that anyone should quit. Everyone has a project
that doesn't work out - the thing to recognise is that it nearly always comes
of trying too hard. Please please please don't give up on Dr. Who just
because of one reviewer's comments!

Oliver James Thornton

Sean Gaffney

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Aug 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/17/99
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Lawrence wrote:

> Hi. This isn't an attempt to start a discussion of my own, because (a)
> I'm not actually connected to the WorldWide Web, and (b) I don't know
> anything about newsgroup protocol anyway. (For example, I've only
> just figured out that there's no such thing as a sarcastic tone of
> voice on the internet, and that people therefore can't tell when you're
> taking the piss. Remind me of that the next time I say anything about
> any other Doctor Who writers. Or their pets.) This is my version of a
> press release, I suppose. Am I allowed to do that, or what?

Damn straight. You're far more polite than 9/10 of radw. Just be
prepared for a discussion. Even if you never read this (and you say
you won't read more radw), I'm going to respond anyway, simply because
your message stirred in me a need to respond.

> Stupid mistake, really. The truth is, *Interference* is *so* big - not
> just in length, but in the amount of ground it covers - that everybody
> can find something in it they object to. Which means that even people who
> like the book only like it conditionally.

Welcome to the wonderful world of epics. The bigger a story, the more
smashing plot threads, wonderful new characters, amazing deus ex machinas
from hell that are in there, the more likely someone will say that the
Doctor's never been that shade of pink before, you bastard. ^_^ I think
that your problem - and one of the things that makes you a fabulous writer,
btw - is how passionate you get about your work. You put so much of
yourself into your writing, so much of your pain and joy and soul, that
when people criticize it it's like they're hurting you. (Listen to me:
Dr. Katz, Author Therapist. :-P) Personally, I envy that. I'm an amateur
writer, and one of the problems I see with my work is a tendency to look
at it too dispassionately, to try to follow the function rather than the
form. What you do, though... your works SHOW how much you put into them.
Not just effort, but spirit.

> I think it was the review in DWM that finally settled things. I mean,
> I'm used to bad reviews by now, and I've had a lot worse in the last
> couple of years. But it wasn't what Ness Bishop said that hurt so
> much, it was her reasons for saying it. All the things she had a
> problem with in *Interference* are side-effects of the way I write...
> in short, it's not the book that's the problem, it's me. I have to
> face the fact that whatever I write from now on, I'm never going to get
> a better response, because that's who I *am*. Which is as good a reason
> for retiring as you'll ever hear.

I've never managed to take reviews that seriously, possibly as I've
written them for 5 years on here, on and off (mostly off now). But from
what I've read of Vanessa's reviews, they reflect her biases just as much
as any reviewer's. After reading a reviewer for a while, you start to
get a feel for what they're going to say. In addition, what with the
Internet making it easy to find out about books up to a year in advance,
there's no way to come into the book unbiased. Everyone saw '2 books,
writes out Sam, multi-doctor, etc.' and got these INCREDIBLE expectations.
Ask Lance about the reception for Infinity Doctors, which if I recall,
was very similar to the one for Interference.

> I have to face up to the truth. For an
> awful lot of people, it wouldn't be a case of "Wow, Lawrence Miles is
> writing a Dalek book". It'd be a case of "Christ, doesn't he *ever* give
> it a rest?".

This is true, but for a lot of others - more than you imagine - it would
be along the lines of 'Fuckin' A, YEAH! Lawrence writing a Dalek book!
This is gonna be AMAZING!'. There is, thank the Lord, not merely one type
of Who fan.

> Which is why I'm not writing any more
> books, which is why I'm not even going to be tempted by the prospect of
> Daleks, and which is why - ultimately - this is going to be my last
> posting around here for a while.

Well, that's up to you. I personally feel that if the act of writing
will cause you that much hurt, then you *shouldn't* do it anymore - when
it's lost its fun, it's time to stop. On the other hand, consider the
legacy you're leaving. Alien Bodies has become the yardstick on which
8DAs are judged, and Dead Romance is looking to become the same for the
Benny NAs. If you take away one thing from this, let it be how many
people were truly enthralled reading your writing, rather than those who
weren't.

Whatever you do, I wish you the best. And if you can find your muse
again, please come back. Some of us still love the ride.

--Sean Gaffney, Happy Guy
--who apologizes for this post sounding like pretentious crap...

John Hutton

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Aug 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/17/99
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Dogsbody D <mark...@menace.ndo.co.uk> wrote:
> I'll Get My Coat: The Final and Definitive Statement of
> Lawrence Miles

<<SNIPPED post by Lawrence Miles>>

Errr.....


Hmmmm....


Mind you I *LIKED* Interference....


Errr....

About the only polite thing I can say after reading that post is: I can't
wait to see what David McIntee's reaction to this will be....

Hmmm... maybe I could sell tickets...

John Hutton
por...@calweb.com


Benjamin F. Elliott

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Aug 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/17/99
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Hmm. Always sad to see an author call it quits and leave
forever, no matter what your opinions are of the author.

Strangely, I'm trying to read my first Miles book right
now. I'm 60-some pages into Down, and falling asleep every
few pages. (Rather like the early portions of Sky Pirates!,
the first Dave Stone book I read, so it may not be an
actual fault of the story.)

Based on reviews, I've been keeping an eye out for Alien
Bodies. I get the impression I'll either love or hate that
installment. And I was going to get Interference 1 + 2, but
the BBC has raised the price of the new books to $6.95, so
I'll be avoiding them like all the other $6.95 titles. (I
have many books yet to buy and read before I have to
consider compromising that position.)

Well, I guess all I can do is wish Mr. Miles well. You
wrote some books which garnered a lot of debate. I know at
least 2 fans whose Doctor Who experiences have been deeply
affected by reading your works. Those naps I've had in Down
were really needed, and I'm determined to finish the book
to see if my brain can somehow figure out what's going on,
whether it's a Sky Pirates! or a lowly Oblivion.

Best of luck, Mr. Miles, in all future Who and non-Who
ventures.

Benjamin F. Elliott

* Sent from RemarQ http://www.remarq.com The Internet's Discussion Network *
The fastest and easiest way to search and participate in Usenet - Free!


Helen

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
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Andy wrote in message <7pcm1o$e1r$1...@nclient15-gui.server.virgin.net>...

>
>Hey come on, so you wrote a bad book. Stop crying about it, learn from your
>mistakes and make the next one better.

But it's NOT a bad book...

It's different, its innovative, it pushes the limits. Mark - Jess just tell
him some of us love it to bits.. ok??

H

Matt Michael

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
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Dogsbody D wrote in message <7pc7fh$b1a$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>...

>I'll Get My Coat: The Final and Definitive Statement of
>Lawrence Miles


Unfortunately Lawrence can't read this but...

I thought that "Interference" was not only the best DW book I have ever
read, but also one of the best books I've ever read. It's about perception,
and perception of perception (at least that's what I perceive it to be about
:). It's one of the few DW books that has genuinely got me thinking -
thinking about big, scary things. But then, it's big and scary book and it
laughs at the pettiness of continuity and even retro- (and surely that
stands for retrogressive and not retroactive) continuity. It's a great
book, not only in length (the first true DW epic?) but in quality. It's got
more imagination on each and every page than certain authors have shown in
all their books added together. It's unprecedented. It's fantastic. It's
the best excuse for employing an author that I have ever seen. Another
Lawrence Miles novel is (other than the next Cornell) the only thing that
*really* excites me when it comes to the book range.

Sod the critics, Lawrence, publish and be damned.

matt

Susannah Tiller

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
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And tell him this:

Even if all of fandom doesn't agree on Interference, the books range
will be much, much, much poorer without Lawrence Miles. The ideas raised
in all of his books have had a huge influence on just abut every book in
the range.

There will always be fans who don't like the newest book/video/whatever.
Every consistently popular book has its detractors - some of the biggest
flamewars we've had recently here have been to do with generally
well-acclaimed books like The Scarlet Empress and Unnatural History.

Unfortunately, sometimes this can be too intense and too personal;
RADW's managed to drive away a few authors by being overly critical. now
it seems we've managed to drive away someone who doesn't even have net
access.

Don't let them do it, Lawrence! Even if there are people out there who
don't like your books there's always people here who do!!

Regards,
Susannah
P.S. Lawrence, if you do ever get to read this, thank you for signing
those copies of Inty for me!
--
Susannah Tiller - susanna...@studentmail.newcastle.edu.au
http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Nebula/5460/index.html
"The right to be heard does not automatically include the right
to be taken seriously" - H. H. Humphrey

Ben Woodhams

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
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So.
Farewell then,
Lawrence Miles.

“Treat continuity as a dog treats a freshly mowed lawn”
That was your catchphrase.
Or maybe it wasn’t.

Either way,
I’d like to see Roy off the telly do a silly computer graphic of that one.

OK, apologies in advance for this. It’s late, I’m tired, and to cap it
all, my entire library decided to liberate itself from the wall on
Sunday morning. Two tons and twenty years of books come raining down,
trashing my record-player and speakers, ruining about £300-worth of
shelves and just generally hassling with my mellow. Luckily, no-one was
underneath it when this happened, or we’d be talking fatalities, no
joke. Anyway, enough of me - all of that’s just a feeble attempt to
justify the rambling, incoherent nature of the following attempt to
disappear up my own arse.

I was somewhat disturbed to read Lawrence Mile’s comments on why
‘Interference’ is to be his last ‘Doctor Who’ book. He’s clearly made
his mind up, and I don’t suppose for one moment that anything that gets
written here is going to change it. That doesn’t mean, though, that I
don’t feel like trying to explain what I feel is going on.

Obviously, this is more than a simple case of a writer taking it hard
when the reviews are somewhat less glowing that s/he might like. LM
feels he’s given as good as he’s likely to get with this one, really
blown his guts out over it, and if the best result he can get is a
lukewarm response, then fuck it, what’s the point? I think Lawrence has
had an agenda for Who, and is somewhat peeved that his approach hasn’t
been applauded/encouraged. I also think that this hasn’t happened
because those people who’ve ventured the opinions that LM has heard,
haven’t even noticed that there *is* an agenda - and I’m not necessarily
talking about (gasp!) redefining what is acceptable continuity, or
(swoon!) post-modernising old monsters like the Ogrons. Both these
things are part of it, but they are only symptoms of what I think he’s
been trying to do. In isolation, they’d really be so much
window-dressing slapped onto pulp fiction.

What LM’s been trying to do is write ‘Doctor Who’ *properly*.

I’ll get round to what I mean by that in a minute.

As Paul Cornell has pointed out, fandom judges the literature on which
it is based by different criteria than most ‘ordinary’ people would
employ. When new DW comes out, therefore, it’s judged within a
pre-exisiting framework, rather than in it’s own right. Not just
continuity, but the *totality* of all things ‘Who’, the supposed
culmination of which is new Who. We set a work into the DW paradigm and
see how it settles in, in terms of style, gun/frock, trad/rad,
characterisation, plot (and the way it compares to previous plots), and,
oh, everything, and above all else, how well it accords with our ideas
of what Doctor Who should be. Most of these things are relative ideas,
none of them is regarded on their own merits. If fandom does, as Kate &
Jon seem to think, consist largely of Unnaturalists, then this totality
is the display case we rack our literature up in, once we’ve determined
its provenance.

Lawrence has, in a rather subtle way, been trying to write books that
not only break out of this paradigm, in a ‘You have. No. Fucking.
*Idea*. What is going to happen next’ stylee (and, incidentally, you
have no *right* to know, or even to have have the slightest conception),
but can break out and do anything.

Like ‘proper’ books. Like (dare I say it?) literature. Like mainstream
fiction. You remember mainstream fiction, don’t you? Those books which
can have more than 400 pages? About which you may have no preconceptions
when you pick them up? Books, sometimes, with a sense of wonder; because
in a book, you can do anything, go anywhere. In time or space.

As a fan, would you judge, say, ‘The Crow Road’, or ‘The Electric
Kool-Aid Acid Test’, or ‘Wuthering Heights’ by the same criteria you use
to evaluate ‘War of the Daleks’, ‘Human Nature’ or ‘Sky Pirates!’ (time
to play ‘spot the odd one out’)? Or vice versa? If not, why not? Yes,
yes, yes, I know the Who books are part of an ongoing series, but that’s
no excuse for not looking at the bigger picture.

But fandom being fandom, Miles’ books are inevitably judged on fan
criteria, from a fan’s perspective. Bizarrely, this could mean that a
Who book might get a better review from a non-fan in a broadsheet (oh,
you *wish*) than it gets in DWM. How’s that for fucked up? I’m not
having a pop at Vanessa Bishop, either. We’re all guilty of this to some
extent, I suspect.

Seems to me that LM’s been trying to bring some ‘mainstream’
sensibilities into Who fiction (or maybe he just sees it, as he says, as
writing the best books he can), and to not only expand the envelope of
what is acceptable Who, but to break it. This is, unquestionably, a good
thing. What is not a good thing, is that some people, apparently, have
completely failed to take this on board. They see the logo on the cover,
and instantly go into a mindset which ensures that they’ll miss the
point. Isn’t that the sort of thing we’re supposed to laugh at in other,
‘normal’, people? Isn’t this literary prejudice, whether justified or
not? ‘The Infinity Doctors’ almost escaped this treatment, on account of
it not being set within any recognisable continuity. But continuity’s
not the issue here, kids.

Now, in my oh-so-humble opinion, there’s a place for ‘trad’ stuff in
Who. No problem with that at all, especially in the PDAs. But over a
twenty-six year television history, Who rarely remained static for too
long. Even over Tom’s seven years, we had (at least) three very distinct
sorts of show. Always moving, always changing, sometimes redefining the
envelope, sometimes changing it altogether. I think Who exists within an
envelope which is actually somewhat stifling right now, and anything
which works to break it is to be applauded.

I’m not saying that ‘Interference’ is the perfect DW modern novel - but
I *am* saying it’s the closest thing we’ve got. And I’m really disturbed
by the idea that, in Lawrence deciding to retire, the people inside the
paradigm have won, and can’t see outside to see what they’ve nipped in
the bud.

Phew.

There, that’s better.

ben w.

J2rider

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
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Lawrence, you write very good books. DEAD ROMANCE was great. I have not read
INTERFERENCE yet but I will when it is available im my country. Your books are
solid reads and I hope you do continue and as I really like the Daleks, I hope
you do write that Dalek story. It would be killer. Thanks.

Andy

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
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>But it's NOT a bad book...
>
>It's different, its innovative, it pushes the limits. Mark - Jess just tell
>him some of us love it to bits.. ok??
>
>H


Sorry Helen, I was pretty fired up when I posted the response, so I probably
could have been a bit gentler. I didn't like Interference, it had some nice
ideas but for me, it didn't quite work. (My other half, on the other hand,
agrees with you and thinks its the best book this year!)

What I was trying to get across was the fact that just because a whole boat
load of people didn't like it, Lawrence shouldn't give up writing on the
basis of a single bad experience. I still rate Alien Bodies as the best 8th
Doctor book in the entire range. Faction Paradox is probably the best
addition to the Who mythos in years.

I just wanted to say that I didn't feel that Interference had compromised
his reputation as a quality author. I'd still buy a book with his name on it
irrespective of my feelings on Interference.


Charles Martin

unread,
Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to
In article <Yniu3.4839$pO3....@c01read02-admin.service.talkway.com>,
"Shaun Lyon" <jsl...@gallifreyoneNOSPAM.com> wrote:

> Lawrence Miles wrote:
>
> > Hi.
>
> What truly amazes me is that, in the circles I travel (American
> fandom), Lawrence Miles is without a doubt currently the most popular
> novelist of the group. I may be oblivious, but I'm at a loss to
> understand this; I haven't seen much of the negativity. (And certainly
> I'm well plugged into American fandom...)

I'm with Shaun.

Alien Bodies remains my fave of the 8th Doctor novels, and when you talk
to any American fan who's following the books the name Lawrence Miles
conjures up a feeling of anticipation. He's a brain-bender, that one, and
no mistake.

Chas

Joxer

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to

Dogsbody D <mark...@menace.ndo.co.uk> wrote in message
news:7pc7fh$b1a$1...@nnrp1.deja.com...
> I'll Get My Coat: The Final and Definitive Statement of
> Lawrence Miles
>
> (Supposing you found out that everything you thought was
> completely right. Wouldn't that be scarier?)
>
> Hi. This isn't an attempt to start a discussion of my own, because (a)
> I'm not actually connected to the WorldWide Web, and (b) I don't know
> anything about newsgroup protocol anyway. (For example, I've only
> just figured out that there's no such thing as a sarcastic tone of
> voice on the internet, and that people therefore can't tell when you're
> taking the piss. Remind me of that the next time I say anything about
> any other Doctor Who writers. Or their pets.) This is my version of a
> press release, I suppose. Am I allowed to do that, or what?
>
> Firstly: yes, *Interference* is my last Doctor Who book, and no, I have
> no idea why anybody thinks I've got another one coming out in March. Until
> a few days ago, I was seriously thinking about writing one more, simply
> because Stephen Cole told me that it wouldn't be *too* hard getting hold
> of the rights to use the Daleks. Frankly, a Dalek book sounded too good
> to resist. Now, however...

I don't bloody believe it! No sooner do I post a message saying that my
ideal EDA would be a Dalek novel written by Lance or Lawrence than Lance
informs us that he was going to do one, but now isn't, and the same day
Lawrence says exactly the same thing. If that's the way things are going to
work, then I'd better ask for there never to be a new series of TV Who and
for the nude teenage photoshoot of Sarah Sutton to remain lost forever :-)

--
A great big anti-soothsaying old Colin B.

http://x-stream.fortunecity.com/scullyst/25


Lance Parkin

unread,
Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to
On 17 Aug 1999 22:56:09 GMT, "Sean Gaffney" <gaf...@iconn.net> wrote:

>I've never managed to take reviews that seriously, possibly as I've
>written them for 5 years on here, on and off (mostly off now). But from
>what I've read of Vanessa's reviews, they reflect her biases just as much
>as any reviewer's. After reading a reviewer for a while, you start to
>get a feel for what they're going to say. In addition, what with the
>Internet making it easy to find out about books up to a year in advance,
>there's no way to come into the book unbiased. Everyone saw '2 books,
>writes out Sam, multi-doctor, etc.' and got these INCREDIBLE expectations.
>Ask Lance about the reception for Infinity Doctors, which if I recall,
>was very similar to the one for Interference.

The magazine reviews for TID were all pretty positive - even the TV
Zone 6 out of 10 praised me for trying something different. 9/10
in DWB, B+ from Stephen Baxter in SFX (with the same
issue callling it the best tie-in book ever), 'a tour de force' from
Dave Owen. The radw response was more mixed, and I admit I'm
a little disappointed by the placing in the Rankings and DWM poll -
but, it didn't do *badly*. Sean's right that both TID and Interference
had the burden of expectation on them - Alien Bodies did so
well, I think, because people weren't *expecting* a brilliant book.
With TID and Interference people expected a 10/10 all things
to all men - you can only be vaguely disappointed. I can also
empathise with Lawrence - I really think TID is the best writing
I've ever done, several levels above, say, The Dying Days. If
other people don't share that opinion, then that's the author's
problem, not the readers'.

>> I have to face up to the truth. For an
>> awful lot of people, it wouldn't be a case of "Wow, Lawrence Miles is
>> writing a Dalek book". It'd be a case of "Christ, doesn't he *ever* give
>> it a rest?".
>

>This is true, but for a lot of others - more than you imagine - it would
>be along the lines of 'Fuckin' A, YEAH! Lawrence writing a Dalek book!
>This is gonna be AMAZING!'. There is, thank the Lord, not merely one type
>of Who fan.

Well, this time last year I was gearing up to write a Dalek book, we'd
agreed terms with Hancock and I had a story lined up. I'm not
going to go into the reasons why 'Enemy of the Daleks' isn't
happening, but I was acutely aware that a lot of attention would
be focussed on the book, and that expectations would be high. To be
honest, I saw living up to those expectations as half the fun!

But, to me, this announcement of Lawrence is good news. I'm thinking
'fucking hell, the author of Dead Romance is going off to write books
of his own'. That's a good thing, even if it's a big loss to the EDA
range.

Lance

Brad Schmidt

unread,
Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to
This is sad. Just because of wanky reviewers.

Oh hold on, I am a wanky reviewer.

But I rather like most of Interference.

Anyway, Mr Miles said he doesn't have net access, so I'm not going to
sit and beg him to come back, because he probably won't even see it.

But, what a *shame*.

Nicholas Smale

unread,
Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to
Lance Parkin <la...@lanceparkin.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:

> [...] this time last year I was gearing up to write a Dalek book, we'd
> agreed terms with Hancock

'Hancock'? That's interesting - there were discussions on r.a.dw last
year (see http://www.deja.com/getdoc.xp?AN=406157332) suggesting that
the Nation family were no longer using Roger Hancock as their agent (and
therefore that authors might not have to give up such large proportions
of their fee when writing for them, making future Dalek books more
likely).

Was this not the case?

> and I had a story lined up. I'm not going to go into the reasons why
> 'Enemy of the Daleks' isn't happening [...]

Hmmm... When Lawrence wrote "one other less-than-traditional writer also
planned a Dalek book that fell through..." I'd assumed he was talking
about the rumoured Marc Platt title...

--
Nick Smale <http://www.smale.demon.co.uk>
Manchester, UK

Philip Craggs

unread,
Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to

Ben Woodhams wrote:

> I’m not saying that ‘Interference’ is the perfect DW modern novel - but
> I *am* saying it’s the closest thing we’ve got. And I’m really disturbed
> by the idea that, in Lawrence deciding to retire, the people inside the
> paradigm have won, and can’t see outside to see what they’ve nipped in
> the bud.

Note: Not all the following is aimed at Ben Woodhams, but also at the board in
general.

Have you ever considered, even for one moment, that the reason a person
doesn't like Interference is because *gasp* they don't like Interference? That
maybe it's got nothing to do with it being a Doctor Who novel? The flaw in
your argument (it seems to me) is that you assume we all read nothing but
Doctor Who and so don't know what mainstream literature is. Wrong. Just
recently i read a (sci-fi mainstream) novel that was over 600 pages (to be
fair, it's a collection of 4 collected novellas but really colsely linked),
and its much better than 'Interference' not because it isn't Docotr Who, but
because its better. (the book incidentally is 'Cities in Flight' by James
Blish). Now, there is some good in Interference. Book one is incredably dull,
but book two (ie, when the Doctor is leading it, not Sarah) improves and
towards the end i was fairly gripped. Whether this was because it was
well-written or because i wanted to find out what the 'twist' at the end was i
don't know (although i suspect the latter).

But what do i know? I didn't think 'Alien Bodies' was that special either.
(apart from Mr Shift (was that his name?)).

But can we please have less of this attitude that because someone doesn't
like a popular book it's their fault, because they're 'traditional' readers,
or because they judge it differently because its Who. Someone doesn't like a
novel. Full stop. If they want to elaborate it's up to them. But don't just
invalidate a person's opinion because it's different to yours.
--
Philip Craggs
'What is called a reason for living is also an excellent reason for dying.'
(Albert Camus).
Paradise Towers: http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Stargate/3694/
'Kick over the wall/Cause Governments to fall/How can you refuse it?
Let fury have the hour/Anger can be power/You know that you can use it.' (The
Clash).

Dangermouse

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to

Dogsbody D <mark...@menace.ndo.co.uk> wrote

> I ended up convincing myself that it was a Great Work. "Great" with
> a capital "G", of course, meaning "very big" rather than "very good". It
> never occurred to me that anyone might see things differently. I mean, I
knew
> a lot of people wouldn't like it, obviously, but I think I assumed that
even
> those who hated it would see it as a work of High Bigness.

Always a big mistake - people hate pretension. Sometimes it's possible to
try *too* hard... (I haven't read the finished Interference, so can't judge
it)



> Stupid mistake, really. The truth is, *Interference* is *so* big - not
> just in length, but in the amount of ground it covers - that everybody
> can find something in it they object to. Which means that even people who
> like the book only like it conditionally.

So?

>I don't know exactly how to
> explain this, but ... writing's a vocational thing for me, not just a
> job.

For most writers who live off the profession entirely...

> I think every book I've written has been better than the previous
> one, because I feel as thought I've got a moral duty to make sure it
> happens that way.

Ah... But the problem is you can't decide whether it's better - only the
readers can do that. And what one person considers an improvement, another
will consider a disappointment. I think there's a phrase about not pleasing
all of the people all of the time...



> I think it was the review in DWM that finally settled things. I mean,
> I'm used to bad reviews by now, and I've had a lot worse in the last
> couple of years. But it wasn't what Ness Bishop said that hurt so
> much, it was her reasons for saying it. All the things she had a
> problem with in *Interference* are side-effects of the way I write...
> in short, it's not the book that's the problem, it's me. I have to
> face the fact that whatever I write from now on, I'm never going to get
> a better response, because that's who I *am*. Which is as good a reason
> for retiring as you'll ever hear.

<Picard>
You coward!
</Picard>

No it bloody isn't. It's running away from them.

Jesus, look at the some of the stick (some more personal than others) that
I get, but I still want to come back after this Voyager stuff. Don't let
them get you down. (well, do, but don't let it make you disappoint the one
who do like your stuff). Take a year or two off to do other stuff, then
come back and do something different. (that's the important bit - you can't
keep doing the same type of thing all the time, or they get bored with you)



> Which is what I mean when I say that I feel like I've lost my mandate.
> It's not polite for any writer to keep churning out books and expecting
> people to buy them, especially when he knows that most of the readers
> aren't on his side to begin with.

Fuck 'em. If they're dumb enough to waste money on authors they don't
like...

And the critics are different from the buyers...

> And if even the people who quite like
> *Interference* are having problems with large chunks of it, then I've got
> to acknowledge that the longer I go on, the less people I'm going to
> have behind me.

Do something different, then.

> I don't have the ego to fight a single-handed war
> against the continuity, basically.

Then do one that follows continuity, just for a laugh

A lot of us will be disappointed if there's nevermore a Lawrence Miles
book...

--

"This path has been placed before you; the choice to take it is yours
alone"

http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Mansion/4845

Dangermouse

unread,
Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to

Nicholas Smale <ni...@smale.demon.co.uk> wrote

> Hmmm... When Lawrence wrote "one other less-than-traditional writer also
> planned a Dalek book that fell through..." I'd assumed he was talking
> about the rumoured Marc Platt title...

That was to be a Virgin NA before they lost the licence.

Nicholas Smale

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to
Dangermouse <mas...@sol.co.ukDEATH-TO-SPAMMERS> wrote:

> Nicholas Smale <ni...@smale.demon.co.uk> wrote
>
> > Hmmm... When Lawrence wrote "one other less-than-traditional writer also
> > planned a Dalek book that fell through..." I'd assumed he was talking
> > about the rumoured Marc Platt title...
>
> That was to be a Virgin NA before they lost the licence.

Yes? But that's not what Jon Blum suggested last year: "I can say with a
good deal of confidence that *the* reason we don't have a Dalek book on
the 1999 schedule is because Marc Platt didn't want to do a novel for a
fraction of his usual fee." (http://www.deja.com/getdoc.xp?AN=406157332)

Gordon Rennie

unread,
Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to
John Hutton wrote:

>
> Dogsbody D <mark...@menace.ndo.co.uk> wrote:
> > I'll Get My Coat: The Final and Definitive Statement of
> > Lawrence Miles
>
>
> <<SNIPPED post by Lawrence Miles>>
>
> Errr.....
>
>
> Hmmmm....
>
> Mind you I *LIKED* Interference....
>
> Errr....
>
> About the only polite thing I can say after reading that post is: I can't
> wait to see what David McIntee's reaction to this will be....

Thank god. I was beginning to think that I was the only person who thought
that this was the worst piece of whining self-pitying creative
over-preciousness I've ever read.


Gary Gillatt

unread,
Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to
While I'm sorry that Lawrence feels hurt by the response to his book,
there are a couple of points I want to make:

1] In his DWM interview, conducted before any review of Interference was
printed, Lawrence states that Interference will be his last Doctor Who
book.

2] While giving the interview, Lawrence was very frank regarding his
opinion of fellow authors. Almost all of this has been cut before reaching
the page, as it made him look like an arrogant idiot ­ something he
certainly isn't ­ and would just appear so much shit-stirring on our part.

With the above in mind, I can't quite fathom the motive for his statement here..

Gary

--


Paul Ebbs

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to

Gary Gillatt <doct...@marmags.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:doctorwho-180...@marmags.demon.co.uk...

> While I'm sorry that Lawrence feels hurt by the response to his book,
> there are a couple of points I want to make:
>
> 1] In his DWM interview, conducted before any review of Interference was
> printed, Lawrence states that Interference will be his last Doctor Who
> book.
>
> 2] While giving the interview, Lawrence was very frank regarding his
> opinion of fellow authors. Almost all of this has been cut before reaching
> the page, as it made him look like an arrogant idiot ­ something he
> certainly isn't ­ and would just appear so much shit-stirring on our part.


Go on , stir the shit, tell us what he said - we won't tell anyone honest
:-)


--
pauly
Season27
A brand new series of Doctor Who adventures on CD.
http://www.season27.freeserve.co.uk/

M.H. Stevens

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to

I know I've never been a favorite around here and this is liable to make me a few
enemies but I feel that someone needs speak for the opposition.

Not having read Interference(namely due to London Bridge's usual level of
imcompetence), I can't yet pass judgement on those books, but if what I've seen
here is true then I won't be sorry to see Mr. Miles depart from the line. From
what I've heard it's very original(nothing wrong with that), but originality can
be dangerous without guidelines.
He himself admits that he tends to throw continuity out the window which is one
thing I've never liked because I've always felt that with a show about
time-travel there are some things which should be concrete and left well enough
alone. The one good thing about this situation is that he's getting out before
he had a chance of messing up the Daleks, John Peel spent the time and trouble to
sort out all of the problems with Dalek Continuity(which is tricky enough on it's
own) in his six books. He managed to tie up alot of loose ends and that last
thing we need is for somebody to come along and unravel it again. Hopefully Mr.
Miles's decision to "retire" will serve to show other "off the wall" writers that
maybe it's time to start coloring inside the lines again, that or go write
Bernice Summerfield books.

Mark H. Stevens


Paul Ebbs

unread,
Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to
Am I the *only* one here who thinks this might be a elaborate hoax ? I mean.
the man who wrote Alien Bodies and Interference (*The* best Who book in the
history of the world) isn't really going to bare his soul to us here of all
places .

Is he..........?

This is either a hoax or joke.

Stuart Moore

unread,
Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to
In article <doctorwho-180...@marmags.demon.co.uk>,

doct...@marmags.demon.co.uk (Gary Gillatt) wrote:
> While I'm sorry that Lawrence feels hurt by the response to his book,
> there are a couple of points I want to make:
>
> 1] In his DWM interview, conducted before any review of Interference
was
> printed, Lawrence states that Interference will be his last Doctor Who
> book.

Oh? So what was his statement about? It was essentially about his style.

> 2] While giving the interview, Lawrence was very frank regarding his
> opinion of fellow authors. Almost all of this has been cut before
reaching
> the page, as it made him look like an arrogant idiot ­ something he
> certainly isn't ­ and would just appear so much shit-stirring on our
part.

So you're saying Lawrence has a low opinion of his fellow authors? This
is interesting. You cut it? Don't, let everybody know what he said.
Only cut it if it's libellous. Let Lawrence take the flak for his
hubris.

> With the above in mind, I can't quite fathom the motive for his
statement here..

Indeed.

Bye,

--
Stuart Moore.


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Share what you know. Learn what you don't.

Jonathan Blum

unread,
Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to
In article <doctorwho-180...@marmags.demon.co.uk>,

Gary Gillatt <doct...@marmags.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>While I'm sorry that Lawrence feels hurt by the response to his book,
>there are a couple of points I want to make:

[...]

>2] While giving the interview, Lawrence was very frank regarding his
>opinion of fellow authors. Almost all of this has been cut before reaching
>the page, as it made him look like an arrogant idiot ­ something he
>certainly isn't ­ and would just appear so much shit-stirring on our part.

>With the above in mind, I can't quite fathom the motive for his statement here..

Well, given that you *did* promote the interview here by bringing up those
"frank" comments, I can understand why he'd try to minimize them.

Regards,
Jon Blum

Dangermouse

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to

Nicholas Smale <ni...@smale.demon.co.uk> wrote

> > That was to be a Virgin NA before they lost the licence.
>
> Yes? But that's not what Jon Blum suggested last year: "I can say with a
> good deal of confidence that *the* reason we don't have a Dalek book on
> the 1999 schedule is because Marc Platt didn't want to do a novel for a
> fraction of his usual fee." (http://www.deja.com/getdoc.xp?AN=406157332)

Presumably he just resubmitted the same one to the Beeb.

Dangermouse

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to

Gary Gillatt <doct...@marmags.demon.co.uk> wrote

> 2] While giving the interview, Lawrence was very frank regarding his
> opinion of fellow authors.

Hm. Anything worth challenging him to a duel over?

(It'd look good on my biography if ever there is one)

Paul 'Ozymandias' Harman

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to
Ben Woodhams <b...@pvcdiva.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:37B9F5EA...@pvcdiva.demon.co.uk...

> OK, apologies in advance for this. It's late, I'm tired, and to cap it
> all, my entire library decided to liberate itself from the wall on
> Sunday morning. <snip> Anyway, enough of me - all of that's just a

> feeble attempt to justify the rambling, incoherent nature of the
> following attempt to disappear up my own arse.

<huge snip>

By God, if that isn't the most moving and on-the-button thing I've ever read
on RADW then I'm an Ogron.

Ozzy


Matt Michael

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to

Ben Woodhams wrote in message <37B9F5EA...@pvcdiva.demon.co.uk>...

>So.
>Farewell then,
>Lawrence Miles.
>
>“Treat continuity as a dog treats a freshly mowed lawn”
>That was your catchphrase.
>Or maybe it wasn’t.


<Snipped the rest cos I agree totally>

It's a shame that Lawrence isn't going to write any more Who books because I
thought he was only just warming up ("Christmas" was great, "Alien Bodies"
exemplary, "Interference" - better). I don't think his loss will be truly
appreciated for some time. "Interference" was, if not perfect, then as near
to perfect as the range has ever got. If it doesn't bring about some
genuine change in a range that's come dangerously close to collapse more
than once then I for one will be extremely disappointed.

matt

Matt Michael

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to

Philip Craggs wrote in message <37BA694E...@diamond.co.uk>...

>Blish). Now, there is some good in Interference. Book one is incredably
dull,


Really? I thought Book One was the stronger of the two. It's brimming full
with ideas, written and plotted to perfection and generally forced me to
read it within a day (one of the few times I've done this with a Who book).

matt

Jon Green

unread,
Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to

Having followed this thread with great interest, all I can think at the
moment is how badly Terrance Dicks and John Peel must be feeling at the
moment after the views on their EDA books...

I really enjoyed AB, and I've just started Interference. I can honestly
say that no other beginning of an EDA book has had me wanting to carry
on reading as much as the first 10 pages of Interference did. (that's
not to say that others haven't started well too!)

If it is true that this is Lawrence's last book, it will be a great
shame.
--
Jon
It'll be Liverpool this season...

http://www.pghifi.demon.co.uk

D Lavelle

unread,
Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to
The bottom line is that Lawrence Miles is a *brilliant writer* with a
vivid imagination. Considering the way he is feeling right now I would
far rather he stopped writing for Doctor Who, than have future novels
tainted with a lack of enthusiasm and confidence. "Interference" is a
stunning story, with some great ideas, elegant prose and a fantastic
twist.

With all due respect to those who hated "Interference" I really think
they have lost sight of what it was that got them into their love
affair with Doctor Who in the first place. Clearly Lawrence hasn't - I
guess that is why is agonising so much over those bad reviews.

The main problem that Lawrence's critics seem to have with
"Interference" is that it dares to go beyond the scope of televised
Doctor Who, and presents a narrative structure quite unlike anything we
have seen so far.

That Lawrence is prepared to confound our expectations in this day and
age, when so many stories have been written, is a great credit to him,
and puts him in the same bracket of innovators as Robert Holmes,
Christopher Bidmead and Andrew Cartmel. And I have no problem at all in
saying that. Innovators are slated in their day and revered in their
wake, so I don't think that Lawrence has too much to worry about.

The utter lack of predictability in Lawrence's novels is what made
Doctor Who such a great pleasure to grow up with. Perhaps now is the
time for him to strike out on his own and take that unpredictability to
the next level.

Good luck to him, I say.

David

Ben Woodhams

unread,
Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to
Philip Craggs wrote:
>
> Ben Woodhams wrote:
>
> > I’m not saying that ‘Interference’ is the perfect DW modern novel - but
> > I *am* saying it’s the closest thing we’ve got. And I’m really disturbed
> > by the idea that, in Lawrence deciding to retire, the people inside the
> > paradigm have won, and can’t see outside to see what they’ve nipped in
> > the bud.
>
> Note: Not all the following is aimed at Ben Woodhams, but also at the board in
> general.
>
> Have you ever considered, even for one moment, that the reason a person
> doesn't like Interference is because *gasp* they don't like Interference?

Oh, sure. That's allowed :)

I'm sure you'll correct me if I'm wrong, but I suspect what's ticked you
off here is the idea that, because I know that the people who read
'Interference' are likely to be Who fans I can therefore extrapolate
their entire psyches and derive some sort of insight into their thought
processes. By extension this includes you, and you're miffed that I
presume to have any idea about why you may, or may not, like a given
book without you having said anything on the subject. I don't know you
from Adam - how *dare* I be that presumptious? I myself get this sort of
attitude alot, what with being white, male and middle-class, for my
sins.

But while I concede that you personally may have a whole barrel-load of
perfectly valid reasons not to like the book, I maintain that
fan-culture *does* act, in general, in a peculiarly specialised way when
judging it's own work. That's not just 'trad' fans, either - as I said
in my first post, we all do it to some extent.

> That
> maybe it's got nothing to do with it being a Doctor Who novel?

So this I find really hard to believe. It strikes me as a simple truism
that when a fan picks up a Who book, they have certain preconceptions
about the kind of book it's going to be; preconceptions which inform and
determine their fandom. That is, after all, why they pick it up,
presumably.

> The flaw in
> your argument (it seems to me) is that you assume we all read nothing but
> Doctor Who and so don't know what mainstream literature is. Wrong.

You misunderstand me - I, and most other Who fans I know (not many,
granted), tend to be SF fans with an emphasis on Who. Fans tend to be
literate, intelligent and reasonably well read, in my experience.
Admittedly, some do a *sterling* job of concealing these things... But
when we pick up a Who book, we're using (God, I'm beginning to sound
like a stuck record now) a different mindset to evaluate it, compared to
other, 'mainstream' fiction (SF or not, preferably not, for the sake of
example). This is an almost subconcious thing, I think, something we're
barely aware of, a subtle changing of gears.

You may well be an exception to this, Phillip. If so, I'm very happy for
you. But I'll beat my head bloody against a wall declaring that it holds
true for most of fandom.

> Just
> recently i read a (sci-fi mainstream) novel that was over 600 pages (to be
> fair, it's a collection of 4 collected novellas but really colsely linked),
> and its much better than 'Interference' not because it isn't Docotr Who, but
> because its better. (the book incidentally is 'Cities in Flight' by James
> Blish).

Don't you think it's just possible, though, that you're comparing the
two as SF pieces, rather than just books in their own right? I'll take
your word on 'Cities of Flight' being a great book; hell, I'll even, for
the sake of argument, assume it's 'better' than 'Interference'. But the
issue isn't really "Which is better?", but "By what criteria are you
judging these books?" What I'm saying is (is...is...is...) that
'Interference' represents an attempt to shift the paradigm of Who
appreciation - and in as much as the feedback Lawrence has had fails to
notice this, I guess you'd have to say it failed. But these changes
don't happen overnight - it's something of a war of attrition.

> Now, there is some good in Interference. Book one is incredably dull,

> but book two (ie, when the Doctor is leading it, not Sarah) improves and
> towards the end i was fairly gripped. Whether this was because it was
> well-written or because i wanted to find out what the 'twist' at the end was i
> don't know (although i suspect the latter).

So you don't like Miles' writing. That is, I'll say it again, fair
enough.

> But what do i know? I didn't think 'Alien Bodies' was that special either.
> (apart from Mr Shift (was that his name?)).
>
> But can we please have less of this attitude that because someone doesn't
> like a popular book it's their fault, because they're 'traditional' readers,

It's not a issue of culpability.

> or because they judge it differently because its Who.

On the whole, they do. What's so suprising about that?

> Someone doesn't like a
> novel. Full stop. If they want to elaborate it's up to them.

That sounds suspiciously like you think it'd be OK for radw to consist
almost entirely of people posting stuff like:

"I love Interference, because it's sooo cooool!"
"I hate Interference, because it's shite!"
"McCoy sux!"
"Look, 'The Pit' is a work of fucking genius, OK? Just take it from me."
"Anyone who hates 'Human Nature' can just bend over while I grease up my
shaft."
"Bonnie Langford is a sex goddess, and anyone who says otherwise...",
etc, etc..

> But don't just
> invalidate a person's opinion because it's different to yours.

Well, likewise, matey. Your entitled to your opinion, of course you are.
Just as I am entitled to the opinion that your opinion is wrong.

ben w.
--
"I know only that I exist - everything else is just my opinion."

Mags

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to

Dangermouse wrote in message <01bee962$583b4a20$LocalHost@default>...

>
>
>Gary Gillatt <doct...@marmags.demon.co.uk> wrote
>> 2] While giving the interview, Lawrence was very frank regarding his
>> opinion of fellow authors.
>
>Hm. Anything worth challenging him to a duel over?
>
>(It'd look good on my biography if ever there is one)


You are just so *longing* to fling a glove at someone and cry "Have at you!"
aren't you?
Or are we talking pistol-duelling?

Mags
--
"What I told you was true...from a certain point of view."
Moosifer Jones' Lair (own site) - new URL! - |
http://www.members.tripod.com/Moosifer_Jones

acfe...@compuserve.com

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to
In article <7pe7b8$oum$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,
D Lavelle <d_la...@my-deja.com> wrote:
<snip>

> The main problem that Lawrence's critics seem to have with
> "Interference" is that it dares to go beyond the scope of televised
> Doctor Who, and presents a narrative structure quite unlike anything
we
> have seen so far.

Does it? How so? This is a genuine question from someone who gave up
Eng Lit after O-level, BTW. To my untutored eye it sems to have a very
conventional narrative structure, but maybe that phrase has some
special connotation I'm not aware of. Scarlet Empress and Mr Magr's
short stories seem more like examples of unconventional narrative
structure to me.

Conrad

D Lavelle

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to
Well, Interference is unconventional in as much as sections of the
narrative are presented as tv scripts (with very challenging ideas
presented therein) and the story itself is divided into two books,
neither of which stand on their own. Vanessa Bishop slated the first
book for asking lots of questions but giving no answers. What was she
to expect in a two-part novel written by one author?!

There is only so much you can do, narratively speaking, with the
television conventions of story structure. Do we really want each book
to be divided into four epsiodes with a predictable ending? Takes all
the fun out of the medium. I keep thinking about how musicians would
react if they were told that all the music they produced pre-1979 was
allowed to be original and surprising, but that everything after *had*,
at all costs, to be cover versions of everything that went before, with
the diehard fans telling the musicians how they should be doing it. At
some point the recycling has to stop. A Dalek story by Lawrence Miles
might be terrific, but at the end of the day, the Doctor wins, the
Daleks lose. Predictable, huh? At least with new ideas and characters
there is a *possibility* that the Doctor might lose, as "The Hour of
the Geek" so brilliantly demonstrates.

I agree with you about Paul Magrs - he's very unconventional, and
brilliant too.

Cheers,
David

Andrew

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to
I haven't read any of Lawrence's books - not even Christmas on a Rational
Planet (although I'm only 1 away from that now), but I do think it's a
crying shame that he feels as he does.
Fan pressure has again deprived fandom of great things. Remember The
Beginning (alright, I complained about that at the start, but I'm reformed
now).
But Lawrence's main problem seems to be the mixed reviews Interference got.
So what?
The Deadly Assassin - a TV story which buggered around with the Time Lords
something chronic - was HATED on it's broadcast by the great and all-knowing
farts that were official fandom. It is now, generally, considered a classic
and was built on by all the future Gallifrey stories.
Paradise Towers, I thought, was hated. But a recent thread here showed that
an awful lot of people do actually like that - and quite a few of them, I
wouldn't be surprised, have enjoyed it through reviewing and retrospect.
Just because Interference was not unanimously acclaimed by all of fandom -
which to be honest is a fickle bunch of wankers anyway - is no reason to
think future books will not be 'Great' or that Interference won't become
revered in fan circles.
I have on numerous occasions hated an authors first book or two, and then
loved a future one - Ben Aaronovitch, Paul Leonard, David A. McIntee. I may
well hate Interference, who knows, but it wouldn't stop me from buying any
more books by Lawrence. I may hate Christmas, for that matter, but it's not
going to stop me reading Interference.
Somebody please make sure Lawrence gets a chance to read these responses.

Andrew
**********************
52 Festive Road

Ben Woodhams

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
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Paul 'Ozymandias' Harman wrote:

> By God, if that isn't the most moving and on-the-button thing I've ever read
> on RADW then I'm an Ogron.

Er, you're an Ogron?

Seriously, thanks. And not to worry - I'll be back on the nob gags
before you can say "No complications". Although, what with you being an
Ogron an' all, that might take some time.

Dangermouse

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
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Mags <moosife...@halliday47YADDA.freeserveYADDA.co.uk> wrote

> You are just so *longing* to fling a glove at someone and cry "Have at
you!"
> aren't you?

Yep.

> Or are we talking pistol-duelling?

Swords.

(or, the challenged can have the swords, while I have the pistols.)

Steven Kitson

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to
Dangermouse wrote:
> Mags <moosife...@halliday47YADDA.freeserveYADDA.co.uk> wrote
> > You are just so *longing* to fling a glove at someone and cry "Have at
> you!"
> > aren't you?
> Yep.

Nothing wrong with that.

> > Or are we talking pistol-duelling?
> Swords.

> (or, the challenged can have the swords, while I have the pistols.)

Actually, according to traditional rules, the challenger gets the first
shot anyway with pistols. Then they take turns.

How's your aim, Dangermouse?

--
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand

Paul 'Ozymandias' Harman

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to
Ben Woodhams <wood...@parliament.uk> wrote in message
news:37BAB7...@parliament.uk...

> Seriously, thanks. And not to worry - I'll be back on the nob gags
> before you can say "No complications". Although, what with you being an
> Ogron an' all, that might take some time.

Well actually us Ogrons talk beautifully in subsonics, but unfortunately
most of it is outside the hearing range of normal humans and all you hear is
"Ugh! Ugh" and stuff.

Check out some of our poetry sometime.

Ozzy

Henry Potts

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to
Ben Woodhams <b...@pvcdiva.demon.co.uk> wrote [...]
>Seems to me that LM’s been trying to bring some ‘mainstream’
>sensibilities into Who fiction (or maybe he just sees it, as he says, as
>writing the best books he can), and to not only expand the envelope of
>what is acceptable Who, but to break it. This is, unquestionably, a good
>thing. What is not a good thing, is that some people, apparently, have
>completely failed to take this on board. They see the logo on the cover,
>and instantly go into a mindset which ensures that they’ll miss the
>point. Isn’t that the sort of thing we’re supposed to laugh at in other,
>‘normal’, people? Isn’t this literary prejudice, whether justified or
>not? ‘The Infinity Doctors’ almost escaped this treatment, on account of
>it not being set within any recognisable continuity. But continuity’s
>not the issue here, kids. [...]

There are indeed some readers who think like that -- and I'm sort of
putting the same argument as you just have in another thread, arguing
with WD Starr over "InfiniDocs". However, there is also a substantial
body of opinion that thinks that "Interference", heuristic breaking
though it may be, simply wasn't that well written.

I enjoyed "Interference" for the most part, but it's far from
perfection. It's poorly plotted, badly characterised and overly
reliant on lengthy expository tracts. These are things that matter in
the mainstream too.

Most of the criticism I've seen on r.a.dw. has been along those lines,
not because Lawrence is monkeying around with our preconceptions of
what Who should be like.

Actually, I don't even think "Interference" is that radical. Lawrence
has said that he wrote "Alien Bodies" specifically intending to press
fan's buttons -- "Interference" does the same. It's a book that plays
with the expectations of Who fiction and would fall flat on a
mainstream audience (unlike, say, "Down"). "Interference" is a book
that fails to escape its own literary prejudices, with the big
revelations being tied into a debate over canon that is simply
meangingless outside fandom(s). It's still Doctor Who playing at being
proper literature, not proper literature that happens to be Doctor
Who.

>And I’m really disturbed by the idea that, in Lawrence deciding to
>retire, the people inside the paradigm have won, and can’t see
>outside to see what they’ve nipped in the bud.
>

>Phew.
>
>There, that’s better.

Miles is far from the only author to see beyond the paradigm (Parkin,
Magrs, Blum etc.), nor is "Interference" the only book to do so
("InfiniDocs", "The Scarlet Empress", "Down", "Beyond the Sun" etc.).
I don't fear for the range's future.

I'm sure Miles will go on writing and I look forward to his work in
whatever future medium it comes. He said long before "Interference"
that it would be his last Who book, so his departure is not
unexpected. Perhaps he'll be tempted back one day as another former
paradigm-breaking author, Paul Cornell, has been.

--
Henry

PS: Sorry to hear about the bookcase.


acfe...@compuserve.com

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
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In article <7pecik$st5$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,

D Lavelle <d_la...@my-deja.com> wrote:
> Well, Interference is unconventional in as much as sections of the
> narrative are presented as tv scripts
Ah, well that's true. (I'm sure I've read stuff that does that before,
but I can't actually think of anything off the top of my head.)

>(with very challenging ideas
> presented therein)

True, but not related to the structure surely?

> and the story itself is divided into two books,
> neither of which stand on their own.

That's quite commonplace in the genre. 'Hyperion' by Dan Simmons is the
best example I can think of for that.

> Vanessa Bishop slated the first
> book for asking lots of questions but giving no answers. What was she
> to expect in a two-part novel written by one author?!

Absolutely - this was, really, one book and I think should have been
released as one.
<snip stuff>

> At least with new ideas and characters
> there is a *possibility* that the Doctor might lose, as "The Hour of
> the Geek" so brilliantly demonstrates.

Great as a one-off (would have been better if I'd managed to avoid the
spoilers - d'oh) but how many times can they pull that one off? There's
only a fixed number of 'givens' in a Who story; the Doctor doesn't die,
companions don't (usually) die, the Doctor and his companions are on
the side of good, the Doctor wins. Pretty much all of those have been
done by now, and ISTR that the Pit wasn't that popular...
Plus, I'm not sure that it has anything to do with the structure
either, unless that term is being used in a way I'm not familiar with.

> I agree with you about Paul Magrs - he's very unconventional, and
> brilliant too.

Well, he's unconventional, IYKWIM, AITYD.

Cheers,
Conrad

Ben Woodhams

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to

Granted, alot of it demonstrates a suprising degree of technical
sophistication, what with the strict rules of metre, alliteration,
assonance and syllable stress. Not to mention the absence of the letter
'q'. But can't you guys find something to talk about other than bloody
*rocks*?

Paul 'Ozymandias' Harman

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to
Ben Woodhams <wood...@parliament.uk> wrote in message
news:37BAD0...@parliament.uk...

> Granted, alot of it demonstrates a suprising degree of technical
> sophistication, what with the strict rules of metre, alliteration,
> assonance and syllable stress. Not to mention the absence of the letter
> 'q'. But can't you guys find something to talk about other than bloody
> *rocks*?

No no, you just /think/ it's about bloody rocks.

[And at this point my memory fails me - I;m blowed if I can remember what
the Ogron said it /was/ about - thus upsetting what was a nice little
threadette]

Ozzy

Ben Woodhams

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to
Paul 'Ozymandias' Harman wrote:
>
> Ben Woodhams <wood...@parliament.uk> wrote
[snip]

> >But can't you guys find something to talk about other than bloody
> > *rocks*?
>
> No no, you just /think/ it's about bloody rocks.
>
> [And at this point my memory fails me - I;m blowed if I can remember what
> the Ogron said it /was/ about - thus upsetting what was a nice little
> threadette]

Rocks with blasters?

Dangermouse

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to

D Lavelle <d_la...@my-deja.com> wrote

> some point the recycling has to stop. A Dalek story by Lawrence Miles
> might be terrific, but at the end of the day, the Doctor wins, the
> Daleks lose. Predictable, huh?

Someone hasn't seen Genesis...

Dangermouse

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to

Steven Kitson <sj...@thor.cam.ac.uk> wrote

> Actually, according to traditional rules, the challenger gets the first
> shot anyway with pistols. Then they take turns.
>
> How's your aim, Dangermouse?

I only need one shot.

Mags

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
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Dangermouse wrote in message <01bee98e$252d34a0$LocalHost@default>...

>
>
>Steven Kitson <sj...@thor.cam.ac.uk> wrote
>> Actually, according to traditional rules, the challenger gets the first
>> shot anyway with pistols. Then they take turns.
>>
>> How's your aim, Dangermouse?
>
>I only need one shot.


If they turn tail and flee, would you still shoot them?

Run Ed! Run Lawrence!

Mags
(who just realised the duel in Plunkett & Maclane was accurate...)

GarethThomas

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to

Mags <moosife...@halliday47YADDA.freeserveYADDA.co.uk> wrote in message
news:7pe5mi$bvm$2...@news5.svr.pol.co.uk...

> You are just so *longing* to fling a glove at someone and cry "Have at
you!"
> aren't you?

> Or are we talking pistol-duelling?
>

> Mags

That's just reminded me of this bizarre story my teacher told the class when
I was at primary school. This fella challenged someone to a duel and when
it came to choose weapons his opponent decided that they would eat sausages,
one of each was poisoned - wherupon the challenger backed out because
although he was a dab hand with the rapier he didn't fancy his chances with
a poisoned sausage.

At least I *think* I heard that at primary school, but it may date back to
my student days and specifically the evening this 1960s thowback called
Nathan cooked me one of his mushroom omelettes.


--
Gareth Thomas


GarethThomas

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
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Ben Woodhams <b...@pvcdiva.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:37B9F5EA...@pvcdiva.demon.co.uk...

<snip>

I agree with all of that - and even sympathise with the shelf collapsing.
(Indeed I did once have a shelf collapse on my head but luckily it was only
a small kitchen shelf holding miniature jars of herbs and spices, and the
only ill-effect was that I shed oregano and dill dandruff for a day or two.
"How to garnish a Geordie" was my flatmate's observation at the time.)

I think the "stories too broad and deep for the small screen" blurb that the
Virgin NAs used to carry was spot on. Any author with integrity should take
advantage of the scope of the novel form, as well as a mature readership,
and write to their own strengths. I have no problems with 'traditionalist'
authors (for example I enjoyed Gary Russell's Legacy very much indeed) so
long as they don't patronise. Both The Eight Doctors and War of The Daleks
seem to be written for the teenage mindset; and quite frankly I read enough
juvenile fiction as part of my job. My favourite Who author's - Miles,
Orman/Blum, Cornell and yes P@*l M@g*s - aspire to write literature the
equal of 'respected' SF authors, Banks included, and in the case of Alien
Bodies and Human Nature certainly succeed. I haven't read Interference yet,
but I respect the author and - although I have heard from other people I
respect that it is a flawed book - I will nevertheless be very surprised if
it proves to be a disppointment.


--
Gareth Thomas

icon

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to
[snip: a lot of valid points]

>And I’m really disturbed
>by the idea that, in Lawrence deciding to retire, the people inside the
>paradigm have won, and can’t see outside to see what they’ve nipped in
>the bud.


Perhaps you're right, Mr. Woodhams.
Perhaps there is no place for innovators and iconoclasts in the hearts and
minds of mainstream 'Doctor Who' fans.

What ever happened to 'all things to all people'? Did it ever exist??

If Mr. Miles does not write a 'Doctor Who' book ever again because of this,
then not only will we be undescribably poorer off, but more importantly, the
task of removing the destructive fanboy mindset will be a long time off, if
at all.
A victory for the ignorant if ever there was one.

icon
---
Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

Lance Parkin

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to
On Wed, 18 Aug 1999 08:41:11 +0100, ni...@smale.demon.co.uk (Nicholas
Smale) wrote:

>Lance Parkin <la...@lanceparkin.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
>
>> [...] this time last year I was gearing up to write a Dalek book, we'd
>> agreed terms with Hancock
>
>'Hancock'? That's interesting - there were discussions on r.a.dw last
>year (see http://www.deja.com/getdoc.xp?AN=406157332) suggesting that
>the Nation family were no longer using Roger Hancock as their agent (and
>therefore that authors might not have to give up such large proportions
>of their fee when writing for them, making future Dalek books more
>likely).
>
>Was this not the case?

No.

>> and I had a story lined up. I'm not going to go into the reasons why
>> 'Enemy of the Daleks' isn't happening [...]
>
>Hmmm... When Lawrence wrote "one other less-than-traditional writer also
>planned a Dalek book that fell through..." I'd assumed he was talking
>about the rumoured Marc Platt title...

Lawrence knew I wanted to write a Dalek book - he even asked if#he
could nick my title!

Lance

Lance Parkin

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to

>D Lavelle <d_la...@my-deja.com> wrote
>> some point the recycling has to stop. A Dalek story by Lawrence Miles
>> might be terrific, but at the end of the day, the Doctor wins, the
>> Daleks lose. Predictable, huh?

I can't speak for Lawrence, but that's not what happened at the
end of mine!

Lance


lenny valentino

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to
I agree totally- I may not have liked the direction
Lawrence Miles wanted to take, or his conclusions, but he
wasone of the best prose writers in the Who book range, and
one of the most inventive. His presence will be missed.

* Sent from RemarQ http://www.remarq.com The Internet's Discussion Network *
The fastest and easiest way to search and participate in Usenet - Free!


Dangermouse

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
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Mags <moosife...@halliday47YADDA.freeserveYADDA.co.uk> wrote

> >I only need one shot.
>
>
> If they turn tail and flee, would you still shoot them?

Yes. That's within the rules, and if you're opponent is dumb enough to turn
his back, that's his tough luck

Funnily enough, my girlfriend, in 1989, challenged a Lieutenant in the KGB
Interior Troop to a duel, which became a drinking contest. She won.

(seriously)

Philip Craggs

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99
to

D Lavelle wrote:

> With all due respect to those who hated "Interference" I really think
> they have lost sight of what it was that got them into their love
> affair with Doctor Who in the first place. Clearly Lawrence hasn't - I
> guess that is why is agonising so much over those bad reviews.
>

Wrong.

> The main problem that Lawrence's critics seem to have with
> "Interference" is that it dares to go beyond the scope of televised
> Doctor Who, and presents a narrative structure quite unlike anything we
> have seen so far.
>

Wrong.

> That Lawrence is prepared to confound our expectations in this day and
> age, when so many stories have been written, is a great credit to him,
> and puts him in the same bracket of innovators as Robert Holmes,
> Christopher Bidmead and Andrew Cartmel. And I have no problem at all in
> saying that. Innovators are slated in their day and revered in their
> wake, so I don't think that Lawrence has too much to worry about.
>

Wrong.I don't mind people disagreeing with me, but i do hate this type of
ignorance. Why can't fans of the novel just accept that some people don't
like it? Why does it have to be something to do with the reader? I'm fed up
of being labelled just because i wont kiss Lawrence Miles' arse. So, here
is the bottom line. It is possible to dislike Interference because you
actually find it dull, or just plain don't like it. If you like it, great,
you've got one more book to like than other people. But don't start trying
to pin the others down.

--
Philip Craggs
'What is called a reason for living is also an excellent reason for dying.'
(Albert Camus).
Paradise Towers: http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Stargate/3694/
'Kick over the wall/Cause Governments to fall/How can you refuse it?
Let fury have the hour/Anger can be power/You know that you can use it.'
(The Clash).

Aidan Folkes

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Aug 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM8/18/99