Lethbridge-Stewart: The HAVOC Files 3Bookmark and Share

Saturday, 14 January 2017 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Lethbridge-Stewart: The Havoc Files 3 (Credit: Candy Jar Books)Candy Jar Books have announced the third in its short story anthologies The HAVOC Files, bringing together tales from 2016 and brand new exclusive material:
  • The Bledoe Cadets and the Bald Man of Pengriffen by Tim Gambrell
  • The Last Duty by Christopher Bryant
  • Eve of the Fomorians by Robert Mammone
  • The Wishing Bazaar by Sharon Bidwell
  • The Feast of Evans by Simon A Forward
  • Home for Christmas by The Author Collective
  • Slouching Towards Det-Sen by Shaun Collins
  • Lucy Wilson by Sue Hampton
  • The Lost Skin: Episode Two by Andy Frankham-Allen

Head of Publishing, Shaun Russell said:
We always enjoy putting these collections together, but we’re nearing a point where we have less previously-released short stories. Fortunately, this gives us the opportunity to release brand new material, making this latest collection an even more sought after product.

Tim Gambrell previously won a competition to get a character named after him. Range Editor, Andy Frankham-Allen said:
It was inevitable that Tim would write for us, as he’s already sent us a short story previously and even a novel pitch. So, now that’s finally being published by us, I find myself in the odd position of a fictional character based on one of our authors. As such, part of The Lost Skin’s objectives is to write the character out of the series. Fortunately, he’s not appeared in the narrative of the novels since last year’s Moon Blink, which makes writing him out relatively easy.
Tim said:
When the Lethbridge-Stewart range was first announced I was really excited. There had been a decline in the volume of Doctor Who novels since 2005 and I welcomed anything else within that universe to help fill the void. I started to follow Andy and Candy Jar on social media to see if there might be opportunities to become involved somewhere along the line. As I recall Andy put out a Twitter request for any of his followers who would like to put their name to a character in a forthcoming book – Beast of Fang Rock as it turned out. I thought to myself ‘yeah, why not?’ and shoved my moniker in the mix. Some months later Tim Gambrell was in print as a scientist at the Vault. As time went on I realised that I’d been a bit hasty – Candy Jar were encouraging new writers to contribute to the range through their short story initiative; here was I, looking for opportunities and my name was already connected through a fictional character. Tim Gambrell couldn’t be both sides of the pen, could he? Andy was brilliant though. He allowed me to submit a story which, thankfully, he liked enough to ask me to develop further story ideas – one of which became The Bledoe Cadets and the Bald Man of Pengriffen. Aware of the conflict of names, I originally offered to use a pseudonym (which I’ve done in the theatre before) but he came up with another solution.

The germ of The Bald Man of Pengriffen was Andy looking for a Famous Five-type story featuring a young Alistair and the Bledoe Cadets (as mentioned in The Forgotten Son). Conveniently enough I’d recently revisited Enid Blyton’s Adventurous Four books from childhood so I knew the kinds of japes and scrapes to aim for – although I was keen for the story to be less cosy than those of Blyton’s world. We discussed a few story ideas but the Bald Man seemed to tick the most boxes – particularly because Andy likes fougous! And by writing a story about the Brigadier as a small boy, I totally avoid any times and situations that could potentially include my namesake.

Talking about her new short story, Lucy Wilson, Sue Hampton said:
I'm old enough now to appreciate the importance of family history, of roots and echoes, and genes at work in lives. For every great black-and-white hero that passed away there's a living successor, connected by love and spirit but completely herself. In this story we see an old man who wasn't much good at family, but who recognises a direct line to a curly-haired, fearless little girl hungry for stories of aliens. And we meet Lucy Wilson, who has been denied his name along with the truth about who her beloved grandad used to be. Now, before he dies, Sir Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart needs to make sure Lucy understands both her heritage and her extraordinary future.

Shaun Collins, one of the trimvurate that form the podcasters Traveling the Vortex, joins the collection with a story focused on Professor Travers. He said:
After prodding Andy for information about Candy Jar's method for soliciting writers and clumsily inserting myself into said method with a few pitches that he quite rightly shot down, he suggested writing something with Professor Travers returning to Det-Sen. With the professor rapidly became my one of my favorite supporting characters from the series, how could I say no? It was fun inserting him into the thick of James Bond-style danger, watching as he – just as clumsily as my initial pitch – is ensnared by nefarious villains. When Andy told me my short would form the opening prologue for his next novel, I was beyond ecstatic… And immediately began to worry about the safety of the professor. After all, he's getting up there in years now, and just what did I set him up for?
Slouching Towards Det-Sen also serves as a teaser for the next Lethbridge-Stewart novel, Night of the Intelligence, out in the spring of 2017.


The collection also includes the second part of the three-part novella, The Lost Skin (the first part appeared in the second volume of The Havoc Files. This is again written by Andy Frankham-Allen, who said:
Originally it was planned to be a straight-up novella, not a part-work. I’m not sure I’m keen on this way of writing, as I like to edit and polish as I go along. Since episode one was published months ago, I no longer have the luxury of editing the first third of the story. It presents a unique challenge for me, one I’m taking by the horns. As a result some of my original plans for the story have changed, but luckily the characters are happy to help me along and take the story in surprising paths.

The HAVOC Files 3 is only available to pre-order direct from the Candy Jar Store, with a strictly limited-print run.