Glory of the Daleks Foreword and Editor's Note
I could begin perhaps by telling when I started this story, or how long it took me to finish it, or why it's taken such a long time to be published. But I won't. On the former, suffice to say that a naive but persistent fifth former thought he could write a better Doctor Who story and the WhoCon short story competition gave him the excuse he needed to do it. Of the latter, I'll leave it up to the person who faithfully edited this epic, Chris ‘I've got a few pages of changes I'd like you to make’ Mander to explain.
In answer to your first question: no, it was never meant to be this long. The short story competition for WhoCon had the generous size limit of 10,000 words - a limit I think I exceeded by half as much again. 'Too broad and too deep for the small screen' - doubtful. 'Too broad and too deep' to be completed in ten or fifteen pages - well, I hope you think so.
There were several aims I had in mind when writing this story. The first was to produce a decent Doctor Who story in a historical setting. For some strange reason, fan fiction shies away from these - just have a look at any issue of Timestreams. To my knowledge, the only other example of this is Jon Preddle's Tibetan Sojourn in Timestreams #1. Yet isn't it much easier to base your story in a place where the society and customs are created for you?
Second, I wanted to show the Daleks in a different light - not just as mindless killing machines capable only of yelling ‘Exterminate!’ and shooting things. In this sense, I wanted to show the Daleks as they had been seen in their earliest episodes before they were overtaken by the 'Davros syndrome'.
Third, I wanted to include at least one good, old-fashioned, ‘how the hell is he going to get out of this one?’ cliff-hanger.
With luck this will not be the last piece of novel-length fiction, it offers many more opportunities for writers to go ‘broader’, ‘deeper’... longer(!). Glory Of The Daleks has barely scratched the surface of possibilities. New worlds are waiting out there.
The end... or just the beginning?
‘I've got a few pages of changes I'd like you to make’ is absolutely true. Most, if not all of said changes are ones which I could easily have done myself, and sped up the whole process no end. But that's not how I like to edit; before I know it there'd be a whole series of TSV Books out there written by Chris Mander based on original ideas from various members of the club. Christopher Owen has his name on the front of this book, because it's what he wrote - all I did was the vacuum cleaning to tidy it up just a little.
The other detail that slowed this story down considerably was in waiting for its sequel. The two stories had originally been planned to be published together, as a seventy-plus page 'double-feature'. Over time it became apparent that the sequel would take more time and more pages than earlier anticipated, so will now be published separately (and is already looking to be well worth the extra effort spent on it).
This is the first in what will hopefully be an ever-expanding range of original fiction ‘novels’ published by this club, with currently three more books on the ‘possible’ list. The only criterion I personally place on novel-length submissions of this type is that they must be interesting and imaginative enough to make me want to put in the considerable amount of work it takes to get them to this stage. There's nothing worse than working on a project half-heartedly because you're not convinced that it's going to be all that good in the end.
The other thing to remember is that the NZDWFC does not, and should not have a monopoly on publishing new Who fiction in New Zealand - there's absolutely nothing stopping you from trying this sort of thing yourself if we're taking too long about it.
It seems that 1992 is becoming a good year for finally seeing results of WhoCon - first the videos, and now this story. With any luck more fiction should follow, optimistically in the not too distant future. In the meantime, to borrow a famous quote, ‘read and enjoy’...