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A Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Doctor Who Galaxy, A review of Whoniverse by Lance Parkin

Christmas is not too far away and “Whoniverse” by Lance Parkin is a wonderful book to give to a Whovian.
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Having compared this book to the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to The Galaxy, I should point out immediately the section on Earth consists of a lot more that “Mosty Harmless”.

Each subject in the book has a History section. Most have a Behind The Scenes section, a Fact File [referring to stories relating to the subject] and a Timeline but when they don’t, there is usually a stunning piece of art.

There are footnotes tying into the History section relating to the sources of the text. One of the great things about this book (which enhances it compared to some of the official titles) is that the sources of reference encompass more than the television show. The TV series is where the majority of the information is sourced from but there are references to comic strips, novels, novellas, short stories, audio adventures, video games and stage plays. This will hopefully open doors for you to find some amazing Doctor Who stories you may not have experienced before. Some of the stories may even help you appreciate a TV story more by giving it some additional layers.

So join me on my guide to Lance Parkin‘s guide to the Whoniverse.

Section One: The Universe

The best place to start is the beginning and the first section relates to the Big Bang (or Event One as the Time Lords have named it) accompanied by a stunning image of the Black Guardian. We continue our journey by visits to Terminus and some other universes such as E-Space, the Anti-matter and parallel universes. We then gaze into the Time Vortex before journeying onto the First Planets and visiting the Ancient Civilisations. This section ends with a look at Mutter‘s Spiral (also known as the Milky Way) which then leads us to the next section…

Section Two: The Solar System

After an overview an a look at the Sun and Mercury, we take a visit to Vulcan. This is not the planet of Spock but the setting of one of the many lost stories (episodes that have been wiped when BBC wiped tv shows in order to reuse the tape, copies made for other markets are now often the source of many of the lost stories but Patrick Troughton‘s debut story “The Power of the Daleks” remains lost but is top of many Whovians wishlist for stories to be rediscovered, thankfully the audio track still exists). After a brief stop at Venus, we finally arrive at Earth. We explore the Young Earth of the then the Humanian Era before saying farewell to Old Earth. We then venture to the Moon including the Colonisation of the Moon and (after seeing the events in 2014‘s “Kill the Moon”) the New Moon. An extended visit to Mars then follows looking at Ancient Mars, Dying Mars and the various Mission to Mars. The Thousand Day war is looked at, a series of events following the events of the TV story “The Seeds Of Death” that formed the novel “Transit” by Silurians Ben Aaronovitch followed by the novel “GodEngine” by Craig Hinton. We then explore the rest of the Solar System before venturing further afield into…

Section Three: Earth‘s Colonies In Space

This section takes us to the many Earth colonies visited by the Doctor and again will entice you to revisit (or visit for the first time) the many wonderful worlds contained within this section. As Lance states in the introduction, it would be nearly impossible to cover EVERY planet visited by the Doctor but he makes a fine attempt with no obvious omissions. The beauty of this type of book is that you can dip in and out of and you will find yourself reaching for your DVD/audio/comic/book collection or going online to find some of the lesser known gems. The next section in particular will give you a new perspective of some of the most iconic characters in the show‘s history as we visit..

Section Four: Planets Of Origin

We now travel to visit the planets of the Time Lords, Daleks and Cybermen. We visit some planets mentioned in the tv series but have featured in other forms of media. This section contains references to some wonderful stories, may of which were written in the years between the tv series ending and the new series‘ successful return in 2005. Following this, we then visit a cornucopia of planets in a subsection called Planet Of The Monters. These range from Alfava Metraxis to the War Planet (although it is a bit harsh having Traken in this section).

Section Five: Distant Planets

These planets are those located at the far reaches of the Doctor Who Universe, such as the Isop Galaxy, Vortis, the Sense-Sphere and Raxacoricofallapatorius. Encounter beings such as the Drahvins, The Ood, the Menoptra and Sensorites.

Section Six: The Last Planets

These planets include new home planets for the Human race such as Refusis I, Frontios, New Earth and Malcassairo. The end of the Universe is covered in this section too and although there is not a restaurant here, there is the City of the Saved and it is where this guide ends.

This book is a wonderful guide and allows you to visit many worlds within the Doctor Who universe and with references to many other adventures beyond the TV series, it is invaluable for those wanting to explore the extended universe of Doctor Who.

Doctor Who bookcase

I was looking through my facebook timeline and saw a post from a Doctor Who page that caught my attention.

The original post can be found here for a very cool TARDIS bookcase.

And you may also be interested in a sale that Big Finish are having this weekend (28th & 29th July 2012). The sale is for the many contributions made by a certain David Tennant. These were all done before he bacame the Doctor and are worth a listen.