TARDIS Data Bank
Timeline : Thursday 6th November, 2008
Location : Doctor Who Exhibition @ Earl’s Court Two
Mission : To observe and record The Darksmith Legacy Press Launch
I stroll into the entrance to Earl’s Court 2 where the Doctor Who Exhibition is currently running (until January 9th, folks… get a move on!) and wander around until someone asks if I’m there for “The Event”. This sounds very important. So important that you can hear the capital letters being pronounced. I rather proudly state that I am, indeed, there for “The Event…” and I am over an hour early. Well, I had to avoid peak fares and the commuter crush. Nothing to do with the fact that the The Darksmith Legacy Press Launch invite included free entry to the Doctor Who Exhibition!
I am directed down the stairs (turn right and straight on at the bottom) to said Exhibition and so out comes the camera. The exhibition is rather impressive, with a huge array of props and costumes covering every story from the first three series of Nu Who and a few from series four. Would have been nice to see some more stuff from the “classic era”, but at least we get a gallery at the entrance showing all previous Doctors with nice little captions underneath.
Naturally, the exhibition starts with a display of Autons and some looped video of Rose down in the basement of Henrik’s. As the place was empty when I was there (apart from a real person sat at the entrance to the exhibition proper) there was a considerable echo which made the whole thing very spooky. An excellent start! I won’t go into too much detail about the exhibition as I’m sure many, many people have already reviewed it elsewhere. I will say that it was, for the most part, pretty darn good…the only thing missing was my 8 year old daughter who would have been constantly asking questions. I’ll let you decide if that is a good thing or not!
Back up top and other people have started to arrive, but more importantly the complimentary drinks are now flowing and I spot Justin Richards and Mike Tucker – two of the authors of the books we are here to see launched! Being a very shy and introverted person I immediately wander over and ask them to sign my preview booklet of the first three chapters of the first book, The Dust of Ages by Justin Richards, so that we can offer it as a very special giveaway here on Kasterborous.com in January to coincide with the public release.
I also spot Mr Dalek himself, Nicholas Briggs, and David Howe (from Telos Publishing, author of Howe’s Transcendental Toybox and other reference pieces) so I swap pleasantries with each – knowing one professionally and the other through a mutual acquaintance. You’ll just have to guess which is which.
I attempt to mingle some more and get chatting with representatives from Unreality-sf.net (Dan) and Entertainment UK (Jonathan Webb – man, I sure hope I remembered your name correctly! The wine had been flowing for a while…). You guys should come and join the Kasterborous forum – a much nicer and friendlier place than those other forums…
Final preparations are made to the presentation setup and the authors make their way to their seats. In attendance we have Justin and Mike, as I already mentioned, along with Trevor Baxendale and Stephen Cole. A very polite announcement is then made to welcome us all to the launch and a succession of people then make statements and explain what the whole thing is about.
The Darksmith Legacy is a series of ten books to be released on the last Thursday of each month starting on 29th January with The Dust of Ages by Justin Richards and The Graves of Mordane by Colin Brake. Yes, two books at first to kick-start the saga. Both books are available for pre-order through Amazon for £3.74 each – the RRP of the books is £4.99 each, so get on over to Amazon to save yourself some cash!
Justin is the evil genius architect who is overseeing the entire story arc and also writing four of the ten books. The concept is that each book will have clues that will help you to unlock portions of the accompanying online world, which in turn will allow you to complete the online quest. From what I saw, this is a well integrated cross-media experience that fully allows you to interact with The Darksmith Legacy – but the books can be enjoyed on their own (and in any order, apparently) without any online involvement if you so wish. It would seem that Justin and the team have done a marvelous job. Each book will even have a cliff hanger, making it work as an exciting series to follow through the year. This could work extremely well in the Who-lite year that 2009 will be!
The launch presentation concluded with a Q&A session where Justin confirmed that there would be no returning monsters from the TV series in the books, and yes it would be nice if one of his stories was adapted for TV but this is unlikely with The Darksmith Legacy due to the way in which the stories are constructed.
We were then invited to go and play with various laptops running preview demos of the The Darksmith Legacy website. I spent quite a while clicking around, finding lots of links that weren’t working yet or just returned copies of the same info over and over. Yes, I was told that only the moon location was active, but…well… you know… I just had to click around and find out for myself. You would, wouldn’t you?
But what WAS working was pretty darn good. The kids’ll love it, with animations and stuff, and parents will love it too for the sneaky bit of learning that’ll be going on with the various puzzles that will have to be solved in the books and online etc.
I must say that the books and website have some spectacular visuals courtesy of Peter McKinstry, concept artist from the Doctor Who TV series production team. We have an interview with Peter here on Kasterborous from January 2005. You can see the first book cover with Peter’s artwork here on our preview article.
I ended my evening with another quick tour around the exhibition, without camera this time… just for the fun of it and made my slightly tipsy way home. Man, I didn’t think I’d have to STAND on the homeward-bound train at 9pm. Good job the wall was there to stop me falling down.
Finally – I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the lovely Hermione Lawton from Penguin Books for the invitation to the event and for making me feel so welcome. Thankyou!