Saturday, December 30, 2023

Adventures Across Space and Time - A Doctor Who Reader

I've just received a copy of this collection of essays and insights on the cultural history and impact of Doctor Who, edited by Paul Booth, Matt Hills, Joy Piedmont and Tansy Rayner Roberts.

I read a proof version in May and was asked if I'd provide an endorsement. My response then is now partially quoted on the back cover:

"A brilliant compendium of the brilliance of Doctor Who fandom. Intelligent, insightful and incredibly wide-ranging, this is a really engaging collection. I love the mix of new analysis and older pieces to give a comprehensive overview. A perfect introduction for those new to Doctor Who scholarship, and packed with interest for more established scholars. There's so much here I'd never even thought of. I finished it then immediately wanted to start reading again."

The book republishes some classic takes, with excerpts from The Making of Doctor Who (1972) by the series' then script editor Terrance Dicks and regular writer Malcolm Hulke, a 1973 letter to Radio Times by a teenage Peter Capaldi (later the Twelfth Doctor), and a 1995 post to by Steven Moffat who was later executive producer of the series. There's a piece on 'canonicity' by my friend Paul Cornell, addressing his TV adaptation of Human Nature for the Tenth Doctor on TV when it was originally a novel featuring the Seventh Doctor. 

There are excepts from cultural historians John Tulloch and Henry Jenkins, whose work I read closely while at university half a lifetime ago. This sits alongside an except from Pier Britton's authoritative book Design for Doctor Who, and a piece by Mary Robinette Kowal detailing the Doctor Who references hidden in her historical fantasy novels.

But what really thrilled me is the new essays original to this collection that cover an enormous range of ground. As I said in my endorsement, there's loads here that was new to this long-in-the-tooth hardcore fan. That was especially true of Magdalena Stonawska's piece on fandom in Poland, Eloy Vieira and Lilian FranÇa on fandom in Brazil and Ting Guo on fandom in China. There's stuff on fanzines and figurines and the financial cost (more than £300!) of following multimedia adventure Time Lord Victorious (of which I wrote one instalment). There's loads here to illuminate, inspire and challenge - and to argue with. What a delight.

(One slightly odd thing: I'm described on the back cover as "producer and author of How The Doctor Changed My Life (2008)", but I edited rather than authored that book, and it was quite a long time ago. I've done one or two other related things since.)

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