Happy Endings

I still have this book.

I used to have all of them.  Every single one of the books.  All the Doctor Who Virgin New Adventures and all the Doctor Who BBC New Adventures and all the Bernice Summerfield Virgin New Adventures.  That's a lot of books.  An average of one book every month for around 15 years or so.

It broke my heart when I lost them all.  Now, I have about a dozen of them left.  It's a long story, and it involves a bit of bad judgement on my part and a bit of treachery on someone else's part.  I can't absolve myself completely of blame, because of the "bad judgement" element, but still... it burns.  Even today, it burns.

Anyway, I still have this one.  A cheerful, happy story - written by Paul Cornell - who was the best of the writers.  He was the person who wrote Human nature - which was later adapted for the series.  There was no way that one was ever going to make for a satisfying adaptation, but they really tried.

(If anyone out there wants to read the original novel, then send an email to farquhar1970@aol.com - I'll send you a digital copy of it.)

This one, though.  Check out the picture.  You'll see the seventh Doctor in his traditional outfit on the left hand side.  He's the bloke holding the unicorn.  And you'll see him again on the right hand side, dressed in a far blander version of the same clothes.  This is how the character developed throughout those books.  He became darker and gradually crueller as the stories progressed.  His clothes became less ostentatious, as he became more manipulative.

There's a huge amount of Virgin New Adventures loose ends wrapped up in this story.  And a lot of the characters created for the books feature right there on the cover.  Muldwych (who may or may not be a future incarnation of the Doctor), Irving Braxiatel (who may or may not be the Doctor's brother), Kadiatu Lethbridge Stewart (who... I don't know... I never did figure out if she was genuinely the Brigadier's great great great granddaughter or not).  Chris and Roz - the Adjudicators - are both there, too.  I really loved Chris and Roz.

And check out Bernice.  She's right there at the front, marrying Jason Kane - supposedly getting her happy ending as she retires from the books.  If I hadn't fallen in love with her simply as a character in the novels, then this picture would have done it for me.  Is that weird?  It's probably very weird.  But I've been called weird before, so I can cope with that.

I even ordered the poster.  I had to have it.  And thankfully, I still have that.  It's not in the best shape any more, but it still exists.

But... very frustratingly... there was a banner added to it, along the bottom.  Kind of intended to identify all the characters in the wedding picture.  And the ******* thing obscures Bernice's boots.  The edge to her character - the fact that she attends her own wedding, wearing a wedding dress and Doctor Marten boots - is obscured by a stupid banner.  It actually conceals the very element that visually defines her personality in this picture.

Never underestimate the capacity that other people have to blindly, unwittingly and unknowingly ruin something so completely. 

I remember being a bit worried by the title of this novel, when I first read it.  I wondered how literal it was going to be.  Whether it was going to be an actual conclusion - a final novel in the series.  I can't remember how aware I was of upcoming events at that time.  I think there might have been rumours about the TV film with Paul McGann, though I can't be sure about that.  But there was definitely something a bit... unsettled... at the time.

There are some mild spoilers in the next paragraph.  I won't refer to anything directly, but I'm definitely going to hint at a few dark things.

In hindsight, it's almost a shame that everything didn't just end there.  The fate of Roz, the events on Della, the reappearance - and harrowing experiences - of Liz Shaw, the strained relationship with Jason, the Doctor's deepening sense of guilt.  But then... we also got the conclusion of the Cartmel Masterplan as well and that was definitely worth reading.

TheNakedPoet TheNakedPoet
46-50, M
Jan 16, 2013