- Series: About Time series (Book 7)
- Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: Mad Norwegian Press; 1 edition (September 10, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1935234153
- ISBN-13: 978-1935234159
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,165,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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About Time 7: The Unauthorized Guide to Doctor Who (Series 1 & 2) (About Time series) 1st Edition
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About the Author
Dorothy Ail's writing has appeared in publications such as Outside In: 160 New Perspectives on 160 Classic Doctor Who Stories by 160 Writers.
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So when Volume 7 came out I was happy to snap it up and read it. And it was worth it. The volume covers the first two series, starring Christopher Ecclesron and David Tennant, and does it well. It treats the new episodes JUST like the old ones, breaking them down, examining them, exploring the issues they bring up. The essays, as in the other books, were wonderful. They ask such important questions as "Gay Agenda? What Gay Agenda?", "Is Doctor Who Fandom Off-Topic?", and "Why Doesn't Anyone Read Any More?".
One issue the book brings up is the second series the Golden Age of the new Doctors. Sadly, Tat Wood does not seem THAT impressed with many of the second series episodes and suggests that it isn't the Golden Age. In fact, from his comments in this book, it seems that the series will be going down hill from here. From his point of view - unless I am reading more into his writing than is there. I don't know if I agree. For example, he rates "The Impossible Planet" and "The Satan Pit" pretty low when I thought both episodes were pretty good. I liked the idea of the Doctor dealing with something outside his sphere of understand and knowledge.
Still, this is a must for any fan of Doctor Who, any science fiction fan, or any library dealing with British Television. Enjoy!
Like any good episode guide, it includes copious amounts of facts about the program: who wrote each installment, when they aired, what other acting efforts you'd recognize significant performers from, etc. It goes over information that you'd logically want to know -- how significant characters evolve and what kind of traits, abilities, or insights each episode provides into them; how the episode fits into the larger whole; what kind of continuity gaffs or problems there are; copious trivia; lengthy qualitative critiques; etc. It also includes great research into placing episodes in context: historical (what likely inspired the episode or elements within it), cultural (especially useful for me as an American), continuity; and more.
However, this series goes beyond the call by invariably presenting information about and insight into matters you DIDN'T KNOW you wanted to know. About Time 7 ramps this up a notch as it talks about the first two series of the 2005 revival, ensuring that EVERY episode it covers has a supplemental essay. As a few examples: "The Girl in the Fireplace" gives rise to trying to sort out who qualifies as a companion, by asking if Arthur the Horse counts; "The Unquiet Dead" takes the opportunity to ponder whether the new series is more xenophobic; and "Bad Wolf" gave the most comprehensive unpacking I've yet found into trying to figure out why Christopher Eccleston left after only one season.
The entire book series also has a wonderfully cheeky sense of humor, dropping in asides and stray observations that prove insightful at the same time they're amusing. For example, one section of this volume begins, "Unavoidably, the bulk of this essay is going to be an attempt to get the chronology of the 'present-day' stories to make sense, despite BBC Wales' strenuous efforts at times to prevent this." It can be dense reading, but it always tries to be interesting.
My complaints are minor, and primarily conjured in an effort to appear impartial. First, this book series is exhaustive . . . yet this thoroughness means it can be exhausting. I estimate there to be at least 20,000 words devoted to the episode "Rose" alone, and even lesser episodes probably receive 7,000-8,000 words apiece. If you start reading an episode's chapter at the same time you load that episode's DVD and press "Play," you'll likely STILL be reading that chapter by the time the closing credits roll. Being presented with this much material -- all of it interesting -- can feel at times overwhelming.
Second, since so much of this book is a reference, the lack of electronic versions of these books is at times painful. Trying to read nearly 26 ounces of information where each page is crammed with text can make the whole experience feel a little unwieldy . . . and the lack of searching ability is sometimes sorely missed (although the existence of copious cross-references obviates this need a fair bit). The paper version has certain benefits, but I suspect a Kindle or PDF format would be where it truly shines; I can offer no greater compliment than to note that if/when this series is available electronically, I will almost certainly re-buy it.
Third, the writing often takes some unpacking -- especially if you're hoping to extract every bit of marrow. For example, the section on "The Unquiet Undead" contains this sentence talking about the classic Seventh Doctor episode "Ghost Light": "The process of stacking-up the references for the viewer to tick-off and feel slightly cleverer for getting was characteristically late-80s, but in 'Ghost Light' it was a side-effect of a critique of that very mentality, set against the opposing idea of allowing change, diversity and experimentation." There's nothing explicitly WRONG with that sentence (outside of hyphen usage that made me cringe as an editor with an internalized style guide); however, it's 46 words in one sentence being used to convey at least four ideas. This book is NOT Twitter.
Nonetheless, these complaints are all minor, and should do nothing to dissuade prospective buyers outside of making sure they know what they're getting into. Anyone who has ever fallen down the rabbit hole of TV Tropes or Wikipedia and emerged hours later -- exhausted but invigorated with new levels of understanding, insight, and knowledge -- has already touched the mindset that comes to mind when reading an About Time volume. About Time 7 continues this tradition, and I emphatically recommend these books to all Doctor Who fans looking for what I consider to be the best episode-guide series ever. Let the alien apocalypse come; I'm ready.
If you are a sci-fi addict - this is for you!
Again, Thank You Amazon, for your prompt service.