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Dark Ages





Imperfect Copy

A Novel by David Carroll


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Short Stories


Imperfect Copy

Author's introduction

by David Carroll

I started writing Imperfect Copy for the New Adventure range of Doctor Who novels, not long after their introduction. After submitting the appropriate length (the first three chapters) I continued. The editor at the time was considering publication, with some reservations (that may be obvious upon reading), and by the time it was finally rejected I had written half of it -- some 70,000 words. Consider that the standard length at the time was about 85,000...

Despite my blatant ignoring of editorial input (I'm better now), I think it's a pretty interesting effort, and I hope you enjoy reading it.


  • The novel stars the Doctor and Ace. In fact, it is one of the few pieces of fiction I have written which concentrates on the Doctor himself in any depth. This was not because I didn't feel confident in doing so, but I did feel the extended length was needed to approach the intricacies of the character as presented in Seasons 25 and 26 (my favourite of the show). Ace herself is written as having returned to the Doctor after her stint as a mercenary, as described in the novels (my 'mercenary trilogy' -- Dance of the Daleks, Sunsets and Visiting Hours -- may also show my interest in this period), but since I started writing it before this event, there is no sign of Bernice Summerfield.
  • The novel is structured with a Preview, Intermissions and (obviously unwritten) a Review, for reasons that may become clear -- or not. The two intermissions were to be separate stories (as if it wasn't long enough), the first of which was Happy By Default. The second was to have been Visiting Hours. See the afterword for a summary of the unwritten chapters.
  • Rob McNeur and Kathy Marshall were kind enough to critique my description of archery, particularly in chapter 11. Any further misunderstandings remain my own.
  • Whilst writing the novel I used []'s to indicate non-ASCII characters found in the Esperanto language. This is contrary to normal Net practice of placing an 'x' after the character in question, though I have retained this method for readability to a non-Esperanto audience.