Reading: Lance Parkin, Lars Pearson — Ahistory: An Unauthorised History of the Doctor Who Universe

This has been on my reading pile for some time, and it’s also not really a book you read. For a start it breaches the heaviness barrier for comfortable falling-asleep-under; rather than a humourous plonk on the nose when on the nod, it breaks both wrists and goes for an eye-gouging. It’s probably the most massive book I have that is still book-ish and not ‘oversized’. It’s also a heroic endeavour of quasi-encyclopaedic form.

I tried reading it as a book, and, well imagine a hypothetical distant future, where humanity and all its contemporary traces ceased to exist, except for the discovery, Dead Sea Scrolls-like, of a tome purporting to be a genuine (though unauthorised!) history of the universe. And Bible/Koran/Torah-like within its first pages the birth of the universe is recorded:

The universe was created in a huge explosion known as the Big Bang … The Doctor claimed to have been an eye-witness at the origins of the universe … The evil force retained its sentience and spread its influence throughout time and space … One ship managed to travel to the dawn of creation … Monarch believed that he was God and would meet himself at the creation of the Universe … The Weeping Angels, also sometimes called the Lonely Assassins were as old as the universe … The Shadow, an agent of the Black Guardian, claimed to have been waiting since eternity begun …

I did a lot of skipping back and forth, reading the histories of the Daleks, Gallifrey, trying to piece together what I was reading into my memories of all the Doctor Whos I’ve seen – which is a reasonable amount: All of the new series, now finishing its 7th season; definitely some of the fourth and fifth Doctors, possibly some of the intervening ones also. It’s a book that assumes no small familiarity with the 50 years of television series, and knowing a bit of the radio plays and novels would be handy as well.

In comparison, my association with Doctor Who is quite minimal, so I did plenty of nodding and smiling and agreeing Lance Parkin and Lars Pearson know their subject and mostly I have no idea what they’re talking about. It was nice to dig up references to episodes I think I’ve seen, and see where they fit into the universe-spanning timeline they build the history around. Ahistory: An Unauthorised History of the Doctor Who Universe: very much one for devotees of the Doctor in all his regenerations, and probably one I’ll pull off the shelve periodically when I’m watching a new episode. I would like though – when I’ve shaved my reading list down somewhat – to find a work on the history both of Doctor Who and the people who made it.