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Doctor Who: Shada: The Lost Adventure by Douglas Adams Hardcover – June 26, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 98 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for DOCTOR WHO: SHADA

"[Roberts] does a great job of maintaining Douglas Adams' voice throughout the story, with his trademark satire and humor firmly in place . . .  fans of Doctor Who will enjoy this little trip back into that world."— Wired.com

"[A]n entertaining read . . . and anyone who enjoys both the big heart and boundless silliness of Dooctor Who will be pleased."— io9.com

"[S]pectacular. Gareth Roberts has done a remarkable job of channeling the vision of Douglas Adams . . . not only Doctor Who fans will enjoy it, but I think Sci-Fi and Hitchhiker fans will love it as well."— GeeksofDoom.com

About the Author

Douglas Adams was born in Cambridge in 1952, and was educated at Brentwood School, Essex and St. John’s College, Cambridge, where he read English. As well as writing all the different and conflicting versions of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, he has been responsible for Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, and, with John Lloyd, The Meaning of Liff and The Deeper Meaning of Liff. In 1978-79, he worked as Script Editor on Doctor Who. He wrote three scripts for the show: “The Pirate Planet,” “City of Death” [under the name David Agnew], and “Shada.” Adams died in May 2001. Gareth Roberts was born in Chesham, Buckinghamshire in 1968. His scripts for Doctor Who on television include “The Shakespeare Code,” “The Unicorn and the Wasp,” “The Lodger,” and “Closing Time.” He has also written many scripts for the spin-off series, The Sarah Jane Adventures, as well as scripts for such television shows as Emmerdale and Randall & Hopkirk [Deceased]. He has written nine previous Doctor Who novels, and lives in West London. 
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Product Details

  • Series: Doctor Who
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Ace; Book Club (BCE/BOMC) edition (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425259986
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425259986
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #408,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The fourth Doctor, Romana, and K-9 answer a call from Chronotis, an aging and befuddled Time Lord, who is living out his retirement as a Cambridge professor. Unfortunately, Chronotis has forgotten why he called, although it soon becomes clear that it is for the Doctor to save the universe (again).

This time, the threat comes from Skagra, an overly ambitious fellow from the vacation planet of Dronid. He wants to be God, or the closest thing possible. To achieve this goal, he needs to absorb the mind of the legendary Gallifreyan criminal Salyavin who had the ability to replace or augment the minds of others with own. Salyavin, though, was reportedly placed in stasis and imprisoned thousands of years ago on the now lost and forgotten prison planet of Shada. The key to finding Shada is the book 'The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey,' which Professor Chronotis stole from the Time Lords' archives and subsequently misplaced.

Got it? Good. Because that's about as much of the plot as I'm going to try to summarize.

The story was originally written as a TV script by Douglas Adams, the late, great author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galxay, and novelized by Gareth Roberts, a writer of other Doctor Who novels and TV scripts.

To me, the beginning sounds like Adams. See if you don't agree.

`At the age of five, Skagra decided emphatically that God did not exist. This revelation tends to make most people in the universe who have it react in one of two ways -- with relief or with despair. Only Skagra responded to it by thinking, Wait a second. That means there's a situation vacant.'

Now I don't know if Adams came up with this opening or if Roberts did, but it has a lot of Douglas Adams' irreverent wit and whimsy.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a novelization of a television story that was never completed due to a labor strike. Gareth Roberts, who has written for the revived Doctor Who series, takes the late Douglas Adams' notes and scripts, and produces a very good book. I could hear Tom Baker's voice when I was reading The Doctor's words. Roberts keeps the same level of humor that Adams brought to "The City of Death", one of my favorite 4th Doctor adventures. This was a tough job, trying to match Adams' style. Roberts pulls it off. We'll never know how close this novel matches up with what would have been the finished product. The book has an advantage of not having to deal with late 70's BBC Budgets. Good book, any fan of the old series should like it.
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Format: Paperback
DOCTOR WHO: SHADA: The Lost Adventure by Douglas Adams is apparently a novelization of a Doctor Who script originally written by Douglas Adams for the show during the run of Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor. I say apparently, because I'm far from a Who expert and am just going by the info in the book itself. It seems a strike resulted in the story never being completed, tho home video versions using storyboards and narrations to complete the tale have been released.

I picked this up far more for the 'Douglas Adams' part than the 'Doctor Who' part, even tho I have memories of watching some Tom Baker episodes on PBS when I was a kid and have been following the revival since it started.

Douglas Adams, if you don't know (and if you don't....you have my deepest condolences) wrote The Hitchhiker's Guide to Galaxy; the BBC radio series, the BBC television series, and the first five books in the trilogy. (Several years back, Eoin Colfer wrote And Another Thing..., the sixth book, which I haven't read.) He also wrote two books featuring an eccentric detective named Dirk Gently and other works, all worth checking out. His death in 2001 was a great loss that still makes me sad to this day.

Gareth Roberts took on the unenviable task of transforming Adams's script to a novel and completing it in a way that Adams (who is said to have expressed his displeasure over how the whole affair turned out) maybe would've approved.

I don't know how Adams would react, but I quite liked it. I don't know specifically which bits are Douglas Adams and which bits are Gareth Roberts and that's a good thing. The whole thing has the general sound of something Adams could've written, with plenty of phrases that definitely sound like the way he wrote, but the tone is consistent throughout.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have a very large Doctor Who video library, and of course every one of Tom Baker's adventures... except for one. I never was attracted to SHADA due to its incomplete state, nor did Douglas Adams' general dislike of how his own work was shaping up on television help matters much. As far as I am concerned, this novelization makes up that lack far and beyond expectations. It shall not go onto my bookshelf per se, but between THE HORNS OF NIMON (Story 108) and THE LEISURE HIVE (Story 110), making what I feel my 4th Doctor collection complete.

Heck, I wouldn't want to watch SHADA now, as I just know I would be ... sorely disappointed... after reading Gareth Robert's outstanding work. One of the most glaring lacks in the older Doctor Who serials was a form of lore continuity beyond the basic premises. Roberts brings the modern Doctor Who focus on tying 50 years worth of serials into a connected whole into SHADA with delightful name dropping and tidbits, both prior established in the preceding television years and "future" serials, from the Rani (encountered by the 6th Doctor) to Carronites (fast forward to the 10th Doctor!), every bit faithful to the entire spectrum of Doctor Who lore while equally remaining faithful to Adams' own vision of SHADA. Yes, all these little bits and bobs are subtle and brief, never a distraction beyond narrative gilding, but enough to make a lore lover grin.

This is a strong recommendation for Doctor Who fans of every level, as none of these added elements are required for enjoyment, just - as said - simple yet glorious gilding. As for narrative style, and homage to Douglas Adams, does Roberts capture Adams' sometimes rather overt humor and other times sly poking? Yes. Adams' own narrative style? No, not even particularly close.
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