Guest Blog & Giveaway: Paul Cornell on From Dr. Who to UF & win London Falling

April 16, 2013 Giveaways, Guests 36

A big welcome to Paul Cornell who is here to telling us about transitioning from writing Dr. Who episodes to writing Urban Fantasy in the novel LONDON FALLING (published on April 16, 2013 by Tor). Check out Chris’s review later today (he loved it!) & enter to win a copy via the widget below.


From Dr. Who to Urban Fantasy


Paul Cornell

London Falling is my first urban fantasy novel. It’s about a group of modern London undercover police who, in the course of an investigation, accidentally gain the ability to see the magic and the monsters of the capital. They panic, of course, but they finally decide that the only way they’re going to survive is to use (real) police methods against the unknown.

Abigail, Julia and Kristina asked me to talk about the similarities between writing the novel and writing for Doctor Who. (I wrote three episodes of the show.) I’d say that if you liked the voice I used in those episodes (and in the Doctor Who books and audio plays I’ve written), you’ll find the same intent here. The book is dark, emotional, with a vein of humour through it, in that police always laugh at terrifying things. It also moves along at the same high speed. There is a monster, who is also a person, who has good reasons for doing the terrible things they do. And actually a lot of the undercover police and intelligence analysts who are my research sources come from the Doctor Who fan community.

What there isn’t, of course, is the Doctor. Instead we have four very fallible human beings, thrown in at the deep end. My genius intelligence analyst, Lisa Ross, who’s cheated of her revenge at the start of the novel, and has to hack out a new path towards sanity, has a few shades of him. And I guess so does Kevin Sefton, the undercover who starts to appreciate the unseen mysteries of London, and isn’t afraid to dive in head first (by, for instance, boarding a ghost bus). Said bus is the subject of quite a Who-ish scene, as our heroes, being police, refuse to settle for the idea that there are ghosts of motor vehicles that haven’t ‘gone on to the great depot in the sky’, and start to pick apart, using the mechanisms of Ops Board and association chart, exactly what ghosts might be. They won’t settle on storybook descriptions of archetypal creatures, and neither would the Doctor.

This is also a return to Who values for me in terms of a personal journey. Writing this book felt very like writing my Who novels, which grew directly out of my first fan fiction, out of my school essays, even. The muscles I used were the same, and were ones I hadn’t exercised in a very long time.

So becoming a novelist again feels like getting my life back on course after a couple of decades of prospering in other media. To feel like I was being true to Doctor Who, I had to leave it and go back to prose, which is a paradox, I suppose, but… that’s also very Doctor Who.

 PAUL CORNELL is a British writer best known for his work in television drama, most notably for Doctor Who. Three of his Doctor Who episodes have been nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. He has written several Doctor Who spin-off novels, and created the character Beatrice Summerfield. He has also written for Marvel Comics and DC Comics, and had two original novels published.

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One copy of London Falling by Paul Cornell


Available on April 16, 2013 by Tor


The dark is rising . . . Detective Inspector James Quill is about to complete the drugs bust of his career. Then his prize suspect Rob Toshack is murdered in custody. Furious, Quill pursues the investigation, co-opting intelligence analyst Lisa Ross and undercover cops Costain and Sefton. But nothing about Toshack’s murder is normal. Toshack had struck a bargain with a vindictive entity, whose occult powers kept Toshack one step ahead of the law – until his luck ran out. Now, the team must find a ‘suspect’ who can bend space and time and alter memory itself. And they will kill again. As the group starts to see London’s sinister magic for themselves, they have two choices: panic or use their new abilities. Then they must hunt a terrifying supernatural force the only way they know how: using police methods, equipment and tactics. But they must all learn the rules of this new game – and quickly. More than their lives will depend on it.

Read an excerpt

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36 Responses to “Guest Blog & Giveaway: Paul Cornell on From Dr. Who to UF & win London Falling”

  1. Linda Townsend

    OMG! I LOVE Dr. Who! I discovered him thru a friend about 8 years ago and have watched every episode on TV and those I can pick up at the library. I’ve also enjoyed the spin-offs… Torchwood was awesome. Thanks for the contest!

  2. Katy L

    Sounds like a very interesting book. I’m looking forward to reading it, whether I win it here or not. Thanks for the chance.

  3. Anne

    I’ve been a Dr. Who fan since the late 70’s. Jon Pertwee is the first Dr. I watched and is still my favorite. I bet the writing team from Lost could write an interesting book. I’ve read books by Stephen J. Cannell (The A-Team and about 100 other shows) which I enjoyed and one by Dick Wolfe (Law & Order) which was OK.

  4. Matt C

    I’ve followed Paul’s writing since his New Adventures for Target – loved how the stories expanded and deepened the Doctor Who mythos. Also, his tweets amuse me mightily. Really looking forward to reading this!

  5. erinf1

    Thanks for the fun post and spotlight this author! This is the first I’ve come across Paul.

  6. Carl

    I haven’t gotten deeply into the good Doctor yet but I think it may become my next obsession. Thanks for the guest post and the giveaway.

  7. Nonie

    Already have the book pre-ordered, but I know folks who’d enjoy it as a gift if I also won a copy 🙂

  8. KimG

    Thanks for the guest post & contest. This sounds like a very intriguing book! I have added it to my TBR list and am truly looking forward to reading it.

  9. C.L.

    I am a huge Doctor Who fan. The idea of a book that mixes the same foreboding and humor that is in nearly all Who episodes is incredibly exciting.

  10. Josh A

    Love Dr Who. I used to watch the original version of the show on my local PBS station growing up. When the new version debuted I was so excited my wife started to get irritated with me. Until I made her watch it with me. Now she’s hooked to.

  11. Vivien

    I have not seen ANY Dr Who. I don’t watch enough TV to list anything I’d want made into a novel.

  12. vero

    I love Doctor who…I have a obsession with the show, so I want read a book by Cornell, will be fun 🙂

  13. Neil Ottenstein

    Looks interesting. I’ve liked a lot of Paul’s work that I’ve read so far and am looking forward to reading more.

  14. Kai W.

    I am a big Dr. Who fan. I have watched the old series back in the eighties and then the new Dr Who series. I don’t have cable so I catch up on HULU. I do what I need to do to watch Dr. Who.

  15. Sarah Hayes

    I love Doctor Who! I’ve been looking forward to Mister Cornell’s new book for the longest time; it sounds superb.

  16. Lee S

    I enjoyed Paul Cornell’s Doctor Who novel Human Nature and his vertigo comic series Saucer Country, so I am looking forward to this.

  17. Barbara Elness

    I am a Doctor Who fan, it’s such a quirky, fun show. Most of the shows I really like are very visual, with lots going on, so I’m not sure any of them would be good as novels.

  18. Kimberly B.

    I am a long time Dr. Who fan (since the ’80s!). And for a two-fer, I would love to see a novel by Jane Espenson, who has written for many shows I love—Firefly, Gilmore Girls, Once Upon a Time, the online series Husbands. She has such an ear for dialogue that I’d be willing to try anything she’d write!
    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  19. Readsalot81

    London Falling sounds fabulous! I’m a relatively new fan to Dr. Who, whom I discovered at the urging of some pals to just WATCH IT. *g* Can’t wait to check out the book!

  20. Christian Petrie

    Have been a fan of Doctor Who for a long time. I have also enjoyed the stories Paul has written for the Virgin Doctor Who line. Especially Goth Opera. Looking forward to London Falling.

  21. Phyllis Lamken

    I am afraid that I have never watched Dr. Who. But I do love Red Dwarf.

  22. Pete

    Sounds very interesting. Always trying to expand my reading horizons, so always looking for new books. My urban fantasy collection is light, to say the least. Thank you for giving us this opportunity.

  23. Nancy Gummel

    I watched Dr Who a little. Do not have the cable channel to watch the new episodes. This book sounds very interesting. I would love to read it.

  24. Penny

    Definitely a WHO fan & this book sounds like a lot of fun. When I heard the title the other day I was wondering about it – so glad I found the link.

  25. Steven

    Used to watch Dr. Who when I was a kid and have been thinking of gettin back into it. Am very much looking forward to London Falling as well.

  26. Darith L.

    I have never watched Doctor Who, but I’m excited to read this! 😀

  27. Paul Cornell

    Thanks very much for the enthusiasm, everyone, and to All Things for giving me the chance to blog here. I hope you enjoy the novel. Cheers.

  28. pabkins

    admittedly I have never seen any Dr Who – I keep meaning to and I know i will. For the time being my fav tv show is probably Grimm and Big Bang Theory

  29. Flannery (The Readventurer)

    I started watching the first season of the new Doctor Who a few weeks ago and then ended up all caught up and watching new episodes on BBC America. It was a major binge:) (and I don’t regret it even one bit)