Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Shadow of the Gallifreyan - Extended Deadlines


Over the last few weeks we have been reserving story slots for our next Doctor Who charity anthology - The Shadow of the Gallifreyan (in aid of Shelter). We have been delighted by the response so far. Some writers have even sent in completed first drafts, and others have come up with some truly outstanding and original pitches for their chosen stories.

Although we will not be editing submissions until early in the new year, anyone who contacted us before the 30th September deadline should have heard back from us by now. Do get in touch if you think we've missed something from you.

There are still a number of slots to fill, so we are extending the deadline for reserving stories to 31st October. Importantly, we'd like to see a brief proposal for each story before we can give the final green light.

The list of stories that have already been taken and are therefore no longer available is here - list of reserved stories

Initially we limited story reservations to three per writer, but we are now giving you the opportunity to write up to four pieces. If you have already reserved your three stories and would like to pitch for another please do!

For more details about the anthology and what we are looking for see our updated announcement here

The most popular Doctors so far have been the seventh and the twelfth Doctors, but although some of the others are lagging behind we've had a fairly balanced mix of pitches from across every era of the series. 

In order to allow more time for pitches to come in, we are also extending the deadline for first drafts from all writers to the 1st March 2022.

Paul and Kara.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Master Switches: Further Misadventures in Space and Time


Altrix Books is delighted to announce the release of Master Switches - an unofficial Doctor Who anthology in aid of The Stroke Association.

After a series of adventures without the Doctor (Master Pieces), the many incarnations of the Master are back to doing what they do best; scheming to bring down their greatest adversary. The proverbial thorn in the side has made a hobby out of thwarting the Master's plans for universal domination. But even the Doctor can't always be the hero, the victor, and the star. Sometimes, the Master must take the Doctor's place...

Featuring stories by Jon Arnold, Andrew Blair, Kara Dennison, Paul Driscoll, Kenton Hall, Stephen Hatcher, Paul Hiscock, Matthew Kresal, Gary J Mack, Greg Maughan, Iain McLaughlin, Ellen Montgomery, Nathan Mullins, Gerard Power, Rachel Redhead, Graham Tedesco-Blair and Joshua Wanisko. Cover illustration and design by Ginger Hoesly. 

The book is available to buy now for a limited time in various Amazon regions, including the UK and the USA

Sunday, August 15, 2021

The Shadow of the Gallifreyan - Call for Pitches


This flash fiction 2022 charity anthology edited by Kara Dennison and Paul Driscoll considers the after-effects of the Doctor’s presence in a televised adventure. The things they leave behind, physically and emotionally. It’s the ‘what happened next’ as told from the perspective of some of the individuals who encountered them. The title is inspired by the German theologian Gerd Thiessen’s The Shadow of the Galilean (and is not intended as a loaded comment on the Doctor’s origins).

We are looking for flash fiction of between 500 - 1000 words told by a supporting character to cover every televised Doctor Who story. They can be minor or major characters (as long as they have a spoken role and name), human or alien, hero or villain, but no companions or series regulars.

Your character is the narrator of the piece, whether you write it as an action scene or piece of reflective speech. The best contributions will be those that best capture the individual voice of the speaker. We will accept multiple genres, from poetry as consciously written by the character, to letters, journal entries and straightforward story-telling.

We want to know what impact the Doctor had, in terms of their actions, their decisions, their words, and their character. We don’t want a book that becomes a gushing eulogy, so those experiences and judgements might be negative as well as positive, or more likely a little bit of both. Although these are the experiences of those whose lives were altered in some way by the Doctor, the focus must end up on the Doctor, hence the title of the collection.

You can pick a ‘good guy’, a ‘bad guy’, or a neutral character. Their perspective and ‘side’ might have changed from what was seen on screen. No series regulars, including any of the Doctors should be active figures in your story. This is about what happens after they have left – whether that be the immediate aftermath, or sometime in the future, from days to years.

As an unofficial charity anthology, this work is not meant to be considered as canon in the strictest definition of the term, meaning that you do not need to worry about presenting a consistent timeline to that which might be featured in official spin-offs such as BBC novels or Big Finish audios. Be creative and don’t feel limited by existing stories.

There will likely be two volumes to cover 1963-1996 and 2005-present.

You can reserve up to four (UPDATED) stories in total. We just need the name of the story you are planning to cover and the character you would like to use. Slots will usually be reserved on a first come - first served basis, but the final green light will come following receipt of an acceptable synopsis (which can be just a few lines). 

We will be raising money for the UK homelessness charity, Shelter. We hope that some of the stories might show a character who has experienced similar social and economic challenges to those faced by the people the charity support, but it is of course by no means a requirement.





E-Mail for reservations, pitches and story submissions: altrixbooks@virginmedia.com.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Master Switches - full line up.

We are now in a position to announce the full line-up of stories in Master Switches. Unlike our previous collection, the Doctor is back for this one, only not as you might expect. This is the Master’s chance to shine at their old adversary’s expense. You’ll read some re-imaginings of old adventures, new combinations of Masters and Doctors, and stories where the Master gains the upper hand or perhaps even the moral high ground. Edited by Paul Driscoll and with cover art by Ginger Hoesly, the anthology is in support of The Stroke Association and is due for release this August.

  • TIME SIGNATURE Andrew Blair
  • YOUR NEW WEBMASTER Paul Driscoll
  • THE ONE PLACE Kara Dennison
  • MERLIN’S DRAGON Stephen Hatcher
  • A MOST PECULIAR INFECTION Graham Tedesco-Blair
  • THE THIRD KNOCK Kenton Hall
  • THE GENOAI TANGO Ellen Montgomery
  • THE DEADLY ALLIANCE Nathan Mullins
  • PEACEMAKER Paul Hiscock

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Master Switches - An Interview with Paul Driscoll

The editor of Master Switches, Paul Driscoll, takes us behind the scenes on the making of the collection and gives the inside track on his own story 'Your New Webmaster'.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Based in Leigh, Greater Manchester, I’m the editor of Master Pieces and Master Switches. Alongside running Altrix Books with Kara, I am one of the editors of Obverse Books’ Black Archive range. I’ve written several fiction and non-fiction works for various publishers, many of them set in the Doctor Who universe or one of its spin-off worlds.

Why did you want to organise a follow-up to Master Pieces?

To raise even more funds for The Stroke Association and to give our writers the chance to include the Doctor in a new Master focused story. One of the stipulations of the first collection was that the Doctor was mostly absent. I wanted to read and write stories where the old sparring partners were back in action together, but ones in which the usual rules of engagement were shaken up. I was also conscience that many gifted writers missed out on the chance to pitch for the first book.

How did you decide with Master/Doctor combo to run with?

I waited to see what was left after all the pitches had come in and been selected. While the Masters were well covered, we were short of ideas for Ninth Doctor stories – the one that we had accepted was superb, but sadly the writer had to pull out. I think, continuity-wise, this was one of the least obvious Doctors to pick since his whole persona is largely based on his identity as the last of the Time-Lords. For the Master, the idea of the suave and sophisticated Roger Delgado walking onto the Powell Estate was a hard one to resist.

Can you describe your story in a nutshell?

Jackie Tyler’s search for Rose leads her to the doorstep of Caroline Finch and an unlikely partnership with the grieving widow’s enigmatic therapist, Doctor Magister.

How did you find the writing process?

The story originally centred around Mickey Smith (the clue’s in the title which I haven’t changed), but after recent revelations concerning Noel Clarke, I felt that it would be unwise and insensitive to publish it at this time, which is not meant as a comment on the actor’s guilt or otherwise. The theme of the story just made it impossible to keep in the anthology. So it required a substantial rewrite or a replacement with another story. I didn’t want to lose the story and, hopefully, found a way of making it better than the original by switching Mickey’s role in the story with Jackie. It was a bit of a headache and a moral dilemma, but I think I made the right call. The worst part was losing some good jokes about bins and some social commentary on racism, but writing for Jackie instead was a lovely thing.

What aspect of your story are you most proud of?

Capturing the voices of the key players and the spirit of Doctor Who in 2005. Writing with someone else’s toys always feels like a huge responsibility, and I like to think I’ve done justice to Russell T Davies’ marvellous characters.

Do you have a favourite line from your story?

Not one involving the Master, surprisingly. I think it has to be this little exchange after a scene set in Mickey’s abandoned yellow beetle:

‘You were joking before, weren’t you?’ said Rose, following the Doctor down an alleyway back to the TARDIS.


‘About the yellow car?’

‘Bessie? Of course, not.’

‘You had a yellow car and you named it Bessie? Yeah – sure you did, Doctor. Blue is much more your colour.’

Monday, August 9, 2021

Master Switches - An Interview with Kara Dennison


In our penultimate Master Switches interview, Altrix co-founder Kara Dennison takes us to "The One Place" both the Doctor and the Master are trying not to go...

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I've got one foot in journalism and the other in fiction, and it's a bit weird. There's one half of my life's Venn Diagram that knows me for my work at Crunchyroll, Otaku USA, and Sci-Fi Magazine. There's another half that's familiar with my fiction and essays. So I ride this line of way too much anime knowledge and very odd choices in story themes.

Oh, and I'm co-owner of Altrix. I feel like that might be important.

What made you want to write a story for Master Switches?

I'm always a fan of examining the dichotomy of the Doctor and the Master, for one. For two, Master Pieces was a lot of fun to work on, and the brief for this one was even cooler — the Doctor inadvertently helping the Master. Of course, I'll always work with Paul whenever he asks.

How would you describe your story in a nutshell?

The Master spent a lot of time on the hunt for more lives, and "The One Place" sees him encountering the Doctor right at a time when the two of them have that looming mortality in common. The TVM Master (the "Bruce" Master?) lures the Eleventh Doctor to an experimental spaceship where there was a serum in development that could potentially refresh their regeneration cycles.

What made you decide which Master and Doctor combo to go with?

I've always been interested in the Doctor and Master's common ground. At their best, they both complement and conflict with each other. So I wanted to find another of those links. The Eleventh Doctor is, as far as he knows, at the end of his rope life-wise. Putting him opposite the TVM Master was an interesting prospect, since they're both in a similar position but approaching it differently. I also wanted to see what I could do with this Master and if I could make him sufficiently threatening — I'll leave that to the readers to decide.

How did you find the writing process?

I've only written for the Eleventh Doctor once before, in Ginger Hoesly's fanzine A Pile of Good Things, so I'm not as used to him as others. And I'd never written for Eric Roberts's Master before. It was a challenge, but they're both characters you can get a rhythm down for eventually — especially the Doctor. Once you can imagine Matt Smith going off on a verbal marathon, you just follow along as best you can.

Which aspects of your story are you most proud of?

I think I achieved what I was going for: this examination of the similarities between the Doctor and the Master, which they alternately do and don't want to acknowledge. I've also managed to wedge a Die Hard reference in, which seems right and proper for this Master.

What’s your favourite line from your story?

My actual favorite line is too wrapped up in the ending to isolate. An alternate one I like is the Master having had about enough of the Doctor bragging about his TARDIS: “Yeah, yeah, I know. Your girlfriend’s SO great.”

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Master Switches - An Interview with Gerard Power

Gerard Power, author of the Master Switches story 'Master Brightside' talks to Altrix Books about the roots behind his killer idea... 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My tendency is to write macabrely surreal sci-fi, from what I must grudgingly describe as an Irish Catholic perspective. Someone I briefly spoke to at a house party circa 2012 recommended I watch something called ‘The Girl in the Fireplace’, unwittingly derailing my life from whatever God intended it to be. Since then I've been trapped in Doctor Who's gravity-well, and more recently gotten sucked into the redoubtable fan-to-writer pipeline: my first professionally published short story can be found in last year's Cwej: Down the Middle, and I've since written a novella for the hopefully forthcoming Cwej: Hidden Truths. Both involve cannibalism, strange skies, and the vexations of waking up in a human body on a planet you don't quite understand.

What made you want to write for Master Switches?

What clinched it for me was the guideline that the Doctor must somehow contribute, through action or inaction, to the Master's evil. This seemed like the kind of sweeping, overarching context that would give the collection a heft and scope which you might not get when, say, publishing a story as a stand-alone fanfic. A great deal of Doctor Who's appeal for me lies in those lucky half-accidents where different stories synchronise and resonate as they touch upon similar concepts, so I'm very much looking forward to seeing what the other writers have done with the same brief.

How did you decide which Master/Doctor combo to run with?

The kernel of the idea, which I'd had at the back of my mind for some years, came from watching the video of ‘Mr Brightside’ (The Killers), in which Eric Roberts plays a fabulously oleaginous arch-villain draped in Edenic imagery, a manipulative master of his own little self-contained universe, and thinking ‘hang on, this is a Doctor Who minisode’. It was only after I read the Master Switches guidelines that this tongue-in-cheek counter-reading began to crystallise into something resembling a plot. The guidelines encouraged mixing eras, so the Eighth Doctor was out, and the War Doctor seemed the most rational way into the Master's harmonious predicament. It also struck me that Roberts's life-lusting performance would make for an interesting contrast with Hurt's dutiful weariness.

Can you describe your story in a nutshell?

It's a take on an implied but untold event: just how did the Time Lords retrieve the Master from the Eye of Harmony? How might he have entertained himself during the long years he spent trapped in there? And might it, perhaps, have looked a bit like a music video from 2004?

How did you find the writing process?

My main memory is of poring endlessly over the ‘Mr Brightside’ video for research, squinting at freeze-frames as I attempted to catalogue the somewhat abstract geography and populace of its Moulin Rouge purgatory. I like that song, but it will be a very long time before I can listen to it again. Because of my slightly amorphous grasp on deadlines, however, I ended up doing most of the actual writing over one caffeinated weekend. As someone who's more comfortable writing glacially and revising forever, I hope this has given the story a chaotic, freewheeling energy appropriate to the subject-matter.

Which aspect(s) of your story are you most proud of?

I'd have to say the tone. The stories I enjoy best are often those that anchor outlandish, even baffling scenarios with solid, down-to-earth character work: stories that initially seem like pranks, that make you think “how does this even exist?”, but which somehow have you riveted by the second page. The more ridiculous the concept, the bigger the reward when it makes you care. This kind of earnest absurdism is a delicate balance, but hopefully I've managed to pull it off.

What is your favourite line from the story?

‘Paramedic, treat thyself.’