[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: Where Lies The Honour?
Author: Gary Merchant
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 4,963
Author's Summary: A lone Sontaran Commander begins to question the meaning of the Empire
Characters/Pairings: The Sontarans
Warnings: None

Recced because: It's the Sontarans, as you've never seen them before! Would be the tagline if this were a Hollywood movie as opposed to a Doctor Who fanfic. It would also be a particularly accurate tagline in this instance, where we are presented with tale of the Sontaran Commander Styne and his lonely quest to make sense of his own existence and that of his entire species.

It's one of the things about Doctor Who, something I've increasingly found myself thinking about as a fan. The programme' ideals and values as embodied in the Doctor are, broadly speaking, progressive and inclusive. And yet, you have at least a couple of alien species knocking around (Daleks and Cybermen, I'm looking at you) whose members are pretty much exclusively and irredeemably evil, and are viewed as such, by and large, by the Doctor. It's something the people making the original series were at least aware of and played with, most noticeably with the Ice Warriors in the first Peladon story (although they had reverted to type in the second one), and the likes of the Silurians had a degree of ambiguity. The Sontarans, though, occupied a unique position to my mind. They never did anything, really, that wasn't negative or, for lack of a better term, evil, but there was no indication they were inherently so inclined, the way the Daleks are. They're stone cold militarists with a callous disregard for collateral damage in the course of their operations, but on the whole it's a more down to earth sort of evil than that displayed by some of the threats the Doctor runs up against, more relatable.

And so we have the new series character Strax, who demonstrates that for all of being clones trained from birth as soldiers, individual Sontarans can and do break the mould and use their training for relative good. And this fic, written some seven years before Strax ever leapt from Steven Moffat's computer to the television screen, covers similar ground, but arguably in a more thoughtful and interesting way.

If the idea of a fic where all of the characters are Sontaran OCs doesn't appeal to you, I would urge you to give it a chance. It shows the potato-headed clone-soldiers in an interesting new light, and does so mostly through its portrayal of Commander Styne, who gradually comes to the realisation that something about his way of life and what he has been told by his superiors just doesn't make sense. That he does so in a halting and confused, convincingly Sontaran, way is a clever bit of characterisation by the author, as is the portrayal of the other Sontaran characters Styne encounters. Also noteworthy is the amount of interesting worldbuilding this fic manages to pack into relatively few words, casting unexpected sidelights upon the Sontarans, their way of life and their culture, and also suggesting the inequalities and corruption creeping into their supposedly implacable military structure.

And if you want to win those super-fan bonus points, look out for the references to the Sontaran appearances in the 1990s video spinoffs Shakedown and Mindgame (with something of a downer sequel to the latter story also provided in passing).

All in all, a strikingly different and original piece of writing that I hope you will take the time to read as well as offering words of encouragement to the author.


A Snippet )
merryghoul: River sonic screwdriver comics (ten's tardis)
[personal profile] merryghoul
Story: A Taste of Home
Author: Gary Merchant
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 884
Author's Summary: An elderly beekeeper receives a visit from an old friend.
Characters/Pairings: Other Character(s), The Doctor (10th)
Warnings: None

Recced because: Gary Merchant's been recced here several times before, but this fic is a gem. Who would've ever thought to have Ten check up on a friend from Wales who once helped him out? A short, but touching, fic.
[identity profile] annauq.livejournal.com
Today is something lighter after yesterday's angst.

Story: Awkward Questions
Author: Gary Merchant
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 996
Author's Summary: Not even the Doctor can answer everything.
Characters:Adric, Grace Holloway, Ian Chesterton, Jamie McCrimmon, Nyssa, The Doctor (1st), The Doctor (2nd), The Doctor (3rd), The Doctor (4th), The Doctor (5th), The Doctor (6th), The Doctor (7th), The Doctor (8th), The Doctor (9th)

Recced because:It's a play on the numerous (intentional) plot holes and is-it-canon-or-not-canon-questions all Whovians have to deal with at some point. With fifty years of series, not everything always makes sense. Two events from the history of the show can completely contradict each other and still both be awesome (a big cheer for timey-wimey stuff!). This fic takes that fact and runs with it, exploring 8 different scenes from Doctors 1 to 8 with humour and wit. The scenes used here are (in)famous throughout the fandom, and reading about them brought a knowing smile to my face. It's under a thousand words, so even if you're in a hurry, check it out. And if you like it, there is a sequel too!
lost_spook: (dw - Four)
[personal profile] lost_spook
Story: The Barmpot and the Skoth
Author: Gary Merchant
Rating: All ages
Word Count: 3152
Author's Summary: Compo, Clegg and Foggy offer their help to a bohemian-type stranger wearing a floppy hat and a long scarf. A crossover with Last of the Summer Wine.
Characters/Pairings: Fourth Doctor, K9, Norman Clegg, Compo Simmonite, Foggy Dewhurst (etc.)
Warnings: None.

Recced because: It’s an unlikely crossover with the long-running UK sitcom Last of the Summer Wine and it’s well done, and charming. I don’t know how it reads to a newbie to the other show (although I hadn’t seen it for years – a little of LotSW goes a long way - & I loved it anyway), but this is a summery story set in the Yorkshire Dales, where the Doctor encounters three new friends, sorts out the business of a lost alien and has a sticky bun while being disapproved of by the female half of the population. It’s one of those things you’d assume no one would ever write, but this author did, and it’s brilliant.
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com

Story: A Game of Two Halves
Author: Gary Merchant
Rating: All ages
Word Count: 1316
Author's Summary: It's the best of Galactic Football Action, from Gallifrey.
Characters/Pairings: Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Davros, Sutekh, The Celestial Toymaker, The Daleks, The Doctor (10th), The Doctor (1st), The Doctor (2nd), The Doctor (3rd), The Doctor (4th), The Doctor (5th), The Doctor (6th), The Doctor (7th), The Doctor (8th), and quite a few others as well.
Warnings: Only if you have some in-built aversion to the game known variously as football/soccer...

Recced because:
Recced because the first time I read this it absolutely tickled me pink. Essentially, it's a pretty unique take on that concept that seems to haunt the dreams of all us fanfiction writers, the Ultimate Multi-Doctor Team-Up, but in the form of a football (soccer, that is, for those of you on the other side of the Pond there) match, with a motley visiting team of villains and monsters providing the opposition. The story is absolutely stuffed to bursting with clever references and asides to the wide and varied history of Who, both in-universe and real life; if you like a good in-joke (and I would tentatively place myself in that category), you will find much here to amuse you. What really elevates this story for me, however, is the style in which it is told. Truly oddball television football commentary is something of a dying art nowadays, but the author here captures its unique idiom perfectly, somewhat filtered through the prism of that Monty Python election results sketch which was mocking the same sort of thing. Certainly, if you're familiar with the way football used to be televised in the UK in the days before Sky Sports, you'll get an extra kick out of this, but even if not you'll still find a lot to like about this and a lot of humour in it, I'm sure. So go and read it - this instant!

In case I haven't explained myself sufficiently: )


[identity profile] ffutures.livejournal.com
Story: We Hope You Will Enjoy The Show
Author: Gary Merchant
Rating: All ages
Word Count: 1603
Author's Summary: A popular beat combo are working on their latest album, when a tall blue box materialises inside their recording studio. Now that's clever.
Characters/Pairings: Other Character(s), The Doctor (2nd)
Warnings: None
Recced because: selena (who I recced a couple of days ago) has made several recent livejournal posts about a certain rock group, which made me think of looking for stories in which one or another Doctor met them. Such as this fun little story...
[identity profile] primsong.livejournal.com

Thank you to everyone here at Calufrax - I leave you with one last rec to finish off my week here and sincerely hope you've all found at least one new story in this collection to fill your imaginations and bring some pleasure to your days. Let's do it again sometime, shall we? Hm? Hmm?

StoryFuture’s Past
AuthorGary Merchant
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 1,043
Author’s Summary: The Doctor introduces Dodo to the Time Space Visualiser - both receive unexpected surprises.
Characters/Pairings: the First Doctor, Dodo Chaplet, reference to Steven
Warnings: None

Recced because: Dodo is so rarely seen in fic, much less given positive treatment and I’ve always had a soft spot for the First Doctor, they both deserve more attention.  Gary Merchant was one of the first writers I came across back when I discovered the existence of this marvelous world called ‘whofic’ and I suppose it is well it was someone of such quality!  Often working in a partnership with friends, he is a writer with a wonderful knack for spotlighting neglected minor characters, small moments and subtle turning points in the development of characters and plots.  Any reader delving into his extensive works will find several well-crafted treasures there that are a pleasure to read.

This particular short story is relatively light and somewhat introspective, crowned with a surprise cameo and an excellent subtle joke for those familiar with the long term history of the show and its popular promotion.  I won’t give it away, go read and see what I mean.

[identity profile] elliptic-eye.livejournal.com
(U.N.I.T. double-feature!)

Story: Face Value
Author: Gary Merchant
Rating: All ages
Word Count: 2294
Author's Summary: Corporal Bell learns about UNIT's scientific advisor
Characters/Pairings: Corporal Bell, the Brigadier, the Doctor, Liz, Benton
Warnings: none

Recced because: I'm a sucker for a good story from the POV of a one-off or minor character, and Corporal Bell, who often seems to be the U.N.I.T. equivalent of an office manager, is a particularly golden opportunity. And there's something deeply satisfying about seeing Three run up against the universal truth that you just don't mess with the office manager.

Just a lovely little sketch of Corporal Bell learning about the broader universe, on her own initiative… via the medium of the olive-and-khaki, paper-fueled base she keeps running.
[identity profile] pimpmytardis.livejournal.com
Story: A Bit of Bother
Author: Gary Merchant
Rating: All ages
Word Count: 2157
Author's Summary: A quiet night at the local police station - but not for long.
Characters/Pairings:
Warnings: The Master (Ainley), The Master (Delgado), The Meddling Monk, The Rani

Recced because: Things get weird when some renegade Time Lords are taken into police custody for causing a ruckus. It's funny and the officer's log POV is refreshing and creative. I always enjoy re-reading this one.
[identity profile] ghost2.livejournal.com
Story: House Guest
Author: Gary Merchant
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 4141
Author's summary: Liz Shaw persuades the Doctor to go house hunting, with unexpected consequences.
Characters/Pairings: Third Doctor, Liz, Brigadier
Warnings: none

Recced because: Short adventure stories with accurate characterization aren't terribly common and neither is Third Doctor-era fic in general, with barely 200 stories currently posted at Teaspoon. So this one stood out to me. It's a nice little piece centering on the Third Doctor and Liz. Believing the Doctor needs to set down more roots on Earth, Liz convinces him to buy a house that turns out be somewhat other than normal; an enjoyable mystery ensues.

sample text )

reccity-rec-rec

Our current reccer is [personal profile] clocketpatch.

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