Arianrhod calls for silence, and as Harry scurries back with his tray of drinks, Akroates is surprised to see that the next storyteller, a young human-standard woman – he suspects genuinely young, rather than a resurrectee – is another whom he had pegged as strictly audience material. He saw her earlier, a petite brunette in sober clothes with an immodest price-tag, sitting quietly attentive as Lewis spoke his piece, alone but for a small personal drone.
That machine buzzes unhappily now, but stays in place guarding the young woman’s wine, as she abandons it for the mikedrone at the fire-pit.
‘When I was little, I used to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I say “kitchen”, but it wasn’t just one room, it was a whole labyrinth of them. The actual room where all the cooking was done, the pantry, the rooms where the servants lived, cool rooms, and more. It was its own little world down there. And Mrs Gladstone, the housekeeper, was like its own Resident. Whenever I went downstairs, she’d always be in the middle of everything. Even if she was off in a corner somewhere adding up accounts, the staff would still come to her, and ask her advice, and make sure that she knew what was going on.’
Back then -- as now, of course -- there was a thriving community of Doctor Who fanfic authors, and Susannah Tiller was one of the best. My favourite story of hers was "Caveat Emptor", in which the Doctor saves the last survivor of humanity from being sold at auction. Many contributors to those collections had gone on to professional writing careers, within or even outside the broad and varied universe of Doctor Who and its spinoffs. Susannah was not one of them, which seemed to me an injustice, and one I wanted to rectify.
I'm very glad I did, because 'Eternity Is Just for Starters', Susannah's first professional writing commission, is very good indeed: a tale of a City-born student with an isolated, privileged upbringing, and the political awakening she experiences through the unexpected medium of gastronomy.
With a doctorate in psychology, Susannah Tiller’s writing, both fiction and non-fiction, reflected her interests of people interacting with technologies, human relationships, and ethical issues. She was a noted fan-fiction writer in the Doctor Who universe, and contributed to numerous anthologies. ‘Eternity Is Just for Starters’ was her first professional fiction work, unless you count her second place in a Choose Your Own Adventure synopsis competition when she was twelve. Susannah’s plans for world domination led to her untimely death, in an accident involving industrial quantities of chocolate. Since Resurrection Day, Susannah has lived in the City’s arts and crafts district. Learning from the world’s best chefs, embroiderers, and psychologists, she creates edible delicacies that double as wall hangings and personality tests. Her plans for world domination continue. She dedicates her story to Tom, her partner in life, and in dining. Together, they created and shared many memorable meals.