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:

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.”