- 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: 125 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #435,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Doctor Who: Shada: The Lost Adventure by Douglas Adams Hardcover – June 26, 2012
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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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The thing to be prepared for is that this is very much 1970s Doctor Who. Realistically one should expect that, since it's adapted from a Douglas Adams script that wasn't completely filled from that same era. The result is that era is all over this piece, for good and ill. If you're not a fan of this time period of Doctor Who the odds are that this won't be your cup of tea. But if you're a fan of Adams and Doctor Who then this is probably going to work pretty well for you overall.
Not sure if it would be good for people who weren't into Dr. Who, for them, I'd probably recommend something more self-contained, like Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
I say could have been, because tv scripts inherently cannot communicate as much in that format as we might want, so we have to like them for what they are, regardless of the original aspirations. I wasn't sure if I was going to like this novelization, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It helps to have the villain's character fleshed out, and to dig more into Time Lord lore.
My only caveat for Who fans is that this version has some sexual backgrounds and motivations added to some of the characters which puts it more in the late teen/young adult category. I'm just warning anyone used to the "family" rating of the old show and the Target novelizations thereof. A minor point perhaps, as it isn't emphasized greatly, but know that it is there.
The book is broken into six parts that correspond with the six episodes. There is a further 75 chapter breakdown that at first appeared to correspond with each scene (as opposed to each shot, if you are familiar with script parlance), but some scenes end up being combined into a single chapter.
There is a complete audio book available read by Lalla Ward.
Now if they would finally release the VHS onto DVD, then the circle would be complete, and we could all relax on/behind the sofa. Tea anyone?
"Shada" stands in this regard in sharp contrast to And Another Thing... (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), which suffers by comparison to "Shada" by perhaps trying too hard. The humor, the wit, the observations and characterizations in "Shada" have a low-key, background quality that makes their presence felt without trying to hog the stage...which is reserved for the story.
I'm not a Dr. Who fan. I'm not a Dr. Who detractor, either; I just never got into it. But it is evident from "Shada" what a perfect series Dr. Who was for Adams to work on, as it is widely accommodating of originality bordering on lunacy. It is my highest compliment to say that this book is the true successor of the "Hitchhiker's Guide" series, not "And Another Thing...."
The excerpt above does a fine job of representing the type of writing you will find in "Shada," but the thing that got me hooked on the book was the opening paragraph about how one of the characters, convinced that there is no god, rather than reacting (as most people would) with despair or relief, decides that this means there's a job opening in the universe. That is classic Doug Adams and told me from the first page that I was in good hands.
Actually the first thing I read was the Afterward, because I reasoned that it was there that I was most likely to discover how much of what I was about to read actually came from Doug. I can't say it gave me anything quantitative, but I did get a sense for the state the script was in when Roberts sat down with it. He compares it to works by William Shakespeare--The Tempest, for example--that seem to have a rushed ending. Roberts says he thinks he knows what happened. The Victorian equivalent of a director was banging on the door and reminding the Bard that he promised the play by Monday, and so it had to be turned in "as is." If that is indeed analogous to the state Roberts found "Shada" in, he has worked two kinds of miracles--fleshing out and vivifying a story that stands quite well on its own, and infusing it with trademark Adams flavors to make it that much more savory. A triumph on both counts.
Maybe for his next trick, Roberts should take a crack at The Mystery of Edwin Drood. OK, that was facetious--but I wouldn't mind seeing what he could do with the unfinished Dirk Gently novel, The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time. It seems Roberts can channel Adams as well as anyone could.