Friday, May 29, 2015

The smell of the Daleks

M'colleague Dr Marek Kukula and I have written a couple of blog posts to spread the word about The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who. Here's two of them:
Remember, there are a bunch of events next week to launch the book, and here's me talking to the Starburst Bookworm podcast (series 3, episode 19 if you are catching up from the future) and to Croydon Radio.

ETA here's another blog post:

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Doctor Who and the Black Hole

Ben, Polly, Jamie and the Doctor
Big Finish have announced a series of four "early adventures" for the Second Doctor - two of 'em scribbled by me...
"The series opens in September with The Yes Men by Simon Guerrier, in which the Doctor, Jamie, Polly and Ben arrive on New Houston, an Earth colony in the Fourth Sector, which the Doctor previously saved from an alien invasion. He wishes to pay his respects to his late friend Meg Carvossa, but something is not quite right with New Houston’s subservient robots...

'Everyone loved Simon’s script,' says producer David Richardson. 'It’s a clever, dark thriller in the style of The Enemy of the World that really plays to the strengths of all the regular characters. And we had all of the characters there - not only Frazer as the Doctor and Ben, but also Anneke Wills reprising the role of Polly, and Elliot Chapman making his debut as Ben Jackson. Elliot has big shoes to fill, but he does a smashing job - these three actors really do sound exactly like that early TARDIS team.'


November’s release is The Black Hole by Simon Guerrier, and the line-up shifts to the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria (Deborah Watling). On a research station near a black hole, time keeps standing still. Investigating the phenomenon, the Doctor discovers a power far greater than any of the monsters that challenge him on his travels... Guest stars for this story are David Warner, who serves as narrator, Rufus Hound and Janet Dibley."
The other stories in the series are The Forsaken by Justin Richards (October) and The Isos Network by Nicholas Briggs (December).

Monday, May 25, 2015

There will be a Graceless IV

Gosh. Those fine fellows at Big Finish want me to write more of my science-fiction series Graceless, so I am busy scribbling.

As the announcement says:
"Ciara Janson and Laura Doddington are heading back into studio later this year, following the greenlighting of Graceless - Series 4 for a 2016 release. We spoke to series creator and writer Simon as he begins to work on this new set:

"Ha ha! I am thrilled to get to write more adventures for Abby and Zara (though when we last heard from from them they weren't called that any more). But how to bring them back from that rather definitive ending? Well, the answer we've come up with makes me giddy with delight... I can't wait! Get on with writing it, me."

Graceless - Series 4 is available for pre-order ahead of its release in September 2016 at a discounted price on both CD and Download. All three previous Graceless releases are still available, as are the three Doctor Who stories which saw the origins of the series: Doctor Who - The Judgement of IsskarDoctor Who - The Destroyer of Delights, and Doctor Who - The Chaos Pool."

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Events for The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who

I'll be at some events to publicise my new book, The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who.
There'll be more events to come, which I'll post here as they're confirmed. And I've done some interviewed too. I was a guest on the Handsome Timmy D Express last week. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

V for Vengeance

A few hundred yards from where I live, in a gap between the terraced houses there's a children's playground. It's a regular haunt of the Lord of Chaos, and I'd vaguely wondered if the gap between the houses might have been the result of a bomb in the Second World War.

Recently, the Dr's researches on something else meant she stumbled on the fact that yes, that gap was the result of a V-2 rocket. In fact, our part of South London was especially badly hit by the Nazi vengeance weapons, the direct result of British Intelligence sacrificing my neighbourhood to save central London. They did this by convincing the Nazis that their bombs fell far north of the capital so the aim needed correcting.

I think of the people who lived in the streets around me now, and those who lived in the house where I'm typing this, in a room with a view of a garden that still contains a brick shelter. 70 years ago on VE Day, on the street where my son's playground now is, they hanged an effigy of Hitler. I can't blame them.

Of course, the V-2 later took people to the Moon - as I was surprised to find NASA discussing quite openly when I visited Cape Canaveral in 2009.
"Our guide was nicely open about the origins of American rocketry, showing us a rare example of a V2 engine while explaining what rockets like that had done to south London. He himself raised the dubious morality in pardoning the former Nazi Werhner von Braun; again, this wasn’t the kind of corporate history I’d quite expected. NASA seemed keen to challenge their own history, to ask the difficult questions."
Today, the Dr took the Lord of Chaos to the RAF Museum at Colindale, and thought to snap me these pictures.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who

My new book will be out on 4 June, and this 'ere is the press release:
The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who
By Simon Guerrier and Dr Marek Kukula
4 June 2015

Doctor Who stories are many things: thrilling adventures, historical dramas, and science fiction tales. But how much of the science is real? And how much is fiction?

Weaving together authoratitive scientific discussion with a series of new adventures by acclaimed Doctor Who writers including Jenny T Colgan, George Mann and Jacqueline Rayner, Simon Guerrier and Dr Marek Kukula explore the possibilities of time travel, life on other planets, artificial intelligence, parallel universes and more. From the dawn of astronomy and the discovery of gravity to the moon landings and string theory, the authors show how science has inspired Doctor Who, and how, on occasion, life has mirrored art, such as the 1989 discovery of 'ice-canoes' on Triton which were featured in the 1973 episode The Planet of the Daleks.

For example, did you know...
  • The creation of the Cybermen in The Tenth Planet in 1966 was prompted by two American neuroscientists who argued that astronauts' bodies should be adapted to suit the conditions of space.
  • The failure of Beagle 2 to land on Mars on Christmas Day 2003 influenced the loss of Guinevere One at the start of The Christmas Invasion.
  • The many parallel universes that feature in Doctor Who, from Inferno to Rise of the Cybermen, are inspired by a reaction to the Schrodinger's Cat theory: that a new universe is created for each different outcome.
  • The startling resemblance between Amelia Pond and the Twelfth Doctor and two characters from The Fires of Pompeii isn't simply due to the actors returning to the series: it might be grounded in science as well.
  • Time Lords aren't the only beings able to regenerate - when the turritopsis dohrnii jellyfish gets ill, old, or faces danger, it can return to its childhood state as a polyp.
Full blurb and details at the Ebury website. Oh, and here's the back cover with a nice quote from Leela.