Untitled Document

The Complete
Lawrence Miles

Biography

Christmas...
Alien Bodies
Down
1998 Interview with Kevin Mahoney
The Lost Appendicies of Down
Inteference i
Inteference ii

The Internet Resignation 17th August 1999
The "Last Ever" Interview 28th May 2000
Dead Romance
The Ancestor Cell Review
64 Thousand Questions (Big File!) 11th March 2001
Adventuress...
The Book of the War
This Town...
FP Protocols:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Outpost Gallifrey 2003
Short Stories
Faction Paradox - Comic
Ninth Art Interview

The Unwritten Stories:
Valentines Day

Reviews
I love Lawrence
I hate Lawrence

Essays, Critiques and Miscellany
The "Dream" Interview

Links
Faction Paradox
Mad Norwegian Press
BBV
Outpost Gallifrey

email me

Return to Planeteleven

 

 

Lawrence Miles's Internet Resignation
Here, for posterity, and those of you not into the whole newsgroup thang, is Lawrence's
'all-purpose internet statement' (originally posted on rec.arts.drwho on 17th August 1999).

(Supposing you found out that everything you thought was completely right. Wouldn't that be scarier?)

Hi. 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,
 
    L.M.
 
    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.