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A strange kind of historical fiction... 
18th-Mar-2010 02:30 pm
So, I'm working right now on a short story for Big Finish's Short Trips submission opportunity, featuring the 3rd Doctor and Liz Shaw. Which means that I am writing a strange kind of historical fiction, because during that period of the show, the TARDIS was inoperable and the Doctor was basically stuck in 1970. [Well, okay - old school fans reading this will know that there's tremendous controversy over when those stories were actually supposed to have taken place, because they do feature things like manned British missions to Mars, which weren't remotely a possibility in 1970. But, despite occasional very striking anachronisms, the stories of that era generally reflect the technology, social attitudes, and fashion sense of the year they were broadcast.]

I've written historical fiction before, but I've never before written historical fiction set in an era where some potential readers might actually remember the era in question. Fortunately, it's only a 2500 word story with a fairly circumscribed plot and setting, so I don't think there's too much scope for egregious error.

The historical setting does creep in in interesting ways, though. I wrote a description of an alien communication device as "an oblong of dark plastic with buttons on it." Then I thought, "Okay, I've just described a cell phone. Why don't I just say, 'it looked like a cell phone'?" With the answer being, of course, that Liz in 1970 wouldn't know what a cell phone was. (And if she did, she'd call it a mobile. But I digress.)

It does make me wonder - if people in 2050 write Doctor Who stories set in 2010, will it be recognizable as our 2010? What sorts of things will people get wrong?
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