Word Count: 1,278
Author's Summary: The distinction between cosmic horror and cosmic wonder is at least partly one's point of view.
Characters/Pairings: Ace, the Doctor (7th), the Master (Ainley) and a famous 20th Century author, although to say more than that would be to give the game away.
Warnings: None, really...
Recced because: Well, mainly because it's a particularly fine entry in the annals of one of the more skilled and prolific authors the Teaspoon has acquired in recent months. Lyricwritesprose has been very productive indeed over the course of the past year or so, and consistently good across the whole of this output. This is one that I only read very recently for the first time, but it instantly grabbed me, and I think it's only right in the circumstances to share.
I think this story probably works a lot better if the reader is (as I will confess to being) at least reasonably aware of the oeuvre and recurring themes of the real life author who appears in it as a guest character; it works especially well if you are also familiar with said author's somewhat idiosyncratic prose style, which here is the subject of a pastiche simultaneously as amusing as it is impressive. I really cannot be more specific than that, because a lot of the joy of this story, for me anyway, was in the slowly-dawning recognition of exactly who the character was, had to be, confirmed in the final line. I think, though, that the story still works very well even if the reader is not familiar with the guest character's works; I think it says something very perceptive about the Doctor and his adventures that some Who fans might hesitate to recognise. We see the Doctor, by and large, from the point of view of his devoted companions and pseudo-companions he acquires in the course of the various stories; what must it be like, though, to see the Doctor and his adventures from the outside, looking in? Without going overboard on the "Time's Champion"/"Time Lord Victorious" stuff that can occasionally be a bit too much, this story reflects on that side of the Doctor's nature and how he and his associates might sometimes appear to those who stumble, unawares, upon this world. And indeed upon what a vast and uncaring universe, full of powerful and dangerous beings, the Whoniverse often appears to be.
Above all, though, this is a very well-written story by a top-notch Who fanficcer currently at the height of their powers - I urge you, go and read it now and leave a few words of acknowledgement for the author.
Some day, perhaps, I will write of my lifetimes in the Dark Man's maze: how I stumbled upon it, how I was trapped within it, and how, with no more evidence than the mute witness of the hairs on the back of my neck, I became increasingly certain that it was some manner of impossible, unwholesome engine. It had a purpose, this unearthly place. It had a reason. And the more time I spent there–the longer I fled down corridors that intersected themselves without ever bending, over floors tiled in tesselated equilateral pentagons, and through ashy, cursed landscapes that were neither indoors nor out–the more I came to perceive, in the inimical labyrinth, a mentality.