andraste: The reason half the internet imagines me as Patrick Stewart. (Crafty Doctor)
Some decidedly average books this time around, as well as a few new favourites.

Read on ... )
andraste: The reason half the internet imagines me as Patrick Stewart. (Business Associates)
Wow, I got through this set quicker than usual. I thank the Christmas slump at work for all the extra reading time I had towards the end of December.

Various and sundry 'Doctor Who' books reviewed below the cut. )
andraste: The reason half the internet imagines me as Patrick Stewart. (Serious Doctor)
I finished reading these a while ago, but wasn't quite sure how to review them in the context of my other posts. I decided to give them their own instead.

Back in the nineties when Virgin had the Doctor Who license, they published three collections of short stories called Decalogs. (There are actually five Decalogs, but only the first three involve the Doctor. Decalog: Re-Generations and Decalog: Wonders would be more properly characterized as spin-offs, and I've not read those yet.) As their titles imply, each Decalog contains ten stories. The first collection has nine stories linked and bookended by another, the second has ten stand-alone tales based around a theme, and the third is in some ways one long story.

Only one of these methods of tying the stories in each collection together is a complete success. The linking story in the first Decalog - Playback - is probably the weakest part of the book, and it's easy to see why the editors didn't repeat the experiment. The stories in Decalog: Lost Properties are meant to be all about the Doctor's home, but the uses of this concept are often overly literal - it's a bunch of stories about bits of property around the universe that the Doctor happens to own. (I'd have thought a story about Gallifrey would be de riguer for a book like this, but no dice. Also no story about when, how and why the Doctor came to consider the Earth his home, and nothing about the TARDIS herself. That's at least three obvious opportunities missed.) Decalog: Consequences, by contrast, is an impressive achievement when taken as a whole - the way one event flows on from another throughout is very clever.

As with any multi-author anthology, the quality of the individual stories is variable, although there were none I actually loathed. For me, the stand-out story in the first volume was The Duke of Dominoes by Marc Platt, in which the Master visits Chicago in the 1930s and disguises himself as a mob boss. It's gloriously strange, and has a bit where the Master makes soup that was worth the price of the book on eBay all by itself. Also worthy of note is Jim Mortimore's Book of Shadows, where Barbara gets married and then doesn't. A lot of people also love The Staw that Broke the Camel's Back by Vanesssa Bishop, but I had too many issues with the characterisation of the Brigadir to really appreciate it.

Personally, I preferred Bishop's Timeshare from the second collection, an overlooked gem where the Sixth Doctor and Peri visit a timeshare house in 1929 and the Doctor causes temporal chaos by misreading some co-ordinates and putting too much money in the metre. Six and Peri are hilariously bitchy to each other throughout, which is a dynamic I appreciate in small doses. My favourite bit of this book, though, is Paul Cornell's The Trials of Tara - not a short story as such, but a verse play set on Tara written in iambic pentameter. It's a wonderful example of just how many formats Doctor Who can stretch to, and contains plenty of cross-dressing and the Kandyman.

Decalog: Consequences has Continuity Errors by Steven Moffat, which is the first professional work he did for Doctor Who. It's just as brilliant as you'd expect, and impossible to explain without giving the premise away. Continuity Errors is probably the best Doctor Who short story ever published, at least according to common fan opinion.

Of course, I can't say that with absolute certainty until I've read the rest of them - three BBC collections and about twenty from Big Finish to go. In any case, if you can find them I'd certainly recommend any of the Decalogs to fans of Doctor Who - with ten stories in each collection, you should find at least one to love.
andraste: The reason half the internet imagines me as Patrick Stewart. (Mysterious Doctor)
This is being sent from work via e-mail, so I have no way of correcting any errors until I get home later tonight. I apologise if this post is clogging up your flist with broken html or something!

Reviews below the cut ... )
andraste: The reason half the internet imagines me as Patrick Stewart. (Mysterious Doctor)
I can't believe I've read nearly thirty of these already! That's about 10% of the total, which isn't bad considering how many books there are and that I've only been going seven months. The earlier installments of these reviews are in my memories, filled under Doctor Who. Some day I will get around to tagging the posts in this journal, but it is not this day.

I liked most of these, hooray! )
andraste: The reason half the internet imagines me as Patrick Stewart. (Old School)
In recent months, I've started working my way through the gigantic back catalogue of Doctor Who novels. I'm almost out of new TV episodes (well, in relative terms) and given how much I've been enjoying the audios I thought I'd give the other spin off medium a try. Mostly I've enjoyed the journey thus far, with some notable exceptions. I've decided to log the books here largely for my own benefit, but I imagine other fans might find my notes interesting, too. I'm reading all the different series and all the different Doctors at once - I hope to go through the New Adventures and the BBC Eighth Doctor Adventures in order, but with the rest there's no particular pattern.

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy these books were to find here in Melbourne. There are only a handful that aren't available at a library somewhere in the city.

The first nine books I read ... )


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