Write about a time you broke: The law.

642 This post contains some law breaking. The above photograph above wasn't posted with the permission of the copyright holder, I just searched for a picture of movie Dredd on Google Images and grabbed this from an Ars Technica article.  Fair use doesn't come into play because it's not there for the purposes of criticism.  Saying that I wish the helmet wasn't quite so large probably doesn't count.  Perhaps if I recommend that you all go buy the Dredd film which is remarkably cheap right now on Amazon, it might count as a promotional usage, but I'm not sure.

Which is the problem with being online now.  We're all skirting on the edges of criminality, if not falling straight in.  YouTube is awash with material not uploaded by the original copyright holder and we've all watched it at some point.  It's impossible not to without incredible diligence.  Plus, given how protective corporations are of their material, its often assumed that there's a kind of approval that some of this material is out there.  The BBC often embeds third party videos of their own archive material on their own website.  What are we to make of that?

Write about a time you broke: A heart.

642 None that I know of, not really, and not on purpose. But that's the point isn't it? My relationship radar is so appalling I wouldn't have seen the signs to begin with. There's one occasion when I've realised that there might have been something there after the fact, months after I last spoke to the person, and that's probably for the best.  That was around twenty-five years ago.  Since then?  Haven't any idea.  Imagine if someone who reads this blog actually gets back to me and says, "Well ..." Shiver.

Remain in Light (Short Trips: Snapshots).

Prose The main theme of Snapshots is how the Doctor affects the lives of the incidental people he meets, those who witness his heroism. Remain in Light offers the first person recollections of Anton, who's staying at a friend of a friend's beach house and is startled when the Doctor calls him and asks him to retrieve a body bag from the beach containing an unconscious Lucie who he's then tasked with reviving. It's a killer opening which you could well imagine as a teaser in the Moffat era which then leads into neat little story about how some people seem to exist as myths and fairy tales and anecdotes rather than a real human being. One of the silent characters on The Archers, Nile's first wife Maris on Frasier or Tino in My So-Called Life.  Despite the brevity of the pagination, Eddie Robson captures the sense of place, Malibu in the 1980s superbly, aided by musical suggestions throughout as through he's constructing the soundtrack album for a film version.  On a couple of occasions, the lyrics of tracks subtly mirror the on page action without making it thuddingly obvious.    While reading, I asked Alexa to play each track as it was suggested and was amazed to discover a few songs which sound about as plausible as John Smith and the Common Men but are entirely real (and that the talking hockey-puck could understand what I was saying).  This was the first prose adventure for Lucie Miller and she's right there on the page - you can hear Sheridan voice behind every word, especially when the contemporary references come crashing in.  Also full marks for the Sugababes reference, Mr Robson, gold star.
Placement: Before The Young Lions in the slowly developing Short Trips mini-season.

Write about a time you broke: A bone.

642 Medically, I've been pretty lucky. Apart from this anxiety disorder which is dragging on, water infections, root canal and some rubella in my teens and many, many colds, the only occasions when I've needed to visit the hospital have been for a hernia operation and after a bully punched me in the face at school for some stitches.  Despite also having had my hand trapped in the door of a private hire taxi and a skidding motorbike knocking me over (after the rider was involved in a hit and run), none of my bones have broken.

What must it be like?  Shock followed by excruciating pain, I suppose, and in the very worst cases the ability to see something which is supposed to be supporting some vital physical function on the outside of the body.  With my disposition it would probably be the worst thing which has ever happened to me, as these things usually are, even though plenty of other people seem to take it in the their stride, at least after the event, even though some of them find it very difficult to take an actual stride then.  Rest assured if I am unlucky in the future, you'll hear about it.  A lot.

Tweet the story of your life.


Bafflement and Devotion (Doctor Who Magazine #289).

Prose It's March 2000, just under half way through the gap between the TV Movie and Rose and what many of us think of as the Eighth Doctor era. It's a year since I began reading Doctor Who Magazine regularly and I'm still generally baffled by anything written about the spin-off media, only really listening to the McGann audios amid catching up on the television stories. So this short piece of meta-fiction from Paul Magrs in which his creation Iris Wildthyme considers her own existence in relation to the Doctor would have passed me by as "interesting even though I don't understand much of it".  Now it's a fascinating glimpse into where the franchise was in that moment, optimistically ploughing forward away from television, servicing its diminishing fanbase but recently given a shot in the arm by the launch of Big Finish.  Meanwhile, DWM's in an unimpeachable phase, mixing articles consolidating the history of the programme, a comic strip at the peak of its powers (this issue has The Grateful Dead, part 3) with experimental pieces like this.  Iris and the Doctor are travelling on her bus shaped TARDIS to destination unknown, revealing through conversation elements of Magrs's own biography and how they relate to Iris as an entity and how she exists as a parody of the Doctor himself, experiencing unseen gender twists on his own adventures.  He's in his befuddled post The Ancestor Cell amnesiac version, slightly surprised to find memories of new adventures entering his mind as though these spin-off stories hadn't always "happened", that his own personal biography is in a constant state of flux within which Iris too has been inserted.  Amongst the new memories is Magrs's own Stones of Venice which shows this was written when everyone assumed the audios (and comics!) "happened" during the Greenpeace gap until that became blatantly absurd.  As always, we're reminded of how much of an influence Iris and Bernice Summerfield must have been on River Song.  Surely there has to be room in some future boxed set for three of them to meet up?
Placement: Because of the metafictional elements, I'm inclined to put this in the miscellany, so I will.

Now tweet the plot of the original Star Wars.


Phoenix (Indefinable Magic).

Prose Doctor Who does Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, pondering what might happen if that sort of book was granted sentience and went about trying to rewrite reality to reflect its contents. A perfect Short Trips concept, too small to sustain a novel but visually interesting enough that you would love to see it on screen.   The plotting is fairly simple, a bystander listening to the Doctor exposit on his foe before defeating it, but James Goss provides a few twists on the formula as he reveals the nature of the The Bestiary of Legendary and Magical Creatures and it's uncanny animals.   One of the features of Goss's writing is to misdirect his audience and take full advantage of the media within which he's working and arguably, despite what I said earlier, this story simply wouldn't work on audio or anything else.  Notably, for the purposes of this project, he has one of the adversaries seemingly allude obliquely to the Time War, as it was assumed to have happened when the book was published in 2009. 
Placement: Since it's ambiguous as to whether this is actually him, I've bunged it in "Almost, but not quite, entirely unlike the Eighth Doctor."

Boil down Hamlet, Shakespeare's longest play, to a tweet (140 characters).


Organism 96 (Tales of Terror).

Prose BBC Books's seasonal anthology publications continue with Tales of Terror, stories set in and around my birthday. Having done Christmas and Halloween now, perhaps they'll branch out into other holidays, although Big Finish already covered a few of those back in the day, not that most of us can afford to buy those collector's items now.  Organism 96 is Paul Magrs writing his first full on prose Eighth Doctor story in over a decade and it has everything you might expect from his stories.  A whimsical adversary born of mythology (albeit with a scientific origin), some hard core fan references and lashings of meta-fictional subtext.  The Doctor's enjoying a cruise when the ship takes on a passenger, an old lady, who isn't who she seems to be.  It's just the sort of simple premise which works well with these short trips.  The story's largely told from the point of view of a one off companion, Marie, one of the ship's entertainers, and is the sort of character who'd be played by a famous singer who can act or vis-versa in a television version.  Magrs's version of the Eighth Doctor is perfection.  Magrs was one of the key architects of the character back in the day (through his first novel about him The Scarlet Empress) and although this isn't some great continuity deep dive, this is very much the same man who originally appeared in those old novels.  So rare to find an Eighth Doctor story not set during the Time War now.  Superb. 
Placement:  My guess is pretty early, perhaps in the Greenpeace gap but it could be anywhere.  I've contacted Paul Magrs to see what he says [update: he "liked" the tweet so I'll leave it there].

Write last year's fortune cookie. It got everything right.

642 Everything else is horrible but you'll come out unscathed. Just keep your wits about you.