purplecat: The second Doctor reading his 500 year diary. (Who:Books)

Cover off Jenny T. Colgan's In the Blood Dr Who novel.  Bluey white icey background.  Ten and Donna.  They Feed on your Anger.  They Need your Despair. tagline
Today in book covers I can easily lay hands on "In the Blood" which I've just read. It was OK as Who novels go, though erred a bit on the side of The Internet is evil and everyone would be happier if they just talked face-to-face with each other.
purplecat: The Tenth Doctor (Who:Ten)


The original Sally Sparrow (illustration to Moffat's story in the 2006 Annual by Martin Geraghty)
purplecat: The second Doctor reading his 500 year diary. (Who:Books)

Fury from the Deep book cover.  An oil rig in the background with bright green seaweed in the foreground.  The writing proclaims this is a classic adventure of the second doctor now a bumper volume!

Given all the moving of books currently taking place, this was the most accessible Target novelisation when the random picture generator said "Target Book Cover". I feel it has the potential to be quite an atmospheric image but the seaweed is a little unconvincing.
purplecat: The Eighth Doctor (Who:Eight)

Book Cover for the Infinity Doctors by Lance Parkin.  A White background with the Doctor's Ring showing a swirling galaxy in the large blue stone
The difficulty with this book is where to shelve it since it is clearly intended to be an AU in which the Doctor never left Gallifrey though. Until about halfway through the book, I was kidding myself that I could pretend it was set after he had returned to Gallifrey at some point in the future but no. Anyway, since the Eight Doctor adventures occur in canon in publication order I eventually opted to shelve it among them in publication order.
purplecat: The second Doctor reading his 500 year diary. (Who:Books)

Cover of the Virgin New Adventures Happy Endings Novel which consists of a picture of Benny and Jason's weddings with misc guests - all well-known faces from Doctor Who (some from the novels) with an ill-advised purple background and a Fiftieth New Adventure stamp in gold.


Paul Cornell has been talking through his experience as a Doctor Who writer one gig at a time in his weekly news letter, in a surprisingly frank fashion. Despite being a member of rec.arts.drwho in the 1990s, a position from which it felt rather as if one had a ring side seat on what certain Dr Who authors were doing, it transpires I was relatively unaware of much that was happening behind the scenes. That said, I imagine there is still much he is missing out. He's just reached the first of his novels for the BBC books so it feels fitting to post the cover of the last of this Dr Who New Adventures (though he wrote the first Benny novel in between).

Happy Endings is a funny book. When the Dr Who Book Club read it they noted that it was almost impossible to understand without a fairly encyclopaedic knowledge of what had gone before. It's about Benny's wedding to Jason Kane, a romance I was never all that fond of, though its major crime (like much of the New Adventures, frankly) is inconsistent character development across books.

You can sign up for Paul's newletters from his website though I should note that this week's newsletter is somewhat atypical since it is dominated by a recent family bereavement (consider this also a content warning).
purplecat: The Seventh Doctor (Who:Seven)

A New Adventures book cover for Oh No it Isn't! by Paul Cornell.  It depicts Wolsey the cat in thigh length boots and a double carrying a gun and Benny dressed as a pantomime boy


There has been a certain amount of chatter in, admittedly fairly rarified, parts of the Internet about how this month marks the 20th Anniversary of the first appearance of Benny Summerfield in audio (her first appearance in a Dr Who novel was 1992, and her first solo novel was 1997). I've never been much of an audio person so the above is the cover of her first solo novel that was adapted into her first audio adventure. I had forgotten but was reminded by The All New Adventures of the Doctor Who Book Club Podcast that the scene depicted on the cover is a joke from the book itself in which Wolsey the cat (temporarily transformed into a Puss in Boots type character) randomly picks up a gun and stares into the middle distance in order to generate an interesting cover image.
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)




Given how studiously Doctor Who, the show, has avoided giving us child companions, it is always a little jarring when a piece of spin-off media chooses to do so. Though, in the case of a choose your own adventure book, you can see why it might have been tempting, even if it does make your assumptions about your audience pretty explicit.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (books)
Reading: The Silent Stars Go By by Dan Abnett. It's a Doctor Who novel and I expect it will feature Ice Warriors since they appear on the cover. All the chapter titles are lines from famous carols. I'm only about a chapter in so I can't really deliver any kind of verdict. I bought it because [livejournal.com profile] fififolle was sufficiently impressed by Abnett's Primeval Novelisation that she bought some of his Warhammer novels (despite not playing Warhammer at all) and enjoyed them sufficiently to write fanfic for them (albeit Primeval AU fanfic, IIRC) which I thought was pretty impressive. He wrote The Story of Martha which I wasn't so taken by, I must admit, but that wasn't in a standard format so I was interested to see what he made of something more straightforward.

Watching: Lupin III Part 4 which we are much enjoying. To be honest I think I'm enjoying it as much as Part 1 which was my favourite of the earlier versions (though I know many people prefer Part 2). I'm a bit bemused by the Italian co-production aspect though. It's very odd to have all these Lupin stories based in Italy rather than in Japan+exotic locations around the world.

Listening: It's mostly been Zombies! Run! episodes recently since I wasn't able to listen for a while and so created a bit of a backlog. It is much the same as always, though with the observation that 5 seasons into the storyline, they are very much downplaying the zombie threat aspect in favour of something more like a political thriller.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (books)
One the whole I would rate The Eyeless as an above average NuWho novel, but it makes quite a strange read, particularly since I recall the author discussing it on Doctor Who book mailing lists as he was writing. If I remember correctly, Parkin deliberately set out to show that the NuWho tie-in novels could tackle the same kind of material that the Virgin New Adventures and BBC Eighth Doctor novels had tackled. The result is a wierd hybrid - something that takes the themes of NuWho rather more seriously than most of the tie-in novels but, at the same time, includes material that genuinely does feel out of place in a novel at least partially aimed at children.

More under the Cut )

All in all, this is a strange hybrid between the Doctor Who novels of the 1990s and the NuWho novels. I'm glad I read it, and its certainly interesting, but in the end I think it is a failed experiment that demonstrates that, in fact, the NuWho novels can't do the same kinds of things that the New Adventures and Eighth Doctor Adventures did.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (books)
The Story of Martha purports to tell the story of the year Martha spent walking the Earth at the end of Season 3 of NuWho and spreading word of the Doctor's plan to defeat the Master. I thought that sounded like a promising premise for a Doctor Who book and so picked this up. I was also interested to read something by Dan Abnett since his Primeval novels had impressed [livejournal.com profile] fififolle enough that she went out and bought some of his Warhammer novels on the basis of them.

More under the cut )

All in all, I think this was a bit of a wasted opportunity. Its focus on the events in Japan leaves much of the rest of Martha's journey unexplored and, all in all, I feel it sacrificed the opportunity to do something a little different in favour of delivering something that was more like a typical Doctor Who story.
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
I've read very little Morcock, Elric of Melnibone when I was a teenager (about which I remember virtually nothing) and his Dancers at the End of Time sequence more recently which I thought was interesting but flawed, particularly when it was trying to evoke early 20th century comedies of manners. However he is, by some margin, the most famous novelist to turn his hand to a full-length Doctor Who novel (though I have no doubt that Neil Gaiman will get around to it eventually). So it was with interest and anticipation that I picked up The Coming of the Terraphiles.

Oh Dear )

A massive disappointment.
purplecat: The Tardis (Doctor Who)
[livejournal.com profile] daniel_saunders commented on my review of The Crusade, that he'd not managed to get hold of a copy of the novelisation. I'm not actually sure that any of the illustrations in the novelisation are from telesnaps, though some are closer to the televised episode than others. Under the cut are three from scenes that definitely didn't take place in the actual show.

Images not appearing in The Crusade )
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (books)
I'm guessing Who Goes There by Nick Griffiths was supplied by a relative. I don't think it is the kind of book I would purchase myself any more. I spent a lot of the book trying to puzzle out what exactly it was trying to do. Ostensibly its the tale of Griffiths' visits to various Doctor Who locations.

Possibilities considered )

I was actually surprised how alienating I found this book. Obviously Who fandom isn't a monolith by any stretch of the imagination, but I this was the first time I've read something by a Doctor Who fan with whom, it would seem, I have virtually nothing in common.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/15481.html.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (books)
I'm guessing Who Goes There by Nick Griffiths was supplied by a relative. I don't think it is the kind of book I would purchase myself any more. I spent a lot of the book trying to puzzle out what exactly it was trying to do. Ostensibly its the tale of Griffiths' visits to various Doctor Who locations.

Possibilities considered )

I was actually surprised how alienating I found this book. Obviously Who fandom isn't a monolith by any stretch of the imagination, but I this was the first time I've read something by a Doctor Who fan with whom, it would seem, I have virtually nothing in common.

Shelf Life

Mar. 4th, 2010 06:28 pm
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (books)
Craig Hinton was one of the stable of Doctor Who authors nurtured by the Virgin Adventures and who then went on to write for the BBC books. His work was characterised by a love of continuity and an abundance, in some cases over-abundance, of links and connections to the wider Doctor Who universe. He died late in 2006 of a heart attack. Shelf Life (edited by Adrian Middleton, Jay Eales and David McIntee) is a memorial anthology of fan fiction published in aid of the British Heart Foundation.

Review under the cut )
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (doctor who)
A Writer's Tale by Benjamin Cook and Russell T. Davies is a (just about) year long email interview come conversation between Benjamin Cook (a Doctor Who Magazine writer) and Russell T. Davies about the writing process. It encompasses the writing of the 2007 Christmas Special (the one with Kylie in) and then Season 4. And it's a pretty fascinating read.

Details under the cut )
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (doctor who)
Stuart would have you believe I rode in, out of the blue, on a fleet of formation flying satellites and then nuked it from orbit. Which would actually make a far more interesting post.

Cut for tl;dr )
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (books)
I first met* Richard Salter when he tried to organise an Internet coordinated Dr Who short story collection for the emerging Decalog series published by Virgin. There's been a lot of water under the bridge since then and the idea of using Internet coordination to put together a short story collection no longer seems remotely radical. Richard has been writing and editing Doctor Who short fiction ever since and has had several stories published in other Short Trips collections. This is the first time he's got to edit professionally though. Fortunately, it's a good'un, probably the most successful of the Short Trips collections that I own.

I mentioned in my review of Short Trips: The Quality of Leadership the way I felt the theme there had unfortunately managed to ambush the collection. In this case it's possibly the choice of a nicely abstract theme, "Transmissions", loosely tied to the idea of modes of communication, that has encouraged the writers to rise above the normal Short Trips level of trying to write a mini episode of the parent show. In fact I'd go so far as to say every single piece in this collection is a genuine short story rather than a long story told short.

spoiler free story by story break down under the cut )

*in the Internet sense of "exchanged emails with". I've never actually met Richard. He was called the Happy Halibut back then, a moniker he seems to have subsequently abandoned in preference to his own name. Thus flying in face of all Internet trends.

Campaign

Sep. 6th, 2008 08:54 pm
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (books)
The story behind Campaign is an odd one. It was commissioned from Jim Mortimore by BBC Books based on a synopsis he submitted but, when he turned in the final manuscript it was so different from the synopsis it was rejected. It's the only original Who novel to be officially commissioned, fully written but never published. There's more to the story but I was never sufficiently enamoured of Jim Mortimore's writing that I could be bothered to learn what it was. However now Campaign is available online for free I thought it couldn't hurt to read it. It comes with extensive author's notes at the end in which, it is implied, the full sorry story of its non-publication is explained. I'm still not sufficiently interested to read them.

So, the universe has vanished, there is only the TARDIS (or possibly the Tardis) and its four (possibly five) inhabitants left. Desperately the TARDIS (or Tardis) crew try to recall the events that led them into this predicament, events that concern meeting Alexander the Great on his epic campaign towards and eventually into India (the Ancient Historians among my readers will notice a problem here - took me a bit longer to see it). So far so good but at about that point the plot stalls for 175 pages while the characters iterate through different versions of the past and present told generally as first person narratives most often by Ian (who is sometimes called Cliff). Each of these segments is beautifully written and crammed with ideas but the thought gradually dawns that the book isn't actually going anywhere. It's just show-casing what amounts to a series of mood pieces about shifting time-lines, worlds within worlds within Tardis's and the possible interactions of the principle characters and, a serious failing, all four of them have exactly the same voice, presumably Jim Mortimore's. You could dip into any of these segments at random and then have to spend the first couple of paragraphs trying to work out from the context who the narrator was. There is no real sense of distinct personalities among the crew, let alone among the many shifting versions of each crew member. The extensive chapter-by-chapter notes which I have skimmed briefly seem to suggest that the intention was that there is a progression here but mostly I'd say the book is marking time while Mortimore indulges in stylistic flourishes. There's a lovely little story within a story, though, about a Glammering.

A criticism I have of Mortimore's other books is that they have a habit of descending into incoherence at the end. Campaign wins out here. The ending at least makes sense but ultimately seems a bit trivial, as if a parlour trick has been played on you, and heightens the feeling that the majority of the book is an exercise in stylistic short prose writing. It also has precious little to do with Alexander the Great, at the end of the day, which was a disappointment too. I was quite interested in the hinted at story of the TARDIS crew's involvement in Alexander's life.

At the end of the day Campaign is an interesting oddity. There's plenty of good writing and lots of startling and interesting moments but it feels self-indulgent and the whole is distinctly less than the sum of it's parts.



WHO DAILY HTML: <lj user=louisedennis> reviews the novel <a href=http://louisedennis.livejournal.com/87147.html>Campaign</a>

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