Author: eponymous_rose (eponymous_rose)
Word Count: 4474
Author's Summary: A doomed world, only slightly more lost than our own; through the eye of the Inferno and into the realm of memory. Time's end.
Characters/Pairings: Third Doctor, Liz Shaw, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Sergeant John Benton, plus "Inferno" AU versions of the latter three.
Recced because: It's gorgeous and it's smart. "What the Thunder Said" builds on the Third Doctor story "Inferno," with its fascist alternate England, and unflinchingly (but never unsympathetically) explores that world and its versions of familiar characters. That in itself would be fascinating, but the story goes several steps further, raising questions about alien-ness, alienation, moral choice, and the nature of "self" when multiple selves are possible, and tying the whole thing into the Third Doctor's experience of exile. If I've made it sound philosophical, it certainly is, but never in a dull or heavy-handed way; the story accomplishes it all through characterization and structure.
Besides all this, the prose is lovely--poetic in the best sense (clear and sharp, not overwrought).
The plot contains major spoilers for "Inferno," and in any case won't make a bit of sense if you haven't seen that serial. In fact, it helps to have the serial fairly fresh in one's mind.
Here's a snippet:
Section Leader Elizabeth Shaw is a practical woman.
She understands the way things work, dissects the limitations and possibilities offered by each new regulation until she knows precisely where she stands. It is a question of rationality, of reasoning, of priorities.
As a child, she entertained vague hopes of great scientific discovery — she even read physics at university, attended classes, attempted some of her own research under a professor’s approving eye. But resources are inextricably funnelled for the good of the whole, and she has little interest in the science of weaponry, in the way atoms can be split, can divide in cascades to give birth to flame-
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