|ISBN#||0 967 37460 X|
|Summary: A guide to every Virgin and BBC novel up to Interference.|
Absolutely Essential by Tammy Potash 14/9/00
From the back cover: "Can the Doctor find intimacy... if he can't be intimate? Will Benny discover true happiness... at the bottom of her hip flask? Which of the Doctor's companions will kill dozens of people by kicking a pop can?"
I've read all the Virgin NAs, until they lost their license to the Doctor. (i.e, no Benny books.) I've read the MAs too, even Shakedown and Downtime. I've struggled through everything from The Eight Doctors to The Space Age, Devil Goblins (how I loathe that title) to Imperial Moon (it's waiting expectantly). I thought to myself, what do I need this book for anyway? I could have written it. But I took the chance, and I'm very, very glad.
Yes, it's riddled with typos, the worst being on pages 47 and 99. But it's still an incredible book. There is no other book that fulfils its job, a portable guide to the Doctor's life in print, beyond Survival. And it goes beyond a mere list; it's highly analytical and whimsically written, by an American no less. It's The Discontinuity Guide of the novels. It's even got those long-forgotten (though rightly-so) pre-MA books, Mission to Magnus and Nightmare Fair. I only hope that there is the sequel that's rumored and in it Pearson discusses Harry Sullivan's War and Turlough and the Earthlink Dilemma. Also a discussion of the Benny books would not be unwelcome. I wouldn't mind an in-depth discussion of the audio stuff too, though that may truly extend beyond the reach of what's possible.
It's got an eye-pleasing design and typeface, amusing sidebars, it keeps track of injuries and deaths in a section called "Ass Whuppings." It has behind the scenes trivia and a remarkable interview with some of the top NA authors. It's handy for looking up the books of the Alternate History run, seeing which book claimed the Doctor had two stomachs, or double-checking to make sure Paul Leonard did write Dancing the Code. For people who aren't as rabid as I and Lars Pearson are, it's a chance to see if there's a gap worth filling in your collection.
His reviews are as opinionated as anything you'll find on this site. Amazingly, I found he and I liked the same things for the most part. This is an absolutely essential reference work, not a load of twaddle like Jean-Marc L'Officier's The Terrestrial Index. The illustrations are interesting and work around the 'can't use any licensed images' problem very well. (Mine's signed, too. Gloat.) It's got a foreword by Sylvester McCoy himself. Every fan ought to buy this. 9.8 out of 10; it would be perfect if not for those damn typos.
I, Who & I, Who 2: a joint review by Terrence Keenan 3/7/02
I'm reviewing these two reference texts together for practical reasons. I got them within days of each other and have flipped through them both at roughly the same time, switching back and forth on a whim or on whatever I was in the mood to check out.
Huge credit goes to Lars Pearson for making the two guides as comprehensive as possible. He manages to cover the entire Virgin line, as well as the BBC line up to Escape Velocity between both books as well as cover the early audios, the Summerfield NAs and include some miscellaneous stuff.
Like The Discontinuity Guide, the I, Whos are broken down into sections that include TARDIS crews, detailed synopses, ass-whuppings, who got some booty or drunk and many others, including novel and TV tie-in for the continuity-obsessed.
Pearson's opinions tend to lean toward normal fan conventions, although he is also the first to find the diamnonds in the rough. He does seem to have it in for Terrance Dicks, though, and in his eyes Kate Orman can do no wrong.
I, Who and I, Who 2 both are essential in the same way that The Discontinuity Guide is. Both as a way for the completeist as a reference guide, and for the newcomer to the novel DW world as a way to get caught up fast.