The Doctor Who Book Club Podcast (general)
Episode 17: Cold Fusion

May 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!

Please join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter via @dwbcpodcast.  Also follow Erik via @sjcaustenite and Sean via @tardistavern.

Direct download: Episode_17_--_Cold_Fusion_by_Lance_Parkin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:39pm CDT

Special Episode: An Interview with "Who is the Doctor" Authors Graeme Burk and Robert Smith?

We interrupt our regular reviews of Doctor Who novels with an interview with Graeme Burk and Robert Smith?, authors of the recently released Who is the Doctor, an in-depth (and, wow, we mean really in-depth) assessment of the new series, from “Rose” all the way through to “The Wedding of River Song.”

In eight months, Graeme and Robert studied each and every story, taking notes on practically every aspect of the program, from those great punch-in-the-air moments to the awkward bits that don’t make much sense or, quite frankly, are just plain bad.  It all culminated in 421 pages of literary goodness that will inspire and delight.

Please enjoy our interview with these fine gentlemen as we discuss Who is the Doctor.  Also, remember to follow the podcast on Twitter via @dwbcpodcast, Erik via @sjcaustenite, Sean via @tardistavern, and Graeme Burk via @graemeburk.

Direct download: Special_Episode_Who_is_the_Doctor.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:58pm CDT

Episode 16: Business Unusual

This month it’s 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.

Direct download: Episode_16_Business_Unusual.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:56pm CDT

Episode 15: The Crooked World

As March closes, we are pleased -- and perhaps a bit giddy -- to present our review of The Crooked World by Steve Lyons (author of Conundrum, which we talked about back in Episode 6).  Before we begin to tell you exactly why we both want to have a common law marriage with Mr. Lyons, perhaps you should first read 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!

Please follow us on Twitter via @dwbcpodcast, follow Erik via @sjcaustenite, Sean via @tardistavern.  Also join us on Facebook!


Direct download: Episode_15_The_Crooked_World.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:21pm CDT

Episode 14: Love and War

February's episode is a very special one: we recorded during Gallifrey 23 with our good friend and listener Erika (known as @HollyGoDarkly on Twitter and the reader for our review of Alien Bodies).  The three of us crowded around a single microphone in a lonely hotel room whilst the party started gearing up in the lobby downstairs.  The topic: Love and War, the Virgin New Adventure by Paul Cornell.  And, yes...there is a bit of a dip in the audio quality in this episode, but it was well worth the result in quality.  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?

Please follow us on Twitter via @dwbcpodcast, follow Erik via @sjcaustenite, Sean via @tardistavern, and Erika via @HollyGoDarkly.  Also join us on Facebook!

Direct download: Episode_14_Love_and_War.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:03pm CDT

Episode 13: A Device of Death
January's review is A Device of Death by Christopher Bulis.  From the back cover:

'As a member of an inferior race, you either work to serve the cause of Averon, or die.'

Sarah is marooned on a slave world where the only escape is death.  Harry is caught in the middle of an interplanetary invasion, and has to combine medicine with a desperate mission.  And the Doctor lands on a world so secret it does not even have a name.

Why have the TARDIS crew been scattered across the stars?  What terrible accident could have wiped the Doctor's memory?  And what could interest the Time Lords in this war-torn sector of space?

At the heart of a star-spanning conspiracy lies an ancient quest: people have been making weapons since the dawn of time -- but perhaps someone has finally discovered the ultimate device of death.
A Device of Death is slotted nicely in between the television stories "Genesis of the Daleks" and "Revenge of the Cybermen," so presumably something goes haywire with the time ring provided to the Doctor and his friends.  (Fun fact: this is Erik's favorite period of the show, so he is particularly looking forward to this one.)
This episode will be the first in which we have a "repeat author"; we previously read Christopher Bulis' The Sorcerer's Apprentice for our first episode back in January of 2011, so in a way we've come full circle (yes, we've been doing this for a year, and we can hardly believe it ourselves).  Although The Sorcerer's Apprentice is perhaps Bulis' best-known work, he also penned four other Virgin Missing Adventures, one for BBC's Eighth Doctor range, and five for BBC's past Doctors range.
Thank you to those of you that have dedicated a year to listening to us, and we are looking forward to providing you with many more reviews in the year(s) to come.  In the meantime, grab a cup of tea, sit back in your easy chair, and immerse yourself in A Device of Death.
Direct download: Episode_13_A_Device_of_Death.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:16pm CDT

Episode 12: Atom Bomb Blues

Before Sean switched on his randomizer to pick this month's selection from the proverbial hat, he had to think back about whether or not the BBC provided any past Doctor novels involving Christmas.  Answer: They didn't.  So, for December we present Atom Bomb Blues by Andrew Cartmel.  From the back cover:

Los Alamos, New Mexico, 1945.  The Second World War is coming to its bloody conclusion, and in the American desert the race is on to build an atomic bomb.

The fate of the world is at stake -- in more ways than one.  Someone, or something, is trying to alter the course of history at this most delicate point.  And destroy the human race.  Posing as a nuclear scientist with Ace as his research assistant, the Doctor plays detective among the Manhattan Project scientists, while desperately trying to avoid falling under suspicion himself.

As the minutes tick away to the world's first atom bomb blast, the Doctor and Ace find themselves up to their necks in spies, aliens of the flying-saucer variety, and some very nasty saboteurs from another dimension...

Published in November, 2005, this novel is the final installment of the BBC's Past Doctor Adventures.  They had already begun releasing the New Series Adventures featuring the Ninth Doctor and Rose months earlier, something of a death toll for the Past Doctor and Eighth Doctor series.

Author Andrew Cartmel is best known as the shows script editor from seasons 24 through 26 and for spearheading the "Cartmel Master Plan," which would have come to fruition in season 27, had the show not been cancelled.  This would have involved peeling away much of the Doctor's mysterious persona and revealing much of his back story.  They had barely touched the tip of the iceberg in "Silver Nemesis" by dropping hints that the Doctor harbored some deep, dark secret.  This was continued in the Virgin New Series Adventures, particularly in the final Seventh Doctor installment, Marc Platt's Lungbarrow.

The BBC Past Doctor Adventures which feature the Seventh Doctor and Ace differ quite a lot from the Virgin New Adventures not just in the way they exclude characters like Roz and Chris (if one were to be a continuity hound, all of the Past Doctor Adventures would take place before all of the Virgin New Adventures), but they feature a Doctor and Ace who are less riddled with angst than we saw in a novel like Conundrum.

Direct download: Episode_12_Atom_Bomb_Blues.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:30pm CDT

Episode 11: Alien Bodies

For November, 2011, Erik has chosen the epic Alien Bodies by Lawrence Miles.  Few books have such a brilliant reputation than this one, so we're looking forward to next month's recording.  From the back cover:

On an island in the East Indies, in a lost city buried deep in the heart of the rainforest, agents of the most formidable powers in the galaxy are gathering. They have been invited there to bid for what could turn out to be the deadliest weapon ever created.


When the Doctor and Sam arrive in the city, the Time Lord soon realises they've walked into the middle of the strangest auction in history — and what's on sale to the highest bidder is something more horrifying than even the Doctor could have imagined, something that could change his life forever.

And just when it seems things can't get any worse, the Doctor finds out who else is on the guest list.

Alien Bodies is a milestone in the Eighth Doctor series because it introduces us to Faction Paradox, who became important later in the series.  And this is just our opinion, but ten will get you twenty that Steven Moffat has been inspired by this one.


Lawrence Miles also penned the Interference books for the BBC New Adventures and Christmas on a Rational Planet for the Virgin New Adventures, among others.  He has an infamous reputation in the fan community for being critical of the current series, but we really hope he doesn't burn any of his bridges: Alien Bodies could easily be an Eleventh Doctor story, and it could easily become the next Human Nature and find a slot in the series.

Please come and join us on Facebook follow us on twitter via @dwbcpodcastYou can also follow Erik via @sjcaustenite and Sean via @tardistavern.

Direct download: Episode_11_Alien_Bodies.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:32pm CDT

Episode 10: Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible

October's release, as our rotation of the series' dictates, will be a Virgin New Adventure chosen by Sean: Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible by Marc Platt (ISBN: 0-426-20365-8).  Here's the blurb from the back cover:

You're on your own, Ace.

The TARDIS is invaded by an alien presence, and is then destroyed.  The Doctor disappears.

Ace, lost and alone, finds herself in a bizarre deserted city ruled by the tyrannical, leach-like monster known as the Process.

Lost voyagers drawn forward from Ancient Gallifrey perform obsessive rituals in the ruins.


The strands of time are tangled in a cat's cradle of dimensions.

Only the Doctor can challenge the rule of the Process and restore the stolen Future.

But the Doctor was destroyed long ago, before Time began.

Hmm, sounds mysterious.

If Marc Platt sounds familiar, you likely know him as the author of the Seventh Doctor's televised serial, "Ghost Light."  He also penned the Seventh Doctor's final adventure of the Virgin line, Lungbarrow, and Big Finish's Spare Parts.  All that being said, we have some rather high expectations for this book.

Don't forget to follow the podcast on Twitter via @dwbcpodcast, or follow Erik via @sjcaustenite or Sean via @tardistavern.  Feel free to contact us at dwpcpodcast@gmail.com.

Direct download: Episode_10_Cats_Cradle_Times_Crucible.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:37pm CDT

Episode 9: The Dark Path

For September, we're back to more traditional fare with The Dark Path by David A. McIntee (ISBN: 0-426-20503-0), featuring the Second Doctor, Jamie, Victoria, and a certain returning villain who shall remain unnamed but will be apparent by glancing at the cover.  From the back cover:

"He's one of my own people, Victoria, and he's hunting me."

Darkheart: a faded neutron star surrounded by dead planets.  But there is life on one of these icy rocks -- the last enclave of the Earth Empire, frozen in the image of another time.  As the rest of the galaxy enjoys the fruits of the fledgling Federation, these isolated Imperials, bound to obey a forgotten ideal, harbour a dark obsession.

The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria arrive to find that the Federation has at last come to reintegrate this lost colony, whether they like it or not.  But all is not well in the Federation camp: relations and allegiances are changing.  The fierce Veltrochni -- angered by the murder of their kinsmen -- have an entirely different agenda.  And someone else is manipulating the mission for his own mysterious reasons -- another time traveller, a suave and assured master of his work.

The Doctor must uncover the terrible secret which brought the Empire to this desolate sector, and find the source of the strange power maintaining their society.  But can a Time Lord, facing the ultimate temptation, control his own desires?

Hmm, sounds sexy.

David A. McIntee is perhaps one of the most prolific writers of Doctor Who novels, with a total of 12 under his belt, including The Face of the Enemy, Bullet Time, and The Shadow of Weng-Chiang.  He has also penned two Big Finish releases.

Don't forget to follow the podcast on Twitter via @dwpcpodcast, or follow Erik via @sjcaustenite or Sean via @tardistavern.  Feel free to contact us at dwpcpodcast@gmail.com.

Direct download: Episode_9_The_Dark_Path.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:21pm CDT