Saturday, 2 February 2008

How I met (online) Craig Hinton

So, like I said in my post, by September 2000 I had received a rejection slip to my Big Finish audio submission The Seventh Door. This made me determined to try again to solve the riddle of the Valeyard, and this time I decided to pair him up against the 6th Doctor. I toyed with the idea of the 6th Doctor and Mel being summoned to Gallifrey to deal with an impending doom forseen in the Matrix, but I didn't go too far before I decided that I needed to do more research to see if there had already been any 6th Doctor/Valeyard conflicts beyond the Trial.

This study brought to my knowledge the works of Craig Hinton and the concept of the Doctor as Time's champion.

Now I hadn't heard too much of Craig at this time, but I had heard of his novel Millennial Rites, which, by its cover, touched somewhat upon the 6th Doctor/Valeyard conflict. However, through my reading of reviews and analyses of this book, I came to the (innaccurate) conclusion that Craig viewed the Valeyard as the ultimate evolution of the 6th Doctor, an unstable, erratic and ultimately failed incarnation of the Doctor.

In reading several fans' posts (some of whom certainly seemed to see the 6th Doctor as an early Valeyard) on the subject at Outpost Gallifrey and the BBC website's Doctor Who forum of the 6th Doctor's fall into the Valeyard, which led to the 7th Doctor (supposedly) reverse engineering his own creation as Time's champion to thwart the destructive 6th Doctor, I began to feel that Craig and other authors of the '90s, perhaps unwillingly, had dealt the 6th Doctor a very bad literary blow.

So, I signed on the BBC's series forum and I began to post defences of the 6th Doctor, how he was not destined to become the Valeyard nor a failed Doctor etc. etc., and I slowly received the notice of other fans both for and against my arguments. I also received the notice of Craig Hinton himself. :)

To my delight he was very gracious and explained that his intentions for the 6th Doctor had been exactly the opposite that I assumed; that he had hoped to show the 6th Doctor as a strong, rallying hero against the shadow of the Valeyard. Once I read Millennial Rites and its sequel The Quantum Archangel in 2001, I realized how much Craig enjoyed the 6th Doctor and also the puzzling Valeyard. I hoped that he would write more on the two characters, even though at the time he stated in his posts that, in the wake of Matrix, there was little more that could be with the Valeyard.

Nevertheless, I decided to approach Craig directly on the subject, and, I asked him in his Ask the Author thread at Outpost Gallifrey if I could e-mail him. He agreed and in October 2001 I did just that, telling him my feelings on the Valeyard and my hopes for a successful conclusion to his storyline with the 6th Doctor.

In a very short time, Craig replied, and told me about the book he was starting to write, a book detailing the 6th Doctor's regeneration and re-match with the Valeyard, a book called Time's Champion ...