Wednesday, 28 January 2009

The Original Doctor Who: The Dalek Invasion of Earth (Story 10, 1964)

All good things must come to an end, and in so doing, have new beginnings. The tenth story of the first Doctor is one of these benchmarks. On the one hand, it is the last story with the full original crew, as one member of the family leaves a vacancy in the roster of William Hartnell's companions. On the other, a new day dawns for the some of the greatest villains in Science Fiction, as they evolve from one-off scary monsters to a true cosmic menace.

The Doctor and his crew - granddaughter Susan, and human schoolteachers Ian and Barbara - first met the Daleks on their second adventure. This story, as much as anything, solidified Doctor Who's place as television worth watching. The Dalek's striking appearance and shrill cry of "exterminate!" became a national phenomenon, sending millions of British kids to hide behind the couch. The only problem was that the Doctor essentially left the Daleks as he found them.

In that first series of episodes, the TARDIS landed on the desolate world of Skaro in the wake of the atomic war that caused the genesis of the Daleks. Along with the remaining band of Thals, who were in that disastrous war with the Dals, they invaded the Dalek city and destroyed them once and for all. Needless to say, finally destroying your greatest enemies once and for all creates problems for bringing them back by popular demand.

Writer and Dalek creator Terry Nation resolved this through an ingenious understanding of time travel. If someone is bouncing around through the fourth dimension, then it is entirely possible for them to have had their final conflict with their enemies before their enemies had their first contact with them. When Ian is shocked to see a living Dalek rise up from the Thames river, the Doctor chastises him, theorizing that their adventure on Skaro was millions of years in the future (I gather that this explanation was reworked and rendered false in later incarnations of Doctor Who, but we tend not to concern ourselves with those here).

Nation also recognized that there was only one thing he could solidly do with the Daleks on the basis of that demand: the Dalek invasion of Earth. If the Daleks hiding in their city on Skaro could send children behind the couch, then Daleks rolling through the streets of London would send them screaming in terror. That was slightly buffered by the Dalek's being a public spectacle on the days of location filming - the first major use in the production's history - where the evil machines were surrounded by adoring fans.

In The Dalek Invasion of Earth, the Doctor finally pilots the TARDIS back to Earth. To the chagrin of Ian and Barbara, however, the goal was overshot by two centuries. Instead of landing in 1964, they have come upon the devastated London of 2164. To further compound the problem, this England of two centuries hense has been conquered from space by the genocidal Daleks. Using their own might and an army of cybernetically enhanced and brainwashed humans called "robomen", the Daleks are capturing and shipping humans to Bedfordshire to haul rocks in their mine core reaching to the centre of the Earth.

Why the centre of the Earth? The answer to that was ingeniously fitted into current Doctor Who mythology in the series four finale The Stolen Earth and Journey's End. Nor was it the only reference. Lines of dialogue were transplanted outright, and during The Dalek Invasion of Earth, the Doctor triumphalistically declares that to conquer humanity the Daleks would have to destroy all living matter. A good idea, the Daleks think to themselves. It's very nice to see ancient Doctor history being brought into the modern version. Now if only David Tennant could be rendered in black-and-white for a CGI-enabled two-Doctor jaunt... However, back in the series at hand...

In fighting to rescue the planet from the plungers of the Daleks, the quartet falls in with the human resistance. In particular, Susan falls in love with the rebel leader David, remarking to him her longstanding feelings about how nice it would be to have some roots in a time and a place instead of charging around the chronosphere willy-nilly. Suffice it to say that she finds these roots with her human lover, leading to a rather touching farewell speech from William Hartnell to his departing cast member.

So this story was an ending. Carole Ann Ford, the actress behind Susan, left the show and the story itself was the last one filmed in the series' original production block. There was some question of whether or not it would be renewed. Once it was confirmed, The Dalek Invasion of Earth was shunted to the second season. Bounding the first and second seasons, the story also marks the essential transition between the original run of historical and scientific pedagogical stories and the outright Science Fiction that would dominate thereafter. There were only half as many proper historicals after this as there was Sci-Fi, in which the story developed out of the historical circumstance as opposed to having alien influences. It also wouldn't be long before the Doctor found his next young ward.

The Dalek Invasion of Earth outlasted the BBC video purges and is available on DVD. Included among the special features are an "enhanced" version of the story in which key effects shots of the Dalek ship flying over London have been changed out for new CGI shots replicating the type of Dalek ship more familiar to followers of the current Doctor.

Two Dalek ships, original and CGI

The Dalek Invasion of Earth was also reinterpreted by BBC's Radio Times in their issue announcing the return of the malevolent pepper-pots in 2005. We have to admit to loving images like this: the original Doctor Who polished up and unleashed with modern production values. It almost makes the convincing argument to give this era the same "remastered" CGI treatment given to other Sci-Fi shows and experimented with on the Dalek Invasion of Earth DVD. It's so convincing, in fact, that this same cover was awarded the distinction of being the best magazine cover ever in the history of Great Britain...

Monday, 26 January 2009

The Original Doctor Who: The Fall of Earth

The Mindrobber is a graphic artist out of the UK and a Doctor Who fan whose work can be found gracing the folds of the new series' DVD collections. Experimenting with CGI, he has provided this unofficial prelude to our next, status-quo shattering adventure of the First Doctor:

Friday, 23 January 2009

G.K. Chesterton on Airplanes and Horses

The following commentary by G.K. Chesterton from The Everlasting Man (via The Hebdomal Chesterton) encapsulates something of the Scientific Romantic spirit. He points out in his usual fashion that while technology and progess is one thing, it is impoverished without our best traditions.
George Wyndham once told me that he had seen one of the first aeroplanes rise for the first time and it was very wonderful but not so wonderful as a horse allowing a man to ride on him. Somebody else has said that a fine man on a fine horse is the noblest bodily object in the world. Now, so long as people feel this in the right way, all is well. The first and best way of appreciating it is to come of people with a tradition of treating animals properly; of men in the right relation to horses. A boy who remembers his father who rode a horse, who rode it well and treated it well, will know that the relation can be satisfactory and will be satisfied. He will be all the more indignant at the ill-treatment of horses because he knows how they ought to be treated; but he will see nothing but what is normal in a man riding on a horse. He will not listen to the great modern philosopher who explains to him that the horse ought to be riding on the man. He will not pursue the pessimist fancy of Swift and say that men must be despised as monkeys and horses worshipped as gods. And horse and man together making an image that is to him human and civilised, it will be easy, as it were, to lift horse and man together into something heroic or symbolical; like a vision of St. George in the clouds. The fable of the winged horse will not be wholly unnatural to him: and he will know why Ariosto set many a Christian hero in such an airy saddle, and made him the rider of the sky. For the horse has really been lifted up along with the man in the wildest fashion in the very word we use when we speak ‘chivalry.’ The very name of the horse has been given to the highest mood and moment of the man; so that we might almost say that the handsomest compliment to a man is to call him a horse.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

The Original Doctor Who: Planet of Giants (Story 9, 1964)

Two minutes to Belgium!

When things go odd on the TARDIS, they go very odd. A basic cosmic catastrophe, the universe imploding or something like that would be an easy response to a short circuit aboard an antique Type-40. However, those sorts of happenstances are the sensible and rational subject of American Sci-Fi, whenever the Enterprise or Death Star decides to go wonky. On Doctor Who, its the whole universe that decides to go wonky around it.

En route from the French Revolution, the Doctor is once more trying to bring Ian and Barbara back home to 1963 England. When he's just about got it figured out, however, a malfunction blows open the doors of the TARDIS during the most dangerous part of the journey: rematerialization. On pushing the doors closed and completing the operation, everything seems fine at first. The discovery of a massive earthworm, ant, and box of matches convinces them otherwise. Spatial pressure within the TARDIS changed while its doors were open, resulting in the crew being reduced to a size of mere inches. Like every adventure with the Doctor, it would have been simple enough to hop back in the TARDIS and fix things. Unfortunately, Ian falls into the matchbox and is taken to the site of a grisly murder over an experimental insecticide... an insecticide that threatens the life of Barbara.

Once it was known that Doctor Who would outlast its first season and initial filming run, Planet of Giants was rushed into production. It is a serviceable jaunt into weird territories, cribbing from The Incredible Shrinking Man, gangster movies and ecological fears over insecticide use, but this deep into Doctor Who, it would be pointless to recommend either watching or missing it. As the debut of the second season, it displaced the original finale of the first season into the 10th story slot and became the penultimate story to a major shift in the series' cast. That shift, however, will have to wait for 2164 and the apocalyptic aftermath of an invasion by Britain's favorite malevolent aliens.

Monday, 19 January 2009

The Original Doctor Who: The Reign of Terror (Story 8, 1964)

The very first season of Doctor Who ends on a dour note. After surviving all their adventures together, the Doctor has finally brought Ian and Barbara home. It's a bittersweet parting... On the one hand they have been wanting to come back to Coal Hill since the irascible old Time Lord kidnapped them from 1963. On the other, they've kind of grown fond of the old goat and his granddaughter Susan. Not that Susan particularly wants to see them go either. For the two schoolteachers it's the usual case of "now, not yet."

How relieving to find out, then, that they're actually caught in the midst of the French Revolution!

Thankfully for Ian and Barbara, they've figured out the fine art of stroking the Doctor's ego. If they couldn't convince him to continue his historical investigations over a farewell pint of ale at the local pub, he might very well have abandoned them unknowingly in 18th century France. Such as it is, they find their way to a safehouse by which the aristocracy is fleeing the country, only to be captured by soldiers of the new republic themselves.

After this comes an adventure befitting the Scarlet Pimpernel, minus the costumed crusader himself. Between prison and plots and the ever-looming threat of the guillotine, the crew of the TARDIS are embroiled in the English spy network, the underground railroad of escaping aristocrats, and Napoleon Bonaparte's plan to overthrow Robespierre. The interpretation of the French Revolution is a fairly typical one, though interspersed with a modicum of nuance. As the plots unfold, Barbara becomes fond of one of the spies only to lose him later when he is shot in the attempt to capture Ian. As it turns out, her paramour was a counter-spy for the Republic and, grieving, she angrily lectures Ian on our inability to judge history. However, the line is clearly drawn between the anarchy of the revolutionaries and the goodness and honor of the counter-revolutionaries.

The Reign of Terror was the first of the Doctor's adventures to be set in the course of a particular historical event (if we don't count the taming of fire as a historical event). The pattern would persist when the TARDIS drops into the burning of Rome, the Trojan War, the St. Bartholemew's Eve massacre and the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. The only unfortunate thing is that this serial lacks a catch that was enjoyed by previous serials like Marco Polo and The Aztecs. It is a perfectly serviceable costume epic, though whether it had to be Doctor Who by name is another matter entirely. There are a few moments acknowledging the time travellers' foreknowledge, but otherwise it is The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Though this eighth story did not mark the end of the original filming block, the success of the show forced it into the position of the first season finale. Thus is was given the appropriate tweaks and nudges to bring things full circle: the extended theme of Ian and Barbara's quest to return home, and theme of the Reign of Terror itself. All the way back in An Unearthly Child, Susan exhibited her preternatural knowledge by criticizing a textbook on the Revolution. In the course of the show, she also reveals that this period is the Doctor's favorite in Earth's history.

Of course, they don't make it back home, though they do make it out of France with their heads still attached. Against a field of stars, Ian asks "What are we going to see and learn next, Doctor?"

"Well, unlike the old adage, my boy, our destiny is in the stars, so let's go and search for it..."

Friday, 16 January 2009

Voyages Extraordinaires Anthology Now Underway!

Hello again!

This is just another friendly reminder that the brand-new Voyages Extraordinaires Anthology is now underway, reprinting excerpts from the classics of Victorian-Edwardian Scientific and Imperialist Romances, Gothic Horror, Voyages Extraordinaires and so on. This past week was an excerpt from George Griffiths' A Honeymoon in Space and more is to come every Wednesday for the remainder of 2009!

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

The Original Doctor Who: The Sensorites (Story 7, 1964)

Viewers more familiar with the exploits of David Tennant, the Tenth Doctor, will certainly be familiar with the Ood. The vaguely Cthulhuoid aliens whose telepathy made them easy targets for possession by the Devil - or whatever The Beast was - and trusting nature allowed humans to lobotomize their external brains, enslaving them. Yet very early on in his time-hopping adventures, the Doctor met their close celestial cousins.

The attentive listener might have noticed that when the Doctor and Donna Noble visited the Ood-Sphere, he made a brief mention of having visited the nearby Sense-Sphere once upon a time. It was a long time ago for him, some 500 years, and on that planetoid he made the acquaintance of the Sensorites.

When creating the Ood, Russell T. Davies drew quite direct inspiration from the seventh Doctor Who story. The Doctor's mention of the Sensorite homeworld was his acknowledgement of that fact and a characteristic reference back to the very first Doctor. It wasn't his first, and as demonstrated by the end of the fourth season, would not be his last.

The Ood certainly bear more than a passing resemblance to the Sensorites, including an apparent lack of strong individual variation in appearance, enlarged craniums and the power of thought-transference. The Sensorites lacked tentacles and external brains, but made up for it in patchy beards and an oversensitivity to light and noise. There are more interesting parallels, however.

The Sensorites was a pioneering story for Doctor Who. It was the first of the Science Fiction stories to be set in Earth's own future. Previously, the crew of the TARDIS had visited Skaro and Marinus, reserving its encounters with humanity for its past. Granted they were no closer to the Solar System itself, when the police box warped into orbit around the Sense-Sphere, it was aboard a 28th century human space ship.

Floating high above the Sense-Sphere, the ship's compliment of people were being held psychologically captive by the Sensorites, setting up the story's second pioneering masterstroke. The Doctor's admiration for humanity has always been tempered by the fact that humans are, more often than, presented in quite morally ambiguous and even villainous terms throughout the series' 45-year run. This trend begins in The Sensorites.

The great mystery to the humans' captivity is that they were not the first to visit the Sense-Sphere. Others had come before, discovering a valuable mineral that might lead to the conquest and exploitation of the planet. Furthermore, after the first human ship exploded while leaving orbit, Sensorites began dying from a mysterious malady for which the earthlings were no doubt guilty.

Though the first futuristic tale to include humans, the story was not about humans. The story was, in fact, about the Sensorites and their reaction to the impending threat of human invasion. It is, in essence, a meditation on colonialism and the reactions of different factions of the colonized to it. In that sense it could just as easily be told of Native Americans about the early Settlers or, say, the Chinese about Marco Polo. One might consider it an inversion of the Doctor's previous encounter with Marco, which was told from his perspective as a captive of the Kahn. The Sensorites is, in many ways, the same story from Kublai's point of view.

There are several wonderful moments in it, including an extended discussion amongst the Sensorite leaders about whether or not humans can be trusted, or if they're even sentient life forms. Groundwork is also being laid out for an eventual shake-up in the cast... For the first time since they absconded with a TARDIS, the Doctor and Susan fight with each other. She is growing up and growing independent of her grandfather. That independence includes a steadily intensifying longing for a planet and a home to call her own.

Monday, 12 January 2009

The Original Doctor Who: The Aztecs (Story 6, 1964)

Marco Polo is often regarded as the great classic of the First Doctor's historical stories... A reputation certainly deserved and no doubt enhanced by its status as a lost chapter. Upon viewing, however, there is little question as to why the sixth story, The Aztecs, was the first of his adventures to migrate onto DVD. It is quite significant, not for any introduction of a concept in Doctor Who's mythology or a specific story trope, but for demonstrating the kind of real speculative strength that the long-forgotten historicals held.

After fleeing Marinus and its Science Fictional analysis of the subject of freedom and free will, the TARDIS materializes inside an Aztec tomb of the 15th century. This is readily identified by Barbara, the history teacher for whom the Aztecs were a particular field of interest. To her, the era of Tenochtitlan was a fascinating and romantic time, an intriguing and tragic period where the greatness of civilization mingled with the most gruesome horrors. She always wondered if they could have been spared destruction by the Spanish Conquistadors had they been able to excise the evil of human sacrifice from their midst, and when she emerges from the tomb and is mistaken for a reincarnation of the ancient priestess/goddess Yetaxa, she is given the chance to put her once idle speculation into practice.

If you could go back in time and kill Hitler, would you? Or could you? The Doctor admonishes Barbara, telling her... yelling at her... that she cannot change even one line of history. Yet whether he was talking about a hard and fast rule of temporal physics or a moral imperative handed down from the Time Lords themselves, there is a deeper matter to consider. As demonstrated amusingly by Desmond Warzel's short story Wikihistory, everything in a society is linked in an "ecocultural" web with everything else. To tug at one string risks unravelling everything, so deeply intertwined as they are. Killing Hitler prevents the German missile program, which in turn stalls the American aerospace initiative, computers, the Internet and time travel itself.

A do-gooder from the future must also contend with the zeitgeist of the time they travel to. Simply killing Hitler would do nothing to alleviate the unrest in Germany that facilitated his rise to power. The spark would be rid, not the tinder, not the hot coals. Ian reminds Barbara of this when they debate their course of action with the two high priests of the Aztecs.

On the one hand is Autloc, the high priest of knowledge and embodiment of every civilized, high-minded and noble enterprise of the ancient Mexican peoples. On the other is Tlotoxl, the "local butcher", high priest of sacrifice and walking stereotype of the bloodthirsty, scheming and barbarous. Curiously, and the most nuanced aspect of what is otherwise a fairly crude dialectic, it is the enlightened priest that entertains the idea that Barbara truly is the visitation of Yetaxa. Tlotoxl has no use for her once she begins meddling in his religious duties. He would challenge the gods themselves if they interrupted his duty.

Barbara sees the problem as a simple matter of trying to convince the Aztecs through Autloc that human sacrifice is unnecessary. The rains will come without shed blood, the sun will reemerge from an eclipse without spent life, and Autloc knows this. Ian, however, exclaims that he is the rarity in Aztec society. She acts as though the people are simply waiting for the word of wisdom to come from on high, only to be reminded by her pragmatic companion that, in reality, they are far more in line with Tlotoxl's way of thinking. It isn't just the single agent in a society that needs to be removed, a single practice. The whole society is a unit, a tangled web.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

The Original Doctor Who: The Keys of Marinus (Story 5, 1964)

The TARDIS materializes on a strange island, its beach composed of dangerous shards of glass, towered over by a fantastic monolithic pyramid. Looking to get her feet wet, the Doctor's granddaughter Susan prepares to bathe in the inviting waters of a tide pool until her shoe falls in and disintegrates. It is not water that surrounds this island, but a powerful acid. The Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara have landed on the planet of Marinus.

The fifth Doctor Who serial continues the alternating pattern of historicals and Science Fiction with a visit to a planet that poses an interesting examination about free will. Seven centuries before they arrived, the scientists of Marinus developed a computer system called the Conscience that moved beyond its initial function as an inerrant judge and jury. Exponential upgrades allowed it to telepathically influence the behaviour of the people, compelling them in all cases to chose the right path. It no longer had to act as judge because there was no longer any evil.

Trading a little freedom for a little security worked for a very long time, until the code of the Conscience was cracked and a dissident sect was able to free themselves from its influence. Immediately taking to crime and violence, the murderous lot was free to run rampant in the pacified society, coming up to the very gates of the stone temple that houses the computer. These "Voord" failed, however, when the five microcircuits that allowed control of the device were sent far and wide across the planet.

In the mean time, the last remaining monk, Arbitan, charged with tending the computer has figured out a way to override the dissidents and bring them back under the sway of the inerrant judge. He only needs the keys, and that is where the Doctor and his companions come in. This is also where we learn that there is more than one way to compel right behaviour. Opting to leave instead of help Arbitan, he erects a force field around the TARDIS and gives them the "choice" of finding the keys or starving to death on the glass beach, assuming the tide doesn't roll in first.

Outfitted with teleportation devices, their first stop is the city of Morphoton, controlled by literal brains in jars. These brains, having outgrown their bodies, control the populace through a form of hypnosis which convinces them that the dilapidated metropolis is really a sparking jewel overflowing with marble columns, crystal decanters and the finest silks. Here free will is subsumed by the illusion of affluence and comfort granted only by subconscious, unwitting surrender.

Freeing themselves from this deception, the crew splits up (necessitated by William Hartnell's vacation) and Ian, Barbara, Susan and their new companions Sabetha the daughter of Arbitan and Altos his servant arrive at a temple where Susan hears an unearthly screaming. A scientist and guardian of the next key has discovered how to increase the "Tempo of Destruction" - entropy - causing the jungle to rapidly overtake the temple and the visitors.

If we were to consider this in the pattern of questions about free will, we might suppose that through science, cosmic freedom is lost. When trying to toy with nature, its contingent forces are lost. The jungle of Marinus is no longer permitted to grow and evolve naturally, but only as directed by the machinations of the researcher Darrius.

The next stop is a howling mountaintop where Ian and Barbara nearly freeze to death before being rescued by the trapper Vasor. There is more in store for them as they discover that Vasor has his own ways of coercion. In a surprising bout of similarity to Arbitan, Vasor prefers brute force, trapping Barbara inside his cabin where he attempts to rape her, trapping Susan and Sabetha in the ice caverns of the mountainside (where they thankfully find the key), and leaving Ian and Altos outside to die of the cold and the wolves.

From the crude to the sublime, the group reunites in the city of Millennius where the Doctor must defend Ian from the trumped up charge of murder. In this city, the law is guilty until proven innocent, requiring the troupe to prove Ian's innocence beyond a shadow of a doubt against a conspiracy knowing exactly how to play such a system. This is the most subtle of the offenses to freedom presented by The Keys of Marinus because it rests on a very fine legal distinction that does indeed make all the difference. Innocence until proven guilt and the burden of proof being upon the accuser rather than the accused may seem inconvenient by some standards, but it is an invaluable safeguard against excess and abuse. It is as sure an antidote against tyranny as democracy and the scientific method.

In the end, the keys are returned to the Conscience, but not all goes according to plan. Finally, as the TARDIS sets to depart, the Doctor sums up this quest through ethics in his sound advice to Arbitan's heir: "I don't believe that man was made to be controlled by machines. Machines can make laws but they cannot preserve justice. Only human beings can do that."

Monday, 5 January 2009

The Original Doctor Who: Marco Polo (Story 4, 1964)

The first Doctor, portrayed by William Hartnell, and his companions Susan, Ian and Barbara had narrowly avoided destruction at the beginning of the universe in the third story, Edge of Destruction, in the immediate wake of their first encounter with the vile Daleks. After playing with the Science Fiction component of the series mandate for a half-dozen episodes, it was time for producers to turn back to the other half. As originally conceived, Doctor Who was to be an educational children's show, and much of that educational value was to have been found in the historical epics that were unique to this Doctor's tenure. Unlike later incarnations, which focused entirely on Science Fiction concepts, the first Doctor spent a good deal of time in Earth's past, meeting historic personalities in historic times.

The very first adventure was of this sort, in which the Doctor and his newly acquired companions faced down neanderthals at the dawn of humanity. The greatest of these, however, was the fourth serial: Marco Polo. Unfortunately, it is also the earliest of the Doctor's stories that are lost to us.

For reasons that seem baffling to us today, the BBC was one of a number of television networks that purged their film archives through the late 1960's and most of the 1970's. The programme finally came to an end in 1978, but not before too much historic material from the runs of the first, second and third Doctors had been destroyed. The idea was to save space and time for the company by disposing of old, unused footage of antiquated shows. This policy has since consumed more time and effort as the BBC and "Whovian" fans scour the globe to find any scrap of footage to be found while restoring lost episodes to the best of their ability with what has been found.

In the case of Marco Polo, the hunt has had limited success. All that is positively known to exist are a collection of stills, screen shots from the televised episodes and the full audio for all seven parts. This has since come down to the aficionado through a narrated drama on CD, making use of the preserved soundtracks and dialogue, and a condensed version of the same correlated with stills and "telesnaps", released as a supplement on The Beginning DVD box set.

It is quite the shame as well, as this serial deserves its reputation as one of the best of the first Doctor's stories. A broken down TARDIS lands in the Himalayas, to the excitement of Ian and Barbara. This excitement is shattered when they are confronted by a troupe of Mongol soldiers commanded by none other than Marco Polo... The school teachers finally made it back to their home planet, but half a millennium too early.

This purely historical story, devoid of Sci-Fi elements (though not without bizarre expositions on such subjects as condensation, which produces water inside the TARDIS that saves the caravan in the Gobi desert), embroils the time-tossed quartet in the midst of the court intrigue of Cathay. Marco Polo wishes to confiscate the Doctor's "flying caravan" and present it as a gift to Kublai Khan, to persuade him to release Marco back to Venice. He is countered by young Ping Cho, a noblewoman in his charge who has been betrothed in a political marriage to a 75 year old nobleman. Despite her best efforts to return the group to their ship, the whole company is forced into a confrontation with the betrayer Tegana, who wants to overthrow the aging Khan. Ultimately, the fate of the TARDIS and her crew might just depend on the outcome of a game of backgammon.

It's just too bad that we can't actually watch all seven episodes in their full historical glory.

Friday, 2 January 2009

Voyages Extraordinaires Anthology

Happy New Year one and all! With a new year before us, we would like to announce our newest project.

You may be familiar with the print version of the Voyages Extraordinaires Anthology that we published previously via PDF. Unfortunately, assorted constraints have rendered continuing the series unfeasible in the future. It is not the end of the concept of providing a reader anthology of Scientific Romances and Gothic Horror, however!

Thus we introduce our new sister weblog, Voyages Extraordinaires Anthology. This will be a yearlong weblog publishing excerpts from Victorian-Edwardian Scientific Romances, Gothic Horror and Retro-Futurism every Wednesday through 2009. There will be an introduction this coming Wednesday, leading to our first excerpt on January 14th.

Please do click below to visit it, and be sure to add it to your regular reading!