Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 12,839
Author's Summary: The Time War fic you never knew you wanted...
Characters/Pairings: Eighth Doctor, War Doctor, Ninth Doctor, Romana
Recced because: I'm not sure I can properly describe this fic. It's exactly what it says it is, the Time War fic you didn't know you needed. It is gorgeous and painful and vast in scope in a way that a conflict with as grandiose name as 'the Last Great Time War' should be. As much as I enjoyed reading Engines of War and am looking forward to the upcoming Big Finish audios, this is what I think of when I imagine the Time War.
Author: Derek Metaltron
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 2,871
Author's Summary: Across ten incarnations the Doctor has faced a enemy who has cost him friends and allies, planets and stars, his very home world. They are the Daleks, and these are ten tales of how he has learnt to hate them.
Characters/Pairings: The Doctors (1st to 10th), various companions and supporting characters, Davros and the Daleks
Recced because: I'll admit to something of a fannish obsession with the Daleks. Not so much the Daleks as we see them most of the time on screen, but the idea of the Daleks. Because it really is a great concept, and a fantastically horrible one when you really think about it. Which I have, probably a bit too much. The thing about the Daleks, however, while I obviously reject vehemently the idea current in fandom that it's possible to see them too often in the series, is that they rarely live up to the power of the concept in their TV outings. Often they fill a role that could be played by any generic aliens and/or robots with a bit of a search-and-replace on the script. And that, I often find, is where good fanfic comes in.
Whether the Daleks obsess the rest of you as much as they do me or not (I suspect not, in most cases!), they do occupy a unique place in the history of Doctor Who, both in-universe and in terms of the lifespan of the series itself. They're the original Who monsters, and still the benchmark against which new pretenders are measured. Even the Cybermen, probably the second most iconic Who monsters, were originally an attempt to find "the next Daleks". And in story terms, the Doctor already had an ultimate archenemy - he knew it and perhaps more importantly they knew it - long before the Master ever showed up and started telling people to obey him. I'll be very disappointed if they don't play a prominent role in the 50th Anniversary story.
And this excellent fic meditates upon that idea, the pivotal and perhaps unique role the Daleks have played in the Doctors lives, through examining the way the Doctor reacts to them. I don't think it's unwarranted to talk, as the fic does, about the Doctor hating the Daleks. Look at Nine's spitting fury in the new series episode Dalek for Exhibit A. We perhaps don't like to think as fans about the Doctor hating anybody, he's meant to be better than that and to hold himself to a higher standard - and the fic explores that as well. As much as the Doctor has been subjected again and again to the Daleks' ingrained evil, their murderous and destructive deeds again and again, he still doubts that giving in to hating them, and doing to them what that implies, is something he should be doing. It's the same moral dilemma posed by the famous scene from Genesis - does he have that right? Does feeling for them what they feel for him make him as bad as they are? This fic examines that idea through the eyes of all ten Doctors extant at the time it was written, and comes back to that essential truth about the Doctor and his relationship with his greatest enemies. As much as they've done, and as much as he's seen of that, as much pain as they've caused him, at the end he is better than they are, in moral terms, so he'll always have that doubt, and always hold back, and end up always having to fight them again.
It's a fic I really like, anyway. Please go and read it, and please leave some words for the author.
( A Sample )
Story: Fire of Ages
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 1266
Author's Summary: Romana's last moments, as she ransoms the universe with her own life and maybe, just maybe, finds something Beyond.
Characters/Pairings: Donna Noble, Martha Jones, Rover Song, Romana III, Rose Tyler, The Doctor (8th)
Recced because: This haunting yet beautiful piece of work really explores Romana and the impact her thoughts and feelings have after the time war. This fic also opens up the impact the Doctor had on Romana and how things might have turned out if she hadn't seen the universe through another lens other than the Timelord way.
I also love the Eighth doctor and Romana together. I think there should be many more fics exploring that combination in a positive light as the current canon through the BBC books shows quite a deep divide between the two.
Excerpt: Omega and the Other posited that the Fire of Ages, flowing through the veins of a Time Lord, might be a weapon of incredible power- but at the cost of the bearer's life. No one has ever before had the courage to try it, not even now at the end of all things. Except... she does. She and the Doctor.
Story: through time time is conquered
Word Count: 1945
Author's Summary: Their story has been foretold and they cannot escape Time. The Doctor and Romana through the ages, from beginning to end.
Characters/Pairings: Romana I, Romana II, Romana III, The Doctor (4th), The Doctor (8th), The Doctor (9th)
Warnings: No standard warnings apply.
Recced because: Romana is one of my favorite companions ever. This is a brief but sobering look at her life (and how it intersects with the Doctor's life), from her original regeneration to her death.
The first part of tonight's double feature, to make up for missing Tuesday. We begin with another dark and unsettling piece, a war story from the biggest War of them all:
Story: Et in Arcadia Ego
Author: Amy Wolf
Rating: "All Ages" on the 'Spoon, but again I'd probably say "Teen"
Word Count: 2,244
Author's Summary: “I was there at the fall of Arcadia. Someday I might even come to terms with that.” – The Doctor, in Doomsday.
Characters/Pairings: Romana III, The Doctor (8th), various hapless OC Time Lords, and the Daleks
Warnings: War action, megadeaths, Daleks being Daleks with all of the gory detail the television stories by necessity leave out
Recced because: The Time War. I think it's one of the very few large additions to Who lore that the new series has made, to be fair, and definitely for me the only one that I wouldn't like to see retconned or forgotten any time soon. For better or worse, it has shaped the whole dynamic of the new series Doctors, their interactions to their companions and their attitudes to their adventures. And I suppose it's the idea of it - the greatest conflict the universe has ever seen, the Time Lords and the Daleks - and it'd have to be the Daleks, the ur-Who monsters, for my money the original and best - locked in combat for mastery of the entire cosmos. I am a big fan of Time War fic, and I think this is one of the very best examples out there.
I think the story shows its pre-End of Time origins - that story told us new things about the War that changed our view slightly from what we thought Nine had told us, and not necessarily for the better imho - but that's not a bad thing. It picks up on one of the many teasing throwaway references to the War the Doctor has let slip in the new series - the infamous fall of Arcadia - and really runs with it. The author manages to make sense of the idea of the Doctor, surely the least likely soldier anybody could imagine, actively participating in a war, and the way he does it seems wholly believable and in-character, as does the crushing sense of survivor's guilt he is left with after each of his escapades. You come away believing that somebody like Eight could turn into somebody like Nine under these circumstances. And it makes the Daleks the nightmarish, murderous, and above all merciless, horrors they are at heart but which they so rarely have a chance to be in any of their television outings. The best part of this story for me, however, is the way it is told; throughout, the author describes the various disasters and atrocities she is relating in a detached, almost nonfictional style that just increases the impact on the reader. Any Time War story that can casually toss in a line about the Daleks blowing up the sun gets my vote.
Go and read it and leave a word or two of encouragement for the author.
( A Brief Excerpt )
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 3943
Author's Summary: There are no Time Ladies on Gallifrey any longer. The entire universe knows of the Weeping Angels. These two facts are connected.
Characters: Romana III, Susan Foreman, The Doctor (10th), The Doctor (8th), The Master (Simm), The Rani, Wilfred Mott
Recc'ed because: One of the lines in the End of Time mentioned Time Lord dissenters and Weeping Angels in the same breath, and I always wondered whether the connection was something the writers had explicitly thought about or just something RTD threw out there on a whim. Well, voodoochild takes that idea and spins it into a mythos that is fascinating and chilling, like the myth of the banshee or the Fates, but somewhat in reverse. The narrative voice weaves the events of the last days of the Time War through with mystical context and metaphor, like a legend passed down by storytellers for generations. The end is chilling and amazing and it works--oh, it works brilliantly.
( Excerpt )
Story: Canary in the Coal Mine
Word Count: 6006
Author's Summary: This probably didn't happen. But the only one who knows for sure isn't talking. What would the Doctor do to convince the Time Lords that the threat of the Daleks was real?
Characters/Pairings: Eighth Doctor, Ninth Doctor, Romana.
Warnings: darkfic, mentions of character death. Also, it's a bit out-dated as of the End Of Time.
Recced because: One of her older stories and a little bit jossed by recent events, but it still holds up fantastically. I love stories that deal with the Time War. And I love stories that make fun of Gallifrey and Time Lord Society. And I really, really like stories that start off funny and then go punch you in the stomach. This does all of that, and does it wonderfully. Meredith's Eighth Doctor is bright and sweet even when he's being serious, and watching him try so heard is inspiring and heartbreaking. And Nine is feirce and sad and take-charge. And even Romana is great to watch, as she hovers between wanting to help her friend and fit into a society that has no room for anyone different.
( excerpt )
Word Count: 4418
Author's Summary: Spicy sweetness, Martha thought, and liked the sound of the words together.
Characters/Pairings: Martha/Romana, Martha Jones, Romana II, Romana III, Tenth Doctor, Donna Noble.
Recced because: This fic just makes me grin like a loon every time I read it. As a matter of fact, I think the first time I read it I bounced around my flat for an evening squeaking about the cute that is Martha/Romana, having fabulous adventures and being cooler than the Doctor. ;) I'm flicking through it again, trying to come up with more coherent reasons to read it but it's Martha and Romana, having adventures in time and space, it's really really lovely. :D
Rating: PG 13/Teen
Word Count: 3388
Author's Summary: It’s the beginning of the end, and the Doctor can feel the anticipation of the impending battle drum so deep through his bones his teeth rattle with it. Romana and the Doctor at Gallifrey’s last stand.
Characters/Pairings: Eight Doctor, Romana III (not the EDA one), sort of Eight/Romana? It's not stated out loud but it's definitely there.
Warnings: ANGST. Time War shaped ANGST.
Recced because: The ANGST. Ok, wait, seriously. I forgot I was supposed to start reccing this week and I actually haven't read any fic in ages so after a couple of minutes of panicking I realised this could actually be a good thing, I'd see what I could remember off the top of my head. If I'd remembered it that long, it was bound to be exceptional, right?
This was one of the first fics that came to mind. It's mostly all about the beautiful imagery and the numerous nods to all the spin-off media, each one I found made me so very happy. The author also does a gorgeous job of showing us the Doctor and Romana's relationship throughout their various reincarnations, their shared history and affection for each other is palpable. This Romana III is great too, she's a tantalizing look at what the EDAs COULD've done with the War Queen stuff.
I feel like I'm doing a bad job of selling this but essentially, for me this is what Time War Eight and Romana look like and it's rather lovely and you should definitely check it out.
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 1014
Author's Summary: "She's not sure where she came from, or where she's going. (Post-Time War Romana.)
Characters/Pairings: Romana III
Recced because: This is the absolute best post-Time-War Romana fic I've read.
Excerpt: She remembers tomorrow when yesterday hasn't happened yet, and, although she doesn't sleep much, she dreams when she does - and in dreams it's all sweepingly disjoint, everything coming together (or coming apart, perhaps) in a huge birdlike swish-throbbing (it's a meaningless phrase, but she likes it, the play of word against word and the way it suggests a sort of breathless fragility, something of a great death not quite written in), and she dreams of burning.
She wakes with the word 'Gallifrey' on her lips.