Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Doctor Who and the Curse of the Fatal Preemption

The Chiaroscuro's Managing Fiction Editor Gord Zajac has a bone to pick the SPACE channel:

So, as everyone now knows, Canada's SPACE channel didn't bother to tell anyone that Doctor Who was being preempted this week due to BBC America not wanting to air Doctor Who on Memorial Day weekend in the US.

This made me madder than it should have. It absolutely ruined my weekend, as I practically live for Doctor Who each Saturday. I was fuming. I was furious. And I don't mean regular furious. I mean like, "HULK SMASH" furious. To which my wife said, "It's just a TV show, Gord. Get over it."

She was right. I did need to get over it. But it's not just a TV show. Not to me. Doctor Who has been an influential part of my life since the '70s, back when Venetian judo was all the rage and reversing the polarity of the neutron flow was cool. It's had a big impact on my life over the years, and on the way I write.

You can see Doctor Who's influence all over my first book, Major Karnage. Where Doctor Who had sonic screwdrivers, time lords, and maniacal pepperpots screaming "EXTERMINATE!" I had explosive Sanity Patches, goober-wielding Dabneycops, and insane combat veterans screaming "DON'T TALK TO ME ABOUT THE WAR!" All with the same gleeful madcap pacing and whiplash-inducing plot twists.

While I was writing Major Karnage, my favourite way to describe the book to people was, "It's like an episode of Doctor Who where the Doctor never shows up. Which is why it takes the characters a whole book to figure out what's going on rather than a single television episode." That description only ever worked with Doctor Who fans, who were not as prevalent as I would have liked at the time.

But now, Doctor Who is one of the top-rated shows in Canada. (At least it was until last Saturday.) There's a whole new world of Doctor Who fans out there. And I'm sure a lot of you were as disappointed as I was on Saturday night. (The least SPACE could have done was tell us ahead of time that Doctor Who was being postponed for a week. That was totally uncool, SPACE. Way to fail at the Webby-Two-Point-Oh thing.)

So I've been consoling myself since Saturday by remembering that I have my own wacky universe of megalomaniacal aliens and quirky characters that I could revel in. And I'm going to channel that negative energy into a new short story I'm working on: "Major Karnage and the Sharkmen of Atlantis." (It will be a long time coming because I write slowly, but I can tell you that it will involve Sharkmen, Atlantis, and an insane combat veteran screaming about something or other.) This had done much to quell my inner Hulk and return me to my meek Banner-esque existence. My wife is now somewhat mollified.

Then I found myself wondering if there was a way that, instead of spreading more negativity about this online, maybe I could find a way to make something positive out of this that I could spread to others.

So I talked to my publishers, Brett and Sandra at ChiZine Publications, and they've agreed to offer free shipping (within Canada and the U.S.) on all Major Karnage paperback orders until June 15th. You can have a look at me reading from the book, as well as from "A Major Karnage Kristmas." (That's right: MK even has its own Christmas special!)

I know it doesn't begin to make up for missing out on this week's Doctor Who, but it's the least I could do to try and make something positive out of all this. And while it's not quite the thrilling conclusion you were hoping for on Saturday, Major Karnage just might take the edge off while you wait for next Saturday's "The Almost People."

In conclusion, thanks for reading this far and for indulging an old Doctor Who fanboy.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to see a man about a shark.



  1. I suspect the "something or other" that'll be screamed about by a certain insane combat veteran must be The War, of course.

    The book was a fun read, by the way!

  2. Thanks, William! So glad to hear you liked it!

    I'm chuffed. Chuffed, I say.