Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

VerityExtraBookClub1-210It’s almost summertime! Unless you live in the Southern Hemisphere where it’s almost wintertime! In either case, it’s a great time to start thinking about what you’ll read while on the beach/in front of the fire (or anywhere else really). Join Deb, Erika, Liz, and Tansy as we talk about the Doctor Who books we’ve Quite Enjoyed. It’s mostly non-fiction, but there’s some made-up stuff for you here as well if you like stories in your books.

Let us know in the comments what Doctor Who books you recommend!


Bonus links:
Adventures with the Wife in Space (blog)
Adventures with the Wife and Blake
Tachyon TV
Toby Hadoke: Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf and My Stepson Stole My Sonic Screwdriver
Our interview with Jenny Colgan
The Doctor Who Book Club Podcast

Download or listen now (runtime 53:17) 

Comments on: "Verity! Extra! – Summer (Winter) Reading List" (29)

  1. Shelley Lee said:

    I know you won’t toot you own horns but for me the ultimate summer reading is Chicks Dig TimeLords and Chicks Unravel Time. The essays are varied and contradictory that anyone can find something to relate to or argue with. Additionally, the essay structure is great for reading at the beach or pool with dips in the water to cool off. If you are a fan of Verity, they are must reads! I’m also going to recommend The Target Novelization of the Celestial Toymaker. As someone still discovering Classic Who, I found the novelizations easier than the recons of missing stories. I think Celestial Toymaker is one of my favorited because it is able to describe the story. Also, Dodo is manageable in this form.

    • I adored Chicks Dig Timelords. I bought Chicks Unravel Time, but I’m saving it. In fact, now that I’m more versed in classic Doctor Who than I was 6 months ago, I’d like to re-read Chicks Dig Timelords. I think I’d appreciate it more now.

      • Shelley Lee said:

        Good idea! I think it is time for a retread myself. I also want to get Queers Dig Timelord as well as I’ve heard nothing but great things about it.

  2. I’ve read a few NSAs. The first one I read was Dead of Winter by James Goss, and I loved it so much that I held the other Eleventh Doctor novels to it. It has a unique format from the other novels that definitely put it above the rest.

    Nine is my Doctor but there’s only 6 novels. Gareth Thomas’s Only Human was picked for the 50th Anniversary reprint. I didn’t think I’d enjoy it given the synopsis but I was genuinely surprised at how much I liked it. Another Ninth Doctor novel I read was the Deviant Strain (Justin Richards) which was very enjoyable. Can’t decide which of the two I liked better 😛

    Haven’t read many Tenth Doctor novels except the Story of Martha (Dan Abnett and many co-writers) and I listed to Dead Air, an AudioBook read by Tennant. (another James Goss work)

    • Shelley Lee said:

      I also enjoyed Dead Air immensely and thought it was the first person point of view. Can you tell more about Dead of Winter? I hear Goss has another DW book coming out soon.

      • Well part of it’s told through letters from a little girl at one of those hosptial resorts popular in the 18th century. I think because of that and it was my first nsa really sold me on it.

        There’s also a case of mistaken identity that I really liked. Shook things up plot wise.

      • Kathryn/DragonMakr said:

        I distinctly did not want to listen (I’m an audio person) to Dead Air because it was first person. My feeling has always been that we should see the Doctor from the outside only, that we should never get into his head.

        That said, I have enjoyed the occasional scene in an EDA where we get his POV, but other than in The Scarlet Empress, I haven’t encountered any scenes that were first person.

  3. James C said:

    I enjoyed the format of this episode very much as a change of pace – each person being given time to talk at length about their book of choice. Liz’s perspective on the excellent Discontinuity Guide was a standout. I really appreciated how she recommended it highly (and it is great) while still illuminating the flaws that a book written by a bunch of young men in the early 90s are bound to have.

    It makes me wonder if there could be another form of Extra – or even an extra extra as it’s quite a long way from the established format. Basically every now and then just hand the show over to one of the Verities for them to use as they see fit. It could be a monologue on a particular thing (twenty-minute timelord), an interview, a small audioplay (Hi Liz!) or even one Verity interviewing another. Tansy talks. Deb deliberates. Erika expounds. Kat on Canton. Lynne launches forth. And Liz lays it down…

  4. I will echo comments made by others: I thought Neve McIntosh was phenomenal reading Jenny Colgan’s book *Dark Horizons*. I really enjoyed that.

    I also agree that *Dead Air* by James Goss was terrific. It’s a one-hour audio play, and I think it may have been the last one done for the tenth Doctor, but it really showcases David Tennant’s talent. His characterizations are amusing but they serve the story well. That is one of the best audios for the new era Doctors I’ve listened to.

    I haven’t digested many Doctor Who non-fiction books, although I also would like to recommend *Chicks Dig Time Lords* and *Chicks Unravel Time* (written by various and edited by verities). Very entertaining and informative reads.

  5. What an enjoyable episode! Despite having weekly story-length broadcasts on PBS, my Doctor Who fandom was mostly based upon Target novelizations and Peter Haining books. The New Adventures line brought me back to fandom in the 90s. It’s rare that I don’t have a non-fiction book on the nightstand these days.

    Both The Discontinuity Guide & the About Time series are great reference guides. About Time seemed to get a little more focused after Lawrence Miles was no longer involved. The Burke/Smith? books sound like a good pick-up as well. It is interesting to consider how much accepted fandom opinion of stories shifts and diversifies over time. John Peel’s Doctor Who Files (ugh) led me to believe that The Gunfighters was an insult to the medium of television.

    My summer reading list (yet to be started) are the short story collections 11 Doctors, 11 Stories and Short Trips: Farewells. The one book I would recommend is the New Adventure novel The Left-Handed Hummingbird by Kate Orman. I was browsing a bookshelf after several years away and the title of that novel was enough to draw me back into fandom. It brings together the Swinging Sixties, the Aztec Empire, the sinking of the Titanic, and the Beatles in pretty dynamic fashion for a first time writer.

  6. I’d recommend John Barrowman’s memoirs. I get such a kick out of him. Also, I finally started watching Torchwood the other day. I’d been saving it – it’s almost like having new Doctor Who to watch. Just as I expected, I’m obsessed. I’ll have to re-read John’s books after finishing Torchwood. I’ll appreciate the Torchwood discussions more.

    Also, if you haven’t read Russell T. Davies and Ben Cook’s book Writer’s Tale, that’s a must.

    I read Nick Harkaway’s Doctor Who book Keeping Up with the Jones a while book. It was pretty good.

    I’d love to have a Verity episode where you ladies recommend non-Doctor Who related books. I loved the Doctor Who related book recs here, but I admire all of you and would like to see what other kinds of books you enjoy. Always looking for new recommendations.

  7. Shelley Lee said:

    Another of my favourite reads is Behind the Sofa. It is an anthology of British celebrities remembrances of Doctor Who. There are entries from Doctor Who notables such as Sophie Aldred and Nicola Bryant. Also famous fans like Jo Whitley and Rufus Hound and Jonathan Ross. Just lovely stories of how Doctor Who touched people’s lives. All profits go to support Alzheimer’s research so for a good cause as well.

  8. Andrew Smith said:

    Another riveting podcast – thank you!

    One book I’d recommend with so much enthusiasm it scares even me is Running Through Corridors by the top team of Toby Hadoke and Rob Shearman. Toby and Rob watched every story in sequence and emailed each other their comments. Those exchanges are the stuff of this book, the first volume of which covers the 1960s – each and every William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton episode.

    I love their insight, their analysis, their pithy style and of course their humour. So easy to read, and they always make me smile. I’ve got into the habit of having this on hand whenever I watch a First or Second Doctor story; it always augments the experience. It’s just a shame that we can’t yet enjoy this experience with the stories of the 70s and 80s, but further volumes will be forthcoming.

    This is a totally indispensable tome for any self-respecting fan’s bookshelf.

    RTC is also available on Kindle.

  9. Saxon Brenton said:

    I’ve read and enjoyed almost all the books cited here. Additionally I’ll throw in a few others that may or may not be of interest to the obsessive completists:
    * Lance Parkin’s _Ahistory_. For those of us who squee at the idea of having every Dr Who story and spin off story across almost all media platforms listed in a single timeline.
    * Philip Sandifer’s ‘TARDIS Eruditorium’ series, which is in the middle of reprinting into deadtree format the ‘psychochronological’ (his description) contents of his blog.
    * The Dr Who: Adventures In Time And Space RPG fanboard’s ‘Expanded Universe Sourcebook’ series. Cubicle 7 currently have the rights to producing Dr Who roleplaying game material, but apparently can only publish material based on the TV series. The fans thought this wasn’t good enough, and have collaborated to produce unofficial and not-for-profit ebooks of monsters and characters from the Expanded Who universe.

  10. John Williams said:

    Another (as usual) fascinating podcast. Just to pick up on a point about Tachyon TV – there was certainly no dislike of Doctor Who involved, we all loved and continue to love it. We were just mucking around with what was then the very (very) early days of Doctor Who podcasting, and we had a particular sense of humour which was rapidly exhausted during a run of 52 consecutive weekly commentaries. Terrifyingly, the first podcast was recorded over eight years ago. Anyway, really enjoying Verity every week – always something to look forward to!

  11. Paul A. said:

    This Discontinuity Guide is also one of the first non-fiction Doctor Who books I owned – and, yes, one of the most worn out from repeated readings.

    For anyone who hasn’t read the Discontinuity Guide, or thinks they haven’t, it might be worth noting that it’s one of the two books the BBC web site used content from to make up the entries in their Classic Doctor Who Episode Guide. The inspirations, continuity notes, the forced double entendres, the snarky Bottom Lines, they’re all there.

    The other half of the content is from Doctor Who: The Television Companion, by David J Howe and Stephen James Walker, which is less playful but is an excellent reference for basic facts like when each episode first aired, who appeared in it, and so on. It also includes descriptions of the cliffhanger of each episode (which I have occasionally seen appear on other online episode guides, uncredited, in contexts which make it obvious the person who pinched the description hadn’t bothered to read it properly and thought it was a synopsis of the whole episode).

  12. Interesting that Liz mentioned the Discontinuity Guide. As I go through watching all of Classic Who (most for the first time), I find myself going back to consult two references for each one, before or after watching it: the Discontinuity Guide, and Liz’s own rankings of the episodes:

    As for “Wife in Space”, I bought and read this book right when it came out. Unfortunately, the related blog project wasn’t “live” at this point, I greatly enjoyed the book as a stand-alone book, without participating in the blog. But I too expected a book compilation of the blog when I purchased it. I think the actual book is better than something like that would have been.

    I do tend to prefer the Who nonfiction to the novelizations so far. I tend to prefer rather thick novels, and the Who novels are mostly thin. But I do intend to hit the Target novelizations more as I go through the Hartnell recons.

    I would strongly welcome more of this Extra, and yes, including some non-Who book mentions, also.

  13. In the last year I have discovered the BBC Eighth Doctor Adventures and Past Doctor Adventures. They’re out of print now, but I’ve been picking them up on eBay. I currently have a big crush on the Eighth Doctor and Paul McGann (I’m 45! When do crushes stop??), so have been working my way through the EDAs.

    I grew up watching Doctor Who on PBS in Philadelphia, when they were running the show episodically during the week and then showing another story omnibus fashion on Saturday afternoons. Thus, I never saw the show in order, and generally, I don’t mind jumping around in the continuity (or lack thereof). But I’m finding myself to be very complitionist when it comes to the EDAs, must read them in order for some reason! Some of them are a bit of a slog, I’m afraid.

    Thanks for the recommendations of Who’s 50 and the Discontinuity Guide; I’ve been wanting to read both of them.

    Currently I’m also reading (savoring!!) Chicks Unravel Time, and will be picking up Chicks Dig Time Lords too.

    Summer reading, as such, doesn’t mean much to me. It’s been more than half my life since I was in school to have summers off, and indeed, summer is my busy time with conventions, Pennsic and Renaissance Festivals to do and make dragons for. But it was delightful last year to toss a couple of EDAs into my bag when I took my first vacation as an adult!

  14. Ooooh – I do love me some good Doctor Who books! (my tastes definitely skew toward the fiction novels, but I did enjoy hearing about some good non-fiction titles)

    Last year, I went through and read the whole 50th Anniversary Reprint range (I have no idea if that’s really what it’s called, but that’s what I called it) where they reprinted one novel for each Doctor for the 50th. The two that really stood out for me were “Fear of the Dark” by Trevor Baxendale and “Beautiful Chaos” by Gary Russell. “Fear” was just this amazingly haunting story where the Fifth Doctor, Tegan and Nyssa get lost with these people excavating some tunnels somewhere, but this entity called The Dark is taking people over. It’s so well-done and gorgeously spooky, which contrasts really well with the Fifth Doctor’s sweet personality (and I’m not saying that just because Five is my Doctor). And I adored “Beautiful Chaos” even before the reprint range came out – it’s a Tenth Doctor and Donna story, but Grandpa Wilf has a big role in it and I won’t spoil it for anyone other than to say keep the tissues handy. There were some other quite excellent (and a few not-so-excellent) titles in that range and I was glad to get the chance to read them all.

    I also want to recommend author Jacqueline Rayner, who’s written quite a few Doctor Who novels and I’ve loved every one that she’s written (“The Stone Rose,” “EarthWorld,” “The Last Dodo” – just to name a few). I don’t know if she writes for TV (I do know she’s written for Big Finish), but she would be an excellent candidate to get in the writers’ pool for Doctor Who because she does so well with the material already.

    And… if it’s okay… I have a bit of shameless self-promotion. I moderate a Doctor Who Book Club over on Goodreads in conjunction with the Traveling the Vortex and The Five(ish) Fangirls podcasts. We’ve only just started a few months ago, but we’d love for anyone who’s interested to come jump in and discuss books with us! Here’s a link to our group’s page:—traveling-the-vortex

  15. “DW: the Writer’s Tale” is great – I particularly love RTD’s rant about the press launch for “Voyage of the Damned”. “Adventures with the Wife in Space” is an enjoyable read. For fiction, I think Gareth Roberts novelisation of “Shada” is hard to beat.

  16. Mr Axon said:

    I’ve always enjoyed reading Doctor Who books. I grew up collecting the novelisations and, as has been noted many times elsewhere, for a long period these really provided the only way to enjoy stories from the 60s and 70s. I have extremely positive memories of reading, for example, Terror of the Autons, The Web of Fear, The Time Warrior, The Daemons, etc. I reread The Loch Ness Monster a couple of years ago and I was extremely impressed by the irony that Terrance Dicks managed to add in his prose: the result was surprisingly close to the tone of the TV programme.

    A more recent book that I’d recommend is The Coming of the Terraphiles by Michael Moorcock. I enjoyed its strong and interesting prose, and its general weirdness and humour.

    I’d also recommend Shadows of Avalon by Paul Cornell and The Way Through the Woods by Una McCormack. In my opinion, both are well written and show a very deep understanding of Doctor Who and its relations with other stories, myths, legends, etc.

  17. felicemorigel said:

    Another vote for Dead of Winter – really good and different. I also love Dark Horizons.

  18. felicemorigel said:

    I’ve also recently enjoyed Who’s There, Jessica Carney’s biography of her grandfather – a chap called William Hartnell.

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