Mad Norwegian Press, out now
The “ultimate” guide to Doctor Who turns its attentions to the first two series of the rebooted show…
I suspect that this autumn is going to be extremely heavy on the wallets of those who collect Doctor Who non-fiction. We’ve already had the excellent Who-ology, and The Doctor: His Lives and Times is next up for review. Graeme Burk and Robert Smith?’s sequel to their Who is the Doctor comes out next month, as does Alan Kistler’s Doctor Who: A History, and the Doctor Who Vault. All this means that every book that comes out has really got to justify its drain on your finances .
The About Time series – particularly now when read in conjunction with the TARDIS Eruditorum books/blog – are never less than a fascinating read. The previous seven volumes (Volume 3, covering the Pertwee years, was extensively revised in light of the revelations of the new series) are among the most thumbed of my Doctor Who collection. Their combination of opinionated text, arcane facts and essays on the history of the show, both fictional and factual, may not quite live up to their boast of being definitive but they are certainly exhaustive.
Volume 7 lives up to its predecessors. Essays include questions such as “Is Arthur the Horse a Companion?” and “Was 2006 the Annus Mirabilis?” (the answer to one of those is “maybe”), and the discussion ranges across the whole 50 years of the show. You may not agree with the points raised (and there are definitely some theories promulgated which I don’t think are argued successfully), but they’re never less than thought provoking.
Verdict: Always interesting, with occasional flashes of brilliance. 8/10