Thursday, December 6, 2007

For Fuck's Sake Gary Russell!

No, I haven't just re-listened to The Next Life... though, I did hear the first five minutes of Caerdroia the other day... the Doctor goes to sleep. What a set up...

No! I am reading the novel Business Unusual and it is, by far and a way, the most unbelievably, crudley, horribly, supercallifragillisticallygasterflabbingly and offensively BRILLIANT thing that Russell has ever written.

BUT.... on page 137 he goes and destroys ALL of my good will, and by god there is a lot of it, in one fell swoop. Dr Facescar decides, as Who-vills are wont to do, that its time for some verbose proclamatory self-pleasure, annunciating his plans to people who already know them to the benefit of none save the mysterious invisible narrator. This in itself is not problematic, of course - a proud storytelling tradition of the show. BUT WHAT DOES HE SAY?!?!

"I want a Zygon, Ciara.

Kinky, but okay so far

I want to know how their metamorphic properties work, how cells can transmute on such a scale. And I want to understand how Rapine grows

The sign of an indulgent continuity reference is one you need to google to work out, but can still see it very clearly. Oh, Christ, it's from The Paradise of Death. I barely even know that IS, Russell!

But that, is NOT MY PROBLEM...

why the Nuton nuclear complex

Don't say something about it not blowing up like an A-bomb you jerk.

didn't blow half of Avon into the stratosphere

ARRGH! Firstly, Paul Darrow wasn't even IN that one, you're thinking Silurians and SECONDLY... learn to watch a VHS! I mean, this is Gary Russell - he has written full timelines for the UNIT characters, estimations of their budget, full rosters of who was working there and when. To do this, he has clearly watched through the entire Pertwee era several times.

But has he done it on 'mute' or what?

I'm sure I've ranted about this a dozen times already but the Nuton Nuclear Complex did not blow up at the close of The Claws of Axos, contrary to the common-held belief of a lot of strange creatures wacking keyboards who decided to call themselves 'fans'.

TYPICAL MORON RESPONSE: Pull the other one, didn't you see the explosion you fucking R-tard? There's an explosion! How do you explain that?!?

Rewind the DVD about 3 minutes and listen to the dialogue. And then actually watch the fucking thing. The Nuton Nuclear Complex is massive. One building is blown up. One building which is show to be, in the close of Episode 3, not even remotely near the reactor.

As Nameless Scientist says, what has happened is that the Axons' temporal interference has messed with... Christ I can't remember the names now but Sweater Scientist's anti-matter accelerator which is now going into overload. As he says it accelerates and accelerates until bang. The reactor is never mentioned. What he says is precisely what happens, the research building blows up. Other than that it's business as normal.

Why does this in particular irritate me so much? Because it is a misconception seemingly shared by the entirety of fandom about one of only three Pertwee stories that I actually do really, really like (the other two being Inferno and Ambassador's of Death. Unless Bob Holmes was the writer the next three years were something of a waste of time) for the reason that it actually has some ideas, feels science-y, has really cool aliens and a director who clearly gives a toss.

It is of course written by Bob Baker and Dave Martin, who, despite writing several sparkling scripts with great jokes, even better ideas and plenty of action that, no matter what [pitifully minor] flaws they may have had, could never be described as boring. For some reason, in spite of their obvious talent, Martin and Baker are the lepers of DW screen writing. The fans, who always know best, declare that their scripts are littered with childishly inaccurate science (Unlike most scripts, which just avoided the issue by not containing any iotae of actual science at all) and being completely ignorant of how to write for television. Curiously, at the same time the average Who will say that there is no competition against Bob "Sod it, I'll Plagiarise This Old Novel Myself And Put a Fake Name On It" Holmes for "Best Script Editor" - logically this would mean that he would be the best judge of writer. He commissioned Bob Baker and Dave Martin four times in his four year tenure. And then, in all likelihood, recommended their commission to Antony Root for the next season. Hmm.

It is perhaps because of the Martin-Baker combo that fans are so desperate to tear apart this story. To the point of simply ignoring direct evidence - the idea being "Huh, those Bristol Boys are so stupid they don't even know what happens when a nuclear planet melts down". You don't even need to watch closely to realise that this isn't the case - the entire dramatic thrust of Episode 3 is that this reactor will blow, and as a direct result the entire cast and the neighbouring counties will have no chance of survival! There is not a single minced word when it is established just how empirically screwed every single character in the story shall be should this come to pass.

And THIS is why it annoys me - saying that Nuton Power Complex blew up and everyone magically survived is saying "Baker and Martin were a pair of complete retards". It didn't and they weren't. So up yours, Russell, if you're going to wallow in your squalid continuity at least do some research in it first, rather than go off a cheap little piece of derision that people have thrown at the story so much that it's stuck.

Business Unusual is now officially the worst book ever written and Russell is worse than Hitler.