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Doctor Who Reading Advice

April 5, 2010

Recently I’ve been reading at a much slower pace than usual, due to some annoyingly sore eyes, but I’m now over halfway through Paul Magrs‘s wonderful, crazed Eighth Doctor novel, The Scarlet Empress. I’m loving every minute of it, and I’ll write about it properly when I’ve finished it. It’s the first EDA that I’ve read, even though I own nearly all of them (such is the life of a completist). I’ve read lots of PDAs and MAs in my time, but I’ve always been wary of the EDAs for some reason. I was the same with the Virgin NAs. I’m not sure where this trepidation comes from, really. I suspect it has something to do with a fear of continuity and commitment – a worry that I won’t be able to enjoy dipping into the books because I should have read book X, Y or Z first. I don’t like the idea of having to plough through every single book in order, sticking out the installments I’m not enjoying, just in case there’s a fact or scene contained within that will be pivotal to what happens in another three book’s time.

But reading The Scarlet Empress has got me wondering. Am I right? I’ve been able to jump right in with Empress, and I’m wondering now whether my initial fears about the range are unfounded. I’d like to read some more. I’m eyeing up The Bodysnatchers at the moment, partly because of the setting, partly because of the Zygons, and partly, well – because it’s written by Mark Morris, and I know he’s great.

But what else should I be reading? Are there other EDAs I can simply pick up, read and enjoy, without worrying too much about the bits I’ve missed? Or should I just bite the bullet and start at the start? All suggestions/thoughts on the matter welcome!

11 Comments leave one →
  1. April 5, 2010 11:55 am

    Heyup – nice site. WordPress is incredibly useful, isn’t it? Can’t speak for the novels, but I’ve just enjoyed a trek through the Big Finish EDAs (the ones with McGann and Sheriden Smith), which includes some excellent Magrs scripts. Worth a look.

  2. April 5, 2010 12:03 pm

    Hi Richard

    Thanks. The site’s getting there. Soon it’ll have a couple of static pages, too, with information about my novels and a couple of downloadable short stories, should people be interested.

    I’ve heard most of the earlier Big Finish EDAs and the first season with Sheridan Smith, but I’ve fallen behind. Probably time I subscribed!


  3. Ross O'Brien permalink
    April 5, 2010 12:04 pm

    Richard: those aren’t the Eighth Doctor Adventures he means… the ones with Sheridan Smith would be some of the latest Big Finish Audios. The EDAs were the novels produced after the ’96 TV movie, right up until about when the 2005 series aired.

    George: I’ve read the first forty-seven novels of that series (oddly enough, that’s probably the exact number) and the only reason I haven’t read the rest is because the collection belonged to a friend at university. I think they’re worth working through in series, because they are an ongoing series (companion continuity, and all) but the first one I’d definitely recommend is Alien Bodies, which would be #6. There’s a small arc around the #8-11 mark, a new companion at I think #17, you don’t want to skip Unnatural History or Interference, at which point everything changes again. I get into spoiler territory if I explain further…

  4. April 5, 2010 12:59 pm

    I’ll second Alien Bodies – a fabulous book and the only one in the series to even approach Paul M and Jeremy Hoad”s phenomonal ‘The Blue Angel’. I liked ‘The Bodysnatchers’, whcih is far more traditional than either Alien Bodies or anything by Paul. ‘Vampire Science’ is also excellent and, though I haven’t read them, the arc where the Doctor is trapped on Earth (running for the half dozen books after ‘The Ancestor Cell’) seem to garner almost entirely positive reviews.

  5. April 5, 2010 1:12 pm

    Thanks, chaps.

    Vampire Science is the second book, isn’t it? And The Bodysnatchers the third. Is it best to skip The Eight Doctors, then?

  6. April 5, 2010 1:22 pm

    The Eight Doctors is fairly missable, yeah. Just a series of vignettes (a couple quite effective, granted) of the newly regenerated 8th Doctor visiting his previous selves.

  7. April 5, 2010 2:26 pm

    Hi George,

    Definitely books like Vampire Science, Body Snatchers, Genocide and Alien Bodies are worth taking a look at. They get a bit samey and unexciting for a while but pick up again with Lawrence Miles’ Interference Books 1 & 2, and into the Earth Arc saga which starts with The Burning and ends with Escape Velocity, they deal with The Doctor wandering through Earth’s history without his memory. It was meant as a reset for new readers to jump on board the series. After that they’ll all pretty much worth reading.

  8. April 5, 2010 3:21 pm

    Excellent reviews of all the 8das, I think, here…

  9. April 5, 2010 5:28 pm

    I don’t think there are any story arcs between the books so rigid that you would have to read them in order for them to make sense. Jump around picking ones that you feel like. Of the EDAs, all of Dr Magrs’ ones are great, as are the two by Lloyd Rose.

  10. April 5, 2010 8:20 pm

    As others have said, Alien Bodies, for sure. Magnificent.

  11. July 5, 2010 12:25 am

    Hi guys, I’m a big fan of the EDAs and have been slowly turning them into audiobooks (audio presentations, more correctly, complete with music and sound effects.) I have completed the first three novels, Eight Doctors, Vampire Science and The Bodysnatchers, all of which are available to either listen to or download from blogsite:

    The quality has improved on them as I have progressed, as I become more proficient with the audio editing software.

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