Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Stories Full of Teeth, by Cassandra Khaw

(Guest Post by Cassandra Khaw)

I remember a comic from a few months, a few years back. It had a goblin who wouldn’t stop creating nightmares, who wouldn’t cease building spiked balls and grotesqueries. All the while, everyone else reveled in the light, in figments of beauty. Bright, shiny, happy things.

And of course, one of the jovial creators caved and asked: “Why do you make these things?” Why do you summon horror to our doorsteps? Why do you insist on inventing new entities to fear when the world itself is already such a terrible place? (I’m obviously taking some creative license here, but bear with me.) He said nothing. Instead, he stared for a moment and then allowed his newest monstrosity to drift into the abyss, where it floated among all the other dark things he’d dreamt up.

A hand eventually shot out of the murk and grabbed ahold of the line. The comic ended with a dirty, tattered silhouette allowing itself to be carried away.

There are days when you need happy endings and there are days when you don’t.

Sometimes, we need to be told that it gets better, that tomorrow comes, that the dawn will follow the sleepless night spent folded into a plastic chair, your mother’s breath rasping through the hospital room.

(Rachael K. Jones’ “Travelling Mercies” and Rose Lemberg’s “The Desert Glassmaker and the Jeweler of Berevyar” are those stories for me. I reread them often. When a convention ends and I’m nothing but nerves, all alone and starved for touch. When I’m a thousand miles from the person I love, when they’re just a jumble of selfies and I miss you’s. Those stories and stories like them, they keep me alive, keep me nourished.)

Sometimes, though, we need something else.

I think a lot about Delilah S. Dawson’s “Catcall.” It is angry, vicious, seething with so much venom that I choke on the words each time. It is her story, my story, the story of every woman who’d ever squeezed their fists around a ring of keys as they stalked down a dark alley. It is a snarl, a snapping of teeth, a warning against every Hey baby and Smile for me honey. It doesn’t go pretty places. It doesn’t need to.

But for the longest time, I didn’t get that. I didn’t understand. Why would I want to be reminded of all the things that had happened? I carried them under my lungs, tasted them – soot, sour sweat – in every breath I took.

And then it clicked.

People like to say there are no new experiences; everything that happens is something that has happened before; the answer to Am I the only one? is always a disdainful No: someone has always had it worse. In other words: Don’t bitch. Don’t whine. Don’t cry. Don’t argue.

You’re not the first.

You’re not the last.

So deal with it.

All that is poison. Lies. Vileness concealed as platitudes. And we know it intellectually. All of us do. But when your lungs burn, when you’re at your doorstep, shaking from the laughter that hounded you down the street, when you start planning a hundred contingency plans, a thousand new routes so you’ll never have to cross their paths again? It doesn’t feel like that. Instead, it feels like you’re drowning.

Like you’re suffocating on the memory, on all those helpful questions that follow, all those attempts to figure out what’s happening to you: What were you wearing? Did you smile at them? Did you come home too late? Did you linger too long? Did you swing your hips? Did you make yourself look like prey?

After a while, you close up. You start fighting for air. You knife up against the waters as they close down on you, as your brain starts to wonder if it was your fault all along. Sometimes, you win that argument. Sometimes, you don’t.

And stories likeCatcall” are for when we give up, when we start doubting ourselves. We clutch at them and they pull us out, singing their rage, our rage. All the songs bled from our skins, cut from our hearts by a world too broken by half.

Not every story needs a happy ending.

Occasionally, all they need to do is remind us that we’re not alone, someone was here before and they survived.

I’m hoping to do the same with Hammers on Bone. I wrote the novella in desperation after learning what’d happened to two little boys I knew. When I started writing the book, I wanted to give them a happy ending, a better present. I wanted to rescue them, or at least the idea of them because I couldn’t do anything else.

But then I stopped and thought about it. And Hammers on Bone became something else. I molded it into a scream, a snapping of teeth, a bubbling rage that could be weaponized by a reader, a reminder that you don’t have to be a monster to survive in this world, a demand that we stop and pay attention to the things that are happening behind closed doors, that we do not dismiss the whimpering child as “childish” but consider the truth: is something worse happening to them?

We’ll see. I hope the right message gets out there.

(Editors’ Note: Cassandra Khaw’s Hammers on Bone was released by Publishing on October 11th)

cassandra-1Cassandra Khaw writes a lot. Sometimes, she writes press releases and excited emails for Singaporean micropublisher Ysbryd Games. Sometimes, she writes for technology and video games outlets like Eurogamer, Ars Technica, The Verge, and Engadget. Mostly, though, she writes about the intersection between nightmares and truth, drawing inspiration from Southeast Asian mythology and stories from people she has met. She occasionally spends time in a Muay Thai gym punching people and pads.

The Uncanny Magazine Podcast Won the Parsec Award!

Excellent news, Space Unicorns! Over the weekend at Dragon*Con, The Uncanny Magazine Podcast won a 2016 Parsec Award in the Best Speculative Fiction Magazine or Anthology Podcast category!

We are positively thrilled. Thank you to our excellent Year Two podcast team of Deborah Stanish, Amal El-Mohtar, C. S. E. Cooney, Erika Ensign, and Steven Schapansky. You made the podcast so special, and all of you will be getting nifty Parsec Award star trophies. Also, thanks to our guest readers Heath Miller and Max Gladstone, and all of the creators who had their works featured or participated in the interviews.

And of course a gigantic thank you to all of our listeners and the Space Unicorn Ranger Corps for making the podcast possible.

Also, a huge congratulations to the Verity! Podcast (featuring Uncanny‘s Deborah, Erika, and Lynne, plus Katrina Griffiths, L.M. Myles, and Tansy Rayner Roberts) for winning a Parsec Award in the Best Speculative Fiction Fan or News Podcast (Specific) category!

Look! They sent us WINNING ART!



Uncanny Magazine Issue 12 Cover and Table of Contents!


All of the content will be available in the eBook version on the day of release.

The free online content will be released in 2 stages- half on day of release and half on OCTOBER 4th.

Don’t forget eBook Subscriptions to Uncanny Magazine are available from Weightless Books and Amazon Kindle, and you can support us on our Patreon!


Uncanny Magazine Issue 12 Table of Content

Kirbi Fagan- “Extrahumans,” courtesy of Susan Jane Bigelow and Book Smugglers Publishing

The Uncanny Valley (9/6)

Carmen Maria Machado- “My Body, Herself” (9/6)
Tim Pratt – “Not a Miracle But a Marvel” (9/6)
Sarah Pinsker- “Under One Roof” (9/6)
E. Lily Yu- “The Witch of Orion Waste and The Boy Knight” (10/4)
Ferrett Steinmetz- “Rooms Formed of Neurons and Sex” (10/4)

Reprint Fiction
Sofia Samatar- “Ogres of East Africa” (10/4)

Mary Anne Mohanraj- “This Is Our Work: What Star Trek Asks of Us” (9/6)
Una McCormack- “All True, Especially the Lies – Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Cardassia” (9/6)
Aidan Moher- “Blood Matters: Growing Up in an SF/F House” (10/4)
Dominik Parsien- “Growing Up in Wonderland” (10/4)

S. Qiouyi Lu- “肉骨茶 (Meat Bone Tea)” (9/6)
Ada Hoffmann- “Million-Year Elegies: Tyrannosaurus” (10/4)
Sonya Taaffe- “The Ghost Marriage” (10/4)

Carmen Maria Machado by Deborah Stanish (9/6)
Sarah Pinsker by Deborah Stanish (9/6)

Podcast 12A (9/6)
Story- Carmen Maria Machado- “My Body, Herself,” as read by Erika Ensign
Poem- S. Qiouyi Lu- “肉骨茶 (Meat Bone Tea),” as read by Amal El-Mohtar
Deborah Stanish Interviews Una McCormack

Podcast 12B (10/4)
Story- E. Lily Yu- “The Witch of Orion Waste and The Boy Knight,” as read by Amal El-Mohtar
Poem- Ada Hoffmann- “Million-Year Elegies: Tyrannosaurus,” as read by Erika Ensign
Deborah Stanish Interviews Dominik Parsien and Navah Wolfe


The Uncanny Kickstarter Reached EVERY STRETCH GOAL!

Hello Space Unicorns!

Yes, we know this is older news, but we’re just recovering from Worldcon and the Hugos.


Uncanny Magazine Year 3 is fully funded and reached every stretch goal! Uncanny will stay the same size! We’ll have original covers by Galen Dara and Kirbi Fagan plus Grace Fong illustrations for Alyssa Wong’s story! There will be more Uncanny blogging including keeping Liz Argall’s Things Without Arms And Things Without Legs reaction comic per issue, and adding the new Max and Amal Go to the Movies column, PLUS new columns by Michael Damian Thomas and Michi Trota!

You made this happen. As we’ve said, this is your magazine. It only exists because of the support of this community.

Thank you.

We promise that we will once again try our hardest to live up to your trust and expectations.

We did a Livestream on the Uncanny Magazine Year 3 Kickstarter page for our last hour featuring the Thomases, Michi Trota, Amal El-Mohtar, Tanya DePass, And Isabel Yap. If you missed it, you can watch it here!

Uncanny Magazine Won a Hugo! So Did Folding Beijing!

Oh, Space Unicorns. We have so much glorious news to share. We’ll talk about the Kickstarter in our next post (EVERY STRETCH GOAL REACHED), but first…


And “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang (translated by Ken Liu) WON A HUGO AWARD FOR BEST NOVELETTE!

We are so honored. This is such a major honor for our first year of publication. Thank you to all of our readers, creators, and staff. This award is only possible because of your support and brilliance.

Here are Lynne, Michael, and Michi giving their speeches!

And here are Hao Jingfang and Ken Liu giving their speeches!

It is all amazing and a little overwhelming. There are articles all over the world for these wins, including China due to Jingfang’s historic win and the Philippines because of Michi being the first Filipina winner in Hugo Award history.

You can read Michi’s speech on her website.

And Charles Tan made this GIF of Michael!


Shine on, Space Unicorns!

I Want to Write A History of Inequality, by Hao Jingfang, translated by Ken Liu

(Guest Post by Hao Jingfang, translated by Ken Liu.)

My Hugo nomination has brought a sudden burst of media interest in China.

Some have asked me how my life will be changed; I want to tell them there will be no change at all.

The nominated story, “Folding Beijing,” was published two years ago in Chinese. After that, my life has gotten busy. I’m busy with the natural flow of life, a river that won’t be interrupted because of a few waves spraying foam against the bow of the ship.

I’m not a fulltime writer, and I won’t become one in the future. I have a job that requires dedication, that makes me run to catch the subway every day, traverse the bustling city, swipe the card at the office door, and work late and long hours to meet deadlines. Writing is like the crystalline bubbles in a tributary of my life; I know where the main stem of my life lies.

I wrote a story about inequality, and it has won some recognition and praise. I suppose you can say this is some sign that inequality is a problem that resonates across the globe. Indeed, inequality is a troubling problem. Why do we have inequality in the world? And why is it so hard to eliminate?


Let me be clear: “Folding Beijing” represents just one of the many ways I’ve thought about inequality. It may be the most vivid, but it certainly isn’t the most important.

I’ve been troubled by inequality for a long time. When I majored in physics as an undergraduate, I once stared at the distribution curve for American household income that showed profound inequality, and tried to fit the data against black-body distribution or Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution. I wanted to know how such a curve came about, and whether it implied some kind of universality: something as natural as particle energy distribution functions, so natural it led to despair.

In one sense, the entire economic history of dynastic China can be understood as the history of struggles against inequality. Numerous dynasties engaged in reform measures such as land redistribution into equal tenements, enacting laws to prevent the wealthy from acquiring large estates by squeezing off small tenants, etc. But even if land ownership was relatively even at the beginning of a dynasty, waves of mergers into large estates eventually swept through the country until tax reforms by the middle of the dynasty had to accept unequal land ownership as a fact. Indeed, if the regimes had insisted on resisting the economic impetus driving such mergers, the economy of the country would have stayed at the relatively primitive stage of inefficient household farms. Throughout this process, successive Chinese governments committed many violent errors and acts of tyranny, but their intentions and goals were often positive.

If we broaden our perspective to today’s world, the problem remains unsolved. Some small countries or city-states which stand near the top of our global economic value chain have indeed mostly achieved equality, but down the value chain live many larger populations still mired in poverty.

If the chance presents itself, I want to write A History of Inequality in the future, chronicling humanity’s millennia-long war against inequality (and our repeated defeats). We still see no sign of true victory, at least not at this moment.

I may not get a chance to write such a book for a long time.


Actually, part of my job actually involves research into this question.

I’m employed by the China Development Research Foundation. I’ve been there since the day I got my PhD, more than three years ago now.

From time to time, people ask me: What sort of investment do you make?

I have to clarify this: the foundation is a nonprofit research organization that makes no investments at all. We were founded by the Development Research Center of the State Council (DNC), but our operations are independent. Most of our projects involve: research on specific topics, organizing conferences, knowledge exchange with other research institutes, public interest work, and so on.

The foundation is responsible for organizing many research conferences. Every March, an international conference called “China Development Forum” is held at Diaoyutai (the government’s guesthouse complex), and the last one was attended by both the premier and the vice premier, as well as more than eighty of the executives of the Fortune Global 500.

The foundation also has specific research projects directed at questions of policy. Some of the research is commissioned by the government, others by private companies. These projects cover economics, sociology, and management. The results of the research are generally presented as policy proposals, delivered to the commissioning party or the DNC.

Another important part of the foundation’s work involves public interest research intended to benefit children from rural, poverty-stricken parts of China.

I get emotional whenever I have to talk about this aspect of the foundation. I can’t express the depth of my admiration for my colleagues’ dedication to their task. These projects involve the most remote, poorest parts of China, and those working on them spend most of the year away from Beijing, staying in villages without modern conveniences, visiting each family one by one. Some of my colleagues kept on working even when they were pregnant, riding bumpy buses through dusty roads for hours to reach their destinations.

The foundation suggested a nutritional supplement program for children from rural, poor regions, and the program is now national policy. The foundation also built kindergartens for children in mountainous regions left behind when their parents left their ancestral villages to be migrant workers in distant cities. A poor county might contain a hundred tiny villages scattered in the mountains, and the foundation would build a kindergarten in every single village. These children might not see their parents for the whole year, and receive practically no education before they are old enough for school. We don’t necessarily know what it means to win the race of life at the starting line, but we certainly know what it looks like when children fall behind at the starting line.

Compared to the enormous population of China, the efforts of the foundation are so insignificant it is like trying to rescue a burning house with a single cup of water. But even such small efforts, maintained over years, may still make a difference.


This is why I won’t leave my job. Even if I were to win the Hugo, it won’t have much impact on my life.

I need that persistence, that sense I’m part of a worthwhile effort, with a set direction. Secretary-General Lu Mai at the foundation has already spent decades traversing the country on behalf of children from rural, poor regions, and the children’s welfare is all he thinks about. Many of my colleagues are not interested in pretty words; they’ve spent years on their projects, having seen much and accomplished much, but rarely do they talk about what they’ve done. But I can see in them the hardened strength I need. Their actions tell me that in this superficial world filled with cynical laughter and ironic detachment, there are still some who hold onto their ideals and try to make them come true. Even the most magnificent fireworks will fade after a moment, but steady strides, one step after another on solid ground, will bring hope of change.

The foundation is a small group that can touch First Space, but chooses to cheer on Third Space. We’re not many, but we’ll never give up.


hao_jingfang2Hao Jingfang has an undergraduate degree from Tsinghua University’s Department of Physics and a PhD from Tsinghua in Economics and Management. Her fiction has appeared in English various publications, including Lightspeed, Clarkesworld, and Uncanny. She has published three full-length novels, Wandering Maearth, Return to Charon, and Born in 1984; a book of cultural essays, Europe in Time; and several short story collections, Star Travelers, To Go the Distance, and The Depth of Loneliness. In 2016, her novelette, “Folding Beijing” (translated by Ken Liu), was a Hugo finalist. Several of her stories, including “Folding Beijing,” are collected in Invisible Planets, an anthology of contemporary Chinese SF edited and translated by Ken Liu.


Uncanny Magazine, Pockets, and Heat of Us Are All World Fantasy Award Finalists!


This is such an amazing and unexpected honor. A huge thanks to all of the World Fantasy Convention members and the World Fantasy Award jury for nominating Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, for Uncanny, in the Special Award, Nonprofessional category, and both Amal El-Mohtar’s “Pockets” and Sam J. Miller’s “Heat of Us: Notes Toward an Oral History” in the Short Fiction category. (Both stories are available for free on the website and in our podcast.)

We had many hopes for our first year of Uncanny Magazine, but even in our wildest dreams we didn’t foresee this much award attention.  Stories, covers, the podcast, and the magazine itself have been named as finalists for the Hugo, the Locus, the World Fantasy, the Chesley, the Spectrum, the Parsec, the Theodore Sturgeon, and many other awards. Thank you, you phenomenal Space Unicorn Ranger Corps for making Uncanny Magazine possible, and giving us the means to share these special pieces with all of you.  This is the best community of staff, contributors, and readers possible.

If it is possible to be both proud and completely floored, you’re looking at it.

Shine on, Space Unicorns!

Uncanny Magazine Issue 11 Cover and Table of Contents!


All of the content will be available in the eBook version on the day of release.

The free online content will be released in 2 stages- half on day of release and half on August 2.

Don’t forget eBook Subscriptions to Uncanny Magazine are available from Weightless Books and Amazon Kindle, and you can support us on our Patreon!


Uncanny Magazine Issue 11 Table of Contents

“Those Who Came First” by Antonio Caparo

“The Uncanny Valley” by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas (7/5)

“A Hundred and Seventy Storms” by Aliette de Bodard (7/5)
“El Cantar of Rising Sun” by Sabrina Vourvoulias (7/5)
“The Words on My Skin” by Caroline M. Yoachim (7/5)
“Snow Day” by Catherynne M. Valente (8/2)
“An Ocean the Color of Bruises” by Isabel Yap (8/2)

Reprint Fiction
“Travels with the Snow Queen” by Kelly Link (7/5)

“We Were All Trini: Searching for Asian American Mirrors in SF/F” by Sarah Kuhn (7/5)
“So You Want to Start a Podcast” by Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky (7/5)
“The Death of Very Special Diversity Comics” by Sigrid Ellis (8/2)
“Myth Has Momentum, or: How I Accidentally Deified a Jar of Jelly” by Kelly McCullough (8/2)

“Good Neighbors” by Jessica P. Wick (7/5)
“Phaya Nak Goes to the West” by Bryan Thao Worra (8/2)
“The Persecution of Witches” by Ali Trotta (8/2)

Sarah Kuhn interviewed by Deborah Stanish (7/5)
Sabrina Vourvoulias interviewed by Deborah Stanish (7/5)

Podcast 11A (7/5)
“A Hundred and Seventy Storms” by Aliette de Bodard, as read by Erika Ensign
“Good Neighbors” by Jessica P. Wick, as read by Amal El-Mohtar
An interview conducted by Deborah Stanish

Podcast 11B (8/2)
“An Ocean the Color of Bruises” by Isabel Yap, as read by Amal El-Mohtar
“The Persecution of Witches” by Ali Trotta, as read by Erika Ensign
An interview conducted by Deborah Stanish

Do What Donna Says! by Tansy Rayner Roberts

(Editors’ Note: This guest post was written by Tansy Rayner Roberts for our Kickstarter Backer Alison Moore. Thanks, Alison!)

I’ve been listening to the brand new audio adventures of the Tenth Doctor and Donna from Big Finish Productions, and thinking a lot about why Donna is still one of my all time favourite Doctor Who companions.

A lot of those thoughts spiral around to the effect that she has on the Doctor, and while the feminist in me wants to protest that, I think it’s also something that should never be discounted – he is the protagonist of the show, and she is one of the endlessly changing supporting characters. She should have a profound effect on him, as it’s one of the main aspects that makes a “companion” distinct from all the others.

Let’s leave aside all the elements that most Donna fans cite first: her sense of humour, her lack of romantic attraction to the Doctor, her practical skills, how unbelievably revolutionary it felt in 2008 to have an actress in the role who was over thirty. All of these things are true and good.

But I think one of the most important aspects to Donna was how she demanded (and received) equality in her partnership with the Doctor. They worked together seamlessly as a team, their friendship was epic and enjoyable, and whenever there was a hint that the Doctor might not be showing her enough respect, she called him on his bullshit.

The scripts for these audio adventures (I can’t tell you how highly I recommend them) are clever and funny, and in many cases far superior to what David Tennant and Catherine Tate had to work with in 2008. This is a Donna who doesn’t have to prove herself, and a Doctor who trusts her completely.

Getting the companion-Doctor relationship balance right is one of the trickiest things that the show (in whichever format it comes) has to manage. Often, it comes down to the companion having strengths that the Doctor lacks, such as social skills, emotional maturity, a respect for humanity, and a perspective that belongs to a creature with a shorter lifespan. Other times, the companion comes with qualities that the Doctor himself values as his own, allowing them to talk as peers: Zoe Heriot, Liz Shaw, Romana, and Martha Jones had an education level that the Doctor valued and respected to the point of becoming competitive/jealous about their skills, and this often meant that his life experience/universe smarts were played up to contrast with their book learning.

But the companion can’t just be a collection of traits that the Doctor didn’t add to his character sheet that morning – she or he has to be someone that the Doctor will listen to, and despite her lack of education and wider life experience, Donna Noble never failed to make the Doctor listen to what she had to say.

In Technophobia by Matt Fitton, London has been affected by aliens who are draining humanity of their trust and understanding of machinery, which begins as mild superstition/dislike and turns into full-blown ignorance. Eventually, even the Doctor and Donna are affected… but because she relies less on computers and devices in real life, it bothers her less, while the Doctor is living through his ultimate nightmare. As he wavers, Donna’s leadership skills come into play, and his trust for her is such that he is able to let her make the plans around what resources they have left.

It’s a great story for them both, because we see how their friendship supports the Doctor even when he has lost pretty much everything else that is important to his identity – and even without their usual tools, they are still talking, talking, talking, back and forth.

(Did I mention how well this particular combination of characters works on audio? It’s great because Donna narrating action just sounds like Donna used to all the time anyway. THERE’S A BIG TRAIN, DOCTOR, WOW THIS ENGINEER IS KIND OF HOT, DOCTOR)

In Time Reaver, by Jenny T Colgan, the Doctor shows Donna one of his favourite places – an interstellar transport hub, and she picks instantly that he loves this place so much not (just) because it’s full of buccaneers and anti-establishment types, but because he gets to smugly compare so many different types of transport to his own TARDIS and always come out a winner. She not only points this out to him, she makes him admit it.

The Tenth Doctor, who was at times callous, ignorant, randomly cruel and vicious (but distracted us from his many problematic qualities by sheer force of being played by the adorable David Tennant) is at his best when Donna is at his side. He’s at his most likeable because he places so much value, respect, and trust in a woman who is perfectly ordinary in many ways. He listens to her, does not demean or dismiss her concerns, and laughs at himself when she pokes fun at him.

That thing where she makes him laugh at himself? It’s my favourite of many things that Donna does. She doesn’t humanise him – he’s often at his most alien around her, and she doesn’t mind that (cough unlike Rose and Martha, not that we’re comparing or anything) but she will mock him so thoroughly and so cleverly that he ends up mocking himself just to entertain her.

They use humour so thoroughly to communicate, and yet Donna can turn serious as sharply and dramatically as the Doctor can, in an emergency situation. Turns out that of all the potential qualities of a companion that we might list endlessly for hours, ‘good in a crisis’ should be right at the top.

He often lets her make the plans and/or decisions, not because she is more human than him, but because her plans are often great, and letting her make them allows him to be thinking the next step ahead – he trusts her to do her part, which is so empowering to see and so much nicer than the Doctor chiding everyone for being more stupid than he is.

I’m reminded of Agent Carter, and how the best moments of both seasons of the show are when we see men in positions of power recognising her experience and knowledge and allowing her to make the call. In Season 1, Peggy has to remind Dum Dum Dugan that Captain America trusted her –  when he asks plaintively what Cap would say about his best girl being in danger, she replies that he would say, “Do as Peggy says.”

Season 2 features the wonderful coda to that scene, in which Chiefs Thompson and Souza, who never agree on anything, shout the magical words, “Do as Peggy says,” under extreme pressure. They are both her bosses, and have both logged many hours ignoring, belittling, or over-protecting her, but in a crisis they know she has the edge over both of them in thinking fast and coming up with the best solution.

Revisiting Donna and the Doctor and their epic friendship all over again, I am reminded of that because it feels so satisfying to hear the Doctor trusting and believing in Donna to make the right call when he can’t.

The greatest weakness for me of Donna’s character was the very forced idea (expressed in a few lines of TV dialogue here and there) that she planned to travel in the TARDIS with the Doctor forever. It seemed so unlikely that a woman with such a strong sense of self would think in absolutes that way – and it set her up for one of the worst companion exits of all time.

Donna having such gleeful adventures – never mind Planet of the Hats, she wants Planet of the Boys, come on, find it for her – and thoroughly enjoying herself is, as it turns out, one of my favourite forms of entertainment. Here’s hoping that Big Finish allows the Doctor and Donna to travel together if not forever, then for many years to come.