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Beyond the Book

By Paul Scoones


David Banks' first connection with Doctor Who was as an actor. He played the Cyberleader in Earthshock, The Five Doctors, Attack of the Cybermen and Silver Nemesis. He also appeared in The Ultimate Adventure stage play as Karl the mercenary and understudied the role of the Doctor, taking over this part for two performances when Jon Pertwee fell ill. An obsessive interest in the Cybermen led him to write and publish the highly acclaimed 1988 reference book Cybermen, which chronicles in fine detail the on and off screen history of the Cyber race. Naturally, his New Adventures novel also features Cybermen.

Iceberg began life in 1986 as a television script submission to Doctor Who script editor Eric Saward. The script was at first called Flipback, and later The Tallness of Terror. Saward liked the plot, but when the script editor left the series a short while later, the idea went no further. Banks promptly sold the idea to the publishers of the Doctor Who make your own adventure books, but they then decided not to publish any further titles in this range.

Banks then submitted his story to Virgin Books before the New Adventures series was even under way. The long delay before the book was finally scheduled was due in part to the lengthy discussions that took place before Banks persuaded Peter Darvill-Evans to let him write the book the way he wanted to - without Ace or Bernice. To accommodate Banks' wishes, Darvill-Evans asked Birthright author Nigel Robinson to write a Doctor-less book as a concurrent adventure.

Iceberg was built on the same Cyberman chronology he had developed for his reference book, and is principally derived from the events of The Tenth Planet and The Invasion.

The central character of Ruby Duvall is named after Banks' own young daughter Ruby, born about the same time he first developed the TV script proposal for what became Iceberg. He is currently working on an idea for a second New Adventures novel, which just might feature a return for Ruby, as both Banks and Darvill-Evans feel that the character worked extremely well.

Blood Heat

This novel began as a non-Doctor Who short story inspired by the discovery of bones which turned out to belong to Seismosaurus and Ultrasaurus, the two largest dinosaurs. Mortimore's plot involved cloned dinosaurs, but preceded the release of the Jurassic Park novel (on which the movie was based). As Mortimore's story developed, the fan fiction journal of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society, Cosmic Masque, became interested in publishing it, so he 'bunged the Doctor in'. The story however continued to evolve to the point where it was becoming novel-length.

Then Mortimore was made redundant from his job as a graphic designer and turned to writing novels as a way of earning a living. He submitted two proposals to Virgin; one with Andy Lane for Lucifer Rising, and the other for his dinosaur novel, by this time involving the Silurians. The proposal consisted of three chapters of prose and a detailed plot synopsis of roughly 30,000 words.

Lucifer Rising was accepted, but Darvill-Evans was at first reluctant to publish Blood Heat due to its alternative universe setting. Eventually he decided to make it the first in a linked series of alternative universe novels. Mortimore had just six months to produce the novel.

Bernice wasn't included in his original draft so he developed a sub-plot to get around the need to perform rewrites on most of what he'd already written. Many of the characters in the novel are derived from the Third Doctor's era, particularly Doctor Who and the Silurians, to which this novel is a sequel of sorts. Morka and Doctor Meredith come from that story and Robin Ridgway and Tony Mitchell are from The Sea Devils. Jo Grant's uncle, Frank Hobson, comes from Malcolm Hulke's novelisation of Colony in Space. Mortimore says that Harry Sullivan does not appear, despite suggestions in the novel to the contrary.

Blood Heat over-ran the maximum permitted word count by about a quarter of the total length and Mortimore had to remove 25,000 words. Approximately 20,000 words were cut through simply tightening up the prose and the remaining 5,000 words were cut by removing ten scenes.

Many of these excised segments were set in 1973 at the time of the Silurian emergence from the shelters and the release of the plague. The character of Billy Wilson was introduced in one of these and in another Jo Grant tries to convince her uncle to allow her to become a spy. There was also to have been a prologue set in 1973 in which the crew of an ice-breaker try and fail to communicate with the Silurians at the North Pole.

1993 scenes lost from the finished work included part of Julia and Bernice's hunt for Ace in the ruins of Bristol; one between Bernice and Ace in the Complex sick bay the following day; Manisha and 'Ace encountering a fight between a triceratops and a tyrannosaurus rex; the Doctor re-introducing flowers (which no-one has seen for twenty years) to the Complex and a scene revealing that further time divergences occurred on the Earth before 1973 as there are buildings that Ace doesn't recognise.

Mortimore has completed the first draft for a Missing Adventures novel set about 300 BC - at the time of Alexander the Great, tentatively called The Book of Shadows. He is also working on the proposal for another New Adventures novel under the working title Parasite which features the 'highest form of life in the Universe'.

The Dimension Riders

Daniel Blythe describes himself as a fan of Doctor Who but that this is not his primary interest. Before writing his novel, he'd written various pieces of fan fiction and articles for a number of publications. He'd had the idea for The Dimension Riders lying around for some time so when the New Adventures were first launched he revamped the idea and sent it off to Virgin.

The publishers liked his idea but requested changes - most notable of which was the inclusion of Bernice. This proved tricky as Blythe had already put together a fair amount of the novel without her, so expanded on the Oxford University sub-plot to give her character something to do. The Oxford college of St Matthew's is based in part on St John's, which Daniel Blythe attended as an undergraduate studying French and German. He enjoyed writing for Bernice and the Doctor but found Ace difficult.

Blythe is currently working on an idea for a second New Adventure called Redemption's Dawn, which he describes as being about 'a society reliant on cyborg technology and religion' and is also working out a Fifth Doctor story for the Missing Adventures series but this is not yet finalised.

Sources: TV Zone issues 46, 47, 49, David Banks, Celestial Toyroom 199, DWM 208.

This item appeared in TSV 37 (January 1994).

Index nodes: Beyond the Book, Iceberg, Bloodheat, The Dimension Riders