Review: Doctor Who: Books: Ahistory (3rd edition update)

ahistory-3_2-cover-web

By Lance Parkin & Lars Pearson

Mad Norwegian eBook, out now

An update to the monumental history of the Doctor Who universe…

Like me, you may have been a little confused by the announcement of this digital add-on to the Ahistory project – it’s not a digital version of the most recent volume, but a whole new work that covers all of the various Doctor Who related products (so including Torchwood, Faction Paradox, and the many and various comic strips) released during 2012/13.

Creating these online additions to the concrete-block sized Ahistory 3rd Edition is probably the best way of ensuring that this invaluable book stays up to date. A print amalgamation is promised for somewhere down the line, but for the sanity of the writers – and the readers – these “bite-sized” chunks are far easier.

Although it’s described as an update for 2012/2013 stories – and therefore including the whole of Matt Smith’s tenure, as well as the attendant Big Finish/BBC additions – it’s actually far more than that, as you might expect from Parkin and Pearson. The history of the Silurians is affected by the TV stories from that period, but there’s been more revealed since (in the continuity-wrecking Kill the Moon) which has somehow to be incorporated, and the authors therefore take note of the 2014 stories as well. Likewise, the finale of the Hex plotline in the Big Finish Sylvester McCoy main range stories only came last year, but gets a detailed discussion here, and where suppositions have been confirmed by later broadcast stories (e.g. Clara’s date of birth in Death in Heaven), they too have been mentioned.

The format is the same as the original, and the paragraphs of this book are presumably intended to slot into place with minimal reworking. Each new story’s placement is given a footnote, explaining the reasoning behind its position, and noting where there is potential ambiguity, or where something has been clarified (e.g. the date of The Enemy of the World). There are a couple of updated sidebars, and some new mini-sidebars within the footnotes, which as are entertaining as ever, and on occasion very informative about the reasoning used by the creators of the pieces. And fans of James Goss and Steve Tribe’s additions to the fiction of the show will enjoy discovering the “new” facts the pair have created.

If you’re one of those who love the idea that all the pieces somehow do fit together (or have wondered where to fit something like The Dalek Generation into recorded Dalek history), then you’re going to lap this up.

Verdict: An essential update for those who love their Who history. 10/10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order Ahistory 2012-2013 update from Amazon.co.uk

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