Monday, April 19, 2010

Doctor Who Experience #1: Chris Roberson

For those of you out there that are fans of Doctor Who, you probably (more like better!!!!) know about the new series, with Matt Smith as the new Doctor, and Steve Moffat taking Russell T Davies spot as executive producer. Since the first episode of this season just aired here in America, I've asked several authors to share their Doctor Who experience(s) with us, including the influence that the show has had on their writing.

And the first author to share with us is Chris Roberson, who has written several novels, including his newest novel Sons of Dorn, which hit shelves back in January, and is published by Black Library.

Here's Chris's experience:

Growing up in a suburb of Dallas in the 70s and early 80s, I had a vague awareness that something called Doctor Who existed, but didn't really have a handle on it. A local station would air the half-hour segments one a day, late at night, and the one time I tried to tune in I came in at the middle of a long-running serial and was completely lost. Then, when I was around 13 or 14, I was lucky enough to tune in to the local PBS affiliate one Saturday afternoon when they started airing entire serials back to back. Plop down for an hour or two and you could see an entire Doctor Who story, beginning to end. They started with "Robot," the first of the Tom Baker episodes, and suffice it to say I was *hooked*. I stuck with them all the way through the rebroadcasts, all of the 4th and 5th Doctors, until finally a couple of years later they caught up with the then-current BBC airings and the rebroadcasts got a bit sporadic.

Doctor Who was an ENORMOUS influence on me as a writer. My favorite episodes are those written by Douglas Adams and Robert Holmes, which took completely disparate elements (immortal alien + counterfeit art + cat burglar caper + the elimination of all life on Earth = "City of Death") and yet made them work splendidly as a harmonious whole. Doctor Who taught me that there was NOTHING that couldn't be made to work in a story, if you could find the right angle to approach it.

I've gone back and watched a great deal of the first three Doctors' serials, and sampled bits of five and six (and even suffered through the Fox movie on the night of broadcast, I'm sorry to say). In the years before RTD relaunched the franchise I discovered the various novels published in Britain over the last twenty or so years, many of which are FANTASTIC. And then I was glued to my TV when I first laid hands on a pirated copy of the RTD relaunch. I never thought another actor could replace Tom Baker as my favorite Doctor, but when David Tennant took over for Eccelston, I was happy to be proven wrong.

My favorite episodes of the RTD series were those written by Steven Moffat (though I have a special affection for Paul Cornell's episodes, as well), so I had absolute confidence that he'd do a stellar job when he took over as showrunner, but nothing could have prepared me for how tremendous "The Eleventh Hour" and "The Beast Below" have been. This is the best that Doctor Who has ever been, and I cannot WAIT to see what they do next.

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