Tuesday, December 17, 2019

NOW AVAILABLE: A New Missy Story in "Master Pieces"


I'd say it's been a busy time, but it's never not busy over my way. Between work for Crunchyroll and Fanbyte, front- and back-burner book projects, working on collaborations, and family responsibilities, there's always something on. But it has been something of a busy time in a good way... which is why I'm a little late yelling at you (from this venue, at least) about my work on Master Pieces.

Master Pieces is the third book from Altrix Books, which I co-run with Paul Driscoll. Some of you may know we initially started it as an imprint under which to publish Seasons of War: Gallifrey, but we've gone the extra distance with it. Unearthed came out under the Altrix heading, and this latest — edited by Paul — is now up for grabs.

The anthology was originally conceived of by Scott Claringbold, whom I wrote for in both Nine Lives (a Shalka Doctor charity anthology) and Relics (a more open-ended anthology for which I contributed an Owl's Flower short piece). Altrix took it on to see it to completion, with Paul at the forefront as editor. It's turned out lovely, I think, with a cover by Ginger. Whom I think you all know by now.


The conceit of this Doctor Who charity anthology is that it's Master-led... but with no Doctor. The idea was to see what the Master gets up to when not countered, and it's ended up being a wonderful broad range of topics. There are some revisited stories and settings, some entirely new incarnations of the character, and a few surprises along the way.

I wanted to write about Missy for my story, as I've only ever touched on her in passing elsewhere. She's a tough one to write for (at least for me — I'm sure others breeze straight through, and more power to them), as there a mix of propriety and borderline cannibalism that turns out absolutely wrong if you don't balance them right. I personally feel I may still be chasing down that perfect mixture, but I'm pleased at a chance to attempt it.


In particular, I wanted to look at what happens when the Master bends to the Doctor's most common habit: befriending humans. Does it work? How does it play out? Is it a beneficial relationship for anyone? Could any of the Masters really support a "companion" in their schemes?

Removing the Doctor from the equation was an interesting way of going about the anthology, as it (as far as I'm concerned, anyway) removes a lot of the Master's motivation for big crazy schemes. Of course, the Doctor is "nothing without an audience," either, so fair's fair in that respect. As for what happens when the Master's favorite audience is absent... well, not to be that guy, but you can find out by reading the book. Or at least, you can find out a few potential examples.

Master Pieces is raising funds for the Stroke Association. So not only are you getting a good read, you're also benefiting a good cause.

What that also means is that — as an unofficial charity anthology — it won't be around forever. So you'll want to grab this sooner than later. If you want to read my take on Missy, plus the many many takes on Masters throughout the series, head over to Altrix. You can get it in paperback or as an ebook at your convenience. And if you enjoy it, please leave a review!