Text and photos by Will "Taliesin" Jarvis

Van Nuys, California, 
February 14 - 17, 2003

I could just say this was one of the best, most enjoyable, most entertaining sci-fi cons I've ever attended, and leave it at that. But you're probably expecting at least some kind of report on what happened during the con, and I've got to justify my expense account. So here's some info and a few anecdotes.

The Fourteenth Annual Gallifrey One convention was a salute to the 40th anniversary of Doctor Who which premiered on the BBC in November 1963 as a children's science fiction series.

The show's grown up a bit since then. As have the fans of the Doctor. Today, the Doctor's adventures are kept alive by novels, short stories, comics and audios.

Peter Davison (the fifth actor to play the Doctor) and Colin Baker (the sixth) were Gallifrey One's Guests of Honor. On the first day, the two admirably entertained hundreds of fans with ninety minutes of humor and wit, recounting stories from their days playing one (two?) of the most popular figures in science fiction.

The two men were affable and approachable throughout the con, signing autographs, posing for photos and chatting with fans, showing why they remain sought after convention guests.

Hi, Jill.
Hi, Tal.
Bye, Jill.
Bye, Tal.

That was the extent of my conversations with Jill Sherwin until her panel on Enterprise Monday morning. Prior to that we just kept passing each other in the hallways, always going in opposite directions. Gallifrey One is a small but very busy convention. There's always something going on.

David Gerrold is one of the reasons I became a writer. I loved his book on the making of Star Trek's The Trouble With Tribbles, which was one of the first books about writing that I read. I've had a wide variety of influences on my work, from Martha Foley to Stan Lee, John Steinbeck to Anais Nin, and a few others. It was nice to finally meet David and chat with him about the storytelling craft.

The One-On-One sessions were particularly enjoyable. These were small gatherings of about a dozen of so attendees with one or two of the guests. I sat in on the One-On-One with Lloyd Rose and Kate Orman. As I listened to them talking about their work, how they plotted stories and shaped ideas, my brain kept trying to send me a message. Finally the message got through: Smart women are sooooooooo sexy!

I didn't recognize Paul Cornell when we were introduced. He's the creator of one of my favorite fictional females, Professor Bernice Summerfield. But I didn't know him when I saw him. Now I do. Hey, Paul! Bernice rocks!

I went on a rant during the comic book panel with Marv Wolfman and Len Wein. The state of comics is abysmal these days, in my humble opinion; superheroes, for example, are today mostly psychotic vigilantes rather than the symbols of truth and justice they once were. And should be. I took out my frustrations on Marv. More him than Len because Marv and I have talked before. Marv occasionally visits a comic book shop owned by a friend of mine and I've had occasion to chat with him there. Marv, and Len, I'm sorry for ranting during your panel.

I was glad for the opportunity to chat with Keith Topping, something I very much wanted to do. I had to thank him because one of his books helped me sell one of mine. Keith authored a book about The West Wing that I was reading concurrent with working out the plot for my second novel. I realized I was writing what I latter called in my pitch "West Wing in space". That helped sell the idea, and I'm currently hard at work on that novel, the saga of an interstellar ambassador. So thanks, Keith. Hmm, I guess I should send a Thank You to Aaron Sorkin too.

Many other fine folks were present at the con including Celeste Yarnall, Virginia Hey, Herbert Jefferson, Jr. (of Battlestar Galactica), David Howe (publisher of the Telos Dr. Who novellas), Gary Russell (of Big Finish Productions, publishers of the Bernice Summerfield books), Brinke Stevens, Bob May (who played the robot on Lost In Space), Bill Blair (the alien actor), David McIntee, Jeff Conaway (of Babylon 5), Robert Trebor, Lars Pearson, Bill Baggs, Dale Smith and Andrea Thompson to name just a few.

David Whittam of Comeuppance Comics is publishing a comic book series featuring Miranda, a character from one of the Doctor Who novels. It's written and drawn by Lance Parkin and Allan Bednar.

Last but not least, I got to see my first Dr. Who fan video. This one was titled Paradise In Chains and starred Rupert Booth and Deborah Reilly. This was a re-edited (by Jon Blum) version of the video, I'm told. And I must say it was a nicely done production.

Please check out the links elsewhere on this page to find out more about the wonderful world of Doctor Who.

My thanks to Shaun Lyon and the con's organizers; I had a wonderful time and am looking forward to next year's convention.

Text and photos Copyright
© 2003 First Tribe Books.
All Rights Reserved.

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Colin Baker, the sixth Doctor.
  Colin Baker,
the 6th Doctor.


Peter Davison, the fifth Doctor.
Peter Davison,
the 5th Doctor.

Keith Topping and David Howe.
Keith Topping
and David Howe.

Virginia Hey.
Virginia Hey.

A Dalek.
Invasion of
the, er, Dalek.


Jonathan Blum.
Jonathan Blum.

David Gerrold.
David Gerrold.

David Howe and Jill Sherwin.
David Howe
and Jill Sherwin.

Dr. Who writers.
Dr. Who writers.

T-shirts and cards and books and stuff.
T-shirts and cards and books and stuff.
Kate Orman.
Kate Orman.

Comic book writers Len Wein and Marv Wolfman.
Len Wein and
Marv Wolfman.

Dr. Who merchandise.
Dr. Who merchandise.

Andrea Thompson
Andrea Thompson.

Bill Blair.
Bill Blair.

Brinke Stevens.
Brinke Stevens.

The Doctor, The Bard, The Doctor.
Doctor, Bard, Doctor.

Outpost Gallifrey


  Telos Publishing     Big Finish Productions

BBV        Dr. Who Website (BBC)

Jill Sherwin       Virginia Hey

Comeuppance Comics       Bill Blair

Kate Orman & Jonathan Blum

Bob May
       Keith Topping

Marv Wolfman        Len Wein

Brinke Stevens
      Andrea Thompson

Alien Entertainment Companny  

Lloyd Rose       Mad Norwegian Press

Julie Caitlin Brown        Celeste Yarnall

Amborsia Books         Paul Cornell  

Mallarkey       David Gerrold

Time Meddlers of Los Angeles