The Doctor Who Book Club Podcast

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: 11:55 PM

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: 12:14 AM

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: 11:08 PM

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: 7:59 PM

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: 9:37 PM

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: 10:48 PM

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: 10:51 PM

We apologize for the lateness of November's episode, it being December and all, but real life and the holidays have just seemed to get the better of us last month.  Nevertheless, we're here to present our discussion on Lawrence Miles' Interference, Book Two.  From the back cover:

They call it the Dead Frontier.  It's as far from home as the human race ever went, the planet where mankind dumped the waste of its thousand year empire and left its culture out in the sun to rot.

But while one Doctor faces both his past and his future on the Frontier, another finds himself on Earth in 1996, where the seeds of the empire are only just being sown.  The past is meeting the present, cause is meeting effect, and the TARDIS crew is about to be caught in the crossfire.

The Third Doctor.  The Eighth Doctor.  Sam.  Fitz.  Sarah Jane Smith.  Soon, one of them will be dead; one of them will belong to the enemy; and one of them will be something less than human...

Clean up the dust, load your shotgun, and sit back and relax as we discuss Interference, Book Two

Be sure to look for us on Facebook, email us at, and follow us on Twitter via @dwbcpodcast.  You can also follow Erik via @sjcuaustenite and Sean via @tardistavern.

Direct download: DWBC_Episode_47_-_Interference_Book_Two.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:35 AM

We first read Lawrence Miles’ some time ago with Alien Bodies, then paid him a brief return visit with The Adventuress of Henrietta Street, and now we’re going to crack open the two-book story that became a turning point for many readers of the Eighth Doctor series: Interference, Books One and Two.

To keep things simple, we’re dedicating a single episode of the podcast to each book, so naturally this one will be about Interference: Book One.  From the back cover:

Five years ago, Sam Jones was just a schoolgirl from Shoreditch.  Of course, that was before she met up with the Doctor and discovered that her entire life had been stage-managed by a time-travelling voodoo cult.  Funny how things turn out, isn’t it?

Now Sam’s back in her own time, fighting the good fight in a world of political treachery, international subterfuge and good old-fashioned depravity.  But she’s about to learn the first great truth of the universe: that however corrupt and amoral your own race may be, there’s always someone in the galaxy who can make you look like a beginner.

Ms Jones has just become a minor player in a million-year-old power struggle…and, as it happens, so has the Doctor.

Both of him, actually.

The story features the Eighth Doctor, Sam, and Fitz, of course, but also brings back Sarah Jane Smith, 20 years old from when the Doctor dropped her off at the end of “The Hand of Fear”.  And, as the cover of the book promises, the Third Doctor will be making an appearance with his (younger) Sarah Jane Smith.

If all of this sounds a bit confusing, then buckle your seatbelts because, love it or hate it, Interference is one of the most polarizing stories in all of Doctor Who history.  So sit back, open the hotel room wet bar, and listen in as we discuss Interference: Book One by Lawrence Miles!

Feel free to 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_46_-_Interference_Book_One.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:56 PM

This month we dip our toes back into the proverbial Gareth Roberts pool with the New Adventure The Highest Science, featuring the Seventh Doctor and Professor Bernice Summerfield.  From the back cover:


Many legends speak of this world, home of an ancient empire destroyed by its own greatest achievement.  The Highest Science, the pinnacle of technological discovery.

When the TARDIS alerts the Doctor and Bernice to the presence of an enormous temporal fluctuation on a large, green, unremarkable planet, they are not to know of any connection with the legend.

But the connection is there, and it will lead them into conflict with the monstrous Chelonians, with their contempt for human parasites; into adventure with a group of youngsters whose musical taste has suddenly become dangerously significant; and will force them to face Sheldukher, the most wanted criminal in the galaxy.

You may remember Gareth Roberts from our review of the Missing Adventure The Well-Mannered War (also featuring the Chelonians, who made their first appearance here) and television episodes such as “The Lodger”, “Closing Time”, and the very recent “The Caretaker”.

So…without further ado, sit back, relax, grab a can of bubbleshake, and listen in as we discuss Gareth Roberts’ The Highest Science.

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

Direct download: Episode_45_The_Highest_Science.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:32 AM