The Pawn of Leptos

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Zine
Title: The Pawn of Leptos
Publisher: Mary D. Bloemker
Editor:
Author(s): Connie Faddis
Cover Artist(s): Mary D. Bloemker
Illustrator(s):
Date(s): 1981
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Doctor Who
Language: English
External Links:
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Contents

cover by Mary D. Bloemker

The Pawn of Leptos is a gen Doctor Who 107-page novel by Connie Faddis. It is a Faces of Time Special Edition #1. It is illoed by Stephanie Hawks.

"The Faces of Time Special Edition: Pawn of Leptos is a single story zine... Originally, the story was to be the centerpiece of Faces of Time #2. The length and complexity - and sheer quality of the writing - prompted Mary to publish this as a standalone." [1]

Summary: "Sarah Jane Smith is used to the Doctor's mysterious disappearances but this time he's left TARDIS behind. Something sinister is brewing, and time is running out -- in more ways that one." [2]

Reactions and Reviews

In PAWN OF LEPTOS, Connie Faddis injects all the delights and charm of the series and adds more of her own. It is packed with wit ("I fancy you find some gratification in these displays of esoteric name-dropping" and a description of the Doctor as "a bourgeois Emmett Kelly"), a delightfully complicated science fiction plot that could have been penned by DW's most imaginative scriptwriter, and the added plus of the Doctor's warmest, most memorable of companions, Sarah Jane Smith. I'm rather prejudiced when it comes to Sarah, as she's my favorite of the companions seen on U.S. TV. Basically, the evil Leptosians kidnap the Doctor and brainwash him in their attempt to drive a wedge in the time treaty negotiations between Gallifrey and the Ishii, a sort of stick-like, hard-skinned species, so that the Leptosians will be free to loot and pillage the universe with time as their weapon. By far the best scenes here involve the Doctor, trapped in asphasic silence, desperately trying to communicate and clinging to Sarah because she is the only one who can blunt the pain in which the Leptosians have left him. Then, too, there is Sarah herself, whom Connie has down pat. My cynicism toward my own species is forgotten when Sarah, among all the aliens, does her innocent best to help. It is her humanness that saves her from all the bizarre goings-on, which she can barely understand. Her courage and eagerness to assist is poignantly shown in this line of dialogue: ". . .we [humans] aren't all namby-pambies, we have good ideas too. . ." She is the driving force for the Doctor, whose thoughts on her ("My Sarah. My Beatrice.") and humans in general show his ability to love and care and make us understand why the alien Time Lord would want to hang around with humans: "He wondered vaguely how addicted he was, now, to the unique effects of companioning with humans. No so addicted; but for all their shortcomings, and their pitifully brief lifespans, they were — the earing ones — a strength for him and a kind of stimulation." This is the kind of humanistic idealism that is all too rare in sf shows and media fandom. It's what gave ST its life. One of the more memorable scenes occurs when the Doctor, kidnapped a second time by the Leptosians, is again put into the brainwashing tank, causing his other selves to band together and discuss how they can help. Connie has their speech and wit down perfectly. She's got everyone down perfectly, including the Doctor's old Gallifreyan tutor, Borusa, who comes across as sternly compassionate, ever mathematical, yet learning to cope with things as they come. Her Ishii aliens are wonderfully drawn. One of them, Uexkull, has a delightful English phraseology. ("Large inconsistency in planet name. Should not be 'Earth'. More fittingly called 'Sea'.") Of course, the one thing I'm leery about is the show's and this novel's portrayal of the relationship between the Doctor/Gallifrey and British and American intelligence services. Wouldn't trust any alien that collaborates with those elements. But DW doesn't deserve that kind of analysis. It's just a lot of lightweight fun with some sincere human warmth thrown in. Faddis' writing is, as usual, enviably masterful. Her technique and style are powerfully evocative, economical, and always active. A rather frustrating, yet instructive, experience for the neo writer. The art is by Stephanie Hawks and Mary Bloemker. Hawks' illos are beautifully detailed, fluid, and all too infrequent depictions of powerful, pertinent scenes. Her best is unarguably that of the tormented Doctor, who has chained himself to a post so that he will not carry out the imprinted Leptosian directive to assassinate the Ishii delegate. The illo is set inside the Ishii pavilion, with Borusa looking on. Behind him is the Ishii delegate, still in its trance. Bloemker, a long-time favorite of mine with her free, expressive style, gives us an impressive cover with all the principles wearing various detailed expressions. Her illo of the Doctor and Sarah could easily be sold for quite a bit of money at an art auction. But my favorite of hers has to be the last, that of Sarah's kitten licking its paw. (Sorry folks, I'm an incurable catlover.) The only complaint I have of this zine's illos concern those of Sarah, whose short, curly hair-do makes her look a little unattractive. I prefer the earlier hairstyle. A fine buy for all DW fans. [3]

References

  1. The Bloemker Archives, accessed 3.2.2011
  2. from an ad in Datazine #15
  3. from Universal Translator #27
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