Hiatus

I have been working on The Edwardian Adventurer since October of 2010. It has occasionally been fun, occasionally grueling, and occasionally tedious. Any attempt at discipline usually is. And this was the primary purpose of The Edwardian Adventurer: discipline. I desperately needed to develop a habit of writing. My first major in college was Creative Writing. It is rather useless to have such a major if all I concern myself with is getting by because I will never work toward my art. I have spent years procrastinating because of fear, laziness, and comfort. I have worked many jobs I don’t like for one reason only: money. I have had very little passion for most of my jobs.

So, in 2010, inspired by a friend, I resolved to change. If I was serious about writing, I would need to work toward write every day. And since I loved Doctor Who, I started this blog. I would watch one episode a day, six days a week, and I would write about what I watched. I started at the beginning with An Unearthly Child.

The more I wrote, the more I felt driven to write, both on the blog and outside of it. I was eventually inspired to return to school and pursue a degree in Technical Writing. This made keeping up with the blog harder and I made some changes to the frequency of posts. I also started reviewing stories rather than episodes.

This brings us to August 2012. I’m not sure I can do this anymore. I’m doing more writing than ever before, but much of it is not related to The Edwardian Adventurer. I’m working on a novel. I’m brainstorming a book with a local businessman. I’m trying to read through the works of Stephen King (reading is actually feeding my desire to write in a way that watching Doctor Who never has). I have classes starting in less than a month. Bottom line: writing about Doctor Who has started to hinder my work in other areas. I don’t have statistics, but I have written 315 posts. Assuming 350 words per post (which I am sure is a low estimate), I have written over 110,000 words. That is the equivalent TWO novels.

Here’s a guy on a horse. Perhaps this is a metaphor for moving away into the wilderness toward that mountain over yonder. Or perhaps it is just a guy on a horse.

A video of a commencement speech has been making the rounds on YouTube. It is a speech by Neil Gaiman in which he talks about knowing what your mountain is. His mountain was being paid to write–being an author of fiction. Truth be told, my mountain has been the same since I was ten. So, while I still enjoy Doctor Who, it isn’t paying the bills and it is no longer moving me toward my mountain. At one point, it was moving me toward the mountain. When I wasn’t writing every day, I needed The Edwardian Adventurer to get me back on the right path. Unfortunately, we are no longer moving in that direction.

All this means a type of hiatus. I’m most-likely still going to try to work my way through televised Doctor Who, I just probably won’t write about it any longer. I won’t be abandoning the blog entirely, but until I have a way to use the blog in such a way as to take me toward the mountain, I probably won’t be updating much. I have some ideas, but it may take a while to make those happen. Subscribe if you want to keep an eye on the site. And, if you want to keep up with my writing—say, if actually enjoy my writing regardless of whether I write about Doctor Who or not—you can follow King Reads King, my blog dedicated to reading Stephen King novels.

Thanks for reading. I’ve had some great comments; I’ve found some great blogs to follow, even if I haven’t been able to keep up with commenting on them. Thanks for walking this path with me.

–S.W. King

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Doctor Who Story 055: The Mind of Evil

Image Source: Big Finish.

I was finally able to listen to the BBC audio version of The Mind of Evil. I look forward to revisiting the story when it is eventually released on DVD. It was quite fun and quite exciting. Unfortunately, I’m having difficulty figuring out what to say about it. So, I’ll ramble on a bit and call it good.

One of the elements of this story surrounds the Keller Machine, which is a device which drains evil impulses from the humans exposed to it. The Keller Machine was being tested and used on prisoners; in England the prison in question was Stangmoor Prison. It is an interesting idea, the elimination of the anti-social core of an individual and what that does to a person. It really is only touched upon in this story, which is a shame. A similar idea is explored in greater depth in a Babylon 5 episode. But even though The Mind of Evil doesn’t give a big treatise on identity or evil, at least it aspires to something; at least it tries to think about issues deeper than just action/adventure romp. Truth be told, The Mind of Evil was just the story I was hoping for after the excellent season 8, and the slight rehash of Terror of the Autons. I’m disappointed that this is his last story for Doctor Who. I’ve enjoyed both of his stories.

The Mind of Evil sees the return of The Master, and he is just as striking as he was in Terror. I enjoyed this dastardly plot, which involved The Master destabilizing relations at the World Peace Conference and attempting to steal a nuclear missile. There was enough going on to make a tight-packed six part story.

So, yeah, The Mind of Evil . . . good stuff.

 

Doctor Who Story 055 – Terror of the Autons

Story Recounted by Robert Holmes

There have been many stories involving a figure known as “The Master”. He tends to be a personal nemesis to The Doctor, setting himself apart from races such as The Daleks and The Cybermen. Terror of the Autons is one of the earliest incarnations of the rivalry between The Master and The Doctor. It is certainly the oldest in existence despite the claims of other stories to tell earlier tales of The Master, some positing a familial connection between the two men, others a life-long rivalry taken up after a broken friendship.

Some scholars debate the existence of the historical Master, believing The Master to be an evolving archetype in the mythology of The Doctor. They cite—in particular—the recurring elements of The Master from tales that occurred chronologically earlier. The figure of The Meddling Monk was a trickster of The Doctor’s race. A Master also appeared in The Land of Fiction. The War Chief was also a Time Lord who seemed to hire himself out to an alien race, in his case to help them develop better war strategies and technologies. Scholars who defend the historical Master tend to dismiss these theories of a developing archetype, insisting these other figures were separate individuals rather than evolving mythology.

It is, however, possible that the creation of The Master was inevitable. A strong hero tends to come with a specific, incarnational nemesis: Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty; Batman and The Joker; Coriolanus and Aufidius. These nemeses embody opposite concepts and philosophies, but in themselves are responses to the hero. The hero and villain are only separated by a thin line. They are opposite sides of the same coin, so to speak. Into this duality step The Doctor and The Master.

What is fascinating in this earliest story is how dismissive The Doctor is of his nemesis. There is the impression that the two have not yet met, although are aware of one another. In some ways, the Time Lords can’t be bothered to deal with each other. The other merely presents an interesting challenge, albeit an inconsequential one. They enjoy hunting one another. The attacks, however, do seem to grow more personal as the story progresses. This escalation may show in future stories.

As for the story itself, it continues from Spearhead from Space, yet lacks the emotional punch of that story. The loss of Liz Shaw is a disappointment and Jo Grant has yet to prove an interesting replacement. The Brigadier seems to have lost a bit of fire that was present in the previous stories. He doesn’t seem as interested in challenging The Doctor as he once did, and when he does, it  is usually due to sheer bone-headedness.

In sum, Terror of the Autons fails to live up to the high standard set by Spearhead from Space, The Silurians, The Ambassadors of Death, and Inferno. While an enjoyable story (and quite short), it lacks the depth of previous ones.

Obligatory “You’ve redecorated; I don’t like it” Reference

Okay, as you may have noticed, I’ve been tweaking things a bit. For over a year now I have had an idea for The Edwardian Adventurer, but haven’t had the design skills or the time to play around with them. Last week, however, was my final day at the book shop, so I have had a week or so of creativity-infused hours. I still have quite a few details to iron out, but I’m largely excited about the direction.

You see, for most of the time I’ve been doing this blog, I have tried to find a way to make it different from all the other Doctor Who blogs out there. It started as a writing exercise, but once I started getting regular traffic, I wanted to differentiate the site. There are many sites that review the stories chronologically; based on DVD release date; and any number of other criteria. Within the last couple of years I have seen some really great Big Finish review sites pop up as well. And, sadly, I haven’t had much time for recreational reading (especially now that I’ve started King Reads King), so getting through the books has been much slower than I had hoped. Plus, I’m a slow reader, a procrastinator, and am quite prone to laziness. Let’s just get all the character flaws out right from the beginning.

Since returning to school last winter, I have wanted to utilize more of the design skills I have learned. I have also felt a greater desire to exercise my original passion: creative writing. It was the first degree that I pursued, and the bulk of my college career was spent in writing and literature classes. It was fun, but the job market didn’t exactly open up for me. So, I’m trying to find a tension between the two, and this blog will most-likely be the test subject.

The previous post was my first test. I’m leaving it up more as a preview of what I’m working toward. Since I started the blog, I have played with the idea of Doctor Who being a part of the Edwardian/Victorian Era adventure story tradition. The Doctor himself is an inspired creation on par with Sherlock Holmes, Phineas Fogg, and Allan Quatermain. While the show has strayed from this tradition (The Pertwee Era really doesn’t show as many of the Victorian roots), I still like to imagine The Doctor as having more in common with Holmes and Fogg than Fox Mulder and Jesus (Of course, all is forgiven if the writing is good).

I haven’t yet decided whether I should go back and rework early entries (read: completely re-write them for the new paradigm) or just continue onward. I may do a little of each as time permits. Suggestions are always welcome, just be gentle if you hate it.