The Doctor Who Book Club Podcast
Episode 57: Millennial Rites

Better late than never, we bring you our discussion of Millennial Rites by Craig Hinton, a Virgin Missing Adventure featuring the Sixth Doctor and Mel.  From the back cover:

'The millennium, Mel: the last New Year's Eve of the Twentieth Century.  But it's definitely not party time.'

England, 1999: the Doctor and Mel have come to London to celebrate the new year with old friends - and to heal old wounds.  But others are making more sinister preparation to usher in the new millennium.  A software house is about to run a program that will change the fabric of reality.  And an entity older than the universe is soon to be reborn.

When Anne Travers' fear of the Great Intelligence and millionaire philanthropist Ashley Chapel's secret researches combine, London is transformed into a dark and twisted mirror image populated by demons and sorcerers.  Only the Doctor can put things right, but his friends have also been shockingly changed and he cannot trust anybody - least of all himself.

Hinton has written a small handful of books for three different ranges of Doctor Who novels, and this is the first time we've read any of his work.  Fun Fact: he was the person to originally coin the term "fanwank", which he proudly used to describe his own work.

Pour yourself some very old scotch from a very old decanter and sit back and relax as we review Craig Hinton's Millennial Rites.

You can send us questions or comments to, follow Erik on Twitter @sjcaustenite and Sean @tardistavern.

Direct download: DWBC_Episode_57_-_Millenial_Rites.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:23pm CST

Episode 56: Relative Dementias

In this month's episode, we examine a BBC Past Adventure featuring the Seventh Doctor and Ace, Relative Dementias, by Mark Michalowski.  From the back cover:

'Do Time Lords get Alzheimer's disease?' asked Ace.  'Oh, we get far worse things than that, Ace.  The dementias that plague us are much, much older.'

Collecting his mail in the London of 2012, the Doctor and Ace are called through time to south-east Scotland to help out an old friend - an old friend who's vanished.  They find themselves at Graystairs, an Alzheimer's clinic and a place of healing, where the patients seem to be gaining a new lease of life.  But whose life is it?

Why is the Doctor so reluctant to reveal what happened in the TARDIS before their arrival?  Why are cats and dogs - not to mention people - disappearing?  Who is the shadowy figure stalking the Doctor and Ace?  And what is the secret of the mysterious Miss Chambers, whom no-one remembers meeting?

Soon the Doctor and Ace find out the hard way that actions have consequences - and that there's more than one kind of dementia.

Relative Dementias is set squarely between "Battlefield" and "Ghost Light".  Mark Michalowski, aside from a number of short stories for the Short Trips series and scripts for Big Finish in the Iris Wildthyme series, also wrote the BBC Eighth Doctor Adventure Halflife.

Grab a pint, sit back, and relax as we discuss Relative Dementias.

Have a question or comment for Erik or Sean?  You can email them at, follow them on Twitter @sjcaustenite and @tardistavern, as well as @dwbcpodcast.

Direct download: DWBC_Episode_56_-_Relative_Dementias.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:04pm CST

Episode 55: Vampire Science

After a month-long hiatus, we have returned with a discussion of Jonathan Blum and Kate Orman's Vampire Science, the second in the BBC series featuring the Eighth Doctor and Sam.  From the back cover:

In the days when the Time Lords were young, their war with the Vampires cost trillions of lives on countless worlds.  Now the Vampires have been sighted again, in San Francisco.

Some want to coexist with humans, using genetic engineering in a macabre experiment to find a new source of blood.  But some would rather go out in a blaze of glory - and UNIT's attempts to contain them could provoke another devestating war.

The Doctor strikes a dangerous bargain, but even he might not be able to keep the city from getting caught in the crossfire.  While he finds himself caught in a web of old feuds and high-tech scheme, his new companion Sam finds out just how deadly traveling with the Doctor can be.

Kate Orman wrote the Virgin New Adventure The Room with No Doors (for which her co-author and future husband Jonathan Blum was a contributor), and that's a tough act to follow based on our review.

Without further ado, sit back, relax, pour yourself a glass of synthetic blood, and listen in as we talk about Vampire Science.

You can "like" us on Facebook, email us at, and follow us on Twitter @dwbcpodcast.  You can also follow Erik @sjcaustenite and Sean @tardistavern.

Direct download: DWBC_Episode_55_-_Vampire_Science.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:33pm CST

Episode 54: Shakedown

Following up our discussion of Lords of the Storm, we read its sequel Shakedown by Terrance Dicks.  Shakedown was originally conceived as a short fan film featuring the Sontarans, a solar sailing crew, and one very evil Rutan.  Dicks eventually adapted it into this Virgin New Adventure, but faced the challenge of working with a Doctor Who-inspired script which actually doesn't feature the Doctor at all.  The result is a three-part novel with the original story sandwiched between two parts featuring the Doctor and his companions.  From the back cover:

'The Sontarans can never defeat us.  It is we who will win.'

For thousands of years the Sontaran clone-warriors and the Rustan gestalt have fought each other across the galaxy.  Now the Sontarans have a plan to strike at the heart of the Rutan Empire, and utterly defeat the Rutan race.

The Doctor has his suspicions, but only one Rutan spy knows the Sontarans' secret.  He is being pursued from planet to planet by Cwej and Forrester and by a Sontaran hit squad.  After a confrontation about the racing space-yacht  Tiger Moth, the chase culimates on the library planet Sentarion - where Professor Bernice Summerfield's researches into the history of the Sontaran/Rutan war turn into explosive reality.

Although Terrance Dicks is known primarily as the show's script editor and author of the Target novelizations, he has written a handful of novels for the different ranges, including The Eight Doctors and World Game, both of which we have discussed on earlier episodes.

So sit back and relax with a glass of rekkar (with a beer chaser) and listen in as we talk about Shakedown.

Email us at and follow us on Twitter via @dwbcpodcast.  You can also follow Erik via @sjcaustenite and Sean via @tardistavern.

Direct download: DWBC_Episode_54_-_Shakedown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:55pm CST

Episode 53: Lords of the Storm

2015 should be labeled "Two McIntees for the Price of One"; after our discussion of The Shadow of Weng-Chiang a few months ago, we set our sights on another Virgin Missing Adventure written by McIntee, Lords of the Storm, featuring the Fifth Doctor, Turlough, and the Sontarans.  From the back cover:

'They've been fighting this war for longer than man has been walking upright, and they don't take prisoners.'

The war between the Sontarans and the Rutans has been raging for millennia.  Billions have died and whole star systems have been obliterated in the conflict.  Now, finally, one side may have victory within its grasp.

The human colony world of Raghi is crucial to that victory.  When the Doctor and Turlough arrive there, they find a seemingly stable society ruled by a strict caste system.  But all is not as it seems.  Members of the lower caste are being struck down by a mysterious illness.  People are vanishing in their hundreds.  And strange objects have been observed oribiting the sun.

Why is Raghi so important to the feuding alien empires?  And how high a price will the galaxy pay if the conflict comes to an end?

Lords of the Storm is remarkable in that not only is it one of the few books to feature the Sontarans or Turlough, but is a prequel to the Virgin New Adventure Shakedown.  As part of a short arc, we will discussing Shakedown in Episode 54 next month.

Please email us feedback at and follow us on Twitter via @dwbcpodcast. You can also follow Erik via @sjcaustenite and Sean via @tardistavern.

Direct download: DWBC_Episode_53_-_Lords_of_the_Storm.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:14pm CST

Episode 52: The Witch Hunters

This month we take another look at the work of Steve Lyons; specifically, The Witch Hunters, a BBC Past Doctor Adventure featuring the First Doctor, Susan, Ian, and Barbara.  From the back cover:

The Reverend Samuel Parris, Minister of Salem, follows three strangers in the forest beyond the village - a forest which is traditionally believed to be the source of much evil.  He hears movement through the trees, steps forward and makes a terrible discovery.  It is one which will change life in Salem forever.

The TARDIS arrives in Salem Village, Massachusetts, 1692.  The Doctor wishes to effect repairs to his ship in peace and privacy, and so his companions - Ian, Barbara and Susan - decide to 'live history' for a week or so.  But the friendships they make are abruptly broken when the Doctor ushers them away, wary of being overtaken by the tragic events he knows will occur.

Upon learning the terrible truth of the Salem witch trials, Susan is desperate to return - at any price.  Her actions lead the TARDIS crew into terrinle jeopardy, and her latent telepathy threatens to help the tragedy escalate way out of control...

The Witch Hunters is one of only two purely historical adventures that we know of in any of the ranges (The Roundheads by Mark Gatiss being the other).  Although it was not his first published Doctor Who book, it was the first that Lyons wrote, and he kept it "on ice" until its publication in 1998.

Sit back with a nice pail of filthy prison drinking water and relax as we talk about The Witch Hunters!

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

Direct download: DWBC_Episode_52_-_The_Witch_Hunters.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:08pm CST

Episode 51: Longest Day

This month it's back to the BBC's Eighth Doctor Adventures range with Longest Day, written by Michael Collier.  From the back cover:

Its surface is ravaged by colliding time-fields, the planet Hirath is a patchwork of habitable areas separated by impenetrable zones of wild temporal fluctuation.

The planet's unique biosphere is being exploited by an uncaring company happy to rent out temporally isolated chunks of the planet to the highest bidder - no questions asked.  But the controlling computer seems to be malfunctioning, and the viability of the whole planet hangs in the balance - along with countless thousands of lives.

Arriving at Hirath's control base, the Doctor and Sam are soon separated and trapped on the dying planet.  While Sam becomes the focus of attention in a barren penal settlement, the Doctor discovers the secret of Hirath's unique condition - just as a race of hideous bloodthirsty alien creatures arrive in force to reclaim it.

Caught up in a desperate struggle for survival, it seems time has run out for every living creature on Hirath - not least Sam and the Doctor...

We've never read a novel by Collier before, more than likely because he's only penned one other book, the Eighth Doctor Adventure The Taint, which introduces Fitz.  To our knowledge, these are the only two novels that he has written.

So pour yourself a glass of narcomilk and sit back and relax as we review Michael Collier's Longest Day.

You can email us at, follow us on Twitter via @dwbcpodcast, and look for our page on Facebook.  You can also follow Erik on Twitter via @sjcaustenite and Sean via @tardistavern.

Direct download: DWBC_Episode_51_-_Longest_Day.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:59pm CST

Episode 50: Just War

For us it's hard to believe that we've made it to the big 50: that's 50 books we've read over the course of of about four years.  Coincidentally, our 50th episode occurred just at the perfect moment for an annual "live recording" at Gallifrey One and, per tradition, we asked a friend along to cohost.  This year we're happy to be joined by Felicity Kusinitz, who selected Lance Parkin's Just War, a Virgin New Adventure featuring the Seventh Doctor, Benny, Roz, and Chris.  From the back cover:

'Tomorrow belongs to us, not you.  If you were really from the future, Miss Summerfield, you would be a Nazi.'

March 1941: Britain's darkest hour.  The Nazis occupy British soil and British citizens are being deported to European concentration camps.  Six thousand people a month are dying in air raids on London.  The United States show no sign of entering the war.

According to the Doctor, this isn't a parallel universe, it isn't an alternate timeline, and everything is running according to schedule.  But now something, somewhere, has gone wrong.  The Nazis are building a secret weapon, one that will have a decisive effect on the outcome of the war.  Chris thinks it's a UFO, while Roz believes that the Luftwaffe have developed the largest bomber ever built.  Only Benny may have seen the mysterious craft - but she's disappeared off the face of the Earth.

Just War is Parkin's first novel, and he wrote it while studying for his MA in Post-War English Fiction.  This is his fourth novel that we've read by Parkin, the others being The Infinity Doctors, Cold Fusion, and The Dying Days.

Kick back, pour yourself a tall glass of German beer, and listen in as we discuss Lance Parkin's Just War.

You can follow us on Twitter via @dwbcpodcast, email us at, and also look for us on Facebook.  Also feel free to follow Erik via @sjcaustenite and Sean via @tardistavern.

Direct download: DWBC_Episode_50_-_Just_War.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:37pm CST

We've dipped our toes into the works of David A. McIntee previously with White Darkness and The Dark Path, and we've returned to the pool with The Shadow of Weng-Chiang which, as one would guess, is a sequel to the televized story "The Talons of Weng-Chiang".  From the back cover:

'They say that a journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step.  If I'm right, then a journey of a thousand miles will take but a single step.'

The search for the fourth segment of the Key to Time brings the TARDIS to 1930s Shanghai: a dark and shadowy world, riven by conflict and threatened by the expansion of the Japanese Empire.  Meanwhile, the savage Tongs pursue their own mysterious agenda in the city's illegal clubs and opium dens.

Manipulated by an elusive foe, the Doctor is obliged to follow the Dragon Path - the side-effect of a disastrous experiment in the far future.

But would two segments of the Key be on the same planet?  Is the Black Guardian behind the dark schemes of the beautiful Hsien-Ko?  And who is the small child who always accompanies her?

As the bck cover suggests, this story is sandwiched between "The Stones of Blood" and "The Androids of Tara" and, to our knowledge, is the only book in the four series that we cover featuring Romana I.  The facts that it's a sequel to a popular story and that it takes place during the Key to Time quest make this an intriguing entry in our little library.  So sit back, pour yourself some tea, and listen in as we discuss The Shadow of Weng-Chiang.

Look for us on Facebook, send us email at, and follow us on Twitter via @dwbcpodcast.  You can also follow Erik on Twitter via @sjcaustenite and Sean via @tardistavern.

Direct download: DWBC_Episode_49_-_The_Shadow_of_Weng-Chiang.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:48pm CST

Episode 48: The Murder Game

We generally take on a Steve Lyons book every once in a while and, perhaps to clear the air after the controversy that was stirred with Time of Your Life, we've taken another look at a Lyons novel, and this time it's The Murder Game, a BBC Past Doctor adventure featuring the Second Doctor, Ben, and Polly.  From the back cover:

The faded glamour of a hotel in space, spinning in an all-but-forgotten orbit round the Earth, is host to some unusual visitors this weekend - including a party that claim to travel in a battered blue police box...

It is the year 2146.  Answering a distress call from the dilapitated Hotel Galaxian, the TARDIS crew discover a games enthusiast is using the hotel to host a murder-mystery weekend.  But it seems someone from his motley group of guests is taking things a little too seriously.

While the Doctor, Ben, and Polly find themselves joining in the shadowplay, it becomes clear that a real-life murderer is stalking the dark, disused corridors of the Galaxian.  But worse than this: there's a sinister force waiting silently in space for events to unfold.  A terrible secret is hidden on board the Galaxian, and if it is discovered nothing - least of all murder - will ever be the same again.  If this is a game, the stakes just got higher.

Set between "The Power of the Daleks" and "The Highlanders", The Murder Game was the second in the BBC Past Doctors series.  It's also the unofficial first appearance of the sonic screwdriver (or rather its prototype).

Sit back, pour yourself some bitter beer, and listen in as we discuss Steve Lyons' The Murder Game.

Direct download: DWBC_Episode_48_-_The_Murder_Game.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:51pm CST