15 January, 2007

The answer is.... forty two

TSV 42 has now been added to the online archive. This time the online 'reprint' occurs in the same month of the year as the original publication. TSV 42 is dated January 1995, so the gap has closed to exactly 12 years. Still a long way to go before all of the out-of-print issues are available, but from here on in there are fewer issues each year so the catching-up process should appear to start to accelerate a little (though the issues do also get longer, so perhaps not). If all goes well I'm hoping to have narrowed it down to a decade by this time next year.

The leading item in issue 42 is a detailed guide to each of the World Distributors Annuals, compiled by yours truly. The inspiration for this piece happened at an Auckland Chapter meeting in 1994 where a group of fans were discussing which were the rarest annuals and whether the red or the blue Hartnell came first. Realising that there wasn't a good guide to refer to for these books, I set about creating one myself. I documented everything that I could find about all of the annuals, including the spin-off Dalek and K9 ones, and the compilations. Although I had a few articles in DWM to refer to, my own observation of each of the annuals formed the bulk of the article. I didn't have many annuals myself, but Rochelle had collected most of them and the ones she didn't have were loaned by Jon (I've since managed to collect a complete set). I also took the whole stack into the printers one day and got them to scan each of the covers so that I use good quality reproductions of each of the annual covers in TSV (I've re-scanned my collection in colour for the online version). As part of the Internet archiving project, I'm revisiting each of my own articles and updating them where necessary to take account of additional information that has come to light since the original publication. I'm pleased to say that the Annuals article hasn't had to have very many changes at all, which means I probably got it right first time around.

Another major feature of this issue is the script to screen article covering The Happiness Patrol. A mammoth beast of a piece this one, probably the longest script to screen we published, as there's enough deleted script material here to have increased the serial to four episodes. I recall that for a while I was considering splitting the article over two issues. Another problem with this item was that we lacked much in the way of relevant artwork to break up the pages and pages of text, so Rochelle set about drawing a stack of Happiness Patrol-themed pictures to illustrate the piece. I also asked her to illustrate the front cover. The Kandy Man's head was a black and white illustration. When I delivered the issue to the printers, I had to decide the spot colour for the logo as usual. I decided on blue as it fitted with the Kandyman's head, and then in a brainwave realised that the artwork, not the logo, should be blue. I think the result was very striking and effective. As was her one and only front cover I know Rochelle was very proud of the fact that this issue sold out much faster than any of the issues published around that time.

The Pakhars (from Gary Rusell's New Adventures novel Legacy) crop up in what was to be the last in Justin Reynolds' long-running series of Time Lord Game Additions. I don't recall the circumstances behind this closure but I suspect that Justin simply lost interest in continuing the series. A reader suggested to me around the this time that all of these articles should all be reprinted together in a collection for handy reference by gamers. Even at that time I think the Time Lord game book was itself out of print, but since then the e-book version has been made freely available, and now all of the game additions from TSV are online too. I wonder though if there's anyone who still plays Time Lord?

Phillip J Gray offers his defence of Dimensions in Time, a sorry little piece of Doctor Who history whose only redeeming feature was that it was all done for charity, which makes it all worthwhile in a perverse sort of reasoning that's supposedly above question. Many fans have wisely chosen to forget this was ever made - or at least consign to the non-canonical dustbin. Actually I've never been entirely sure whether Phillip is defending Dimensions in Time at all. His article is loaded with cleverly veiled criticisms and and witty asides, so I suspect he actually may be having us all on. Draw your own conclusions.

One last observation about TSV 42 comes from Jon Preddle, who either has a prodigious memory or a well-documented diary (I suspect both!), as he recalls that the issue was compiled on Boxing Day 1994 at my flat in Belmont (I moved out a week later, incidentally). Jon goes on to say: "You'd organised a working-party to help get the issue completed... As for my contribution, I recall sitting in your bedroom with that wooden light-box contraption you used for lining up the pages, and cutting and pasting together the Annuals Guide - and making a right hash of it, too!"

Read TSV 42 here and see what Alden Bates (the other half of this TSV online archive project) has to say about TSV 42 here.


Anonymous said...

I seem to recall Time Lord actually came up at the last Wellington pub meet! I think the additions were a fun way to present information about the alien races, and it's be neat to see entries for, say, the Slitheen.

Though given as you mention Time Lord is long out of print...

Paul Scoones said...

Maybe there is life left in the old game after all!

If you look up the Time Lord game on Wikipedia, there's a couple of external links on that page to ebook versions of the game, approved by the authors.