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Grey Wolf’s Blog

RIP Mum, passed into glory 29th April 2014

I have brought my blog back online after taking it away for the duration. Apologies to anyone who was scheduled to have a feature in that period; my heart just wasn’t in it.

I will slowly rebuild the blog, but doubt I will have so many guest posts or features. This, tho, will mean that if you are featured your article will remain at the top of the page for a lot longer.

Thank You
Grey Wolf, author

The Keys of Marinus

In the lead-up to Doctor Who’s Fiftieth Anniversary, Grey Wolf’s Blog will be hosting the event “Monday Favourite Dr Who Story“.

This week, we take a look at the First Doctor story, The Keys of Marinus, starring William Hartnell as the Doctor, William Russell as Ian, Jacqueline Hill as Barbara and Carole Ann Ford as Susan. Originally broadcast in April and May 1964 ‘The Keys of Marinus’ was one of the later stories in Doctor Who’s first season.

A six-parter, ‘The Keys of Marinus’ is very much an ensemble piece. As Doctor Who was made almost all-year round, rather amusingly William Hartnell’s two-week holiday fell within the middle of filming, necessitating his absence from the story and allowing the two supporting characters to play a greater role.

The story has the theme of a quest for the scattered keys to a mind-control device, the Conscience of Marinus, spread out across the planet to prevent the machine being used by the wrong people. The same theme would be used again in Tom Baker’s time to make a whole season of stories, ‘The Key to Time’ which in many ways has the episodes of this story as its antecedents.

The Doctor and his companions land on an island possessed of a large building and surrounded by a sea of acid. Although the relatively cramped nature of the set is evident, clever use of camera angles generally gives a good impression of a much larger scene. Also, whilst it is evident on modern televisions where the break between the set for the giant building and the painted backdrop is, on 1960s black-and-white televisions the picture would have been much less distinct, and it would have looked far more natural.

Once the quest begins it takes the form of hopping between predetermined locations in a pattern, first here, then there, then the next as the designer of the machine, the sole person left on the island has programmed their teleportation devices. These locations include some very nicely done scenes, each one the location of that week’s quest. The jungle laboratory where the trees have been accellerated is an excellent set, with a simple but dramatic story, whilst the mountain ice and snow, with the single hunter-trapper in his hut is another.

I omit one of the more dramatic episodes here, because the spoilers spoil it. But it is one where the surviving colour photographs of the set and actors are very effective indeed. The brains in a jar motif would later be used in a Blakes Seven episode, showing again how much science fiction series borrow from each other.

My favourite location is the last one, the city where Ian arrives ahead of the others and accidentally stumbles into the murder of a man in a museum, a murder in the middle of an act of burglary, the target of which has been the final key to the machine. The Doctor is absent at this time, having gone ahead a deal in advance of the story (in story terms) meaning that when Barbara and the two others (the ensemble cast) arrive they find Ian under arrest, and the Doctor a rumour.

The court case before three judges in the Byzantine manner is good drama, and the out-of-court adventures are worthy of Perry Mason right up to the last-minute twist. The Doctor, William Hartnell having returned from his holiday, and the others now use the teleportation device to return to the island.

In the first episode we came upon a dead Voord, the enemy that the keeper of the machine had feared would seize it and use it for their own ends. Although he looks like a man in a wet suit with weird appendages, he is an effective looking creature. Whether he is intended to be some sort of bio-mechanical entity (half man half rubber) or a semi-human is never made clear, and perhaps we are better for not knowing. Their return at the end is inevitable, much like that of the Black Guardian in Tom Baker’s Key To Time series, and the denouement is probably obvious, since what else was going to happen?

All in all this is a very enjoyable story. The frequent change of scenes within one mission, and the addition of two extra characters help a lot to keep the pace going, whilst there is genuine mystery and drama in the court case.

Buy The Keys of Marinus at Amazon UK
Buy The Keys of Marinus at Amazon.com

Giveaways and Free Promotions

Who would have known, entering the world of self-publishing, that it costs more than you earn for the first few months! And its addictive, this giving things away for free!

On Goodreads, starting today and lasting a week, I have 2 copies of my novel TIME OF THE DARKNESS in a Giveaway open to the entire world.
https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/62782-time-of-the-darkness
So far 181 people have requested it in one day, so it looks like being a good one!

KDP Kindle free promotions
OK this doesn’t actually cost me anything, and no doubt the vast majority of people who download it wouldn’t have actually paid for it, so its kind of like a bit of free advertising
http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Mailed-Fist-ebook/dp/B00D8L89L0/ref=cm_cr_pr_sims_t
Just one day left to get THE MAILED FIST free for Kindle

Enjoy!

Customer Service

I’ve worked out a 6-point Customer Service rating, with 6 the lowest and 1 the highest
6 Reluctant
5 Surly
4 Sarcastic
3 Dull
2 Efficient
1 With a Smile

As some examples:-
a) Reluctant :- Swansea Market, the stall holders too interested in talking to each other or on their phones to bother to notice the customer enquiring at their stall
b) Surly :- a waiter at an Italian restaurant in Cardiff, situation luckily rescued by his smiley co-worker or I would have left
c) Sarcastic :- blond waiteress at a restaurant the other night, every time she was back at the bar with her co-workers she was telling tales of the customers and their unreasonableness
d) Dull :- girl at charity shop in Lancaster, came out slowly from behind the desk, checked what I asked, said no and went back behind the desk
e) Efficient :- The Stork, Calders Green or The Slyne Lodge, North of Lancaster, both of which venues had attentive waiting staff but no smiles
f) With a Smile :- The bag stall on Cardiff Market where the guys wanted to sell me a bag; Esquires Coffee Shop, Lancaster where the server was all smiles, all suggestions and cool; Next in Lancaster where the girl serving upstairs was smiley, attentive and apologised for the wait.

Grey Wolf’s Books

As much as this blog is about anything, it is of course about trying to sell my books. Without that,
http://www.greywolfauthor.com would not really have a purpose. One might as well be blunt about that!

I plan to be interesting, I plan to make interesting observations and especially to help to promote Science Fiction Month for November 2013, but I especially hope that people will buy my books and begin to repay the rather large amounts of money I have invested into this!

My author profile at Amazon has a full list of currently published titles
http://www.amazon.com/author/greywolf

This website here promotes them down the left-hand side – if you cannot see them, you are outside of the iframe and need to go to http://www.greywolfauthor.com

Mt Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/greywolfauthor is full of news on my latest works, promotions, sales and ideas. I hope it is both of genuine interest, as well as useful to make sales :)

After all, unless an independent author is already super successful, their basic wish is to be able to say to people with good effect BUY MY BOOKS – THANKS!

Best Regards
Grey Wolf

The Bunbury Diversion

Driving through Cheshire, we were diverted into the town of Bunbury, a diversion that continued time and distance anon, no more signs, no clue if we had fallen off the diversion until at last we re-emerged back into civilisation.

Just along the road, heading back the way we had meant to, we approached Hurlaston and were confronted by a giant straw dalek, making its deadly way across a field…

dalek5 dalek2 dalek3 dalek4

Blog on!

Grey Wolf’s blog is coming…

Its not raining, either!

The porridge was nice, and the toast is soon to be eaten.

I had a pleasant night’s sleep, albeit something of a weird dream.

Off to Lancaster, today!