The list is already a bit larger than I’m happy about, so while suggestions for what to add are more than welcome please note that some argument as to why I should add it and, better yet, an argument for something I should cut will help the case tremendously. (Of course, so will raw populist appeal – if I get a wave of comments demanding I cover Shadowmind then I will. Weeping.)
I also want to be clear – this is not a list of the best NAs or of the most important ones. They’re the ones I think I can get the most interesting and thorough coverage of the Virgin era through. So there are choices that are there because I think I’m likely to have a fair bit to say about them, and important books like Death and Diplomacy that are left out because I think I’ll struggle to get to 2000 words.
That said, here’s the tentative list:
Timewyrm: Genesis/Exodus (as one entry)
Timewyrm: Apocalypse/Revelation (ditto)
Cat’s Cradle: Time’s Crucible
Cat’s Cradle: Warhead
Love and War
The Highest Science
The Left-Handed Hummingbird
The Also People
Christmas on a Rational Planet
Return of the Living Dad
So Vile a Sin
The Room With No Doors
The Dying Days
I want to also nod at some of what I’m imagining will be the obvious comments and questions. To wit:
Nightshade: Yes, it’s Gatiss’s first published piece of Doctor Who and the first NA to be written by someone who went on to write for the series. Honestly, though, I just don’t like Gatiss enough to want to cover another book of his. I fear running out of things to say about Gatiss on the basis of his four episodes. Adding a book doesn’t thrill me. That said, I remember very little about the book – is it interesting on merits beyond being by Gatiss?
The Pit: I know William Blake is in it. All I would have to say is that this is a terrible portrayal of William Blake that completely misses everything about why a Blakean Doctor Who is interesting. Having already written infamously
on why a Blakean Doctor Who is interesting, I don’t see 2000 words here.
Theatre of War: The main reason I’d consider this is the Braxiatel stuff. But I’m going to do three Bernice books – Oh No It Isn’t and the two Lawrence Miles books. I don’t think there’s enough meat on the bones to justify being completist about Braxiatel. Unless, again, there are other reasons to consider it?
The Also People: Not on the list simply because I don’t know enough about it to justify it on my own. But the one I feel most like I probably should add. What’s the argument here? (Edit: I’m now persuaded to add it. List updated.)
Just War: This was on the list prior to my adding The Also People, and seemed the most cuttable thing on there. Arguments for why it must be restored are welcome.
But, of course, comments on any book people think I should or shouldn’t include are welcome. (And keep in mind, the majority of these I’ve either not read all of or haven’t read in a decade – so I readily believe I’ve got things on the list that aren’t nearly as interesting as I hope or that I’m missing real gems.)
May 24, 2012 @ 6:34 am
Thanks for asking! However, I (a) trust you completely – it's your blog, after all and (b) haven't read the majority of these books, as I like my Who frivolous, wacky and fun. A friend of mine actually got into Who through them, though, and I like the way that makes them more than just an addendum to the TV show. The Doctor, escapee from the Land Of Fiction, returns to the pages of books. With that in mind, even though I don't demand you cover the whole book, I'd be interested in even a paragraph on what you make of the final chapter of the MA Well-Mannered War when the time comes.
May 24, 2012 @ 6:35 am
You don't have to wait! I covered it already: http://tardiseruditorum.blogspot.com/2012/01/time-can-be-rewritten-15-well-mannered.html
May 24, 2012 @ 6:44 am
Nightshade – yes, very dull. Though amusing in how it shows that the authors clearly weren't talking at this point – it makes big Ace developments which are totally ignored by subsequent books.
The Pit – yes, terrible book, avoid.
All-Consuming Fire – I find this fascinating for the Holmes and Watson stuff, and for the attempt to import the Cthulhu mythos into 'Who. If Virgin had followed through with their original plan to make Holmes and Watson permanent companions, we'd probably see this is as a pivotal book – now it's mainly interesting as a path-not-taken.
The Also People – interesting as Aaronovitch's attempt at merging 'Who with Iain Banks' Culture stories, plus it sets up the People, who play a big role in the Benny series.
May 24, 2012 @ 6:46 am
I suppose "All-Consuming Fire" also has the Sherlock Holmes stuff going for it, but (and it's been a while since I've read it as well) I don't remember that being terribly interesting; indeed, it seemed to me to be more a transparent attempt to make the Doctor, Ace and Benny look more interesting and cooler by knocking down Holmes and to a lesser extent Watson, which only served (in my mind at least) to make them much less likeable. But that's more a personal issue on my part.
May 24, 2012 @ 6:49 am
It's really the sheer Wold Newton excesses of it in merging Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes, and, because apparently that's not high concept enough on its own, the Cthulhu mythos. I wasn't wild about the book at the time either, but I think there's a lot to be said about the relationship Doctor Who is presumed to have with other fiction in it.
May 24, 2012 @ 6:58 am
I think "Iceberg" was very interesting. In some ways it's an "Attack of the Cybermen" style continuity fest, but it also makes a real effort at depicting an independent world that runs headlong into the Cybermen and the Doctor. I think it was the first NA that I read, and I liked the feel that it has of being "of Doctor Who" but not actually "Doctor Who".
I also remember enjoying "Falls the Shadow". I don't remember much of the plot itself, but I remember that the prose was surreal and fever dreamlike. Very unusual.
Do you have any plans of covering "Who Killed Kennedy" at any point? I guess the most obvious opportunity, during the Pertwee era, has passed.
May 24, 2012 @ 7:00 am
Who Killed Kennedy is slated to be in the Pertwee book since the prospects for an additional Virgin novel are, without it, utterly dire.
May 24, 2012 @ 7:01 am
I'd like to make a case for Sky Pirates! as a case of a method of returning the mythological dimensions to Doctor Who, and the character of the Doctor. It seems to have been a failed method, because it makes the Doctor too radically alien to human experience in his true nature. In a way, it's the Cartmel Master Plan taken to an even greater extreme than Cartmel himself ever conceived. It's also an interesting rejoinder to what you wrote on The Deadly Assassin and City of Death in the following ways.
The tone of the book is heavily influenced by Douglas Adams, as the reality of the world where the TARDIS materializes is described in a cartoonish way, where reality works on a logic of jokes, in a cosmology reminiscent of a fantasy novel (So Terry Pratchett represents an important influence here too). So humor, surreality, and fantasy collide in a way that makes for an extremely comedic atmosphere. But it's contrasted with this world's horrifying underlying nature. This is a bubble universe created by the last of a species that was a rival of the Time Lords in their early history. It's the last of its kind because the Time Lords perpetrated genocide on them. The Doctor, as a function of his species, is implicated in this genocide, and tries, but fails to make amends.
At the same time, the Doctor and the Time Lords are treated as gods in a very deep sense: the reason so much of reality is easily represented in a BBC studio is because humans evolved in a universe whose physical laws were shaped by the perceptual and physical abilities of Time Lords. The Time Lords literally modelled the physical laws of the universe based on their nature, and destroyed creatures of rivaling levels of power who would have shaped reality differently. They are given the power of gods, but their act of genocide drags the Time Lords down to the ground. The existence of this bubble universe forces the Doctor to participate in the memory that had been forgotten: the original terror of the ascendancy of the Time Lords.
May 24, 2012 @ 7:02 am
"Nightshade" is a competent and enjoyable book, IMO, and I remember a lot of people really loving it when it came out. A lot of the Doctor/Ace character beats, though, are done better in "Love and War," and while there might be some suitably interesting things to say about how it deals with British television history, it's probably one of the safest books to cut from that period.
I'd actually like to see you handle "The Pit," honestly. It's an infamously bad book, but that alone makes it interesting: it's sort of like the NA equivalent to "Timelash." Doubly so with Blake sort of slipping into the H.G. Wells role. It's also one of the first novels to really jump into the "manipulative chessmaster" portrayal of the seventh Doctor with real gusto.
Was Braxiatel in "All-Consuming Fire"? Or did you mean "Theatre of War"? Either way, the sheer metatextual chutzpah of A-CF makes it worth covering, since it's essentially a Doctor Who/Sherlock Holmes/Cthulhu Mythos crossover, with a half dozen other literary cameos as well. I'd say it's probably safe to drop "White Darkness" (which is mainly notable, IMO, for the Lovecraftian bits) and focus on A-CF, which is the more interesting (and better) book.
"The Also People" was hugely popular with fans when it was released, and is fairly important to several distinct character arcs running through the books (Kadiatu Lethbridge-Stewart, Roz, and Benny). Plus, being a straight-up pastiche of Iain Bank's Culture series, which I quite like, I have a particular fondness for it.
Books I feel are probably unnecessary are "Just War," "The Room with No Doors" (neither are bad, but, like "Nightshade," not particularly memorable or notable), "Birthright" (interesting as a companion-only story but completely forgettable in terms of plotting and prose), "Timewyrm: Apocalypse" (seriously?),
May 24, 2012 @ 7:06 am
Scratch City of Death and replace The Pirate Planet. Do forgive the goof.
May 24, 2012 @ 7:06 am
I'm really looking forward to reading your coverage of the over-arcing themes or styles of the NAs, the things that really mark them of their time. The now-quaint cyberpunk notions, the aggressive atheism on display in several of the books, the ever-present temptation towards continuity naval-gazing, etc.
I read most of the NAs in the late '90s and have not reread them since, so I'm looking forward to reliving them through your posts. I wasn't expecting you to cover so many of them, so that's a real pleasant surprise.
May 24, 2012 @ 7:09 am
I did mean Theatre of War, and have corrected the post. I also clarified that Apocalypse is really just going to get a paragraph shoved in at the start of an entry on Revelation, much as Genesis will with regards to Exodus. 🙂
The Also People is getting increasingly tempting to me.
White Darkness can't be cut, I'm afraid, for personal reasons. It's one of the two books I alluded to back in my Mary Whitehouse post. (The other is Tragedy Day) I'm also really interested in its active engagement with non-white culture.
Room With No Doors is a huge part of the wrap-up of the NAs, isn't it? That's the main reason it's there, but if I'm misinformed then yes, that is a tempting cut. Just War might be cuttable too. I remember it being very good, though possibly not very interesting?
May 24, 2012 @ 7:11 am
The EDAs will get scanter coverage, I fear – about 15 of those, though also about 15 McGann audios from Big Finish. But I really think skipping the NAs is a difficult proposition. Their influence on the direction of the series was absolutely massive, I think.
May 24, 2012 @ 7:36 am
I would definitely consider adding The Also People, over say Birthright Blood Harvest or First Frontier. Could these get a mention in other essays. Without knowing the themes of the essay it's difficult to speculate but could other books not be combined to save time?
In defense of The Also People, it's a landmark NA. It's been voted one of the best NAs regularly since publication. Even if you know nothing about Banks' culture (as I didn't) it's still fascinating.
The most interesting thing about it for me is how it deals with the Doctor in a paradise setting, and not a false paradise. How can the Who format accept such a notion? How does the Doctor deal with these almost omnipotent figures? That's not even touching on the other varied themes (good/evil, free will, humanity)
It's a masterpiece, a great piece of sci-fi and I'd argue that along with Human Nature it cemented the idea in fandom that the NAs were legitimately great adventures, and not just fascinating experiments
May 24, 2012 @ 7:59 am
(Slaps forehead) How did I miss this? Cheers!
May 24, 2012 @ 8:02 am
I love The Pit. It takes the mood of Lovecraft and channels it into Doctor Who. The Cthulhu elements in All-Consuming Fire are fun, but it's Cthulhu lite. The Pit really captures the sense of cosmic depression.
May 24, 2012 @ 8:02 am
Room with No Doors is a part of the wrap up, but that can probably be covered in passing, similar to Apocalypse. But if you're interested in dealing with non-white culture, it may be worth looking at for those purposes.
Just War is a very good book, but I'm not sure how much there is to say about it. It's not particularly revolutionary, and it didn't really seem to presage any significant trends in the range. If I were recommending books to read, it'd rank fairly highly, but there are much more interesting books to analyze and write about, IMO.
I'm tempted to suggest approaching more books in the same way as the two lesser Timewyrm novels. That would let you at least hit on the major points of books like The Pit (awful but interesting) and Death and Diplomacy. A number of the novels give themselves well to this approach: Nightshade can be covered briefly in conjunction with Love and War, Deceit and Lucifer Rising already sort of melt together in my memory, Blood Heat and Left Handed Hummingbird can probably be finagled together, as can Death and Diplomacy and Happy Endings, and Room with No Doors and Lungbarrow. The downside is that you'd still need to take the time to read all these books, but it would address the concerns you've voiced previously about spending so much space on the novels.
May 24, 2012 @ 8:04 am
Sky Pirates! is a weird book, but it's a very interesting one.
May 24, 2012 @ 8:28 am
You could easily get rid of Birthright and White Darkness. The Dying Days is probably unnecessary, though it's obviously a path not taken.
Nightshade… well, I like it. A lot of people did, at the time – it might make for an interesting essay about nostalgia. The titular Nightshade is a role played by one of the main characters, an elderly character actor, one that is reasonably similar to Quatermass or Doctor Who, and I recall nostalgia being a heavy theme in the book. I liked it when I was 12, reading it over Christmas break, which probably says a lot.
I'm reading Blood Heat for the first time now, and I wish I'd picked it up when I was younger. It's fun seeing the UNIT gang all broken and desperate.
May 24, 2012 @ 8:29 am
(sorry – that second sentence should be…)
The Dying Days is probably unnecessary, though it's obviously interesting as a path not taken.
May 24, 2012 @ 9:24 am
My tuppence-worth is that if Nightshade is interesting for anything it's the Quatermass stuff. And you've done Quatermass, and I don't think Nightshade adds much.
(There's a theme of recursion that's interesting; Bernard Quatermass is supposed to exist in the New Adventures universe, but there's also a thinly disguised Quatermass as a TV series. But if you're interested in doing anything with that, the Professor X scene in No Future is probably more appropriate.)
May 24, 2012 @ 10:29 am
Wow, I got a lot of books to read in the next few months…
May 24, 2012 @ 10:38 am
This is a silly reason for making a recommendation but..
I really like Tragedy Day, it's the first time in fiction that I encountered a realistic gay character (if you can call anything in a novel with a spider-assassin whose comedy yorkshire accent "realistic"). For a thirteen year-old discovering his sexuality that dancefloor scene was great.
May 24, 2012 @ 10:48 am
I want to vote for Room/Doors because of the Japanese setting, because it foreshadows the regeneration and because it introduces the Doctor's mum.
Deceit I could understand for the Abslom Daak connection but Sanctuary surprises me since I've virtually no recollection of the plot than a slight resemblance to The Name of The Rose. I find it very difficult to sustain interest in McIntee's prose.
May 24, 2012 @ 10:51 am
Bob Dillon,forget TE, now I want to read YOUR blog about Tragedy Day and the NAs
May 24, 2012 @ 11:50 am
Timewyrm: Revelation doesn't say anything new or interesting about Doctor Who. Surely you can just drop that. Left-handed Hummingbird was pretty standard Doctor Who fare, too.
And Human Nature – I mean, you're just going to cover that AGAIN when you get to the new series, so why bother here?
I mean, frankly, this entire list is rubbish. Just skip the new adventures and go straight to the BBC Books line!
Okay, I can't do that any more. Seriously, I don't have much constructive to add – you've pretty much got everything from the NA line that I've read on the list already. But I do want to say I'm really looking forward to these entries. Frankly, I've never been this excited about Doctor Who getting cancelled.
May 24, 2012 @ 12:04 pm
It's a combined issue of time spent on them (around three months, I suspect) and time it takes to read, which is much higher than the time it takes to watch a story. As it is I'm planning on ratcheting up the number of Pop Between Realities entries just to take some of the load off. So while Deceit and Lucifer Rising may well go together in an entry, if I'm reading 650 pages I'm bloody well getting two entries out of that. 🙂
May 24, 2012 @ 12:05 pm
I have mixed feelings about McIntee, and am bemused that three of his books made the list, but my impression is that Sanctuary is a pretty big deal to a lot of people, and anyway, given McIntee's famously voluminous research it seems like the intersection of history there is worth looking at.
Archeology of the Future
May 24, 2012 @ 12:25 pm
I'd say that Theatre of War is worth looking at because it's one of the few examples I can think of The Doctor being explicitely on the morally wrong side. As far as I remember, the side doing the excavations turn out to be kind of like Tibet travelling Nazis. I think it's an interesting book to examine in the context of the politics of Who and asks the question 'what does it mean if the Doctor just picks the wrong side to help?'
May 24, 2012 @ 1:51 pm
I was actually just rereading Sky Pirates!…
It's made almost explicit that the Doctor is Dionysus in disguise.
Like Falls the Shadow, Sky Pirates! is a fantastically overstuffed and self-indulgent book that just glories in its capricious excess, and both in their own very distinctive ways reinterpret the whole metafictional narrative of Doctor Who. Both books remind me a lot of the blog posts on The Three Doctors and Logopolis. That alone makes them obvious candidates for this blog to cover. Certainly both are far more interesting to think about than Blood Harvest. Plus, they make me want to bang Dave Stone and Daniel O'Mahoney, separately or together. (If either of you are reading this, call me!)
May 24, 2012 @ 1:57 pm
I'm inclined to go in to bat for Just War. The whole relationship between Doctor Who and the Second World War deserves examination, and that would be a good occasion to do it. In particular, the Bernice Summerfield interrogation scene could deliver rich pickings, as it collides the real Nazis with their metaphorical counterparts, while also, in carefully citing the names of all the Dalek stories, being a splendid example of NA-style fanwank that nonetheless works.
May 24, 2012 @ 2:01 pm
Lump Deceit in with something else; it's dreadful. I couldn't even bring myself to finish the bloody thing, picked up the Ace stuff from Lucifer Rising instead. Which has the great advantage of introducing us to the…inimitable Jim Mortimore.
The Also People, on the other hand, is essential if you want to give any sense of the New Adventures as a phenomenon of their times. To those of us who were following the series, The Also People was pretty much the greatest thing ever, with defining character moments for every one of the regulars and a great sense of fun and of course polymorphous perversity. Can't get enough of that.
May 24, 2012 @ 2:06 pm
Hey Bob, join the club! As an awkward teenager the NAs were a big part of my initial exposure to queer sexuality too. I managed to stay in denial about myself until Damaged Goods though.
May 24, 2012 @ 2:57 pm
I have no clue if you've already announced this, but… are you doing any of the novelized/BF'ed "Missing Season" serials? Nightmare Fair, Mission to Magnus, Ultimate Evil, etc.?
May 24, 2012 @ 2:59 pm
"First, the traditional novel clues: there will be four novels covered in the Colin Baker era. The first is from Target Books. The other three will be covered on three consecutive posts, in the order BBC Books, Virgin, Other." – Warmonger post
May 24, 2012 @ 3:23 pm
Ahhhh. Stupid me; had forgotten. Thanks, Philip. 🙂
May 24, 2012 @ 3:45 pm
Oh, right, just reminded myself… will Yellow Fever get an oblique mention? 😉
May 24, 2012 @ 4:02 pm
It's pretty impressive how books that haven't been in print for 15 years still get such a reaction-the "The Virgin Era" still has a strong following. I had no knowledge of the time and I still love them.
Also of interest, after Phil had drawn up a long list of books he will cover, almost every other poster is requesting their own different missed favorite. I say Phil should save the likes of The Pit and Iceberg for the ebook-which I, for one, will definitely be buying
May 24, 2012 @ 4:40 pm
I'm no scholar on these things. I've read some of the NAs, but by no means all, and my first instinct is go "Ooh, ooh, do this one, it's really cool", and then rattle off a Miles, Cornell or Parkin book. And I know that's not what you're looking for.
The list itself looks fantastic, to steal a word; plenty of stuff I've read, plenty I've not and haven't gotten round to yet. I may have to play catch-up and try to keep up with your posts as they come. Looking forward to several on the list already. Any plans to touch the audios, BBV or Big Finish or otherwise?
The only one of your tentatives I feel qualified to comment on is Nightshade, and I'd say: Go for it and get novel-by-Gatiss out of the way. It's a while since I read it, but I remember it being reasonably good, if a bit metatextual, if that's the word for wanting to write about Quatermass (as a TV show) intruding into a Doctor Who story.
I tend to find Gatiss' stuff competent to mediocre most of the time, unless it's the League of Gentlemen. Now there's a show that needs to be a side-trip at some point…
Anyhow, my first comment on your blog. Found the link a week or two ago, been ploughing through it since and getting far too much enjoyment out of it. Keep up the good work!
May 24, 2012 @ 5:31 pm
Incidentally, I wish I'd know The Also People was heavily influenced by Iain Banks' Culture series. Glad to see that's been added to the list, and that's moving up my to-read list immediately.
May 24, 2012 @ 6:50 pm
Shakedown – if not for the novel itself mainly for commentary on the aspects of fandom which brought us the video version as well as "Downtime", PROBE, etc.
Perhaps drop "Return of the Living Dad", it's rather light. Perhaps replace with "Bad Therapy" (example of what goes wrong with too overt a message) or "Eternity Weeps" (mainly for the author treating the end of the world as a massive joke).
May 24, 2012 @ 7:27 pm
I'll be doing the video version of Shakedown.
May 24, 2012 @ 9:17 pm
You've already re-included The Also People, but let me say this – I left the UK and moved to Australia 8 years ago, and sold everything I owned on eBay bar the contents of 2 sports bags which were full of mainly clothes.
I sold all my Target books (an almost complete collection), all my Virgin books (ditto), all my other books… except for a 'complete' book of Tennyson's poetry (incomplete as it was published in his lifetime) and my worn and battered copy of The Also People. It's that good.
May 24, 2012 @ 10:39 pm
Looking at the list and the tentatives, here are a few thoughts:
Nightshade is a story about nostalgia, done in the style of a Hinchcliffe/Holmes era story. You could get something interesting to say out of it, but it's not exactly a priority.
The Pit has a whole load of interesting ideas, but is a weak novel. Again, you'd be able to spin something interesting out of it, but it's not a priority
Deceit is notable for three reasons. Firstly, it brings back Ace (which could be covered in Lucifer Rising, which is better at re-introducing her). The second is Abslom Daak. The third is Peter Darvill-Evans' essay in the back. There's not much else I can think of worth commenting on.
Blood Harvest is one that would be relatively easy to drop. Terrance Dicks visits prohibition Chicago, the vampire planet in E-Space, and Gallifrey. Most of the interesting things to be said are to do with its links to Goth Opera.
Theatre of War is one of Justin Richards' best books, and makes good use of its themes, as well as having the Braxiatel stuff. It examines the reasons why lost stories are frequently held up as classics, the way context shapes our view of quality, and the psychology of a society built on artifice. It's another one you'd be able to write plenty of interesting stuff about.
Just War is, as has already been said, a first rate novel. It's an example of a Doctor Who story dealing with the issue of changes to history. Benny's interrogation is very powerful, and Roz's subplot is quite nice. But I agree that you'd have less to say about it than most of the other possibilities.
May 24, 2012 @ 11:47 pm
And here I was hoping the Target book would be Harry Sullivan's War…
May 24, 2012 @ 11:52 pm
If I remember correctly (though I probably don't), "The Also People" also have the first description in DW of the effects of a "Time War"? (whether or not it uses that term)
May 24, 2012 @ 11:54 pm
(Grammar warped by re-editing without re-reading. That's a true time war, soldier.)
May 25, 2012 @ 12:02 am
I'm afraid I don't have much to really add to what others have said, I've been amassing the VNA's as fast as I can find them cheap but I'm only up to The Pit on actually reading them, and even there I'm missing Time's Crucible and Nightshade. I'm also missing a dozen of the pricier later books, although I should be able to get a few of them without breaking the bank if I keep my eyes open. I did go ahead and drop $25 on Damaged Goods when I got a gift card, though.
In other words, I should be able to meaningfully contribute to the discussion once we get there but I'm worthless on helping picking books at this point. I do owe you a huge thank you for getting me reading the series in the first place, though!
May 25, 2012 @ 12:09 am
The Doctor's mother? Is she anything like the character in "The End of Tennant" who has been described by Some People (though without any reason evident from the television programme) as The Doctor's mother?.
Oh, and as "Ish" is coming up soon (I was listening to it yesterday), the description of the Doctor at the start of "EOT Part 1" as "the noble physician" shows a preference for definite fact over resonance as opposed to "A Good Man Goes To War"'s preference for resonance over definition in the use of the word "Doctor". And I really must get some job applications done now.
May 25, 2012 @ 12:12 am
Quick heads up, Phil, Do you know about the DWMs from the New Adventures' 10th Anniversary (issue 305, 307, 310 etc)? David J Howe wrote a 5 part article about the history and development of the NAs that, to my mind hasn't been beaten-at least in terms of research.
Most interestingly it not only has JNT's original suggestion for what he felt the NA series should be like (6 books based around adventures in history then perhaps a change to…) but also Peter Darvill Evans' (similarly unused) original ideas for what shape the series take (far more like a Marvel comic series with past companion team-ups and galactic finales-ultimately a bit like Deceit)
May 25, 2012 @ 12:30 am
Strange England and Falls the Shadow both have interesting things to say about DW. Strange England presents an environment in which death and terrible things happen as a direct result of the Doctor's presence – it's DW's answer to the old gag about famous detectives getting away with murder everywhere they go. And Falls the Shadow suggests that every time the Doctor saves the universe/history/etc, he condemns countless civilisations to never having existed, and they might be a bit pissed off about that.
I don't see a lot of love for these two (in the comments here, or anywhere else…) but eh, I like them.
As for titles to swap out in exchange, I don't think you really need Deceit (see Stephen's comment above). Or SLEEPY (what is there to say about it?). Or Blood Harvest, unless it's to compare genuine Terrance Dicks dreck with the arguably ironic dreck of Warmonger.
May 25, 2012 @ 3:05 am
(Or will you be considering the radio play rather than the book?)
May 25, 2012 @ 4:24 am
My only suggestion is to take your final list of books and cut it by 25%.
May 25, 2012 @ 4:25 am
Don't want to spend much time on the novels?
May 25, 2012 @ 6:54 am
My suggestion is take the final list and add a few more, like Just War.
May 25, 2012 @ 7:55 am
Honestly, what's the argument for keeping White Darkness? It's a dull book where nothing happens that's hardly interesting for the continuing range. I mean, it does some of the Cthluhu stuff that I hate from the NAs, but All Consuming Fire does that too. And if you want a chance to talk about McIntee, you can probably do that just fine in the First Frontier entry. Maybe I'm missing something? It just seems incredibly superfluous, and I'm surprised no one's mentioned it yet.
On the other side, I suggest adding either Falls the Shadow or Parasite so we can have a look at the incredibly violent excesses the NAs sometimes delved in. That trilogy of gruesomeness (Warlock, Parasite, Falls the Shadow) really shook me as I read through these the first time, and I think it's something worth talking about. Plus, I think there are other important reasons to talk about Falls the Shadow or Parasite, Parasite because it does the same "Doctor Who merges with another genre" thing that Transit, The Also People, and the Hincliffe era does, and Falls the Shadow for the utter indulgent weirdness. I don't think either is a good book, but I think they are both important books.
May 26, 2012 @ 8:42 am
I definitely think The Also People and Just War should be added.
The Also People: Okay, it's explicitly The Doctor meets The Culture in the same way that All-Consuming Fire is The Doctor meets Sherlock Holmes, but it's VERY well-written. Aaronovitch's best DW work, easily. It's got huge ideas, but this relaxed and casual atmosphere that makes it delightful. Pure joy, plus you'll have plenty to talk about both in terms of Iain Banks' influence and how important The People become to NA mythology.
Just War: IMO the best Doctor Who World War II story ever written. The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances is great, but aside from one awkward "one damp little island" scene, it's not really about WW2. It's just a cool SF story in that context. Curse of Fenric is the next closest… but Just War wins. It's a direct reaction to Exodus' view of Nazis and how Hitler was influenced by the Timewyrm (interestingly, Hitler isn't mentioned once in the whole book). This is about the Nazi mentality and why some obviously intelligent and well-read men bought into this. The stuff with Bernice is also some of her best in the whole series. Powerful, intense stuff. It's well-judged and takes advantage of the NA format to finally do the almost-but-never-quite-done "Doctor Who and the Nazis" story and not have it be a hollow and tacky Boy's Own take on it (which, much as it's popular with a lot of fan, I'd argue Timewyrm: Exodus is).
Get those two in and I'll be happy.
May 26, 2012 @ 8:46 am
Oh, I misread it, TAP will be on it now, sweet. But I think Just War should be readded without taking away TAP again, so I stand by the post above.
May 26, 2012 @ 10:08 am
While I can appreciate how the novels have affected the series, and have a place in fandom, in the end it's the show that matters. Seeing the occasional book reviewed has helped to put the series in context, not the other way around.
And, I suppose, the analysis of books isn't quite the same as televisual analysis. It's the TV show I like, first and foremost. To think you'll be spending over three months talking about books rather than TV is a bit disheartening.
May 26, 2012 @ 10:21 am
There is also a number of people (I count myself in this group) who love the books as much, if not more than the TV series. I for one are looking forward to the analysis of the books because they have had nowhere close to the amount of analysis that the TV series has.
May 26, 2012 @ 10:32 am
The issue, for me, is that the novels were what Doctor Who was for sixteen years. I agree that they're important in a very different sense from the show. But they're where the history of the show went and were in their time the "real" continuation. Plus, I don't want to skip the cultural context of the sixteen years. Doctor Who did evolve over the 90s and I think jumping to McGann and then Rose would make both look like bigger departures than they were.
May 26, 2012 @ 1:09 pm
Oh, all right.
May 27, 2012 @ 6:35 am
Wm, without spoiling anything: no. Not remotely. That "mother" thread got played with a few times in the BBC 8th Doctor books but never really went anywhere; it was meant to tie into the whole "half-human" thing from the TV Movie, which is now, thankfully, largely ignored.
May 27, 2012 @ 10:32 pm
Not a specific suggestion on books to add or remove, but perhaps looking at which ones you might make interesting but redundant points on might be helpful. The best example I can offer in my limited reading would be Warhead and Transit. I have no doubt you could say a lot of interesting things on both books, but some of that would be about the writers, both of whom I'm sure will have already been discussed, and some would be about cyberpunk, and some would be about the rad/trad split and the "edginess" of the books. So if you're looking for books to cut at this point, one or the other might be a candidate to save for the book edition, depending on how much else you have to say.
Personally, I suspect you have plenty on those two at this point even after looking at related posts. But that's the only pair in my limited reading so far where it seems even possible there might be the overlap to help.
May 28, 2012 @ 3:26 pm
I maintain that the character in the "End of Tennant" was Romana. It makes the most sense to me and is a reference to the fact she is a Time Lord without actually being a reference.
May 28, 2012 @ 10:13 pm
Definately agree about Strange England – and I don't really think the Warhead trilogy is worth more than a single entry
May 29, 2012 @ 6:59 pm
I would also go to bat for Just War. It is probably the best of its era of the NA's. Blood Harvest should also be covered as it brought Romana back out of E-space.
Other things: Sky Pirates! is a beautiful book, i would add it.
If you are looking to cut things down, you could do the entire alternate history arc (Blood Heat through No future) in one post