The Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones CREDIT: BBC
Update 10th Feb: The Darker Projects team have produced a rather excellent audio drama version of Silver Spiral that you can download here.
Well. What a strange week. I am honestly stunned by the reaction to the Doctor Who story, it's amazing how many people have read, commented on and linked to it. It's turned up in some odd places too - I find it quite astounding that the original Skymania article about the story was posted on the Scientific American website! It's been linked to by Gallifrey Base (currently it's the only post that shows up under their "science" tag), io9, Kasterborous, it was picked as an Editor's Selection by Dr SkySkull on Research Blogging, someone made an entry for it in the Doctor Who wiki (although I doubt it will stay there), and it even turned up in the Big Finish forum. Wow. Even the audio version seemed to go down well, although I'm very much looking forward hearing to the Darker Projects version of it with David Ault as the Doctor (the next best thing to having David Tennant and Freema Agyeman read it!).
Not all the feedback was positive, but it was at least mostly constructive. One comment was that the formatting made it hard to read, so apologies for that. Several people also pointed out that there had been sharks in the oceans for a while by 35 million years BC (what's a decimal point between friends?). Ooops, entirely my fault. I could say that I'm an astronomer, not a palaeontologist, but that's a cop out as I was trying to be at least slightly educational. There's no excuse. Sorry.
Several people objected to the lack of knowledge and the incredulous tone that I gave Martha. She sounds that way because I needed her to! It's intended as an early Martha story, before she's got used to the whole idea of being able to go any place and any time, so I think the tone is justified. As for her lack of physics knowledge, well, her character is clever (I'm not disputing that), but she's a medic not a physicist. I knew quite a few medics at uni, and a generally bright bunch they were, but they couldn't tell you the first thing about how the Sun worked. I couldn't name the bones of the hand without looking them up - I may be a Dr, but I'm not that sort of doctor.
But, most of the comments were very positive, and a very big thank you to everyone who gave me feedback (good or bad). I wrote it for a bit of fun, with the hope that it might be slightly educational, and it seems to have done what I hoped it would and reached a far larger audience than I ever expected. I'd really love to see a bit more actual science in Doctor Who since, as has also been noted by several of those who commented, the original concept for the show was to have an educational aspect to it. I doubt anyone from the Beeb will ever read this but, just in case: come on guys, it's not hard! That child-like excitement you see in the character when there's something new or unusual: that's exactly what it feels like to be a scientist!
It's years since I wrote anything fictional, but I think I will try doing it more often after the reaction this one had. There's plenty more science to go at, and there will be a more substantial story behind it next time...