A podcast exploring the written worlds of Doctor Who...

Monday, December 3, 2012

The City of the Dead

You can download and listen to our latest discussion right hereThe penultimate month of 2012 (because we love any chance to use the word “penultimate”) brings us City of the Dead by Lloyd Rose, an Eighth Doctor BBC Books novel.  This was Rose’s first novel, before which she wrote for Homicide: Life on the Street.  After the success of City of the Dead, she was asked to return for the Eighth Doctor series with Camera Obscura and for the Algebra of Ice, featuring the Seventh Doctor, Ace, and the Brigadier.

From the back cover:

‘Nothing can get into the TARDIS,’ the Doctor whispered.  Then he realized that Nothing had.

New Orleans, the early 21st century.  A dealer in morbid artefacts has been murdered.  A charm carved from human bone is missing.  An old plantation, miles from any water, has been destroyed by a tidal wave.

Anji goes dancing.  Fitz goes grave-robbing.  The Doctor attracts the interest of a homicide detective and the enmity of a would-be magician.  He wants to find out the secret of the redneck thief and his blind wife.  He’d like to help the crippled curator of a museum of magic.  He’s trying to refuse politely the request of a crazy young artist that he pose naked with the man’s wife.

Most of all, he needs to figure out what all of them have to do with the Void that is hunting him down.
Before it catches him.

Voodoo, hoodoo, and mystery abound in this month’s selection, which is bound to go down a lot easier than last month’s.  Be sure to grab a (cheap) copy and sit back and relax as we discuss The City of the Dead.

Please don’t forget to check us out on Facebook, email us at dwbcpodcast@gmail.com, and follow us on Twitter via @dwbcpodcast.  Also, feel free to follow Erik via @sjcaustenite and Sean via @tardistavern.

Fun links:

The City of the Dead on Amazon.  (You can afford it!)
Reviews on the Doctor Who Ratings Guide.
Synopsis on The Doctor Who Reference Guide.  (Spoilers, sweetie!)
Lloyd Rose's Wikipedia page.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Pit

To celebrate Halloween, 2012, we discuss the mind-blowing and arguably frightening Virgin New Adventure, The Pit by Neil Penswick.  From the back cover:

For two weeks now it has been the same message again and again, and it’s getting stranger; death and destruction, the end of all things, ARMAGEDDON.

In an attempt to lift the Doctor out of his irritable and erratic mood, Bernice suggests he investigates the mystery of the Seven Planets – an entire planetary system that disappeared without trace several decades before Bernice was born.

One of the Seven Planets is a nameless giant, quarantined against all intruders.  But when the TARDIS materializes, it becomes clear that the planet has other visitors: a hit-squad of killer androids; a trespassing scientist and his wife; and two shape-changing criminals with their team of slaves.

As riot and anarchy spread on the system’s colonized worlds, the Doctor is flung into another universe while Bernice closes in on the horror that is about to be unleashed – a horror that comes from a terrible secret in the Time Lords’ past.

If you’re wondering who Neil Penswick is, then you’re not alone; this novel was his single contribution to Doctor Who canon.  It was only after a little hunting that we were able to track down an interview with him (see the link on our blog page).  To the best of our knowledge, he’s currently working in an office, so when it all comes down to it he has one up on me, as I’ve never even tried to publish a novel.

Fun links:

"The Pit" on Amazon.  (Yep, it's cheap!)
A detailed synopsis at The Doctor Reference Guide.  (Spoilers, sweetie!)
The Doctor Who Ratings Guide regarding "The Pit".
An interview with Neil Penswick.  (Source unknown.)

Email us at dwbcpodcast@gmail.com, join us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter via @dwbcpodcast.  You can also follow Erik via @sjcaustenite and Sean via @tardistavern.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Well-Mannered War

Our review of Terrance Dicks' World Game has been available and can be downloaded here.

This month we bring you our discussion of the Virgin Missing Adventure The Well-Mannered War by Gareth Roberts, author of two other Missing Adventures, The Romance of Crime  and The English Way of Death, as well as the screenwriter for the television episodes “The Shakespeare Code”, “The Unicorn and the Wasp”, “The Lodger”, and “Closing Time”.  From the back cover:

‘Destroy them!  Destroy them all – now!”

Barclow – an Earth-type planet on the fringes of space at an inestimably distant point in the future.  Two factions have laid claim to it: humans from the nearby colony world of Metralubit, and a small group of Chelonian troopers.  But in nearly two hundred years of conflict not one shot has been fired in anger, there are regular socials in the trenches, and the military commanders are the best of friends.

The Doctor, Romana, and K-9, arriving in the midst of these bizarre hostilities, find there’s real trouble to come.  A crucial election on Metralubit is looming, and K-9 is forced to begin a new career as a politician.  Meanwhile, Romana meets an old friend and the Doctor discovers that a sinister hidden force may be attempting to alter the war’s friendly nature.

What are the plans of Galatea, leader of the beautiful but robotic Femdroids?  Who is killing soldiers on both sides of the battle lines?  And will K-9’s oratory save the day?

Just what is going on?

The “old friend” mentioned above happens to be Menlove Stokes, who previously appeared in Roberts’ The Romance of Crime.  The Well-Mannered War is notable because it is the last of the Virgin Missing Adventures, published in 1997 as the BBC was preparing to publish its own series of novels featuring past Doctors and an entirely new series with the Eighth Doctor to replace Virgin’s New Adventures.

Special thanks go to Laura of The Ood Cast for doing this month's reading!

Pour yourself a tankard of Chelonian grog and sit back and relax as we discuss The Well-Mannered War!

Next month, keep a ear out for our review of the Virgin New Adventure The Pit, by Neil Penswick.

Fun links:

The Well-Mannered War at the Doctor Who Reference Guide.  (Spoilers, sweetie!)
The Well-Mannered War on Amazon.  (Yikes, it's expensive!)
Gareth Roberts' entry on Wikipedia.

Check us out on Facebook, follow us on Twitter via @dwbcpodcast, and email us at dwbcpodcast@gmail.com.  Plus, be sure to follow Erik on Twitter via @sjcaustenite and Sean via @tardistavern.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The War Games, Part 2?

You can listen to our discussion of John Peel's War of the Daleks by downloading it here.  If your looking for the tasty-goodness of a BBC Past Adventure, then you needn't wait much longer, as our next selection is World Game, a Second Doctor adventure by Terrance Dicks.  From the back cover:

The Doctor has been captured and put on trial by his own people -- accused of their greatest crime: interfering with the affairs of other peoples and planets.  He is sentenced to exile on Earth.  That much is history.  But now the truth can be told -- the Doctor did not go straight into exile.  First the Time Lords have a task for him.

From the trenches of the Great War to the terrors of the French Revolution, the Doctor finds himself on a mission he does not want with a companion he does not like, his life threatened at every turn.  Will the Doctor survive to serve his sentence?  Or will this adventure prove to be his Waterloo?

Regardless of what you think of Terrance Dicks' talent as a writer (listen to our review of his The Eight Doctors here), you have to admit that this one sounds pretty compelling.  World Game is slotted nicely between "The War Games" and "Spearhead from Space", a moment in Doctor Who history some fans refer to as "Season 6B", a period created from the fallout over debates about exactly when "The Two Doctors" took place.  (Jamie never travels alone with the Doctor, yet they do in "The Two Doctors"...so when in the name of canon did that story take place?)

Grab a copy of World Game and join us near the end of August!

Fun links:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Revisitation of the Daleks

As usual, our latest episode -- that being a review of Lance Parkin's The Dying Days -- can now be found here for those of you that haven't downloaded it yet.

Keep a beady ear peeled for late July when we revisit the Daleks with John Peel's War of the Daleks.  From the back cover:

[Warning:  The back cover pretty much reveals the entire plot about halfway through the book.  We're including it here just because we don't want to break precedent.  However, we recommend that if you wish to remain spoiler-free, jump past the italicized text below.]

The Doctor is repairing the TARDIS systems once again when it is swept up by a garbage ship roving through space, the Quetzel.

When another ship approaches and takes the Quetzel by force, the Doctor discovers that he and Sam are not the only unwitting travellers on board -- there is a strangely familiar survival pod in the hold.  Delani, the captain of the second ship, orders the pod to be opened.  The Doctor is powerless to intervene as Davros is awakened once again.

But this is no out-and-out rescue of Davros.  Delani and his crew are Thals, the sworn enemies of the Daleks.  They intend to use Davros as a means to wipe out the Daleks, finally ridding the universe of the most aggressive, deadly race ever to exist.  But the Doctor is still worried.  For there is a signal beacon inside the pod, and even now a Dalek ship is closing in...

You may remember when we reviewed John Peel's second Dalek novel, Legacy of the Daleks, back in Episode 7.  If your memory doesn't cheat, you probably know that we don't have very high expectations of this month's entry, but it's important in that it's (1) the first original Dalek novel to be published since the television series was canceled in 1989 and (2) assuming you believe the novels are canon, it's a gigantic game-changer for the history of the Daleks (listen to our upcoming podcast for more details).  Legacy of the Daleks followed it, and the BBC never again published a Dalek story for either the Eighth Doctor or Past Adventures ranges.  (Some Dalek stories have been published in the New Series Adventures, such as Prisoner of the Daleks and I am a Dalek.)

Fun links:

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Back to Lance Parkin: The Dying Days

Our review of Lance Parkin's Cold Fusion can now be downloaded here.  It's time to review another Virgin New Adventure, and we've chosen The Dying Days by...well, by Lance Parkin again.

From the back cover:

6 May 1997
The Dying Days of the Twentieth Century

On the Mare Sirenum, British astronauts are walking on the surface of Mars for the first time in over twenty years.  The National Space Museum in London is the venue for a spectacular event where the great and the good celebrate a unique British achievement.
In Ardisham, Kent, the most dangerous man in Britain has escaped from custody while being transported by helicopter.  In Whitehall, the new Home Secretary is convinced that there is a plot brewing to overthrow the government.  In west London, MI5 agents shut down a publishing company that got too close to the top secret organisation known as UNIT.  And, on a state visit to Washington, the Prime Minister prepares to make a crucial speech, totally unaware that dark forces are working against him.
As the eighth Doctor and Professor Bernice Summerfield discover, all these events are connected.  However, soon all will be overshadowed.

This time, the Doctor is already too late.

The novel is unique in that it is the final Virgin New Adventure before they lost their license to publish Doctor Who books.  It's doubly unique in that it is the only New Adventure featuring the Eighth Doctor, so it's a respite from the machinations and manipulations of Doctor Seven.

This is the third novel we've read by Lance Parkin (The Infinity Doctors and, of course more recently, Cold Fusion), and we both agree that he's an ambitious writer.  We're looking forward to see what he can do with a story that is, on its face, not dissimilar to a Torchwood episode.  Grab a copy if you can and join us in a few days time when we sit down to discuss The Dying Days.
Fun links:

The Doctor Who Reference Guide  (Spoilers, sweetie!)
"The Dying Days" on Amazon  (Wow, that's expensive!)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Winter in April: Cold Fusion

Our review of Gary Russell's Business Unusual is now available here.  Special thanks to our friend Charlie Paulson for providing last month's reading.

April brings us snowstorms, Adric, Nyssa, Tegan, the Fifth Doctor, and the Seventh Doctor in Lance Parkin's Cold Fusion, one of the later installments in Virgin's Missing Adventures series.  From the back cover:

'The entire universe is at stake and I'm locked in here with another incarnation of myself, and not even one of the good ones.'

More than one TARDIS lands on a barren ice world.  The fifth Doctor, Adric, Nyssa and Tegan find a once ordered society on the verge of collapse, as rebels wage a dirty war with Scientifica, the ruling elite.  All that stands between order and anarchy is the massed presence of an Adjudicator peacekeeping force.
But is peace the only reason for the Adjudicator garrison?  What exactly has been discovered deep beneath the planet's surface?  Who are the mysterious Ferutu?  And why is telling a ghost story a criminal offense?

The fifth Doctor sides with the cause of justice and fairness as always.  But, as a threat to the universe unfolds, he finds himself in conflict with his past...and his future.

For continuity buffs, this story takes place between the television stories "Castrovalva" and "Four to Doomsday" and between the New Adventures Return of the Living Dad and The Death of Art.  The back cover text seems to skirt around the fact that the Seventh Doctor and his friends are present in this story, but anything that is blatantly obvious by glancing at the front cover shouldn't be considered a spoiler.
We previously reviewed a Lance Parkin's The Infinity Doctors back in Episode 8.  It can't be argued that Parkin is an ambitious author, and hopefully Cold Fusion will not disappoint.  So sit back and enjoy!

Fun Links:

"Cold Fusion" on Amazon  (Wow, that's rich!)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Business Unusual in April

Our sparkling review of Steve Lyons' The Crooked World can now be found here.  Thank you to James of The Doctor Who Podcast for providing a wonderful reading of the opening passage.

Within days (yes, this posting is going up rather late, and I apologize to those of you sitting on the edge of your seats) we will be posting the review of April's selection, which is Business Unusual by Gary Russell.  From the back cover:

A security force with no official identity... a managing director with no name... a sinister creature on guard patrol resembling some kind of hellhound... SeneNet is no ordinary multinational company...
The Doctor arrives in Brighton, 1989, traveling alone. He soon discovers his old friend, the Brigadier, has gone missing investigating SeneNet, whose new interactive games console is soon to be released at an absurdly reasonable price. He was last seen at their headquarters — based in the picturesque Ashdown Forest...

Investigating further, the Doctor becomes more and more entangled in a deadly web of intrigue. Together with Mel, a plucky computer programmer from Pease Pottage, the Doctor must overcome the conspiracy of silence, rescue the Brigadier and save the world once again — something that would be a lot easier if he just know where to start...

This novel is of note for a couple of reasons.  First, as you can likely tell from the back cover, it is the first appearance of Mel Bush, whose first meeting with the Doctor was (cleverly) overlooked in the television series.

Second, this is a sequel to the Virgin Missing Adventure The Scales of Injustice, also by Gary Russell.  We talked about Scales way back in Episode 5, so you might like to take a gander at that before you listen to our review of Business Unusual.

Third, this novel, like its prequel, features the return of one of Doctor Who's recurring monsters.  We won't tell you which, but if you go back and read the back cover very, very carefully you'll likely figure it out.

So quick!  Grab Business Unusual and watch this spot for its release within a week or so.  My crystal ball tells me this might be another polarizing episode, but I've been proven wrong in the past.

Fun links:

The Doctor Who Reference Guide (Spoilers abound!)
Our review of The Scales of Injustice

Friday, March 2, 2012

For March: The Crooked World

Our polarizing review of Paul Cornell's Love and War can be found here.  Many thanks to Deb Standish of Chicks Dig Time Lords fame for doing our February reading.  Also a big thanks to Erika for participating in our recording and watching Erik and Sean clash horns.

This month we will be reading The Crooked World by Steve Lyons.  From the back cover:

The people of the Crooked World lead an idyllic existence.

Take Streaky Bacon, for example. This jovial farmer wants nothing more from life than a huge blunderbuss, with which he can blast away at his crop-stealing nemesis.  And then there's Angel Falls, a racing driver with a string of victories to her name. Sure, her trusted guardian might occasionally put on a mask and menace her for her prize money, but that's just life, right? And for Jasper the cat, nothing could be more pleasant than a nice, long nap in his kitchen — so long as that darn mouse doesn't jam his tail into the plug socket again

But somebody is about to shatter all those lives. Somebody is about to change everything — and it's possible that no one on the Crooked World will ever be happy again.

The Doctor's TARDIS is about to arrive. And when it does... That's all folks!

Wow.  Just wow.  When this one came out back in 2002, I (that being Sean) took one glance at the back cover and said, "I'm not reading this!  They need to file this away in the 'WTF Were They Thinking' drawer!"  But I've mellowed since then, and I've read many more Doctor Who novels -- some very good, some worthy of the dung heap -- and now I can say I'm really looking forward to this.  (I know, I know, I've said it before and proved myself wrong.)

Another plus is that it's written by Steve Lyons, who holds the special claim of being "Sean's Favorite Doctor Who Writer of All Time" (sorry, Gareth Roberts).  We've already read and loved Conundrum, and then there's Time of Your Life (violence!), The Witch Hunters (tear-jerking!), The Murder Game (murder mystery party!), and many more.  I could go on and on about how I would like to enter into a common law marriage with the man and how I'd love to buy him a drink, but it looks like it will never happen what with the court order.

Until you hear us next, please kick back and enjoy (hopefully) The Crooked World.

Fun links:

Steve Lyons' Wikipedia Entry
The Doctor Who Reference Guide  (Spoilers, sweetie!)
The Doctor Who Reprint Society
Cats in Sinks!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

For February: Love and War (at Gallifrey!)

Our latest episode, a review of Christopher Bulis' A Device of Death is now available for downloading.  As February rolls in and the time has come to read another Virgin New Adventure, Erik has chosen Paul Cornell's Love and War.  From the back cover:

On a planet called Heaven, all hell is breaking loose.

Heaven is a paradise for both humans and Draconians -- a place of rest in more ways than one.  The Doctor comes here on a trivial mission -- to find a book, or so he says -- and Ace, wandering alone in the city, becomes involved with a charismatic Traveller called Jan.

But the Doctor is strenuously opposed to the romance.  What is he trying to prevent?  Is he planning some more deadly game connected with the mysterious objects causing the military forces of Heaven such concern?

Archaeologist Bernice Summerfield thinks so.  Her destiny is inextricably linked with that of the Doctor, but even she may not be able to save Ace from the Time Lord's plans.

This time, has the Doctor gone too far?

Good old McCoy and his Machiavellian schemes.

This year marks the 20-year anniversary of Professor Benny Summerfield, possibly the most popular companion in Doctor Who's literary form.  She became so popular, in fact, that after publishing its last New Adventure featuring the Doctor, The Dying Days, Virgin released a series of novels featuring Benny as the lead character.  This eventually spawned a range of Big Finish audio adventures as well.  (Although, if that is indeed her on the cover, her fashion choices are a bit questionable.)

Nary a fan has never heard of Paul Cornell.  Although Love and War is one of his most popular books, he's probably best known for authoring the Virgin New Adventure Human Nature, which eventually became an installment in the fourth series of the television show with the Tenth Doctor.  Cornell has written nine New Adventures (four of which were for the Benny Summerfield range), one Missing Adventure, one Eighth Doctor novel, and a Past Doctor novel based on the BBC's animated short, Scream of the Shalka.

Episode 14 marks a special occasion, as Erik and Sean will be recording in person at Gallifrey One in February.  (Also, look forward to a tentative special guest...no, not Paul Cornell.)  If you are there and see us, don't be afraid to come up and say hello.  We really are a couple of splendid fellows.  Also join our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter via @dwbcpodcast, or email us at dwbcpodcast@gmail.com (Erik personally answers each and every email while Sean shuns email like a red-headed stepchild).

Fun links:

Love and War on Amazon  (Hey, it's affordable!)