I’m a busy little chickadee over the next few months. Well, I’ve been a busy little chickadee all year, but I frequently forget to let anyone know what I’m doing. So, for the novelty of it, I thought I might post about what I’m up to!
I will be appearing with my Clan Destine peeps at Supanova on Saturday 14th April. We will be holding a panel, Fangs, Felines and Fantasy at 11:20am, but I’ll be hanging about the Clan Destine booth a lot of the day too. (For the Outland fans, John Richards and Adam Richard will be there, talking about their show at 1:40pm, and signing copies of the DVD, now on sale.)
Well, it doesn’t really, but I will be speaking at various events during the month of May.
Tuesday 22 May 2012: Coburg Library – Growing Up Reading, 7pm
Cnr Victoria and Louisa Streets, Coburg 3058
“Author Narrelle Harris, a passionate and voracious reader, is an enthusiastic Friend of the National Year of Reading. Narrelle will share what reading meant to her as a child growing up in a house full of books and how it shaped her love of reading as an adult. Come and share your experience of reading, your favourite books and what they have meant to you. Be prepared for an inspirational celebration of the joy of reading.
Bookings: (03) 9353 4000
31 May 2012, 9pm: Emerging Writers Festival
I’ll be doing a Ghost Story reading at the Emerging Writers Festival this May. Stay tuned for confirmation of date, time and venue. And I’d better write something…
Other things are happening in June, July and August, so check out my Events page for details.
For new readers, please note that this competition was held and closed in January 2012!
I don’t really remember who my first Doctor was. I wasn’t really into Doctor Who as a kid, though I watched it when my brothers did. I liked stories about ponies back then. But later, when I discovered science fiction through Star Wars, Star Trek and Blake’s 7, I rediscovered Doctor Who and took a shine to Patrick Troughton. I’ve loved all of the Doctors to varying degrees since then, even if it did take me a while to warm to Colin Baker.
So, after 30-odd years of regular viewing, what do I see in that show? What does the Doctor mean to me?
Doctor Who means a lot of different things to me. I’ve learned that adventures are more fun when they are shared; that new things and new places are not always safe, but are often exciting and an opportunity to learn; and that it’s important to stand up for what you believe.
As flawed as individual stories are – which is inevitable over such a long history and the constraints of it being a TV series, after all, and not a philosophy – I find that, for me, the themes of courage and valuing intelligence were consistent and influential.
You need courage to choose the unknown, to trust someone to have your back and to stand up for your beliefs. You also need courage to allow your beliefs to be challenged and to see things from another perspective. Stories with the Silurians have shown three incarnations of the Doctor urging the competing sides to attempt to share and understand, with the earliest ones making an impact on me, as did Tom Baker’s contemplation on whether he had the right to destroy the Daleks, even with all the evil they had done.
I also love how the Doctor respects intellect. He encourages people who can think under pressure and, particularly in new Who, delights in people solving things before he does. It was always great seeing female characters who were active and intelligent, including many scientists. In fact, I saw a lot of strong, smart women of all ages in this series, particularly when I was younger and I didn’t see a lot of them in other TV shows. Not just Barbara, Zoe, Liz and Sarah Jane, but among the supporting cast as well. Amelia Ducat in The Seeds of Doom is still a pretty good template for the kind of old lady I’d like to be. In new Who, there is the exquisite Donna Noble, and how I loved the fact that the Doctor thought her take-no-prisoners mouthiness was “brilliant!”.
Despite the science often being terribly wobbly (or non-existant), Doctor Who taught me the value of seeking empirical answers. Even with the advent of a lot of mystical clouds in the current series, I have always enjoyed even the most nominal attempts to say ‘It’s not magic, it’s science.’ Science can be understood, and so you should at least try to do so, rather than falling down in superstitious awe or taking things on face value.
On more personal terms, Doctor Who has other meanings for me. It’s through a Doctor Who fan club that I met Tim, my partner of 25 years. We’ve been having adventures together ever since, and that’s a darned wonderful thing.
I still love Doctor Who. I love it when the Doctor is enabling others to use their intellect and skills, and to find their own courage to be activists in their own lives. Even in the silliest episodes, where the science stinks and the women are squealing and tripping over tufts of grass: the encouragement to use your brains and find your courage remains as powerful and empowering for me now as it always has done.
Naturally, being a fan, when I was looking for a case for my new iPhone 4s, I was delighted to find a wonderful TARDIS case at Redbubble.com. I ordered one, and when it didn’t show up and I contacted Redbubble, they immediately replaced it. Then, wouldn’t you know it, the first one escaped from its time loop and arrived three days later. I asked Redbubble if they wanted me to post it back and they said ‘Don’t worry about it: just give it to a good home.”
So in the spirit of their good customer service, I’ve decided to have a competition to find the TARDIS case (pictured) a good home. It fits an iPhone 4 or 4s and is valued at around $40.
All you need to do is email me at email@example.com with the subject heading ‘Dr Who Competition’ to tell me in 100-300 words what Doctor Who means to you.
PLEASE DO NOT REPLY IN THE COMMENTS!
Conditions of entry:
It is a condition of entry that I may use your answer or part thereof (quoting you) in my blog, which will be online indefinitely. I’m happy to attach an alias to any quotes, but you need to let me know both your real name and preferred alias in your entry.
The competition will be open for two weeks, from Monday 9th January to Monday 23rd January 2012.
I will select the winning entry that week and post the result, along with extracts from all entries, on Monday 30 January 2012.
I have started a new competition on my Facebook page! Just match a character from The Opposite of Life with a suitable Christmas song. Characters can include leads, supporting characters, goths, vampires, librarians, family members living or dead or someone you read about in passing who caught your fancy.
Halloween draws nigh. So do copies of Best New Zombie Tales Vol 2 containing my story The Truth About Brains.
In honour of these two events I have a copy of Best New Zombie Tales Vol 2 to give away as first prize! Other prizes may follow, depending on the number of entries. One entry per person!
The comp? Invent a history of Halloween for me! Long or short, it doesn’t matter. Post your answers here, at my Facebook page (under Discussions) or send them by email to narrelle (at) iwriter.com.au. Entries close November 3rd 2010!