It is difficult to explain how incredibly amazing this book was when I first randomly purchased it from The Children's Book Shop on Oxford's Broad Street circa 1980. The truly incredible part about it was that it contained summaries of every Doctor Who story up to Sarah's departure in The Hand of Fear. I spent hours pouring over those summaries which were the only real access one had to information about those episodes though the book recommends to the reader, at the end, the range of Target novelisations of which there were "27 in print and more in preparation".
Doctor Who annuals, necessarily constrained to telling very short stories aimed primarily at 10 year olds often written by people who have never seen the show, have a tendency towards the bland and a bit rubbish, occasionally enlivened with stuff that is a bit bonkers. The annuals in the late 1970s went for the bonkers end of the spectrum with enthusiasm which these days makes them far more interesting than many of the others. As a child I recall just being very bemused by both the story-telling and the artwork which seemed to bear relatively little relation to the show I loved.
I recall the above panel clearly. The Doctor has helped a group of apparently very nice men escape from a planet on which they were trapped, only for it to be revealed that once outside the special atmosphere of the planet they revert to psychotic monsters. This panel reveals them in their monstrous state (their psychosis is never actually shown to us, were are simply told they are also psychotic). The Doctor tricks them back down onto the planet by pretending to be stranded and, despite being (allegedly) psychotically evil, they return because of the debt they owe him. They are not happy to find themselves trapped once more and the Doctor (in a detail I missed as a child) weeps as he abandons them.
It's a difficult story. Even as a child I was concerned that the Doctor accepted so easily that these creatures must be evil and I do wonder if its trying to say something about assumptions that to be ugly is the same as to be evil (a message Doctor Who occasionally strays into, much as it also has stories that assert the opposite). Given the Doctor's tears at the end I wonder if the artist also had doubts about the message the story seemed to be conveying.
All that said, it has the merit of not being remotely bland.
My second venture into the fanzine world was The Tides of Time. I can't find my copy of issue 1, fortunately sir_guinglain has has archived them all. It surprises me that of all the fanzines that have come, and mostly gone, since the 1980s The Tides of Time is one of the few that still produces issues, albeit on an irregular basis.
I've not been involved with it since issue 7, but sir_guinglain is the currently editor and, I believe, possibly looking for contributions...
This was one of the first novelisations I ever bought (though I already had The Abominable Snowman - IIRC I bought this one because I recognised the yeti on the cover) and it completely terrified me. I seem to recall setting it aside because I couldn't continue it, and eventually got through it by reading backwards from the end in chunks.
It doesn't seem that scary these days.
Sarah Jane maintains the Dr Who tradition of companions making dubious fashion choices.
I was first amused and then subsequently puzzled by the copyright notice under the picture. This is, after all, a publicity still created with the intention that it would be copied and published by other people.
At any rate, I'm assuming that at this point in the game I'm a) too small a fry a b) people distributing publicity images on the Internet is too common a thing for the BBC to come after me, but I suppose we shall see.
The Pit is widely regarded as the worst of the Virgin New Adventures novels. I only have dim memories of the one time I read and I recall mostly being a bit bemused and feeling that William Blake was underused. I recently listened to the Doctor Who Bookclub podcast discuss the book and they certainly didn't like it much. Their final conclusion was that there were some potentially interesting ideas in there, but that the execution failed to explore them in a way that brought anything much to life, and the structure meant the whole story ultimately felt rather pointless with the Doctor, Benny and Blake making no real impact on the events.
By, I believe, Shaun Young.
Channel D was a tele-fantasy fanzine that ran for several years in the late 1980s. I've no idea quite why I started buying it, I vaguely recall there was a specific reason and I think it was produced by the set of Dr Who fans that included Paul Cornell at the time but I wouldn't want to swear to this. I have about 4 years' worth of issues and even had some Robin of Sherwood fanfiction published in it.
The covers of the New Adventures novels were often rather pedestrian, even when they managed to get the human figures anatomically correct and in proportion (which was not always the case). This cover, by Jeff Cummins, is therefore among the more striking and accomplished. It is also, as it happens, one of my favourite books in the range.