Wednesday reading (on Thursday)

Lots of driving = less reading than sometimes.

The Wise Man's Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss
Eyeless in Gaza, by Aldous Huxley
About Time: The Unauthorized Guide to Doctor Who, 2005-2006; Series 1 & 2, by Tat Wood

Last books finished
Reamde, by Neal Stephenson
Jacob Have I Loved, by Katherine Paterson
There Will be Time, by Poul Anderson
[Doctor Who] Dark Progeny, by Steve Emmerson
[Doctor Who] Nothing O'Clock, by Neil Gaiman
[Torchwood] Long Time Dead, by Sarah Pinborough

Next books
Patternmaster, by Octavia Butler
Rendezvous with Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson
[Doctor Who] Dancing the Code, by Paul Leonard

Books acquired in last week
Exiled to Nowhere: Burma's Rohingya, by Greg Constantine
Who's There: The Life and Career of William Hartnell, by Jessica Carney
The Complete Plays, by Christopher Marlowe
The Rapture of the Nerds, by Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross
Missile Gap, by Charles Stross
With the Light: v. 7: Raising an Autistic Child, by Keiko Tobe [still looking for volume 6, folks]
The Derk Isle (Adventurs o Tintin), by Hergé
Doctor Who: The Doctor – His Lives and Times, by James Goss

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Links I found interesting for 27-11-2013

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Links I found interesting for 26-11-2013

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On the other hand, the Afterparty…

The BBC3 Doctor Who Afterparty included some of the worst television I have seen for a long time. (I don't watch much television of course.) Someone on Twitter commented that:

The awful interview with One Direction (whoever the heck they are) was the lowest point – a technically disastrous chat with C-list musicians who hadn't actually seen the episode – but almost every segment with co-presenter Rick Edwards (a Pembroke NatSci, I note) was simply unwatchable. The Tom Baker interview, which came early, seemed a little bizarre at the time, but in retrospect he had simply worked out rather rapidly something that took the rest of us a bit longer; he has never suffered fools gladly.

Some of the other pre-filmed sequences were actually OK – I cheered to see both Jackie Lane and Freema Agyeman, adjacent to each other, and the montages of past episodes were rather tastefully assembled – but we kept coming back to the studio where the awful Edwards was pushing Katie Manning aside with his bum. Samira Ahmed summed it all up:

But my friend Ian got one of his tweets read out on air, so there is some justice.

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The Doctor Who anniversary weekend

Well, what a couple of days.

When it was announced that Day of the Doctor would be shown in cinemas as well as on TV last night, I felt a brief stab of disappointment that there would be none in Belgium (our local big cinema does do these simulcasts sometimes; I guess they may simply not have shown enough interest). But then I looked at the map of cinema showings and realised that the German venues included Cologne, which is less than two hours' drive from our house. (And failing Cologne, there were other options in Bonn, Düsseldorf, and the Ruhr.) Clickety click; tickets booked, as soon as we had found a solution for little U's weekend.

So we set off before lunch yesterday, to have time for some tourism before the show. My plans did not completely work out here, in that the weather along the border was pretty misty so I abandoned my idea of eating at the Drielandenpunt and we just pressed on to the Cologne suburb of Hürth, where we grabbed a Chinese meal beside the Park-and-Ride and then rode on in to the city centre.

Actually we should have come either a bit earlier or a bit later. By the time we'd looked at the most obvious tourist sights (the Cathedral and the Basilica of St Ursula) the museums were closing and we still had quite some time to kill. I was also feeling the aftereffects of not enough sleep during the week, notably (and entirely my own fault) staying up late talking to and on Thursday night before an early morning flight home, so we abandoned my original plan of driving back immediately after the show and booked a hotel (there was a Ramada across the road from the cinema complex in Hürth).

(By the way – wasn't An Adventure in Space and Time really fantastic? One of those bits of Whoviana that you could safely show to a non-fan and expect them to get the appeal of the show. Sure, it's a shame that David Whitaker got merged with other characters, and that we did not see Hartnell actually acting at the height of his powers, but the story was at least as much about what the show did to Hartnell than what he did to it. I watched it at and 's, and then came home and watched it again with Anne and F on Friday.)

The cinema is part of the massive Hürth Park shopping complex, and we found food without difficulty at their in-house restaurant. They were showing Day of the Doctor in three different screens, and ours, which was the emptiest when I booked it, was full on the night, so I guess that all three sold out. Sitting beside me were three young women speaking Russian to each other, who gasped with appropriate appreciation in all the right fannish places(such as "Bad Wolf" and "I don't want to go"). I wondered how far they had come to watch it. Probably not as far as us on the night, anyway.

We cinemagoers also got a lecture from Dan Starkey as Strax about cinema etiquette, showing unfortunates who had been arrested by the Sontarans for using their mobile phones or for trying to record the event, but also rejoicing in the eating of popcorn; followed by Matt Smith and David Tennant demonstrating the 3D while bantering with each other. (It's perhaps a little regrettable that the 3D glasses were not returnable, at least not where we are; I can't imagine that we'll ever use them again.)

And then on with the main feature. Well, I liked it a lot.As everyone has been saying, John Hurt slipped into the part of the missing incarnation utterly smoothly, and in just the right way, portraying a veteran in his own incarnation aware that there would be others to come, and mocking the future Doctors very effectively. I was also relieved that Tennant dialled it down a bit; I felt he sometimes pushed too far in his own stories. And Smith seemed totally energised by the experience, though he must have already decided to go when it was being made.

I was actually glad that Billie Piper didn't play Rose again (and delighted with the way the script covered that); she actually does well when she gets decent material to work with. Jenna Coleman is a delight. I liked the UNIT subplot (Yay, Jemma Redgrave and Ingrid Oliver!) more than the Elizabethan subplot, but enjoyed both (Joanna Page excellent, if improbable, and softening one of the stupider lines from The End of Time). I remembered the Zygons fondly, and indeed rewatched Terror of the Zygons last weekend to refresh myself; the negotiating the deal moment was perhaps a bit contrived in plot terms, but theoretically sound from the diplomatic perspective. And the shedding of the Time War baggage, both in terms of plot and in terms of liberating the Doctor from what we now know was more than just survivor's guilt, and possible reintroduction of the Time Lords and Gallifrey is excellent for the future of the show's storylines.

Not to mention the fan service:

A terrific way of including the former Doctors (who did Harnell's voice, by the way?)

Just one look from his eyes, but already we know it will be different.

I was spoilered for this, which is probably just as well as I don't think I could have remained dignified otherwise.

In the global scheme of things, this was one of Moffat's better Event episodes and probably the best anniversary special. (I know that Moffat has declared that there is only one previous anniversary special, The Five DoctorsThe Three Doctors, Silver Nemesis, Dimensions in Time and Zagreus, plus perhaps one or two others.) He has always been good at witty banter, and at identity confusion; he hasn't always been as good at fitting these things to the frame of a wider show, but he did it this time, and I'm a happy fan.

And then we came home, picking up little U en route, and watched The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, written and directed by Peter Davison, produced by his daughter Georgia Tennant, in which the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors all try to get into the 50th anniversary special, with hilarious consequences and many brief appearances from special guest stars (the scene with Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Ian McKellen is particularly funny). This link doesn't work on my iOs devices but does OK with Windows; the whole thing is 30 minutes and great fun.

I have to admit that in this household, levels of fannish squee were raised to well beyond the expected maximum when F and I realised that some of the footage had been taken at the Slough event that we had attended in August. We had thought at the time that the cameras were taking footage for the announcement the following day of Matt Smith's successor, but we were wrong. And then,OH GOOD LORD, behind the large bloke with the Tom Baker scarf, at 08:04 into the show, I spotted a familiar face – the one I shave most mornings:

Coming slightly more into view, with F beside me:

And the scene closes with a clear shot of F (who has noticeably grown taller in the 3 months since this was shot):

So that was an utterly unexpected bonus to a fantastic weekend. And we have Christmas to look forward to!

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Links I found interesting for 24-11-2013

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Links I found interesting for 23-11-2013

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Links I found interesting for 21-11-2013

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Wednesday reading

Reamde, by Neal Stephenson
Jacob Have I Loved, by Katherine Paterson
The Wise Man's Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss
[Doctor Who] Dark Progeny, by Steve Emmerson
About Time: The Unauthorized Guide to Doctor Who, 2005-2006; Series 1 & 2, by Tat Wood

Last books finished
Reading the Oxford English Dictionary: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages, by Ammon Shea
Isaac Asimov: A Life of the Grand Master of Science Fiction, by Michael White
[Doctor Who] Sleepy, by Kate Orman

Next books
There Will be Time, by Poul Anderson
Patternmaster, by Octavia Butler
Rendezvous with Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
Eyeless in Gaza, by Aldous Huxley

Books acquired in last week

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Links I found interesting for 18-11-2013

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November Books 5) SLEEPY, by Kate Orman

A New Adventure novel featuring the Seventh Doctor with Roz, Chris and Benny as companions, landing on a planet where there are various human colonists in distress and conflicting AIs trying to restore the status quo, of which the key AI is called SLEEPY. Unfortunately the AI characters, though not physically anthropomorphic, rather pushed my “I hate cute robots” button and I couldn’t really get to grips with it.

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November Books 3) Isaac Asimov: A Life of the Grand Master of Science Fiction, by Michael White

For me as teenage reader, the Foundation trilogy was one of my gateways to science fiction, and I later read various of Asimov’s other works (some written up here and here, but also including some of his non-fiction and detective stories); I don’t think he produced much sf of note after his initial burst of creativity, and particularly dislike The Gods Themselves. I vaguely hoped that this would provide me with a decent glimpse into Asimov’s mind, but it’s basically a pretty pedestrian biography, not probing very deeply into what Asimov thought he was doing, why he was doing it, or why it worked; he wrote this book, married these women, had affairs with these other women, got lots of money and hated flying. It’s not quite as disappointing in terms of wasted effort as that Heinlein biog from a couple of years ago (did its second volume ever appear?), but this is really not the way to do it. I gave the book away to the TAFF fund auction at Novacon, and I hope the person who bought it enjoys it more than I did.

The author claims to have been a member of the Thompson Twins, though this is not easy to verify from websites actually about the Thompson Twins. (On further examination, he and his girlfriend did play with them for a few months in 1982; she lasted longer, but fell harder when they gave her the push.)

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November Books 2) The Watchers: A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth I, by Stephen Alford

More reading for me in my slowly progressing Tudor history project, this is a study of how the leadership of the English government maintained an intelligence service to protect the realm, in particular the Cecils and Sir Francis Walsingham. I’ll say up front that I had a couple of disappointments – there is very little about Ireland, and I’d hoped for at least a passing mention of John Bossy’s Giordano Bruno theory and didn’t get one. But I was very satisfied with the overall detailed picture of the Queen’s advisors, determined to preserve her rule at all costs, much more ruthless than she would have been (as witness her dithering over the execution of Mary Queen of Scots) and also somewhat more anti-Catholic.

It’s easy to overlook two very important facts about the historical situation: first, that nobody knew that Elizabeth would live to 1603, and the uncertainty about her succession, which she deliberately fostered to some extent, was profoundly destabilising to those who wanted to think ahead to the next reign; and second, that information just did not really flow between countries – there were no newspapers, statesmen did not give interviews, official communications between rulers and magnates had to be supplemented by intelligence gathered by agents in important centres abroad. One of the tools of statecraft therefore was to have a widespread network of contacts, who would demand regular payment in return for information; this still happens today, of course, but unlike today there was almost no OSINT to check the HUMINT against. Another important point is that most of the information was channeled to the principals directly, and never shown to anyone else except, if really necessary, the Queen.

Given these two factors, Alford makes it almost uncontroversial, though of course potentially very dangerous, that Walsingham essentially framed Mary Queen of Scots for execution through the Babington Plot; although Babington himself, who was only 24, was clearly a rather slender reed for the restoration of Catholicism, Mary was an ever present temptation for someone more competent while she lived. Walsingham and Cecil were ruthless, but they had seen the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre, and indeed had perpetrated plenty of sectarian violence themselves; they knew perfectly well what awaited them in the event of a further change of official ideology. Elizabethan England, providing security at home for economic stability and some encouragement of culture, at the cost of repression of the surviving loyalists to the former regime and paranoia about their foreign allies, seems not so very different from Pinochet’s Chile, or the less corrupt Eastern European countries under Communism.

I guess that most of the Irish records of the period were destroyed in 1922 (there’s an sf story to be written about some future archivist time-travelling back to rescue documents from the explosives) but I can speculate that it was more difficult for Irish viceroys to set up such a system. They tended to serve only a few years, and had much less time to build networks of personal contacts – indeed, Cecil back in London had his own sources, and Irish chieftains often used their own personal channels to communicate with the Queen over the head of the Dublin administration. Part of the English problem in Ireland was simply not understanding what was going on. Of course, whether that has really improved in the last four centuries is a different matter…

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November Books 1) Nightdreamers, by Tom Arden

Catching up now with my November bookblogging. I won’t waste too much time on this one; a Third Doctor / Jo story from the rather variable Telos novella range, which attempts to retell A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Whovian terms. Neil Gaiman has tackled this better, and the original is of course better yet.

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50 years of Who: 2013

It's the end – but the moment has been prepared for!


The Bells of Saint John
The Rings of Akhaten
Cold War
Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS
The Crimson Horror
Nightmare in Silver
The Name of the Doctor
The Night of the Doctor

Books and original audiobooks
Plague of the Cybermen (11)
The Dalek Generation (11)
Shroud of Sorrow (11)
The Silurian Gift (11)
Summer Falls (11)
The Devil in the Smoke (Madam Vastra & co)
Harvest of Time (3)
A Big Hand for the Doctor (1)
The Nameless City (2)
The Spear of Destiny (3)
The Roots of Evil (4)
Tip of the Tongue (5)
Something Borrowed (6)
The Ripple Effect (7)
Spore (8)
The Beast of Babylon (9)
The Mystery of the Haunted Cottage (10)
Exodus Code (Torchwood)
Filthy Lucre (Benny)
Adorable Illusion (Benny)

The Wrong Doctors
Spaceport Fear
The Seeds of War
Eldrad Must Die!
The Lady of Mercia
Prisoners of Fate
Starlight Robbery
Daleks Among Us
1963: Fanfare for the Common Men
1963: Space Race
1963: The Assassination Games
The Dark Planet
The Queen of Time
Lords of the Red Planet
The Auntie Matter
The Sands of Life Part 1
War Against The Laan Part 2
The Justice of Jalxar
Phantoms of the Deep
The Dalek Contract Part 1
The Final Phase Part 2
The Flames of Cadiz
House of Cards
The Scorchies
The Library of Alexandria
The Apocalypse Mirror
Council of War
The Alchemists
Ghost in the Machine
The Beginning
The Light at the End
Hunters of Earth
Shadow of Death
Vengeance of the Stones
Smoke and Mirrors
Trouble in Paradise
Enemy Aliens
Night of the Whisper
Death's Deal
The Time Machine
Bernice Summerfield, New Frontiers: A Handful of Dust
Bernice Summerfield, New Frontiers: HMS Surprise
Bernice Summerfield, New Frontiers: The Curse of Fenman
Bernice Summerfield, Missing Persons: Big Dig
Bernice Summerfield, Missing Persons: The Revenant's Carnival
Bernice Summerfield, Missing Persons: The Brimstone Kid
Bernice Summerfield, Missing Persons: The Winning Side
Bernice Summerfield, Missing Persons: In Living Memory
Jago & Litefoot: The Age of Revolution
Jago & Litefoot: The Case of the Gluttonous Guru
Jago & Litefoot: The Bloodchild Codex
Jago & Litefoot: The Final Act
Jago & Litefoot: The Skeleton Quay
Jago & Litefoot: Return of the Repressed
Jago & Litefoot: Military Intelligence
Jago & Litefoot: The Trial of George Litefoot
Gallifrey: Emancipation
Gallifrey: Evolution
Gallifrey: Arbitration
Gallifrey: Extermination
Gallifrey: Renaissance
Gallifrey: Ascension
Iris Wildthyme: Whatever Happened to Iris Wildthyme?
Iris Wildthyme: Iris at the Oche
Iris Wildthyme: A Lift in Time
Counter-Measures: Manhunt
Counter-Measures: The Fifth Citadel
Counter-Measures: Peshka
Counter-Measures: Sins of the Fathers
Graceless: The Edge
Graceless: The Battle
Graceless: Consequences
Vienna: The Memory Box

The first Who from 2013 that I encountered: Not the best of starts with Eoin Colfer's short First Doctor story, A Big Hand for the Doctor, published in January.

My favourite Who from 2013: Perhaps you'd better ask me a week from now, or on Christmas Day. I've enjoyed it all, but I admit that I had a particular grin for The Night of the Doctor when it came out last Thursday. There have been some decent books too, including Alastair Reynolds' The Harvest of Time, and I'm way behind on audios (and even further behind on writing them up), but must commend The Auntie Matter and the anniversary special The Light At The End.

Moving swiftly on from: After A Big Hand for the Doctor, the only way was up.

So, what was your favourite of the above? What is the best bit? (And if you like, what is the worst bit?)

In conclusion: Doing these posts has been quite hard work, but also good fun. I hope you've enjoyed them too – I’ve certainly appreciated and enjoyed your comments – and maybe they have inspired you to seek out some Who that you might not have previously thought of. I'm sorry that I wasn't able to do the comics as well; maybe I can bring them in in ten years' time…

Someone asked me the other weekend if I had a favourite year. I have several. The first three Tom Baker years, 1975, 1976 and 1977 for television; 1995 and 1996 for the Virgin books; 2002-03, and later 2010-11, for Big Finish; 2007 and 2008 for everything.

I'm updating all of the posts in this series with a full set of links to each entry – as first posted on my own LJ, rather than the reflections to the or communities. Feel free to browse back!

1963 | 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1969 | 1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013

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October Books 23-33) The Sarah Jane Adventures novelisations

Having praised both the Sarah Jane Adventures on television and the associated audiobooks, I thought I should try the 11 novelisations – the pilot, the five stories of the first season, the first two from the second season, one from the third and two from the fourth. Apparently the first ones sold rather poorly, so the decision was made to adapt only a few later episodes; though it’s interesting that it was still felt worthwhile to continue with the exercise.

23) Invasion of the Bane, by Terrance Dicks
24) Revenge of the Slitheen, by Rupert Laight
25) Eye of the Gorgon, by Phil Ford
26) Warriors of Kudlak, by Gary Russell
27) Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?, by Rupert Laight
28) The Lost Boy, by Gary Russell
29) The Last Sontaran, by Gary Russell
30) The Day of the Clown, by Phil Ford
31) The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith, by Gareth Roberts
32) The Nightmare Man, by Joseph Lidster
33) Death of the Doctor, by Gary Russell

I had already read the first four some time back, and the same general observations apply: these are short, cheerful books, full of positivity, with Gary Russell shouldering much of the burden of the transfer (four of the eleven, three of the last six) and doing it rather well. On my first reading I had been a bit underwhelmed by Phil Ford’s Eye of the Gorgon, but it grabbed me a bit more on re-reading; perhaps it was just the mood I was in. The one book that I felt missed the target a bit was Lidster’s The Nightmare Man, which seemed written for a slightly younger age group – particularly incongruous since it is the rite-of-passage story about Luke growing up.

The chronological skew of the books means that all seven stories with Maria Jackson as a regular character are available in print, while only four of the twenty with Rani made it, and none with Sky (all the books feature Luke, all but the first has Clyde). With the greatest of respect to Anjli Mohindra, I’m a Yasmin Paige fan, so I am not complaining.

And that concludes my October bookblogging for this year.

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October Books 22) Fables: Inherit the Wind, by Bill Willingham

I used to be really into the Fables series, but this had been languishing on my shelves for some time and I realised after reading it that I had actually skipped a volume and not noticed. The title story is actually rather nice – the six/seven children of Snow White and Bigby are in competition to see which will become the new North Wind after the death of the incumbent, though the East, West and South Winds are rather unfortunate racial stereotypes. The other stories in the book are linked with the grander narrative, which I’d lost track of. Not a volume for newcomers to the series, which to be honest might have been better brought to a close after the grand conflict in volume 11.

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October Books 21) De Zwarte Rotsen [The Black Island], by Hergé

After the excellent Blue Lotus, The Black Island is a bit of a step backwards for Tintin; he is shot and wounded ion the first page, and then chases a group of forgers to Scotland by a series of improbable incidents involving various means of transport and defeats a gorilla in a ruined castle, all the while hindered by the bungling detectives Thomson and Thompson (who in fairness get some good lines here). One wonders why anyone would go to the trouble of forging Belgian francs in Scotland (or indeed anywhere at all); the basic plot, of a criminal conspiracy being unmasked, is awfully similar to Cigars of the Pharaoh and Tintin in America, though the story is on safer ground by mocking the British rather than Arabs, Indians or native Americans. Not really one of the classics.

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October Books 20) The Mystery of the Haunted Cottage, by David Landy

The penultimate in the series of short Who ebooks for the 50th anniversary (the last of which, by Neil Gaiman, comes out today week) takes the Tenth Doctor and Martha to a place very similar to the Land of Fiction from The Mind Robber, essentially updating that story for today’s readers. It’s good fun, and perhaps intended to encourage younger readers to find some of the books that Martha likes (though the Enid Blyton parody doesn’t actually exist as far as I know).

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October Books 19) Equal Rites, by Terry Pratchett

November is halfway over, and I haven’t finished bookblogging for October yet; so there follows a series of hasty write-ups for books which would have got longer reviews without travel and pressure of other work.

Equal Rites is the first really political Discworld book; The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic are forensic parodies of various fantasy tropes, but in Equal Rites Pratchett takes on the patriarchy in quite a subversive way, while at the same time working in his characteristic humour. He’s still developing at this stage – the book is less funny than the previous two, and the politics less deftly woven in than in later books – but it is still an excellent read and a good taster for things to come.

The Colour of Magic | The Light Fantastic | Equal Rites | Mort | Sourcery | Wyrd Sisters | Pyramids | Guards! Guards! | Eric | Moving Pictures | Reaper Man | Witches Abroad | Small Gods | Lords and Ladies | Men at Arms | Soul Music | Interesting Times | Maskerade | Feet of Clay | Hogfather | Jingo | The Last Continent | Carpe Jugulum | The Fifth Elephant | The Truth | Thief of Time | The Last Hero | The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents | Night Watch | The Wee Free Men | Monstrous Regiment | A Hat Full of Sky | Going Postal | Thud! | Wintersmith | Making Money | Unseen Academicals | I Shall Wear Midnight | Snuff | Raising Steam | The Shepherd’s Crown

History of an unintentionally epic tweet

So, I've been a Big Finish subscriber for a number of years, but somehow never got around to reading their freebie magazine, Vortex – I find magazine in general difficult to read with my middle-aged eyes, and this comes on a PDF which I don't really have time to read on either work or home desktop computers. So I had never really looked at it.

But on Thursday evening as I was settling to sleep, and checking the Big Finish website on the iPad to see if any more of their 50th anniversary material had been published yet, I realised that the latest issue of Vortex is available to download for free. It seemed just right for evening unwinding, and I read through most of it rather rapidly, taking a bit longer over the cast interviews with Doctors and companions from the recently released The Light At The End. Each is asked about their "one biggest Doctor Who memory", and the article finishes with Tom Baker retelling a couple of anecdotes which I already knew, and then one that I didn't:

Gosh, I thought, that’s lovely; and I screencapped the page, cropped it down to the last paragraph including a clear attribution to Vortex, posted it to Twitter and turned over and went to sleep.

When I woke up, it had been retweeted 200 times.

Up till then, my personal record for retweets was roughly 92, for a news story about a concealed Dalek that I think I had got from . And that was basically because it had been picked up (as my tweets sometimes are) by Charles Stross. This was a real grass-roots thing – none of the retweeters had mass followings; Tom Baker’s story had just struck a nerve with people.

By end of the day, the total number of retweets was comfortably over 500, more than five times my previous record, not to mention dozens who had tweeted or retweeted a modified version. By now a couple of big hitters had picked it up – comedian Mitch Benn and Labour MP Stella Creasey, – presumably at second or third hand, as I don’t follow either and neither follows me. According to Crowdbooster, the total audience (ie combined followings of all who had retweeted it) was just short of 300,000, comfortably ahead of my other personal record, set last year when Cory Doctorow, whose personal following then was around 230.000, retweeted my live coverage of the BSFA Awards at Eastercon. Again, those who had tweeted a modified version will surely add a five-figure number to that total, taking it well above 300k.

However, I have only gained about ten followers as a result. Perhaps conducting a snarky Twitter conversation with Belgian railways about my morning commute on Friday morning did not turn out to be a magnet for a potential new audience. But then, I hadn’t planned for a late-night sentimental tweet to take off in that way either. I can’t imagine that I will beat either the new record for retweets or for totAl audience very soon, and to be honest I am not really aiming to do so either.

I do regret that I did not give the source full credit in the original tweet. If I’d suspected that it would be picked up so widely, I would certainly have given Big Finish the publicity that they deserve. But I had no idea.

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