Saturday, 21 February 2009

Who's Who?

I discovered yesterday that one of my fellow writers from the BHW stable (Jack Martin), who runs the tainted archive blog, has starred in the British tv series Dr Who, curiously appearing in an episode that was shown last night on the BBC. I'm not a rabid Who fan, but this rounded off an odd coincidence.

I've just finished reading a novel called Scar Night by Alan Campbell, and I can recommend it to anyone who likes a fun action-packed fantasy novel that avoids being yet another Tolkien or Potter clone. But as I read one thing kept bemusing me: Dr Who. I’d read it on the strength of a review that said it was Gormenghast with action, thereby pressing all the right buttons for me, but while reading I never once thought of Gormenghast. Instead I kept thinking that this book was where Russell T. Davies was getting all his good ideas from for the revived Dr Who.

The bad guys in Scar Night are angels, a recurring Davies theme. There were demons who only got into your mind if you closed your eyes, an innovative plot idea that has been lauded by Who fans in what has turned out to be the generally accepted best new episode Blink. Then there's the fact that Scar Night is set on the edge of a bottomless pit, a setting somewhat similar to the episode Abyss. And a main character, who can regenerate if killed gets his hand cut off and the hand lives on to presumably help with plots in future volumes. This is a bit similar to the way the Doctor also loses a hand that lives on…

So I searched the Net for answers, found that the author had a blog, in which he admitted to being a Who fan. Thinking I was on the verge of uncovering something interesting I asked him whether he was being used as inspiration for modern Who. As it turned out the author hadn't noticed the similarities, but found the connections I'd made entertaining. So it must just have been me!

Thinking back, readers reading too much into my stories hasn't happened to me much before. Although I remember someone contacting me about a book and being impressed by how I'd subtly implied that a brother and sister were having an incestuous relationship, which was a surprise to me as I thought they hated each other. But I did find the idea entertaining!

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