This post is not to be confused with the above t.v. show, which both engrosses and annoys me.
No, this post is actually about a certain science fiction show about a time-traveling alien doctor:
^ Yes, this one
I love Doctor Who. Don’t you?
I think my favorite part is that it can really be anything: the premise is ripe for reinvention and exploration. Honestly, I think that the chance to work on Doctor Who is a speculative writer’s ultimate fantasy. At least, it’s this speculative writer’s ultimate fantasy. Sometimes, I daydream about what I would do, given the opportunity to work with the coolest writer’s toy out there.
So I thought it would be a fun exercise to share some of my ideas – and I want to hear your ideas, too!
- Lady doctor! I’d want her all quirky and clever and occasionally condescending to the plebes. Of course, you have to advance the Doctor’s recurrent themes about isolation in the universe, as well as the ethical implications of the Time War…
- When women go quirky, they’re infantilized a la Zooey Deschanel. When men go quirky, no one appreciates their genius. Actually, I think Zooey could do a great job, but I am a Zooey fan so your mileage may vary. Let’s just write her a character people appreciate as smart – or should, if they’re being smart.
We’ll even let her bring her ukulele – because ukuleles, like bowties, are cool
- Male companion with a crush on the lady doctor, even though she is out of his universe. (Literally.)
- Do I need to explain this one?
Thank you, Donna, for being apparently the only woman in the universe who can resist the Doctor’s man-musk (and yet you’re still the only person I ship with him)
- Scooby Gang! In a way, I understand why Doctor Who has stuck closely one or two companions – you don’t want the audience to get too attached to any group of companions, because Doctor Who is all about reinvention and Scooby Gangs have a way of endearing themselves to the audience. (See: Buffy.) Also, maybe budget concerns?
- But Doctor Who gives the Doctor the opportunity to make a diverse group of allies throughout the universe – and it seems a shame to waste the potential dynamics that a time-traveling, spacefaring group could create. I want to see a medieval milkmaid interact with a Martian – not just fleetingly, but over a long span of time. Focusing on the group dynamics of the companions might make the show slightly less about the Doctor, but couldn’t that be a good thing? I mean, there’s only so many times we can see different actors angst about the same Doctor issues.
- Extended storylines with decent pacing. Yes, we already have extended storylines. And Moffat seems to have steered away from them in this current season, maybe because there was so much backlash about last season? But the problem with last season wasn’t the extended storyline itself, which I think could have been cool. Like, the blueprint looks okay. But the storyline was frenetically paced, often rushed, and sometimes completely nonsensical.
- *SPOILER ALERT*
- Amy and Rory have a baby! But they don’t care about that baby, apparently, because they never talk about it? Oh my God their childhood friend is their baby! That just came out of nowhere and is never discussed again. While we’re at it, River Song’s entire story arc – which has been teased over two seasons – is going to be basically covered in a single episode.
- And now I’m going to stop whining about it because I think that a disappointing season of Doctor Who is still miles better than most television – but there’s no getting around the fact that we had a decent extended storyline, which would have been more satisfying if the pace had been slowed and characters had been treated as real people rather than tools existing to serve the plot.
- Less Daleks, more Sleeping Angels. ‘Nuff said. This is just shameless personal preference and I have no shame.
- I’d totally write an episode with fantasy tropes (dragons, magic, wizards, ect.) where it turns out to be a planet with advanced technology…
- Because I want to see the Doctor interact with a dragon.
- Because dragons are cool.
There you have it! Some of the basic ways I would change Doctor Who.
(It’s already pretty great, don’t get me wrong. Don’t mean to imply that it needs to be changed. Just having fun.)
What would YOU do with Doctor Who?
I got tagged by Ari! And much celebrating was had.
1. What is the name of your book?
KILL THE LAST ONE
2. Where did the idea for your book come from?
I wanted to write something I’d never written before: a modern day science fiction story with teenagers, with the possibility for changing alliances and character reversals. That’s it. A million little ideas came from that; and together, they created the current conception of KILL THE LAST ONE. There was a LOT of time spent brainstorming. A lot.
3. In what genre would you classify your book?
Young adult science fiction.
4. If you had to pick actors to play your characters in a movie rendition, who would you choose?
To be honest, I’m not someone who does this often. I’ve seen a couple actors where it’s like, “That looks like so-and-so,” but more often I see people who fit my mental picture in awkward public situations. And then I stare at them for too long.
Please note that I’m not quite following the rules of this question, as these are not (necessarily) people I think should play the movie versions. They are people who I feel have an uncanny physical resemblance.
And yes – this means I fall into the trap of imagining my characters as unreasonably good-looking.
Rupert Grint reminds me of my main character Casey. I don’t know why. It doesn’t make much sense, because Casey has brown hair.
Tiya Sircair looks so much like Pembe that I did a double take when I first saw her. It’s not just because there’s a severe lack of diversity in Hollywood; I imagined Pembe as someone with a slightly round face and big, beautiful eyes.
And Blake Lively is pretty much how I imagine Rebecca. Obviously, I imagine her as blonde, but I also imagine her as tall with lots of sharp angles. I’m not sure that Blake Lively has the requisite muscles, since Rebecca is a basketball player/athlete…
…to be honest, when I’m thinking of this character, I’m actually imagining my old math tutor. (Sorry, old math tutor.)
For all of these actors, you’d have to use some sort of age-changing potion to turn them into teenagers.
5. Give us a one-sentence synopsis of your book.
For years, a monster has stalked eighteen-year old pothead Casey – a titan of a monster with dark fur and red eyes that no one can see or touch, including him; nonetheless, Casey is convinced that the monster is there, a belief that is validated when he starts receiving strange letters that invite him to a place called the Mock Universe – a place where, the letters warn, his monster has the potential to become devastatingly real.
I know, I cheated. That sentence never really ends, does it?
6. Is your book already published?
Nope. I’m still writing it.
7. How long did it take you to write your book?
Well. As I said, I’m still writing it. Here’s a run-down of the process:
- Started the brainstorming process in the summer of 2011.
- Spent the fall writing an outline (which I quickly scrapped when I started seriously writing the thing), and otherwise flirted with the story by writing a page or two here or there.
- Started seriously writing it on New Year’s Day 2012 (yes, it was a New Year’s Resolution – and a pretty successful one at that) by utilizing the heck out of 750words.com.
- Stopped adding new words in the summer, taking a couple breaks to focus on short stories and attempting to put together something coherent out of the words I’d already written.
- Now that I’m back at school, I don’t have the time to focus and make things pretty, so I’m back to vomiting up words on 750words.com. At this point, I have enough pages to make a book (maybe even two books?) except that a lot of those pages exist in versions of the story that no longer exist and/or are generally terrible.
I’ve stopped trying to make predictions about when I’ll be finished. I do know that my ‘first draft’ is significantly more polished than a first draft necessarily has to be, which hopefully means that I’ve saved myself some time on the editing process.
But maybe not. Writing a book is hard.
But there is progress. And I’m at the point where I can’t turn back now, because I’m totally committed to Finishing The Thing. Which is a good (and difficult) point to reach, methinks.
8. What other books within your genre would you compare it to? Or, readers of which books would enjoy yours?
The Maze Runner. Battle Royale, to the point where I’m a little worried. (Shockingly, however, it’s very different from The Hunger Games). Um, and…Animorphs? There’s also a resemblance to the Japanese manga Please Save My Earth.
In other words…
I do what I want.
9. Which authors inspired you to write this book?
Oh God, every writer I’ve ever loved? That list could go on forever. When I think about these things, I tend to think of Neil Gaiman first – but that’s probably ’cause he’s so popular and therefore on my mind.
10. Tell us anything that might pique our interest in your book.
Alien spiders! Past lives! Basketball! Saxophones as weapons! Brotherly friendship between actual brothers! And a corgi.
Ari might have a squirrel (and a parrot!) – but *I* have a corgi
So I’m supposed to pass this on to five people. But I can only think of four people. So too bad. ;p
Ladies, don’t wanna creep or nothing – but I wanna see your stories.
In other news, I haven’t been too consistent about this blog. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what I wanted the schedule to be. But now I’ve decided to update on Saturdays. It’ll only be one post a week, but I think that it’s more important for me to be consistent than to have a high post rate.
So. I’m gonna be consistent now. On Saturdays. For reals.
Why start a post about Deep Space Nine with a picture of Next Generation? Because I wouldn’t have started watching Deep Space Nine in the first place if I didn’t start watching Next Generation over the summer with my mother.
Yes, my mother is a Trekkie. She only reads science fiction books and science magazines. She is a woman after my own heart.
So we watched the first season of Next Generation, probably not the best season of the show, and a lot of it was cheesy and silly, but overall it renewed my enthusiasm for science fiction as a storytelling medium. For the love of God, why is there no space opera on tv right now? If Abrams can start a million other tv shows, then he can certainly start another Trek! And I’m not talking about the movies – they’re too infrequent to sate my palate for button-upped spacefaring adventure.
Except that Deep Space Nine isn’t button-upped. People call it gritty, because it shows that life in the Trek universe isn’t all lens flares and neat cuffs. And there’s very little spacefaring.
But the main thing that struck me about Deep Space Nine?
The diversity in the casting.
Pretty diverse, right? If a show started this season with this level of diversity, I’d pretty sure I’d wet myself – first with surprise, then with happiness. And yet, this is a show that started airing when I was five.
Well, the title of my post makes it sound like I have some profound things to say about the current state of diversity on television.
I just think it’s weird, that’s all, that this should be such a surprise to me. I should see casts like this all the time. Ideally.
Right now, Sinbad is the most diverse thing I can think of – but that’s necessitated because of the setting, and somehow there’s still a lot of white people, which annoys me because it doesn’t seem likely.
A lot of people have made a big deal out of the fact that we genderbent and racebent Watson. And I don’t want to diminish the fact that it’s cool. But I’m also depressed that this shocks us so much. And that so many people on the Interwebs are convinced that this means the downfall of Watson forever.
Dude, do you know who Lucy Liu is?!
She is my favorite
Anyway, you’re never going to be able to fully represent the entire spectrum of humanity in a single story. I acknowledge that. And it’s important to note that the casting on Deep Space Nine isn’t ideal: only two women, and both white? Nor do I think that Deep Space Nine handles issues of gender particularly well: there are moments of enlightenment, in that both female characters are awesome – but there’s also a character whose sexual harassment is treated as harmless and amusing because haha sexual harassment lol.
Irregardless, I want more of this thing that we apparently had twenty years ago. By which I mean space opera. And diversity.
Seriously, he is hot