The story I proofed the other morning has now been announced: Doctor Who: Short Trips – Transmissions. I’ve a short piece in it (well, duh, it’s a collection of short stories after all) featuring my favourite companion combo of Tegan and Turlough. Technically, I’ve not returned the contract yet, but I think it’s probably not going to be jinxed at this late stage. I mean, it’s been approved by the high heid yins now and typeset and stuff.
It’s set in Imperial Russia in 1905, starting in Vladivostok. I know: it’s such a departure from writing a story about a haunted Russian treasure, or a war in the far East at the turn of the twentieth century. At least this time there’s no Russian bloke called Sasha in i…oh. Anyway, I’m starting to see why historical authors end up wedded to a period. After the initial germ of the idea, I immediately knew where to go to find the necessary historical research. I was a bit flummoxed to find the travel section in the local library has been creeping along the shelves, so books on Russia and Siberia weren’t quite where I was expecting them. Hopefully I’m not going to end up as the Who equivilant of Jean Plaidy.
I went to see ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ a few weeks back with someone who has read all of Jean Plaidy’s books. Our opinion, when we stopped laughing hysterically, was that it was worse than Plaidy. The only way I can sum up why not just us but half the audience was cracking up is to mention that it’s a film set when Henry VIII’s lusts meant he split with Rome, established the Church of England and abolished the monestaries (i.e. the Reformation). And yet they didn’t even have a speaking role for Cardinal Wolsey. Now I’ll bend the historical truth for the sake of the story (Gudok starts in Vladivostok even though, during the Sino-Russian war, the trans-Siberia railway started in Port Arthur because Vladivostok sounds so wonderfully Russian and Port Arthur doesn’t*). However, even I would think twice about cutting out Wolsey entirely in a story about Henry’s decision to split with Rome. There was a bloke in red robes who scowled at one point, but that’s your lot.
*railway historians may, in fact, find some other inaccuracies in the story. However, I grew up on the railways and rail-geeks do not scare me.