Author Talk: Steve Lyons

Spinning off from The Fires of Vulcan being this week’s Audio Club discussion (and soon to feature in the Book Club with his first NSA), here’s a thread to discuss Steve Lyons’ wider work in the Whoniverse.

A prolific author of novels and audios, his stories are often very popular. Here is a selection:


Head Games
Time of Your Life
Killing Ground
The Space Age
The Crooked World
The Murder Game
The Witch Hunters
The Final Sanction
The Stealers of Dreams


The Fires of Vulcan
Time Works
Son of the Dragon
The Architects of History
Warlock’s Cross
Harry Houdini’s War
Ghost Station
The Ratings War
Blood of the Daleks
Smoke and Mirrors (Destiny of the Doctor)
The Selachian Gambit
House of Cards

One of his most recent audios is the BBC Audio original, Escape the Daleks! which features the Daleks in an Escape Room!

For me, there’s a lot of his stories that are favourites of mine: Resistance, Harry Houdini’s War, Son of the Dragon and of course The Fires of Vulcan. I very much enjoyed Conundrum, The Murder Game and Killing Ground.

One of Lyons’ most significant contributions to the Whoniverse is the creation of the Selachians who feature in a number of his audios and novels. Got to love a shark-based alien.



I’ve only listened to The Fires of Vulcan and Colditz, both great audios, as well as Escape the Daleks! which I found pretty dull.

I look forward to delving into his novels soon!

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I’ve got an Audible credit that I was pondering spending on Escape the Daleks but maybe I’ll use it for something else instead.

Underrated favourite of mine, and I haven’t even got to a lot of these.

Of his books, I’ve only read four: of those, the Murder Game and Salvation were decent, and the Space Age I found very boring (although according to an interview of his it went through significant rewrites close to publishing, including significant removal of Compassion from the action due to last-minute changes). The Witch hunters, on the other hand, is one of the few DW books that has actually made me cry. It all hinges on the ending, I think, which (no spoilers) is bittersweet and heartbreaking. I know a lot of his other books are beloved by many - I’m looking forward to Conundrum and The Crooked World when I get there, especially.

I’ve heard more of his audio stories - Fires, Colditz, Architects, Resistance and Ghost Station are all favourites! Some of the others I need to relisten to - it’s been ages since I heard Son of the Dragon, for example - but a lot of them I haven’t heard yet. Something else to look forward to! I always enjoy his writing and he writes for audio especially very well.

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Yeah, I struggled with The Space Age. It’s interesting what you say about Compassion because she is indeed side-lined for the majority of the book. Is that interview online anywhere?

My review:

To my memory it was from the podcast A Hamster with a Blunt Penknife! They have occasional interviews with DW book writers.

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Steve Lyons is a writer that on audio at least, I’ve never exactly looked forward to, even though Colditz was one of my earliest favorite audios. I tend to find most of his stories a bit dull. (I did like The Fires of Vulcan more on relisten though.) Time Works and The Architects of History I found quite disappointingly bland, and most of his other audios I’ve heard are just decent. Not bad, exactly, but nothing to be enthusiastic about.

In prose I find him slightly better—sort of. Smoke and Mirrors I thought was one of the better episodes of Destiny of the Doctor. His two Missing Adventures, Time of Your Life and Killing Ground, I thought were very good indeed, despite being frequently quite bleak as well.

His two New Adventures, on the other hand, are among my least favorites, but mainly for specific character choices rather than any fault of the writing. Conundrum basically retcons the status quo of the TARDIS team to “constantly on edge and quarreling” which is neither fun to read nor accurate to the previous few books, and really sunk what is otherwise a quite enjoyable story. Head Games I do have some writing issues with as it feels very unfocused and doesn’t really explore anything properly imo, but what i really despise are its retcons about the nature of Mel’s departure and the Doctor’s regeneration from the Sixth into the Seventh. (It does give a well-characterized and quite enjoyable surprise return for Ace, however, which is something, and more than I can say for her next appearance in the series in Happy Endings.)

I’ve not read any of his other books—yet!

So yeah, a writer on whom I’m fairly mixed, but I would also certainly say he’s good at writing.