Monday, January 19, 2009

 

Doctor Who 45th Anniversary – Why Was 2002 Brilliant?

Big Finish produces chilling audio dramas like Peter’s Spare Parts and Paul’s Embrace the Darkness, then an epic season climax in Neverland; Kaldor City’s intrigue deepens in Death’s Head and Hidden Persuaders; Daleks surprise in the comic strip as Children of the Revolution; and I can barely read Jealous, Possessive (Short Trips: Zodiac) or Beedlemania (A Life of Surprises) for laughing. But the best Doctor Who short story anthology of all technically contains neither Doctor Who nor short stories…

Faction Paradox – The Book of the War
“The coolest character is the one whose face you never get to see.”
Lawrence Miles masterminds this metatextual Time War encyclopaedia, spinning some of the most inspired Who novels into a rich, bewildering tapestry of imagination. Amid distorted reflections of Ada Lovelace, Heaven, vampires, James Whale, The Phantom Menace, Morbius and the Bible, the most extraordinary reimagining’s ignored…


At last! The easiest way to get hold of this isn’t second-hand, for once, but still today by ordering direct from independent publisher Mad Norwegian – and, as if to show off that I’m finally recommending a book that isn’t out of print, it’s available in hardback and in paperback editions. We have both, of course, one particularly well-thumbed and with six pages of notes stuck into it. It’s described as “part story, part history and part puzzle-box,” you see, and though the A-Z structure means you tend to meander through stories in a distinctly non-linear way, there is a pathway of references that’ll take you through every entry but one and make – well, not sense, but slightly more coherence out of it. If you can’t find the ‘order’ online, drop me a line… As for the identity of the other side of the War from the Time Lords Great Houses: like The Prisoner’s Number One, it could be something you can work out from established opponents; something postmodern; or something the different writers (or even the visionary at the centre of it) all have contradictory views on. I could tell you our two most plausible theories, but there’s never going to be a right answer, is there? Unusually, some of the histories here were fleshed out into audio dramas, too, which you can get from BBV: The Eleven-Day Empire and The Shadow Play.

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Comments:
The 2002 run of McGann Big Finish stories are excellent.

I always enjoy hearing Invaders from Mars again, and Chimes of Midnight is also very well done. Neverland, as you say, is a great end to the run.
 
Yes, absolutely, and a good mix - the two you add, for example, are 1930s pastiche and then Upstairs, Downstairs meets Sapphire and Steel!
 
It's nice to know that people are still reading it.
 
And still loving it, Mr Brookhaven - thanks for popping by, and good to see you looking so well after your accident.

With a bit of luck, Jon, two of my six readers might now go out and buy a copy. I'm trying to inspire.
 
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