(A Handy Guide To) The Five Most Important Things About The Sea Devils

On Verity! this week we were discussing The Sea Devils in particular and the Third Doctor in general. So, in honour of our delightful episode,* I’ve put together a handy guide to the five most important things about the story we rattle on about for a good hour or so.

The Five Most Important Things About The Sea Devils

1) There is a swordfight.

seadev5It is a sciffy fact of universal acknowledgement that all SFF is made better with swordfights.** Especially space swordfights. Sod that nonsense about archaic weaponry and surely humanity will have come up with new stuff, swords are cool. And anyway the future probably has personal shield tech like in Dune and KOTOR and space guns just don’t get the job done as handily as a pointy laser stick.

Should any members of the Restoration Team be reading: I know you’re v keen on destroying my childhood by removing spanners and changing beloved Dalek voices and “no complications” lolarity, but if you ever want to make up for such SACRILEGE, how about substituting in this instead of the actual Doctor & Master swordfight in Sea Devils? I’m sure George Lucas won’t mind.

And, of course, destroy all original copies of the fight. And pretend this was what they meant to do all along. Flawless plan!

2) A most Doctor Who-ish of Doctor Who cliffhangers.

seadev1Unlike the other things on this list – which are all Facts – this, I admit, is quite personal. See, that cliffhanger where the Doctor and Jo rapel down a cliff to the beach, running from the Master on one side, an inconvenient minefield to their right, some hapless security dudes to the left, and SEA DEVILS ( well…one sea devilSilurian Eocene homo reptililis Earth reptile indigenous Terran…whatever you call them) emerging from the sea before of them? MAGICAL. It is DOCTOR WHO in a very complete and brilliant way. If you love this cliffhanger, then you are a good and proper person. If you do not, I am so sorry.


seadev4The Doctor is a filthy sandwich stealer. Just to add insult to injury, when they’ve escaped Deadly Danger and got to the relative safety of the naval base, Jo sensibly has a hot drink of Proper Tea and then asks for some food cause, heh, stressful day.

The Doctor decides the proper thing to have is WHISKY (or possibly brandy?). He’s drinking! On the job of saving the day! And then he steals all the sandwiches. APPALLING.

The lesson is, do not let the Doctor drink, for he will then steal your sandwiches.

4) Pretty guns.

seadev3Guns are bad. The Doctor said so once. Which means that all those times (including The Sea Devils, heh) where he carried or used one don’t count and he’s a pacifist. Somehow. Despite blowing up planets. FANNISH LOGIC AT ITS FINEST.

Anyway, the important thing here is that while guns in real life are awful, guns on the telly are cool, and The Sea Devils gets some of the coolest guns in all the Whoniverse. Look at it! It’s a shiny circle! Brilliant.

5) Jo tries out for The Avengers.

seadev2It’s not that I don’t think you shouldn’t criticise the companions, it’s that if you can’t say anything at all positive, then you’re an idiot.*** Jo comes in for some of the worst stuff. Cause she’s so silly and fluffy and thick. NO. NO SHE IS NOT. Jo saved the universe because she felt she had the moral authority to kill herself and the Doctor when all of creation was in danger. The Doctor? Copped out.

Anyway, now I’ve got the gratuitous reference to the awesome of The Time Monster out of the way, Jo is also pretty keen in The Sea Devils. So keen, I feel like she’s trying out for The Avengers. Can you see it? Jo and Emma Peel? Try and tell me that wouldn’t be a classy team. GO ON. I shall mock you with my Frida Kahlo finger-puppet.

In Sea Devils Jo not only gets a top notch costume (white trouser suit made of Magic Material of Cleanliness, and she looks damn good in it too), she engages in cunning escapes and rescues. She communicates plans with hand signals, clambers through ventilation shafts, bribes dudes to borrow cool transport to places she’s not supposed to go, and breaks the Doctor out of a high-security prison while the guards are trying to hunt her down.

And that’s your five thngs! Gosh, have you ever seen a more useful guide to something ever? I think not.

* Delight not guaranteed.

** The Monster of Peladon being the exception that proves the rule. Nothing can improve that. Nothing. Ever.

*** Unless it’s Evelyn, of course. I really, really don’t like Eveyln…but, yeah, I’ll still admit, in a good mood, that she’s in two whole stories where she doesn’t wind me up horrendously.


Worldcon 2013

I went to Worldcon in Texas in the United States and I did not get shot or die of heat.

I admit it’s probably fairly unlikely either of those things was actually going to happen and I may have been worrying about them far too much but still, I count it as a win. (Also, I still think Texas probably has about a billion guns, but, in fairness, I didn’t actually see any more there than I have in any other US state I’ve visited.)

Possibly I was getting used to the heat by the end, or it was getting cooler, because when we went to see the Alamo, it was mostly lovely being outside, and San Antonio was very pretty and surprisingly green. Or maybe we were just in a park. I’m not sure.

Texas seems to have a slighty weird idea about how history should be presented: very, um, non-objectively.

The Texan declaration of independence is pretty awesome though. I managed to get about halfway through the thing before I was cruelly dragged away and, man, were those people angry. Angry at the State. Angry at the Church. Angry about the attacks on what they considered their civil liberties (some of which I am yay about – trial by jury, freedom of religion; some of which I am whatev, dudes – right to bear arms.) It’s fascinating stuff, and reads as remarkably modern to me, in its language. I would’ve bought a pretty copy of it from the wee shop, but I was sure it would get crushed on the trip back.

And the San Antonio Riverwalk is incredibly tourist-y, yes, but also gorgeous. Even if I did spend the entire time being vaguely terrified I was about to fall into the river. NO BARRIERS. V scary. There were ducks though. Lots of ducks.

I was nominated for a Hugo (with Deb Stanish, for Chicks Unravel Time, in Best Related Work) but we not win.  (Congrats to Writing Excuses, who did!) Naturally, I was consumed by anger and bitterness and immediately began writing out a revenge list and brainstorming for my supervillain name. It was an amazing looking Hugo, dammit! Easily one of the best! There’s a robot on it! And the robot is reading a book.

I did get a Hugo pin though, which is now in the care of miniature Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. (Who knew Character Options designed their action figures with the right sort of hands to hold Hugo pins?)

And Chicks Unravel Time did come second. Which is pretty awesome.  A huge thanks to everyone who voted for us, and to all our amazing contributors, my smashing co-editor Deb Stanish and Mad Norwegian Press for their hard work and talent and time. Twas a pleasure to make the book, and it’s ridiculous we even got nominated really. I wish I could write to ma wee eleven year old self, who’s just finished reading Dune and decided that she’d like a Hugo award in the same way that she thinks “I’d like a spaceship” and let her know, well, actually, that’s not quite as out there a dream as you think, small person.

There were some NASA people at the con, which was wonderful. I met an astronaut. I did not say “OMG, SPACE IS SO COOL” at her, despite very much wanting to. No, no, I was totally chilled and relaxed and instead said “Is space really as cool as it looks?” SHUSHT. ASTRONAUT. It’s a wonder I managed to say proper words.

Anyway, yes, space is just as cool as it looks. And Neil Armstrong was very shy. That is what I learned.

Also the guy whose job it is to stop us all dying from a major asteroid impact was there. He seemed pretty competent. So that’s good.

Loncon3 people win my special invisible party prize cause at the Hugo Losers’ Party, which they put on, there was free fizzy wine. That was magical. I love fizzy wine. Basically, if you wish to bribe me or trick me into anything, you should offer free fizzy wine, and maybe cake.

I was super nervous before the Hugo ceremony. There was a practice thing for in case you win so you know what to do and don’t, like, throw the impressively heavy bronze statue thingie at the audience or something. And turns out, I still get stage fright. WHO KNEW. So I spent from the practice to the actual ceremony feeling just a smidgen queasy about, say, freezing in front of several thousand people. So was quite glad when Paul Cornell’s MC speech turned out to be awfully funny, and I forgot about how nervous I was for practically the whole time until our category actually turned up.

There was a dress what I wore. It was sparkly. So were my shoes.

Glitter and Mayhem had a smashing launch party at a roller-skating…place thingie. I managed a full THREE SECONDS on the rink before I decided that I didn’t particularly want to break my ankle in a foreign country with a seriously dodgy healthcare system and maybe I’ll just go and lose gracefully at table football instead. Other people were amazingly good at the skating thing. I suspect some sort of dubious sorcery was involved.

I had some sort of magical gin and tonic. I can’t remember what it was called, only that it was the most delicious of all gin and tonics I’d ever had. I should find out what that was.

There were many lovely people there. Hello if you’re reading this! Yes, you, you were particularly lovely. Well done.

And there was an exhibition hall and there were many ways in which it was wonderous and good, but the most fantastic was the life-size Morbius at the Doctor Who bit. (I poked him! It was a very small and gentle poke and I’m sorry cause I’m almost certain I wasn’t supposed to do that, but omg, he was amazing and I wanted to check he was real.)

That seems like everything. By which I mean all the things I remembered when I sat down to write this, um, con report. Yeah. I like how I focus on the really important issues.

In conclusion, all Worldcons should have astronauts attending. They are awesome.

Five Doctors DWM Cover

The next cover of Doctor Who Magazine makes me flail with such fannish glee, it’s difficult to express in words. So I expressed it with Photoshop instead:




There’ll be an ever so exciting post about Worldcon up soon, but, in the meantime, there’s a lovely new Verity! Extra episode up in which Deb interviews the ridiculously wonderful Una McCormack, writer of awesome stuff. It’s awfully good. Go get yourself a nice cup of tea and enjoy. Farewell!