Doctor Who has held a special place in my heart for longer than I care to recollect. My first memory of the show was a story called The Time Warrior, which to my mind would’ve been around 1975. I fell out of love with the show in the late 1980s, then fell in love again while I was at university a few years later.
I started writing stories for the fanzine of the Doctor Who Club of Victoria, Sonic Screwdriver in around 1991/1992. Off the back of that, I sent a story to the official magazine of the show, the imaginatively named Doctor Who Magazine. That story was Roses, which saw publication in issue 214 . Due to my own laziness, it was six or seven years later that I finally chased up payment!
Fast forward to 2007, and I stumbled across The Doctor Who Project, a Canadian fan site whose conceit involved them continuing the Doctor Who television series as if it had never been cancelled in 1989. I answered a plea asking for someone to help fill a slot that had suddenly become available. Searching through some half started ideas I quickly developed Dreadnaught, which saw publication as the penultimate story of the 2008 run.
Late last year there was a request for contributors for a short story series which would go out under the banner, Brief Encounters. Ironically, this was what the short stories published in Doctor Who Magazine were called when they were published in the early 1990s.
I had started work on what became Fear the Dark, which originally featured the Sixth Doctor (as played by Colin Baker). The editors requested a change to the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee, of Worzmel Gummidge fame) with his companion Sarah Jane Smith (Liz Sladen, who heads up the well received children’s adventure show, The Sarah Jane Adventures).
Fear the Dark is a horror story dressed up as a Doctor Who adventure. All the tropes are there – a few characters under siege in a confined location, where the shadows are haunted by creatures consumed by bloodlust. It opens a little patchily, but once the main narrative kicks in I think it works. Beware that the science, like a lot of the science in the show, is completely bonkers.
If you don’t like the story, at least drool over the cover art by Philip Boyes, and the logo by Brian Taylor. Fantastic!