From: Clients from Hell.net
Client: I love the flyer you sent! It’s clicky!
Me: Great! So we’re done now?
Client: No. When I print out the flyer, the links aren’t clicky. Can you make them clicky?
Me: I don’t understand.
Client: I want to be able to go to our website … when … um, when I …
Me: You do know that a piece of paper can’t be interactive, right?
Phil: I read (on-line) the posting above at the same time as I was reading (on-paper) “Who Goes There – Travels through strangest Britain in search of the Doctor” by Nick Griffiths, and it struck a chord.
I enjoy travel books. Sometimes they make me want to go and see the places described. Mostly my traveling is vicarious but none the worse for that. I also love Dr Who. Put the two together and we should have a winner – right?
Even once you get past the stream of consciousness writing style (it calms down after the first few chapters) and the lack of capital letters in the title (Grrrr) there is a fundamental problem with the book. The author keeps referring readers to his website so they can see photos of the location he visits. That’s lovely but I was reading on a train and so constantly being pointed at a web page was a reminder that I was missing out on a good chunk of the fun to be had from Griffiths travels.
To compound matters, he keeps referring to Who episodes that I don’t remember. I mean, I love classic Who, but I don’t have an encyclopedic memory of a TV show I watched when I was 5 or even one from before I was born. I’m nerdy, but not that nerdy. Thus, I often have no idea what the location being visited looks like ‘cos I’ve not seen it on telly or on the web.
But, Candice and I were chatting about this over tea and squash earlier in the week, more and more people are reading on eBooks. Travel on the tube in that there London and you’ll hardly see the traditional paperback. It’s all iPads and Kindles now.
These are perfect for a book like this. If I want to see the picture, I can click on a link and assuming I’m not in a signal-free tunnel, up the photo will pop. If licensing were possible, even a clip from the show could be included. All this makes writing a rather more involved job than traditional, but it creates a very different type of book/website hybrid that could be very exciting.
None of this works (for me) on paper but it does beg a question. If the eBook/website hybrid is the way things are going, has this book about a time traveller fallen back through a wormhole from a few years in the future?
Phil: To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the BBC’s DrWho, a range of books have been packaged up in new covers, a bit of text from the author has been added to the start and then they were thrust out into the world. Whether sales were rubbish or the plan was that they would be distributed this way, the books ended up in a “3 for a fiver” offer in my local remaindered bookshop.
How could I resist?
Reading a book based on a TV show is an interesting experience. None of them are great tomes and one was even joyously knocked off in a single day. I love being able to wallow for a day just reading and eating chocolate. That’s what Christmas is all about.
Anyway, what are they like?
Festival of Death is a Tom Baker (the best Doctor) story involving some complicated time travel stuff with 3 versions of the same Doctor in the same space. This was the one I read in a day and I’m glad I did as the plot is reasonably complicated. The author mentions some serious planning in the new introductory text. For most of us, our characters bumble along on a single timeline, perhaps we get occasional flashback but the subject of our interest generally stays firmly rooted in time and can’t meet another version of his or her self. Stick with the story and it’s good fun.
Earthworld occupies a very special place in Who history. It dates from the era when the show had been cancelled, living only in the minds and literature of the die-hard fan base. The BBC maintained a Who desk which had responsibility for keeping the show alive with novels and it was from here that this book was commissioned. Ostensibly a Paul McGann style Doctor story, it includes companions who were never part of the TV version, something that confused me to start with. A quick look on the Interweb filled in the background and after a while I wasn’t worried.
The story takes place on an Earth theme park of a type that will be familiar to anyone who saw the film Westworld. There’s a lot of philosophical stuff about what it means to be human and some very poignant parts as one companion is recovering from seeing her boyfriend killed in the previous story.
Remembrance of the Daleks is the only book here that is a novelisation of a TV story. Easily the best from the underrated Sylvester McCoy era, it appealed to me as the only decent story he got during his tenure. What’s interesting is that the book version allows the characters to develop depth and a proper back story. The companion “Ace” always struck me as one of the most annoying people allowed in the Tardis but here we get character development and an explanation where she came from, something the TV version omitted. Maybe my memories from 1988 (I looked it up) aren’t great but the books takes a good story and makes it a much richer experience and an awful lot better for it.
Worth a fiver? Certainly. Apparently 12 books were released, I might go back and see if they have the rest.
Candice: I had a jolly day on set on Friday, filming for BBC Doctors. You know, lunch time drama, 1.40pm Monday – Friday, filmed in Birmingham. You don’t?
Well to be honest, you wouldn’t be the only one who hasn’t heard of it. Up North – Shameless, Hollyoaks, Emmerdale; Cardiff – Doctor Who, Casualty; Bristol – Trollied, the Cafe…. Birmingham – Doctors. It’s a shame for us extra’s based in Brum and for those at BBC Birmingham because they really don’t seem to be giving much to the Midlands. Up until last year there were a few things filmed locally, Hustle etc. So I didn’t mind the odd stint on Doctors in between being in something my working friends actually watch. But now, I have to travel to be in something I might have any chance of people ringing my parents to say “Did I see Candice in…” as happened when I was in Casualty last year. Not that I want to hog the screen or anything but I’m just saying…
However, there is one show I really want to get on and so far have had no luck – Doctor Who. Really I should have joined the Agency that does extra’s for it years ago but I never timed it right as you can only register once a year. But now I am, but my requests for a position as second cyborg on the left fall on deaf ears. I think I have finally worked out why, they think I am a Whovian. Ie a super fan who is desperate to get on set and play with the Doctor’s tardis (oh er). But I’m not, it’s just a cool programme and I’d like to say just once I have been on.
However, watching this weeks episode I think I have worked the other reason why (and it’s not because I’m a red head and would clash with the Pond). They really don’t have any extras on the show. Unless I’d wanted to play a robot or a dinosaur, this weeks episode had the sum total of five extras. With over 1000 people on their books, I’m unlikely to get a job I think!
However, I am determined to give it a good go so will back off a bit in my requests and hope that they forget my desperation and give me a go. Last job I did in Cardiff, the guy I sat next to said, ” I did Doctor Who last week and I’ve only been doing this a month.” There was a lot of teeth gritting!
Filed under Candice, Writing