I had no idea how big fan fiction had become. I used to think it occupied a tiny, undiscovered corner of the internet, reserved for hardcore science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts.
Not so! Just Google any TV programme and add the words ‘fan fiction’ into the search bar, and a whole list of choices will pop up. Crikey, there’s even fan fiction for Emmerdale (that’s a British soap opera set in the Yorkshire dales, for the unfamiliar!). And some of it isn’t half bad. Even Fifty Shades of Grey started out as a homage to The Twilight Saga, so it must have done something right.
And what’s clever about Doctor Who is that it packs infinite story potential. Set in a universe containing 70 thousand million million million stars, alongside limitless parallel (and pocket) universes, and at any time between the year dot and 100 trillion A.D., one doesn’t have to look far for inspiration.
So when Mr. Cawley (Kasterborous‘ Editor-in-Chief) suggested The Cumbrian Retreat of the Doctor – Chapter One by dschram as a topic of discussion, my initial reaction was, “Huh. Interesting.” That’s not a bad thing, by the way; it’s just a story I would never have thought to tell. Set between The Bells of Saint John prequel and The Bells of Saint John itself, it charts the Doctor’s journey from the play park (where he encountered a young Clara Oswald) to the Cumbrian monastery where he later goes into retreat.
But the exciting thing about this piece is that it’s not just a glorified TARDIS journey, as I first assumed. Have a look at the stats at the top of the page: “Chapter 1 /3.” There’s more to come! Now, I like to think that the Rani invades and takes over the monastery for her own villainous ends (watched over by an incensed ‘Mr. Saxon’ incarnation of the Master – because, why not?). However, you will notice that “The Woman in the Shop” has been entered into the story’s dramatis personae, so is this particular author going to succeed where Steven Moffat so far has failed, and finally explain who gave Clara Oswald the TARDIS’ phone number? Now that would be cool. (And if it’s the Rani, that would be even cooler – just saying.)
That’s the great thing about a long-running series like Doctor Who; there will always be moments the TV camera fails to capture. What was the true nature of the Scarlionis’ marriage? How did the Doctor meet Melanie Bush? And just what did The Singing Towers of Darillium really look like? No script writer can ever cover everything, and that’s when the faithful viewers can enter the fray, biros in hand!
So it’s over to you, Kasterborites – do you read or write any fan fiction? And if so, would you like to see it on Kasterborous in the future? Let us know!
Until then, I’m holding out for the next chapter of the Doctor’s Cumbrian retreat, and keeping my fingers firmly crossed!