Last weekend I went down to Los Angeles for the 23rd annual Gallifrey One convention, which, for the uninitiated, is a Doctor Who convention. So, in other words, it’s the longest-running convention in the world for the longest-running science-fiction television series of all time.
Doctor Who is probably quite literally my very favorite thing in the entire world. If you enjoy my stories, you have Doctor Who to thank for it — in a very real sense, the mysterious adventures in outer space and the many monsters I watched the Doctor fight when I was a child permanently warped my fragile, delicate little developing mind, and left me with a deep love for the strange and terrifying.
This is only the second time I’ve been to Gallifrey One, but I’m sure this will be an annual pilgrimage from now on. I’m not sure I could even tell you how amazing it was. This is an incredibly enthusiastic, friendly, creative, engaged fandom. And you know how actors and the like in their public appearances always go on about how much they love their fans, and they do this all for them, and thank you so much and blah blah blah and it always comes across so fake?
Not here. Everyone up on that stage (and there were a ton of guests) seemed to be absolutely genuine when they said that kind of thing. They love the show, they love being involved in it, they love the fanbase.
Anyway, since this is my writing blog, and not my geeking-out-about-Doctor-Who blog — I don’t have one of those, but maybe I should — I’m mainly posting this to tell you I finally got a chance to meet Simon Guerrier, who was the editor of How The Doctor Changed My Life, the Doctor Who anthology that features my story, “Relativity.”
Working with Simon had been a real pleasure. Since that was technically my first professional sale, it was the first time I’d ever really worked with an editor, and the process was surprisingly fun and painless. His suggestions and line-edits genuinely helped to improve the flow of the story and make the characters seem more authentically British. He was more than willing to let me push back on the few changes that I thought would change the intent of my story too much. The version that ended up in print still feels very much like my vision of the story, and that he just helped make that vision clearer.
I’d heard he was going to be at the convention, and was looking forward to meeting him. No matter what the picture on his Amazon profile may have you believe, he is not, in fact, a raygun-toting space badger. In person, Simon turns out to be a tall, pleasant Londoner, who is disconcertingly younger than I am, dammit. He promptly mocked my costume, gave me a glass of some rather lovely wine, and then introduced me to L.M. Myles, who also had a story in HTDCML — the story immediately proceeding mine, in point of fact. (Hi, neighbor!) He introduced me as “one of his discoveries,” which charmed the hell out of me.
We didn’t get to talk much, but I’m glad I was able to thank him in person for having selected my story — to tell him that being able to officially write something for Doctor Who was a life-long dream, and to thank him for helping make it come true. No matter what else ever happens in my writing career, I will always treasure that little bit of immortality — getting to carve my initials on a story that started before I was born and will continue long after I’m gone.
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