From time to time I wonder whatever happened to Neil Penswick, author of the The Pit – probably the most derided book in Doctor Who history.
The Pit was a relatively early New Adventure, from a time when the Virgin series had yet to find its feet, and wasn’t generally liked. In fact, everyone who’s ever read it seems to swear it’s the worst book ever written.
I remember reading a few pages of it, not especially enjoying it, and moving on to something else, probably re-reading Timewyrm: Exodus or something.
I’m a big fan of those New Adventures, as they introduced me to a lot of science-fiction concepts and styles, which in turn led to other stuff. They came along at the right time for me
But a lot of those books stand up as sci-fi novels in their own right to my mind, and I liked where it took Doctor Who, taking the themes and approach of the later Cartmel series on TV and running with them.
For many they went too far, but I don’t generally reckon so. Ben Aaronovitch’s Transit probably did and is not a great book, but I enjoyed it. And the hard futuristic sci-fi novels of Kate Orman, Andy Lane, Lance Parkin and Andrew Cartmel – among the best – take the same characters, language, setting and mise-en-scene as Transit and create a whole new universe within the, er, Whoniverse.
So, I have a soft spot for the NAs. And now and again I find myself wondering what happened to the authors. Much of them are still involved with Doctor Who, some at high levels, though it often seems to be the least interesting ones.
Many can be found on Gallifrey Base, or on blogs or Twitter.
But Neil Penswick? Where the hell has he ended up? Tragically he’s the only one of the NA writers not to have his own Wikipedia entry.
I seem to recall from the blurb on the back of The Pit that he lived in Bedford. Is he still there? What’s he doing these days? If anyone knows, can you tell me?.
If only to mark the upcoming 20th anniversary of the publication of The Pit?