DEBRIEF: Eyebrows and Fish (A Target For Tommy)

I’m shamelessly stealing the following blog format from the excellent B.R. Sanders, who’s been posting these about their own short fiction. (Seriously, I’ve even stolen the title.) Partly this serves as a shameless announcement (Hey you! Go read my story!), partly a record of my writing along side the record of reading that this blog exists as. But I also think that writers don’t always talk about the industry as much as they should, and I find it fascinating to read about when other writers so perhaps someone will enjoy it in return. (It sure helps when you receive your 27th rejection note to be able to read of other stories that have met the same fate.)


Eyebrows and Fish - The Twelfth Doctor meets the Silence in the 1920s, alongside a new companion, the feisty Miss Fish...

Eyebrows and Fish – The Twelfth Doctor meets the Silence in the 1920s, alongside a new companion, the feisty Miss Fish…

This story appears in A Target For Tommy from Obverse Books, which you can buy right here.

Publication date: July 2016


Placing the story: A bit of a different version of my usual debrief for this story, because A Target for Tommy is an unusual project.

You might be familiar with the author Tommy Donbavand. He’s the author of the children’s book series Scream Street (which are great!), as well as writing for both Doctor Who and the Beano. He was recently diagnosed with cancer and in the last few months months has been undergoing treatment. You can read his blog on the subject (and I recommend you do), but alongside the unpleasantness of the treatment, Tommy is now unable to do school visits, which comprised a huge part of the income with which he supports himself and his family.

In response, Paul Magrs and Stuart Douglas at Obverse books set up this charity anthology, with all the proceeds going to charity, and coaxed a great bunch of authors to write stories set in the Whoniverse. There’s a whole bunch of authors in there who’ve written for Doctor Who (Paul Magrs, Paul Cornell, Una McCormack, Stewart Sheargold, Steve Cole…), other authors who I’ve reviewed previously on here (Roy Gill, Nick Campbell, Stuart Douglas, Philip Marsh…), and a whole bunch of other authors I’m excited to discover reading the collection. Oh, and me.

The story of the story: The fun of a charity anthology is really getting to do whatever the hell you want and screw canon and ponderous self-importance. There’s a whole bunch of Classic Who stories that gleefully chuck around characters into crazy situations, mixing up favourite characters in unusual ways, and getting to write the kind of stories your inner 12-year-old has always secretly hoped the Show will actually do. For my part, as a relative Who-newbie who still has an inferiority complex about his Classic-Who knowledge, I went for as new as I could, so my story is a Twelfth-Doctor story, immediately post-Clara. And because I could, and my current TV obsession is Miss Fisher Mysteries, Twelve is about to run across a lady detective coincidentally named Miss Fish (and her assistant Dotty…). (I filed the numbers off my Miss Fish(er), but Stuart Douglas has an even finer crossover in the book, pairing the Doctor with Mapp and Lucia. Look me in the eye and tell me you don’t want to read that…)

Oh, yeah, and the Silence are in there, so it was my chance to do a bit of jiggery-pokery with timeline and narrative order. It involved a lot of moving post-its around and mumbling to myself, ‘But that doesn’t work…’

If you want to help support Tommy, or just generally read the book, please do go order at the Obverse website right here.


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