The Doctor Who Book Club Podcast (general)
Episode 27: The Scarlet Empress

This March it’s all about Paul Magrs (pronounced “mars”, by the way).  That means we’re serving up a whopping dose of gin and tonics with The Scarlet Empress, the novel that introduced the world to Iris Wildthyme.  From the back cover:

Arriving on the almost impossibly ancient planet of Hyspero, a world where magic and danger walk hand in hand, the Doctor and Sam are caught up in a bizarre struggle for survival.

Hyspero has been ruled for thousands of years by the Scarlet Empresses, creatures of dangerous powers – powers that a member of the Doctor’s own race is keen to possess herself: the eccentric time traveller and philanderer known only as Iris Wildthyme.

As the real reason for Iris’s obsession becomes clear, the Doctor and Sam must embark on a perilous journey across deserts, mountains, forests and oceans.  Both friends and foes are found among spirts, djinns, alligator men and golden bears – but in a land where the magical is possible, is anything really as it seems?

Feel free to email us at dwbcpodcast@gmail.com and follow us Twitter via @dwbcpodcast.  Also, follow Erik via @sjcaustenite and Sean via @tardistavern.

Direct download: Episode_27_The_Scarlet_Empress.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:36pm CDT

Episode 26: White Darkness

February means Valentine’s Day, Gallifrey One, and, of course, zombies.  Without further ado, we’re proud as peaches to present our release for this month, White Darkness by David A. McIntee.  From the back cover:

‘We believe that death should always be a part of life.’

The Doctor’s last three visits to the scattered human colonies of the third millennium have not been entirely successful.  And now that Ace has rejoined him and Bernice, life on board the TARDIS is getting pretty stressful.  The Doctor yearns for a simpler time and place: Earth, the tropics, the early twentieth century.

The TARDIS lands in Haiti in the early years of the First World War.  And the Doctor, Bernice and Ace land in a murderous plot involving voodoo, violent death, Zombies and German spies.  And perhaps something else – something far, far worse.

In what has now become an annual tradition, this episode was recorded “live” at Gallifrey in Los Angeles with a special guest: longtime listener and co-host of The Doctor Who Podcast, Michele.

White Darkness is the first Doctor Who novel by David A. McIntee, who went on to write ten other novels, all in the different ranges of the series, including The Dark Path, which we reviewed back in Episode 8.  He also authored some Big Finish stories as well a few stories in the range of Star Trek novels.

And finally, thank you to Siobhan Gallichan of The DWO Whocast and The Flashing Blade podcast for providing this month’s reading.

You can email us at dwbcpodcast@gmail.com and follow us on Twitter via @dwbcpodcast.  Also follow Erik via @sjcaustenite and Sean via @tardistavern.

Direct download: Episode_26_White_Darkness.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:25pm CDT

Episode 25: The Ghosts of N-Space

It is, or it was (sorry, people, we’re two days late) January, and that means it’s time for another Virgin Missing Adventure.  This time around we discuss The Ghosts of N-Space by Barry Letts.  Yes, that’s the same Barry Letts who was the television program’s show runner during much of the Pertwee era.

True to form, Letts penned this little tale featuring his favorite cast of characters: the Third Doctor, Sarah Jane, and the Brigadier.  The novel is based on a radio play broadcast in 1995, a sequel to another play called The Paradise of Death.  The story is nestled between the television stories “Death to the Daleks” and “The Monster of Peladon”, a time during the series when the Doctor was permitted to travel freely in his TARDIS, although he remains earthbound in The Ghosts of N-Space.  From the back cover:

‘When the barrier gives way the planet will be flooded by all the evil in N-Space.  And, at the moment, I have no idea how to stop it.’

Sarah Jane Smith, on holiday with her chum Jeremy and a bad case of writer’s block, is amazed to find the Brigadier in the same part of Italy.  He is there to help a distant relative whose tiny island home has been threatened by American mobster Max Vilmio.

When the ghosts that haunt the island’s crumbling castle are joined by less benign spectres, the Brigadier summons the Doctor – who discovers that the whole of mankind is threatened by the plans of the ruthless Vilmio and his mysterious, hooded henchman.

This book was Letts’ first foray into writing a novel for Virgin, but it was not his last contribution to the wide range of Doctor Who original novels; in 2005 he published Island of Death, a BBC Past Doctors Adventure featuring, of course, the Third Doctor and Company.

Grab a nice Italian glass of red vino and sit back and relax as we review The Ghosts of N-Space!

Direct download: Episode_25_The_Ghosts_of_N-Space.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:06am CDT

Episode 24: The Time Travellers

For those of you that we’re sitting on the edges of your seat at the end of last month, waiting for December’s episode, we apologize that we’re a little behind.  Occasionally real life does get in the way, and busy holiday plans on both our parts forced us to release the December episode a few days into January.

This month we present a discussion of The Time Travellers by Simon Guerrier, a BBC Past Doctors adventure featuring the First Doctor, Susan, Barbara, and Ian.  From the back cover:

‘Have you ever thought what it’s like to be wanderers in the fourth dimension, to be exiles?’

24 June, 2006.  The TARDIS has landed in London.  Ian and Barbara are almost back home.  But this isn’t the city they knew.  This London is a ruin, torn apart by war.  A war that the British are losing.

With his friends mistaken for vagrants and sentenced to death, the Doctor is press-ganged into helping perfect a weapon that might just turn the tables in the war.  The British Army has discovered time travel.  And the consequences are already devastating.

What has happened to the world that Ian and Barbara once knew?  Hoe much of the experiment do the Doctor and Susan really understand?

And, despite all the Doctor has said to the contrary, is it actually possible to change history?

The Time Travellers was Simon Guerrier’s first novel, and most recently he has written the New Series Adventures The Slitheen Excursion and the acclaimed The Pirate Loop, both featuring the Tenth Doctor.  Aside from his work with the Doctor Who series, who also wrote novels for the shows Primevil and Being Human.

Questions?  Email us at dwbcpodcast@gmail.com.  Also catch us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter via @dwbcpodcast.  You can also follow Erik via @sjcaustenite and Sean via @tardistavern.

Direct download: Episode_24_The_Time_Travellers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:38pm CDT

Episode 23: City of the Dead

The 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.

Direct download: Episode_23_City_of_the_Dead.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:49am CDT

Episode 22: 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.

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.

Direct download: Episode_22_The_Pit.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:51am CDT

Episode 21: The Well-Mannered War

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.

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

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.

Direct download: Episode_21_The_Well-Mannered_War.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:25pm CDT

Episode 20: World Game

If you’re 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, 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?)

Catch us on Facebook, email us at dwbcpodcast@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter via @dwbcpodcast, follow Erik via @sjcaustenite, and follow Sean via @tardistavern.  Happy reading!

Direct download: Episode_20_World_Game.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:43am CDT

Episode 19: War of the Daleks

This month we bring you another John Peel selection, War of the Daleks, one of the earlier BBC Eighth Doctor selections.  From the back cover:

[Warning:  The back cover pretty much reveals the first half of the plot.  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.)

Please don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter via @dwbcpodcast.  Follow Erik via @sjcaustenite and Sean via @tardistavern.  Also, feel free to drop us a line at dwpcpodcast@gmail.com!

Direct download: Episode_19_War_of_the_Daleks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:28pm CDT

Episode 18: The Dying Days

This month we bring you yet another selection from Lance Parkin, this time a Virgin New Adventure: The Dying Days.  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.

Don’t forget to catch us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter via @dwbcpodcast.  Also follow Erik via @sjcaustenite and Sean via @tardistavern.

 

Direct download: Episode_18_The_Dying_Days.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:21pm CDT