This story would not have been possible without the authors of bad fan fiction throughout the internet and the flame wars they inspire. I'm not sure if that's a good thing. In my original post, the quotes given within were from actual fan fictions. So as not to give offence, I have replaced them with ones of my own creation. wince Oh, the sacrifices I make for the sake of my craft.


DOCTOR WHO, THE INTERNET, AND FAN FICTION

By Margaret Price

CHAPTER ONE

BAD!FIC

Peri stood in the doorway of the room in which the Doctor had ensconced himself for more than a week. He was seated before a computer, a printer buzzing nosily beside him.

"So…still at it, I see," she said conversationally.

"Yes," he snapped impatiently. "Still at it."

"How much longer are you going to sit there and—?" Peri broke off as two very annoyed blue eyes beneath a riot of blond curls looked up at her.

The Doctor picked up a stack of papers and rose to his feet. "Have you seen what your fellow humans are writing about me?" he asked accusingly.

Peri sighed heavily and found herself wishing they had never stopped at that…that… What was it called again? A Cyber Café? The Doctor had been driving her mad expounding grandiloquent about "the Internet" and the glories there of. How it was such a shame she had left Earth before it had gotten off the ground. One day, it finally became too much and she told him to put his money where his mouth was, so to speak, and take her to Earth so she could judge for herself.

To Peri's amazement, the Doctor agreed.

Everything had gone well…at first. The Doctor had introduced her to the wonders of a double latte and the internet all in a single afternoon. Then she made the mistake of mentioning the fan fiction site she stumbled across while "on line." Something about a teaspoon.

The Doctor took one look, made several incomprehensible remarks, and stormed back to the TARDIS. He had been in front of a computer ever since.

"Just look at this!" the Time Lord exploded, selecting a paper at random. "Riddled with punctuation and grammatical errors. And the spelling!"

"We're not going to get into that 'u' or 'no u' thing again, are we?" the American moaned.

The Doctor gave her a fierce look. "At this point, Peri, I would be happy if it were only a matter of a single vowel. This…this…mess is an insult even to Noah Webster!"

Peri raised an eyebrow. Now that was an insult. The Doctor never had anything good to say about Noah Webster's "corrected" dictionary.

The Doctor started throwing paper after paper onto the floor as he spoke. Peri noticed they were covered with corrections and, in some cases, opinions. The latter written in bold script, and in red.

"No discernable plot," the Doctor snorted, tossing the first paper aside. "Bad characterization." Another paper fluttered to the floor. "Muddled tenses. Plot holes. Abominable spelling. Mary Sue."

"Mary Sue?" Peri frowned. "A person is a bad thing."

The Doctor looked up. "Oh, my dear Peri, a Mary Sue is an archetype. The kiss of death to a story."

Peri could not help a smile from creeping onto her face. "Surely you are joking?"

"Joking? Joking!" The Doctor's voice rose in pitch along with his anger and the rest of the papers were thrown into the air. "These are supposed to be about me! Not some…"

"Archetype?"

"Precisely. It's just the author inserting themselves into the story and then taking over as the hero."

Peri sighed. "Come on, Doctor. It's only fan fiction."

The Doctor could not have looked more shocked if she had slapped him across the face. "Only fan fiction! Only!" he exploded. "Peri, this is me they're writing about! Me!"

"Oh, Doctor. That ego of yours," Peri chided.

The Doctor gave her a dark look. "This isn't about my ego," he snapped defensively.

"Yeah, right."

"This is about the English language! A thing of beauty," the Time Lord said, suddenly switching into what Peri had come to think of as "fine arts and poetry" mode. "The appreciation of the beauty of the language in the written word is…is…well, an art form. Literature! Something for the reader to savor, like fine wine."

"So…fan fiction is like wine?"

"Literature is like wine, my dear Peri. But this! This is vinegar!"

"Doctor…"

"All the basic rules of grammar, punctuation ignored because it's only fan fiction!" The Doctor pulled the paper that had just finished printing from the tray, getting ink all over his fingers and smudging the bottom of the page. He scowled down at the paper, decided it wasn't worth losing his temper over, and looked up. "Here, a prime example," he said shaking the page. "Look at this one written about my previous incarnation."

Peri took the paper and scanned down the page, her eyebrows going up. Then a smirk started to creep onto her face. "Um, who's Adric?"

The Doctor snatched the paper away. "An irritating young man who got himself killed because he wouldn't listen to a word I said."

"That's a bit harsh, isn't it?"

The Doctor did not seem to hear her. He snatched another paper off the desk and thrust it at her. "And this…monstrosity is supposed to be an adult story."

"Doctor, I can't read this with your, er, corrections all over it."

A puzzled expression passed over the Time Lord's face. "What? Oh." His temper cooled for a moment as he took the paper away. He scowled down atit a moment and then his eyes flashed in anger again. His companion gave a small sigh. He was only pausing between fits of pique.

"Listen to this," the Doctor said, pointing to a dark circle on the page. "Silently thinking to himself out loud."

Peri blinked. "Come again?"

The Doctor's finger moved down the page. "The knock out gas caused them all to be knocked out."

"Doctor, you're making this up."

"I am not!" the Doctor protested. "Someone has already done that for me."

Peri picked up another paper from the desk that was covered with corrections, circles and…er, opinions.

"Yes, just look that! Look at that description of—"

"Delicious heaving breasts," Peri read in a serious tone, "that moved like jello molds surmounted with erect, pink gumdrop nipples." She looked up, stared at the Doctor for a full second before bursting out laughing.

"My dear Miss Brown, this is no laughing matter!" the Doctor thundered, snatching the paper out of her hand.

Peri tried very hard to get control of herself. "So, what do you intend to do about it? You can't chase down every author on the internet?"

"No. But I intend to at least voice my opinion."

Peri dreaded what this might be. "How?"

The Doctor sat down at the computer and rubbed his hands together. "I'm going to leave a few reviews." He looked up, his eyes gleaming. "A few people are going to learn the true meaning of the word flame."

-- END --


REVIEW FROM TECHNO-COAT.MAN:

I am impressed with your ability to use spell check, proper punctuation, and grammar. Peri could have been described a bit more in detail, however. The Doctor was written eloquently, although he does seem a bit too arrogant. And I think that gumdrop nipple thing was a bit excessive.

AUTHOR'S REPLY:

Thank you. Your opinion means the universe to me. I also have an excellent beta reader, whom you may be acquainted with. Her input was invaluable. Cheers.


Doctor Who, The Internet, And Fan Fiction© 2005 Margaret Price is an original work written for the enjoyment of Doctor Who fans everywhere. No copyright infringement is intended.

Original series broadcast on the BBC. Format © BBC 1963

Doctor Who and Tardis are trademarks of the BBC

The story and all other original characters are © Margaret Price