1998 Interview with Kevin Mahoney
The Lost Appendicies of Down
The Internet Resignation
17th August 1999
The "Last Ever" Interview 28th May 2000
The Ancestor Cell
Thousand Questions (Big File!) 11th March 2001
The Book of the War
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
Outpost Gallifrey 2003
Faction Paradox - Comic
Ninth Art Interview
I love Lawrence
I hate Lawrence
The "Dream" Interview
Mad Norwegian Press
Miles's Internet Resignation
Here, for posterity, and those of you not into the whole newsgroup thang,
'all-purpose internet statement' (originally posted on rec.arts.drwho
on 17th August 1999).
you found out that everything you thought was completely right. Wouldn't
that be scarier?)
This isn't an attempt to start a discussion of my own, because (a) I'm
not actually connected to the WorldWide Web, and (b) I don't know anything
about newsgroup protocol anyway. (For example, I've only just figured
out that there's no such thing as a sarcastic tone of voice on the internet,
and that people therefore can't tell when you're being serious and when
you're taking the piss. Remind me of that the next time I say anything
about any other Doctor Who writers. Or their pets.) This is my
version of a press release, I suppose. Am I allowed to do that, or what?
Firstly: yes, Interference is my last Doctor Who book,
and no, I have no idea why anybody thinks I've got another one coming
out in March. Until a few days ago, I was seriously thinking about writing
one more, simply because Stephen Cole told me that it wouldn't be too
hard getting hold of the rights to use the Daleks. Frankly, a Dalek book
sounded too good to resist. Now, however...
Well, to be honest, I feel like I've lost my mandate. The thing about
Interference is that I took the writing of it very seriously indeed,
which I suppose is a bad habit for a Doctor Who writer, but what
can you do? That bloody book changed me; it made me face up to
things I hadn't wanted to think about, and as a result I feel like a completely
different individual to the one who started work on it. And because I
was so lost in the guts of it, because I believed (and still believe)
that it's the best thing I've ever written, I ended up convincing myself
that it was a Great Work. "Great" with a capital "G", of course, meaning
"very big" rather than "very good". It never even occurred to me that
anyone might see things differently. I mean, I knew a lot of people wouldn't
like it, obviously, but I think I assumed that even those who hated it
would see it as a work of High Bigness.
Stupid mistake, really. The truth is, Interference is so
big - not just in length, but in the amount of ground it covers - that
everybody can find something in it they object to. Which means that even
people who like the book only like it conditionally. I don't know exactly
how to explain this, but... writing's a vocational thing for me, not just
a job. I think every book I've written has been better than the previous
one, because I feel as thought I've got a moral duty to make sure it happens
that way. And that's where the problem lies. If I wrote another Doctor
Who novel, I'd have to make it better than Interference. But
the reaction to Interference has been so "conditional" - just look
at those magazine reviews, for God's sake! - that writing my Great Dalek
Novel would be a horrible, heartbreaking experience. Bettering Interference
would be a gut-wrenching task in itself, but at the same time I'd have
to be aware that nobody really liked Interference much to begin
with. All in all, I'd probably go mad.
I think it was the review in DWM that finally settled things.
I mean, I'm used to bad reviews by now, and I've had a lot worse in the
last couple of years. But it wasn't what Ness Bishop said that hurt so
much, it was her reasons for saying it. All the things she had a problem
with in Interference are side-effects of the way I think, side-effects
of the way I write... in short, it's not the book that's the problem,
it's me. I have to face the fact that whatever I write from now on, I'm
never going to get a better response, because that's who I am.
Which is as good a reason for retiring as you'll ever hear.
There are two kinds of Doctor Who writers, of course. There
are people who do things the old-fashioned way - John Peel immediately
springs to mind, for some reason - and there are people like me, who only
exist to mess things up a bit. I wanted to write a Dalek book because
none of the messing-things-up writers have ever gone anywhere near the
Daleks; because I imagined that when the news reached the newsgroups,
even people who didn't liked any of my other books woull be surprised/confused/curious.
(And I know I'm not the only one to feel that way, seeing as on eother
less-than-traditional writer also planned a Dalek book that fell through...)
However, after Interference, I have to face up to the truth. For
an awful lot of people, it wouldn't be a case of "wow, Lawrence Miles
is writing a Dalek book". It'd be a case of "Christ, doesn't he ever
give it a rest?".
Which is what I mean when I say that I feel like I've lost my mandate.
It's not polite for any writer to keep churning out books and expecting
people o buy them, especially when he knows that most of the readers aren't
on his side to begin with. And even if the people who like Interference
are having problems with large chunks of it, then I've got to acknowledge
that the longer I go on, the less people I'm going to have behind me.
I don't have the ego to fight a single-handed war against the continuity,
basically. Which is why I'm not writing any more books, which is why I'm
not even going to be tempted by the prospect of Daleks, and which is why
- ultimately - this is going to be my last posting around here for a while.
Goodnight and thankyou,
P.S. Whatever Gary Gillat says about that DWM interview, I
don't remember giving my "frank opinions" about any of the other writers.
Then again, David Darlington kept buying me vodka throughout the afternoon,
so my memory of things isn't exactly perfect. I know I said something
damning about Christopher Bulis at one point, but that's hardly
going to set the world on fire.