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Late 70s/early 80s (middle school through high school)...
  • Watching Doctor Who on PBS, a Philadelphia/Wilmington station, along with a lot of other British import TV. There was no cable, just a few stations like ABC/NBC/CBS/PBS and then some weird stations on the UHF dial -- you never knew what you'd find there (mostly static, some foreign-language).
  • Writing Three & Jo fanfic in a spiralbound notebook kept in a plastic tub under the bed. Trying to read my smudged/faded pencil later. (I was also writing Trek and Buck Rogers fanfic. Later, Blake's 7 too.)
  • Drawing fanart on my desk blotter (no computer in those days) or in a blank book I carried around with me in my purse. (no tablet/phone either!)
  • Frantically scrambling to get the cassette tape flipped in the tape recorder without missing too much of the episode I was recording.
  • The Doctor was Jon Pertwee. Or Tom Baker. The rerun cycle meant I was getting both, alternately. Jo and Three were my original TARDIS team.
  • Later, the fine art of programming primitive VCRs, hoping the tape wouldn't run out or the broadcast wouldn't cut out or the show wouldn't run early or late. And don't get me started about the arguments over which shows to program the VCR to record while we were gone on two-week trips. 
  • The elaborate numbering/filing/stickers/notebook that went into managing a VHS tape library.
  • Going over to a friend's house to watch a show if they got better reception than we did. But there was always snow/static.
  • The PBS fundraisers. Who were these college students with their Tom Baker hats and Doctor Who scarves, the latter draped along the phone bank desks? Who were these mysterious Prydonians of Princeton whose efforts were keeping our PBS station going and encouraging them to keep bringing us more British shows? Bless them! How did one find them? They were a whole state away, and it's not like there was any way to look up someone's contact info outside your own area code in the phone book!
  • Getting those cool newfangled disappearing TARDIS mugs that reacted to hot water, T-shirts, or books for Christmas, which our parents had picked up from the PBS fundraisers as perks.
  • The Peter Haining Who books with b&w photos and early fanart of Who's characters, including first and second Doctors and companions we'd never seen! And story synopses of every serial, including the ones before our time! Wow! Hainings' Key to Time even told us behind-the-scenes stuff, which we'd never hear of otherwise. (It's not like we had any way to get news, images, or even to know a companion was changing or a Doctor was regenerating).
  • The TARDIS technical manual and FASA Doctor Who Roleplaying game came out in the mid 80s. Thosesourcebooks were again more detailed info about Gallifrey, the TARDIS, the antagonists than we'd ever had before (some of it made up for those books or wrong, but oh well).
  • Going on a school trip to England and being UTTERLY JAZZED ABOUT IT because I'd grown up watching Who and other British TV. Going to Longleat Who exhibition and seeing the REAL K9. Being amazed at finding Who Target novelisations at Harrod's, a regular department store! I picked up Castrovalva, the Five Doctors, Unearthly Child and (for some reason) Planet of Fire, probably because it hadn't yet been broadcast in the states. We were often a year behind.
  • Dressing vaguely as Romana in high school; a friend of mine had a Who scarf and I wound up taking him to the prom where we geeked.
  • The "Lime Jello" round robin Doctor Who fanfic that was passed around fans in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey on floppy disc. No slash, no romance, just adventure with an original Time Lord character.
1989-93 (college) ...
  • Bringing a few fave serials we'd recorded on TV off to college to share with friends. A major fandom activity in those days was finding and sharing copies of shows we'd taped, because access was so limited.
  • The text bulletin boards on the college VAX, shared with one other neighboring college with which we were networked. It included a Who fanfic forum, Starbucket. There were no rules. Starbucket was the name of a cloaked CIA time station, and our characters were CIA agents, self-inserts (nobody knew the name "Mary Sue" then, it was the glory days of D&D). Our companions were characters lifted just before they "died" in their own timeline, which is why I had Cally of Blake's 7 and Cassandra of Troy; someone had Avon; there were Robotech pilots and the Phantom of the Opera and Hal from 2001 and who knows what. Everyone wrote everyone else's characters. We'd print out copies so we could read them in our rooms or bind them into zines and make xeroxed illustrations and pass them around. 
  • My first con was Philcon '90, and the dealer's room was a revelation. I picked up a zine called 'The Doctor and the Enterprise." Found a few zines with het shipping but didn't realize it; most of what I saw and everything we wrote would now be called genfic. 
  • In Feb 1990, our British student came to the nerd table in the college dining hall, telling us the bad news that DOCTOR WHO HAD BEEN CANCELLED. We were outraged. Our women's college was totally in love with Ace (as I've said before, everyone wanted to be or date her).
  • After college I slowly drifted away from fandom and Who because again, the web was brand new so there was still not many ways to keep up with fandom. By that time, Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5 were my fandoms. 
  • I never ran across any of the expanded universe books and certainly not the early Audio Visual and BBV bootleg Who audios (The "Professor and Ace" audios with Sylvester and Sophie, the "Stranger and Miss Brown audios with Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant, various other Who actors). People making these Who clones later went on to form Big Finish, and some even ended up working for Doctor Who on TV when it rebooted.
  • I got together with fellow D&D and Babylon 5 fans in grad school to watch the Doctor Who movie on TV. So frustrating. Consensus: "Good special FX and bad dialogue is the opposite of Doctor Who! And it's too American! A pity, that new guy they got to play the Doctor was quite good." I don't remember people throwing much of a fit about the kiss; it was the Master being too modern and Terminator-like that really threw us.
  • By the time Who rebooted, I'd cut cable. I saw a few DVDs a friend recorded and really liked Eccleston. I was glad Who was back, but it didn't feel quite like the Who I loved and missed. Even so, I meant to get around to watching the rest of it, but that required buying it. I bought the first season for my parents and watched it with them, and again enjoyed it. I just never got around to seeking it out, and after a while it seemed like there was too much to catch up.
  • Except that in 2013 I decided I had to attend the 50th anniversary showing for old times' sake. I was a Whovian, dammit, even if I didn't watch anymore.
  • Getting on Tumblr afterwards, I stumbled across a clip from Big Finish Cradle of the Snake.  Fifth Doctor and one of my very favorite TARDIS Teams?!! You mean there's new stories with the Doctors and companions I grew up watching?!!!
  • I got hooked on Big Finish, got hooked into classic Who fandom on Tumblr, wrote fanfic, wound up going to my first Who con in NEWCASTLE, England in 2014, and while in England, I finally started watching Doctor Who again. My first ever live broadcast of a current  a live broadcast for the first time ever, although I'd started watching in 1979.
  • Came back, started attending Long Island and Regen cons in November & March in the states (first-ever cosplay: Evelyn Smythe), and thanks to them I finally started watching the show (because that was the only time I had cable access. ;) For a while I'd watch the new episodes however I could -- less said the better -- but this year I broke down and bought the season on Amazon prime. 


May. 30th, 2017 09:34 am
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I jotted down the original outline of The Coronation of the High Hierophant in August 2015.  And it looks like I may finish it within the next month, FINALLY.

I've just written the dramatic climax, which includes lots of derring-do and the Doctor being heroic. (Finally.) All that's left to write is a short epilogue. It's going to clock in around 55,000 words. 

It was inspired by the simplest of exchanges in a Big Finish Doctor Who audio, 1001 Nights:

Nyssa: You’re quite sure this outfit isn’t a little too showy? Oh.

Doctor: Nothing’s too showy for the Grand Coronation of the High Hierophant of the Five Revealed Truths. Oh.

N: We’re not at the Celestial Basilica, are we?

D: Apparently not.

N: Then where are we?

D: I’m not sure. Remote outpost, maybe? Or some kind of fortress? Not exactly bustling with life.

N: It’s a prison, isn’t it.

D: I admit the fifty-foot-high wall does tend to give that impression.

N: I had enough of prisons on Folly. Can we go?

<Cries for help>

D: Did you hear that?

N: Doctor. The Coronation of the High Hierophant, remember? Perfumed rain, falling from clouds sewn with powdered diamonds… you wouldn’t want to miss that.

D: I’ve had the invitation for the past 300 years, Nyssa. I can wait a little longer… come on!

Did they ever succeed in going to the Celestial Basilica? What happened?

Babbling about how the story came together... )
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Let's see if I can enjoy having a classic Who blog again.
So, what have I been doing?

VHSWhovian Reviews now has its own website, For the most part, I'm reviewing audios, but now that Britbox has given us a free, legal option for watching classic Who streaming, who knows: I may start reviewing the show I grew up watching, now with the perspective of middle-aged hindsight.

However, my reviews are falling behind because of fanfiction! One of the recent audios, Alien Heart / Dalek Soul, seized my imagination by dangling some lovely flapping loose ends, and I grabbed them with both hands. Dalek Free Spirit has two chapters posted so far, and its Scrivener file for it has passed 40,000 words despite my being quite ill (severe sinus infections on top of other chronic health issues) for most of the year. I realize that wordcount is nothing for you nano wunderkinds, but I'm old and arthritic and, again: no stamina. 

The Coronation of the High Hierophant fic is winding to a close. I've put the Fifth Doctor through the ringer. So I'm juggling two big fics right now.

In the con department, I made it to both Gallifrey One and Regeneration Who, again while rather ill. (I had to miss most of one day of Galli, but I hung on and spent some lovely moments with a few favorites, notably author/director/Dalek operator Barnaby Edwards who wrote one of my favorite Doctor Who stories in any medium, Emerald Tiger.)

I've continued art lessons, although I'm still not as good as I want to be. Portraits are difficult.

I've been enjoying the new season of Who, for the most part, and absolutely ADORE Bill Potts. Thin Ice, The Pilot, Smile: I loved 'em. The most recent arc is frustrating me, but I like Capaldi and Pearl Mackie so much that I am hanging on.

Why I disliked Pyramid at the End of the World… )
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 Once upon a time, Big Finish tantalised us with this conversation in 1001 Nights:

Nyssa: You’re quite sure this outfit isn’t a little too showy? ...Oh.
Doctor: Nothing’s too showy for the Grand Coronation of the High Hierophant of the Five Revealed Truths. ...Oh.
N: We’re not at the Celestial Basilica, are we?
D: Apparently not.
[chitchat, cries for help]
D: Did you hear that?
N: Doctor. The Coronation of the High Hierophant, remember? Perfumed rain, falling from clouds sewn with powdered diamonds… you wouldn’t want to miss that.
D: I’ve had the invitation for the past 300 years, Nyssa. I can wait a little longer… come on!

Wait what? Go back! I want to visit the Celestial Basilica!

Sadly, they never did, leaving to me to wonder what it was like. I wrote a few scraps, but all I had was a poetic image of the setting. I needed a story to match the grandeur. 

A year later, I listened to Big Finish The Church and the Crown featuring Queen Anne of Austria. As so often, a DW historical inspired me to look up the period and learn stuff I didn't know before. I found a surprisingly readable dissertation about Anne. It had an appendix describing the development of ballet as an offshoot of French court etiquette. Turns out her son, Louis XIV, had won popular acclaim by dancing ballet as frickin' Apollo, and that's why he's called the Sun King.

Look at this video around 2.15 or so. I mean. LOOK. 

Invented dialogue, but the scene is pretty much historically accurate.

So what? 

So, Nyssa is a trained dancer. She'd probably like that sort of thing. And I needed a suitably grandiose archetype on which to base my just-about-to-be-crowned Hierophant.

Corollary: why is it that science fiction always imagines futuristic design as minimalist? Why can't some advanced civilization suffer an attack of questionable taste and go for Baroque? 

Before I knew it, I'd decked out Nyssa in something suspiciously Zuhair Murad, and I won't tell you what poor Five's wearing. Now I was getting somewhere. I had dancers. I had a stage. I just needed a libretto.

It took another several months for the story arc to gel, but boy howdy, do I have a plot. I know right down to the sentence where readers are going to start posting "FIRST OF ALL HOW DARE YOU." The hardest part will be holding back the chapters until I've choreographed the whole thing.

*snaps fingers* Write yourself, story. I command you.

Ah well. *frantic typing*

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I really have been shying away from this blog for a while, but I'm determined to get back to what I really wanted to do with it.

So, a few miscellaneous matters.

First, a celebration! My VHSWhovian Doctor Who Reviews blog is up to 78 reviews and counting. It's my permanent home for all my Big Finish reviews, where I'll be sharing progress in my great Big Finish Listen-o-thon, listening to all the Main Ranges and many of the spin-offs in release order as I try to make up for 15 years of missing out.

The most useful part of that website is the interactive, sortable table of Big Finish audios. Sort in order of my rating, the Doctor's timeline, companion, release date, release number, or knock yourself out finding all the audios with "Shadow" in the title. I've linked to the reviews I've written so far, but the rating from 1-10 will give you a quick way to look for good audios to try. (Keep in mind the first 50 of the main range are $3 downloads.)

Second, I'll be at (Re)Generation Who con in March, so I can finally get Peter Davison's autograph on the "Team Nerd" commission and amuse Colin Baker with my Evelyn Smythe cosplay, and Long Island 4 Who Con in November, which usually includes Paul McGann, and this year Sophie, Sylvester, and Loiuse Jameson will be there. I had a ball at LI 3, so it looks like I'm going to act like someone half my age and start attending cons now and again.

Third, I didn't post about it here, but I participated in Inktober last November, trying fountain pen for the first time in 20 years. Results:

View the individual portraits in my DeviantArt Gallery, although I need to re-upload those I got autographed at LI 3. I'll be doing new ones for (Re)Generations: Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant, Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury, and then if I have time I'll do the other guests (except I'm saving Sophie until November, since I know she'll be there. I hope I'll be able to draw a better Louise by that time as well). 

Fourth, I've joined a fic community, Get Your Words Out, so expect another novella on the level of Master's Thesis by the end of this year. I hope. Another Fifth Doctor and Nyssa adventure, this one a side adventure sometime after 1001 Nights, which mentioned that they were trying to reach the Coronation of the High Hierophant. I decided to write that missing story. It's got a killer concept, and the research and planning stages are fairly far along. ('m treating it as a dress rehearsal for original fiction (not that I mean to repurpose it, just that I'm practicing the skills needed for a commercially successful book). 

I hesitate to mention this in the same post with things I'm proud of, but for what it's worth, I just posted an R-rated "guilty pleasure" Nyssa/Five ficlet on AO3. It has no merit; it's just a fluffy bit of smut as a gift for some old friends. Enjoy.


Dec. 17th, 2014 05:00 pm
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The new generation of Who fans is wonderful and vibrant and busy on Tumblr, but it's hard to have a proper geeky conversation when most of the best comments are hidden away in tags and reblogs. Dreamwidth is a classic-Livejournal clone, so it's easier to have discussions here.

So, I'm going to be using it for my meta posts, discussions of episodes, and fanfic archiving.

In case you haven't bumped into me on Tumblr, this is me (Bigon voice):

Brief intro to an old Whovian... )

If you're an active classic Who / Big Finish fan, I'd love to hear from you!

July 2017

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