The Doctor Who Book Club Podcast
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, 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  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" when in the name of canon did that story take place?)

Catch us on Facebook, email us at, 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!

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

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