About the Doctor Who cameo in VALOUR AND VANITY

It’s book release day for Valour and Vanity! So I have a small present for you. It’s about the Doctor Who cameo that I hid in the book.

When I was researching the novel, I was looking for historical stuff I could include. The book is set in 1817 in Venice. It turns out that Lord Byron was actually living in Venice at the time. The interesting thing about Lord Byron is that he had a travelling companion that he frequently referred to in letters and journals as simply “the doctor.”

I think you can see where this is going.

Doctor Polidori was with Byron the night that Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein. As part of that same challenge, the doctor wrote  The Vampyre, which is regarded as the first vampire story. Now… To those of you who watch the series, I think it’s pretty clear what happened that night. Am I right? And then there’s the fact that Byron, who was an inveterate letter writer and journaler, has a two week period in which he is pretty much unaccounted for.

And then the doctor mysteriously “dies.” So, you know. It  seems obvious.

Oh, and Lord Byron’s father? Captain “Mad” Jack. See? SEE!

So, clearly, I needed to include The Doctor in the novel. And then I was talking with my friend, Paul Cornell, who has written for the actual Doctor Who television show (and I love that I get to say that sentence) and joked about handing him the pages and having him adjust the dialogue.

And Paul said, “yes.”

It is wonderful, and so unmistakeably the Doctor that I had to tone it down a little. But for you, if you want to read the full on version in all its Doctoral splendor, just click through to read the Doctor Who cameo.

I warn you  though, if you haven’t finished Chapter 7, wait. There are massive spoilers.

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8 Responses

  1. Tanya

    This is so cool!!! Now I’m going to have to go back and reread the rest of your books to find the cameos.

    I have so many favorite writers I can’t pick one, but you are now my favorite person who is a writer whom I don’t know IRL.

    1. Mary Robinette Kowal Post author

      Thank you so much. That is a lovely thing to say.

      And the key to spotting the Doctor is that he will be the only character in the book that is referred to as “the doctor.”

    1. Sally

      But he’s so much more Doctor-y in the final version. He was pretty subdued in the beta version. I giggle again.

  2. Eppu

    What an incredibly neat cameo – *love* it! Thanks for sharing how it came about. I’m currently, desperately, trying to wade through my to-read pile to get to Without a Summer, and I just ordered Valour and Vanity. Now I’m even more eager to get to V&V!

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