Monday, February 29, 2016

Shada : A Doctor Who Story

Feb. - Books published after 2011

Where do I even begin about this book? Let me start with a little backstory, a "Why it was written" of sorts. Did you know that Douglas Adams was a writer for the original Doctor Who series back in the 70's? I did not. As a great fan of Adams in my late teens, I was unaware of what he was doing outside the Hitchhiker's series. In my defense, as an American I wasn't exactly the target audience for the BBC show. In 2005 when the show started back up I heard about it from all my college friends, some of whom went to Harlaxton for the study abroad program out University offered simply to be closer to all things British they loved so much. It was in 2006/7 that I discovered BBC, falling in love with random episodes of Graham Norton, Doctor Who, even Law & Order: UK! Don't even try selling me on the American version of Being Human because it is crap compared to the original. But being sucked into the world of The Doctor failed to fill me in on one of my favorite author's former hand in the show, even as I watched numerous older episodes. So imagine my excitement when I unwrapped this book one holiday or other and became nearly giddy with the possibility of mixing Adams and The Doctor!

Reading this book, Adams' hand in creating The Doctor has never been more clear! Of course his mind helped shape the Time Lord's personality! How could I never see it before! The Fourth Doctor could have been best friends with Arthur Dent!

This brings me a little further into the story behind this book. Shada was the episode they were working on when the BBC went on strike. The story line never came to an end. And while everyone was distraught over it, Tom Baker (the 4th Doctor) admitting they all cried at the loss, Adams couldn't help but be relieved. Because the story was not what he had wanted. He had been forced to leave things out, drop off whole lines of thought, characters appeared only to leave the plot with no explanation!

Enter Gareth Roberts. I don't know how he got the script, why he was asked to write this book, but I am eternally grateful he did. Gareth did an incredible job of capturing Adams's voice and writing a book that I could almost believe was written by the late author I so loved. Many times I found myself sinking into a place I hadn't since first reading Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. Other parts had me laughing out loud and wishing I could start up some episodes of the 4th Doctor because I definitely heard his voice in my head throughout the story.

Simply put this is such an awesome book. Perfectly told in the way of a Doctor Who episode. With all the humor, chaos, twists, and close calls one would expect to accompany The Doctor. So if you have ever read any of Douglas Adams' work and loved it, or seen an episode of Doctor Who and been enraptured, pick this book up. It is completely worth the read!

::EDIT:: I am marking the scheduled publish date on this for Feb. 29th so it will be listed on the Feb bracket, even though I didn't finish the book until March 15th.

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