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First Christmas

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First Christmas was the third story in the 2014 Christmas Lights anthology series. It was written by Tom Newsom using the pseudonym David Jones - perhaps his most notable creation prior to this - and was, like Three Wise Men and a Baby, set partially at the birth of Jesus. It was posted on the 20 December.

Summary Edit

The Twelfth Doctor and Clara arrive around the year 100 AD, and notice something odd about the houses of the town of Bethlehem. They travel back a century to investigate, and discover the Symardi - a branch of the Amagi Conglomerate - have invaded the town. The houses are all invasion ships - they're here!

Following a battle, the Doctor manages to return the Symardi to hibernation, in some nearby caves. This was notable for featuring the same cave as Three Wise Men and a Baby and the protagonists encountering the Seventh Doctor and Mel, although they were unnamed.

Behind the Scenes Edit

Written by Fang Rock:

Tom Newsom might be a name unfamiliar to some of you. He’s better known in fan circles as Aquatics64. He does have an account on here but hasn’t used it in years. I’ve written with Tom for a few things over the years and he’s recently joined the team of my review blog, along with DWM’s very own Matt Michael (clang!). And fact fans may note some of the maths graduate’s work has also ended up on Radio 4. Tom writers very well, and can adapt to genres and characters with admirable ease. He’s a writer I really rate, so if I can snare him in future, I almost inevitably always will.

First Christmas was a joint conception between the two of us. I wanted this story (originally second) to feature the same villains as my penultimate one, but to feature a later Doctor. With the short time frame, this obviously caused problems which is why I came up with the Amagi Conglomerate. The Symardi were all Tom’s work though, and this changed from being March of the Saints, a relatively traditional action thriller (Doctor vs monsters) with 11 and Clara to a darker, more inquisitive piece with the Twelfth Doctor. I always wanted to have a Moffat Doctor there somewhere. The title came from me as a counterpoint to TV’s Last Christmas. I like the finished result, and think Tom nailed exactly what I was looking for!

Reviews Edit

Written by Poison Bacon:

I liked that one a lot. Clever use of the format but I did sometimes struggle to understand what was going on. I wasn’t keen on certain words being underlined, italics would've been better. Nice to see 12 and Clara, perfectly written for me.

Written by Kymera:

I enjoyed that one. Nice use of the narrative, switching time periods at appropriate moments. I thought Clara and the Doctor were characterized very well, too. Especially the bit where Clara was calming the child with the "and he's your dad." line. Yep. Liked that one a lot.

Written by Mavros:

Ere, great so far

Written by BigDocFan:

I had a read of the story, sorry to say that I had severe trouble following the story making it my least favourite so far

Written by Cybertrash:

An enjoyable story with a very timey-wimey feel to it.

First of all I have to praise the Clara and 12th Doctor dialogue because it was pretty much spot-on from start to finish. Might be wrong, but it felt like a lot of work has gone into finding "their" voices. Course, if these voices came naturally then that's one lucky writer!! I found the whole idea of invaders putting everyone asleep before attacking to be a really cool one, but also quite creepy! Talk about giving us nightmares! Reminded me of Listen in some ways. Just the vibe of the story, I reckon.

Some great lines throughout, but I especially enjoyed "Everyone hits the hay – literally in these times" and "Hell, even your dad’s scared, and he’s your dad.” I know Kymera's already highlighted that one, but it deserves another mention because it was perfect for Clara and a fantastic line.

The perfect 12th Doctor passage? “Have you ever woken up one day,” the Doctor said, “and notice something’s changed? You walk past a building you’ve never noticed before, or think the streets on your way to work have changed? An extra house at the bottom of your road, perhaps, almost like it’s popped up overnight.” He gave the cold house a stern look. “Well, maybe it has...” This was 100% Capaldi and would've fitted in well with Who Series 8.

Brilliant action scenes later on in the story! Fast paced, but explained well. Exciting close encounters and funny stuff with the vase.

Overall, my favourite of the series so far!

PS - I'm unsure who wrote this one. Either a complete newbie to the forum or possibly Cyberstudent.

9/10

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