The Doctor Who Book Club Podcast
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

Episode 8: The Infinity Doctors

August brings us The Infinity Doctors by Lance Parkin (ISBN: 0563-40591-0), quite an epic story which picks up the history of Gallifrey from where we left off in "The Deadly Assassin" and "Arc of Inifinity."  From the back cover:

"Sing about the past again, and sing that same old song.  Tell me what you know, so I can tell you that you're wrong."

Gallifrey.  The Doctor's home planet.  For twenty thousand centuries the Gallifreyans have been the most powerful race in the cosmos.  They have circumnavigated infinity and eternity, harnessed science and conquered death.  They are the Lords of Time, and have used their powers carefully.

But now a new force has been unleashed, one that is literally capable of anything.  It is enough to give even the Time Lords nightmares.  More than that: it is enough to destroy them.

It is one of their own.  Waiting for them at the end of the universe.

The Infinity Doctors, published in 1998, was BBC Book's release to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Doctor Who.  Author Lance Parkin has written a number of ground-breaking novels in the series, including the Eighth Doctor's final adventure, The Gallifrey Chronicles.

Thanks again for your lovely comments.  You can email us at dwbcpodcast@gmail.com (Erik takes the time to answer each and every email). follow us on Twitter via @dwbcpodcast, and follow Erik via @sjcaustenite and Sean via @tardistavern.


Direct download: Episode_8_The_Infinity_Doctors.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:15pm CDT

Episode 7: Legacy of the Daleks

What steamy summer read do we have set for July?  We're due for an BBC Eighth Doctor novel, and it's going to be Legacy of the Daleks by John Peel (ISBN: 0-563-40574-0), entry #10 in the Eighth Doctor series.  It features the return of Susan, the Daleks (duh!), and a certain other character from the television series who I shan't mention (spoilers!).  From the back cover:

England in the late 22nd century is slowly recovering from the devastation that followed the Daleks' invasion.  The Doctor's very first traveling companion -- his granddaughter, Susan -- is where he left her, helping to rebuild Earth for the survivors.  But danger still remains all around...

While searching for his lost companion, Sam, the Doctor finds himself in Domain London.  But it seems that Susan is now missing too, and his efforts to find her lead to confrontation with the ambitious Lord Haldoran, who is poised to take control of southern England through all-out war.  With the help of a sinister adviser, Haldoran's plans are already well advanced.  Power cables have been fed down a mineshaft, reactivating a mysterious old device of hideous power.  But has the Dalek presence on Earth really been wiped out?  Or are there still traps set for the unwary?

The Doctor learns to his cost once again that when dealing with the evil of the Daleks, nothing can be taken at face value...

Have you ever noticed that there are very few Dalek novels in the entire range of Doctor Who novels, from the Missing Adventures on?  As they are trademarks of the BBC, authors writing about them were legally obligated to pay a large portion of the book's proceeds to the BBC, so practically no one chose to write them.  John Peel, as a close friend to Terry Nation, elected to pick up the gauntlet and wrote both Legacy of the Daleks and War of the Daleks.  He also penned a number of Target novelizations of Dalek stories.  I also can't help but feel tickled that he wrote novels for the Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? series.  (Now good luck getting the theme song from the TV show out of your head.)

Thank you for all of your lovely comments on Twitter and iTunes, and feel free to email us at dwbcpodcast@gmail.com.  You can also follow us on Twitter via @dwbcpodcast.  Also, follow Erik via @sjcaustenite and Sean via @tardistavern.

Direct download: Legacy_of_the_Daleks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00pm CDT

Episode 6: Conundrum

Our June selection is Conundrum (ISBN: 0-426-20408-5), entry #22 from January 1994. This is a Virgin New Adventure by Steve Lyons featuring Ace and Bernice "Benny" Summerfield and a second encounter with the Land of Fiction, last seen in "The Mind Robber."* If you go here, you can read a prelude to the novel written by Lyons originally published in Doctor Who Magazine. From the back cover:

‘Doctor, we’re talking about an old man who used to dress up in a skintight white jump suit and fly around New York catching super-villains. Don’t you think there’s something just a bit unusual about that?'
 
A killer is stalking the streets of the village of Arandale. The victims are found one each day, drained of blood. And if that seems strange, it’s nothing compared to the town’s inhabitants.

The Doctor, Ace and Bernice think they’re investigating a murder mystery. But it’s all much more bizarre than that. And much more dangerous. 

Someone has interfered with the Doctor’s past again, and he’s landed in a place he knows he once destroyed. This time there can be no escape. 


We love "The Mind Robber," so we are totally, totally psyched to see what can be done with the concept of the Land of Fiction in the expanded parameters of a full-length novel. So, find a copy and read along, won't you?


*It's also the fourth book in the "Alternate Universe cycle," a continuing series of the New Adventures, but we don't think that will interfere with our enjoyment of it.

Thanks to everyone who's listening, and let us know what you think! You can send all feedback to dwbcpodcast@gmail.com, leave us a comment here, or catch us on Twitter: @dwbcpodcast, @tardistavern (Sean), or @sjcaustenite (Erik).

Direct download: Episode_6.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:15pm CDT

Episode 5: The Scales of Injustice

This is a Virgin Missing Adventure set between "Inferno" and "Terror of the Autons"* featuring the Third Doctor and Liz Shaw's second encounter with the Silurians...or homo reptilia, if you will. Plus, it's written by Gary Russell, so it looks like we're in for a bit of a treat.

'And what exactly, Doctor Shaw, do you think C19 does with the dead bodies of plastic dummies, reptile men, primordial throwbacks and all their human victims?'

A little boy goes missing; a policewoman begins drawing cave paintings; and the employees at the mysterious Glasshouse are desperate to keep everyone away — the Doctor suspects it's all down to a group of homo reptilia. His assistant, Liz Shaw, has ideas of her own and has teamed up with a journalist to search for people who don't exist.

While the Brigadier has to cope with UNIT funding, the breakdown of his marriage and Geneva's threats to replace him, the Doctor must find the reptiles alone.

And behind it all lies a conspiracy to exploit UNIT's achievements — a conspiracy reaching deep into the heart of the British Government.

We're big fans of Liz Shaw and the Silurians, so we're looking forward to diving into this tale. Join us, won't you?


*It's also set immediately after the VMA The Eye of the Giant, though I have no idea how important it is to know that.


That to everyone who's listening, and let us know what you think! You can send all feedback to dwbcpodcast@gmail.com, leave us a comment here, or catch us on Twitter: @dwbcpodcast, @tardistavern (Sean), or @sjcaustenite (Erik).

Direct download: Episode_5.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:28pm CDT

Episode 4: Empire of Death

For our April selection, our exacting scientific model has chosen Empire of Death by David Bishop! This novel is part of the BBC Past Doctor Adventure range and features the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, and a very special appearance by the ghost of Adric! Empire of Death (ISBN: 0-563-48615-5) was published in 2004 and is set between the televised stories "Timeflight" and "Arc of Infinity." From the cover:

In 1856, a boy discovers he can speak with the voices of the dead. He grows up to become one of England's most celebrated spiritualists.

In 1863 the British Empire is effectively without a leader. Queen Victoria is inconsolable with grief following the death of her beloved husband, Prince Albert. The monarch's last hope is a secret seance.

The Doctor and Nyssa are also coming to terms with loss following the death of Adric and Tegan's sudden departure. Trying to visit the Great Exhibition of 1851, the time travelers are shocked when a ghost appears in the TARDIS, beckoning them to the other side.

What is hidden in a drowned valley guarded by the British Army? Is there life after death and can it be reached by those still alive? And why is the Doctor so terrified of facing his own ghosts?

Well, if that doesn't make you want to read along with us, I don't know what can. So, find a copy, and get started!

Direct download: Episode_4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:32pm CDT