[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: You Know Me Better
Author: hangingfire
Rating: Teen
Word Count: 1,011
Author's Summary: As the Master's prisoner, the Doctor gets to know the connection between pop music and world domination.
Characters/Pairings: The Doctor (10th), The Master (Simm)
Warnings: None...apart from mass murder on an apocalyptic scale.

Recced because: I find that even all this time and a number of re-watches later, I still have an ambivalent relationship with The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords. Sure, it's a deeply flawed two-parter (I won't have a word said against its prologue, Utopia, mind you - one of the very best Ten episodes, imho), and Magic!Fairy!Doctor and John Simm's more self-indulgent moments as the Master aren't to everyone's taste (or to mine, really)...but there's still something deeply compelling about it. I think in part it's that dark, pessimistic streak Russell T Davies shows in many of his better stories. When RTD allows himself to imagine horrible things in the context of Who (or Torchwood), he doesn't half imagine them.

Simm!Master has arguably been eclipsed by Missy in the NuWho Master stakes, and in the hearts of many fans, but there's something about him, something unhinged and disturbing. He's the Master with all of the brakes off, every pretension to being a gentleman-villain or cackling supervillain stripped away so that the pure evil and madness can bubble through. He actually does what the Master has spent a lot of time threatening to do, and on an almost unimaginably vast scale. Of course, at the same time he remains very much cackling a supervillain, but there are moments when the camp actually complements rather than detracts from the chilling murderousness of his actions, probably none more so than the all-singing all-dancing mid-story cliffhanger where he unleashes the Toclafane upon the Earth.

And this fic takes its lead from that moment and others in its consideration of Simm!Master in relation to his appreciation of popular music. In doing so, it absolutely nails his character and his relationship with Ten in that story, the traditional Doctor-Master "thing" stretched to its breaking point and taking on a new level of dysfunction. The conceit that as the Master gets more violent his taste in music grows more flamboyant is at once amusing and telling in what it tells us about the motivations behind him being the way he is (I think, ultimately, it's all about acting out for the Doctor's benefit). Ten's pain at being the captive audience for this show is also captured very well indeed, rising above run of the mill Ten!angst to evoke a genuine sense of sadness, horror and despair.

So if you like your Master fic dark and horrifying, you ought to like this one a great deal, as do I. Please go and have a read and if you agree, be sure to leave some words for the author.

A Preview )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: The Future
Author: hangingfire
Rating: Teen
Word Count: 1,472
Author's Summary: In which the Master suffers a setback. Set before the events of "The Deadly Assassin".
Characters/Pairings: The Master
Warnings: Some somewhat grotesque imagery related to what happened to the Master in the gap between Frontier in Space and The Deadly Assassin

Recced because: We looked at a story yesterday that dealt with the Daleks, so it seems appropriate today to move on to a fic that considers his other great enemy, the other one that really gets under his Timelordly skin...

I think it's one of the big shock twists in Doctor Who history, yet another reason why The Deadly Assassin is the timeless classic it is; and not only does the Master make an unexpected reappearance, but...it's not the Master we remember from last time. Not at all. Of course, the offscreen nature of the changes the character undergoes, and even the fact that the Master is still around at all after the end of the Three era, is largely down to the circumstances of Roger Delgado's untimely and tragic death, which also meant that the planned "final confrontation" between Master and Doctor was never made. It's still extremely effective, and really set the stage for the career the Master had afterwards, where no matter how unlikely it might have seemed at the end of his last story, the Master always survives and returns for another round with his best enemy (any day now in the new series, I tell you - any day now). One of the great questions in Who fandom, though, remains - just what did happen to him between stories, to change him from the droll and debonair evil mastermind he had been into...that thing?

One attempt to answer that question came in author John Peel's novel Legacy of the Daleks, part of the EDA range. Legacy, and its companion piece War of the Daleks are, strictly imho mind you, something of a waste of space and time, what with their weak attempts at retconning great swathes of onscreen Dalek continuity for the sake of making some not particularly good fanw*nky points. Still, that shouldn't discourage you from giving your love to this fic, which takes the scenario presented in the novel as its starting point and examines the Master's horrific but ultimately self-inflicted predicament from his own inimitable point of view.

The thing is, even in that predicament and undergoing the horrifying changes forced upon him by having the bad luck to get so badly injured while being out of regenerations, he's still at the end of the day the Master. This fic does an excellent job of conveying that, of highlighting all of the characteristics and viewpoints that make him the character he is, doomed to failure in the end perhaps, but still intensely dangerous and capable of getting out of the tightest of scrapes. He's always looking for an angle, an opportunity he can exploit, and when that opportunity falls to him, he sets about using it and manipulating it like, well, like a master.

I would say that this fic greatly transcends its source material from the novel, building upon it and enriching it with its character insights. As far as missing scenes bridging the gap between Delgado!Master and the Deadly Assassin Master go, this might well be the gold standard. It's also very nicely written indeed.

I urge you once again - go and read this fic now. And leave some words of encouragement for the author to see.

An Excerpt )
lost_spook: (dw - Five Guilty Reading)
[personal profile] lost_spook
Story: Doctor Who and the Delian Mode
Author: hangingfire
Rating: All ages
Word Count: 2492
Author's Summary: The Fourth Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith, and a music festival. And a mystery, of course.
Characters/Pairings: Fourth Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith
Warnings: None.

Recced because: This is a beautifully done and satisfying read, as the Doctor takes Sarah to see a very unusual concert (with a lovely nod to Delia Derbyshire in the story’s central idea) and solves a mystery in his own characteristic fashion. I always love it when an author takes the time and trouble to think about these sorts of details of alien or future societies, and this is an excellent and engaging example.


Our current reccer is [personal profile] clocketpatch.

May 2017