Commissioned by editors Justin Richards and Andy Lane, this story was designed to tie in with the stories “… and Eternity in an Hour” by Steve Bowkett and “Tarnished Image” by Guy Clapperton. In the end, instead of writing 10,000 words as contracted I wrote 17,000 words (which is very bad behaviour and poor planning by any writer). Ordinarily, this would be a problem. As it was, some of the other stories ran short, and so I was allowed to cut it to only 15,000 words (with much frowning by the editors).
My original proposal, submitted before the story was commissioned, was rather lengthy for a short story proposal, but it was the first one I’d written.
By an interesting coincidence, there are similarities between some small elements of this short story and a few minor scenes in Lawrence Miles’s book Interference. You know what they say: “Brilliant minds think alike. And fools seldom differ.”
In a subsequent interview, I talked a bit about the way the story was commissioned and edited.
The online excerpt from the published story is from the middle of the story. It contains a joke that I stole from editor Andy Lane. It subsequently appeared, in a different form, in the movie Men in Black—brilliant minds again, eh?
Reviews were generally kind, though some people thought it wasn’t funny enough. Funnily enough (or not), I hadn’t written it to be funny.
I have also blogged three unused scenes that I deleted before publication.
Here’s the blurb from the book’s back cover:
Ten stories – Seven Doctors – One Chain of Events
“The consequences of having the Doctor crashing around our universe can be colossal… The Doctor is a time traveller. Never forget that, because it is central to an understanding of what makes him so terribly dangerous. Most of us, in our tiny, individual ways are involved in the writing of history. Only the Doctor is out there rewriting it.”
But even then the Doctor may not see the threads that bind the universe together. Perhaps, instead, he cuts right through them. Who knows what events he sets in motion without even realizing? Who knows what consequences may come back – or forward – to haunt him?
Ten completely new tales from the universe of Doctor Who. Seven Doctors’ lives, inexorably linked in a breathtaking chain of consequences.
As always, the editors have assembled a dazzling array of writing talent, from award-winning TV script writers to acclaimed New Adventures authors. And, as before, there are the usual contributions from talented new writers.