REVIEW: "I, Who" Book

by Zepo
18 December 1999

Pearson, Lars, _I, Who: The Unauthorized Guide to Doctor Who Novels_,
(Congers, NY: Sidewinder Press, 1999).

[Image of Book]

RATING: 9 (of 10)

     Lars Pearson is a welcome edition to the line of Doctor Who authors
with his latest work "I, Who."  This book brings forward an investigation of
the plots, significant character developments, and information presented in
the various original Doctor Who novels by both Virgin and BBC publishers.
Every book is covered up to the time of the BBC twin book offering
     Pearson organizes the book by the Doctor's chronology, covering first
novels without a specific Doctor such as "The Infinity Doctors" and then
moving from the First Doctor up through the Eighth.  A description of each
book covers various elements.  We are given a list of the TARDIS crew, a
travel log of when and where the adventure takes place as well as a
chronology and a solid description of the story in a plot summary.  Beyond
that, memorable moment, mentions of sex and alcohol, and TV-tie ins are
mentioned.  Even more information is given on each story and then Pearson
gives us his own opinion of the story and its worth.  I must admit that my
own reading of the novel differ from Pearson's opinions greatly, and it
seemed that each story I disliked were his favorites and vice versa.  None
the less this is the prerogative of a reader or reviewer and his opinions do
feature a solid guide if one has similar tastes to him.  
     Also featured in the book is an interview section with a number of the
authors, which is one of the great strengths of this tome.  It's quite
interesting (sometimes even disheartening or overjoying) to hear the authors
and their opinions of how the line of Doctor Who books should be approached.
As I read this section, my heart sank as I could feel Doctor Who fandom
splitting as to their opinions of the future of the Doctor.  Each author
revealed their own vision of the Doctor's future and often these opinions
seemed so "un-Doctor Who," such as Kate Orman's suggestion to change the sex
of the Doctor.  Perhaps I agree with Gary Russell's suggestion that the
greatest change to the novels was "the fans running the asylum."(p.10)
Another asset to this book were three sections called "Did You Know..."
which reveals small and interesting behind the scenes tid-bits about the
novels such as in jokes another information.

     The book is being sold by pointing out a number of unique features,
such as artwork by various comic book artists.  These pieces of artwork are
quite good, but with the exception of one piece that features the Fourth
Doctor's scarf, none of the works are very Doctor Who oriented and thus are
almost a bit bland in their surrounding text.  The book also opens with an
introduction by Sylvester McCoy who reveals that he has never ready any of
the novels.  The end of the book features an arbitrary price guide of a
number of the novels, but the list is very short and only features books
that seem to have gotten a fair price on Internet auction sites.
Unfortunately though, price guides usually drive the price of an item up
when in reality the price is quite arbitrary.  It has been a blessing for
Who fans that until now no price guide existed as the market took care of
itself.  Let us hope that Doctor Who never sees a price guide like Tomart's
"Star Wars" offering.
     More than anything, this book has rendered DWM's regular column
"Everything you ever needed to know about..." obsolete, and quite frankly
has one-upped the column by revealing to us the plots of books we may not
have had a desire or the time to read.  DWM needs to learn from Pearson's
format and either continue in his improved style of book description, or
abandon their column all together until Pearson graces us with a sequel book
that covers the new BBC adventures beyond "Interference."  If Pearson does
give us such an offering, it would be as highly recommended as this as a
resource any serious Doctor Who researcher interested in the post-program
novels must have in their collection.  Books so well packed with accurate
and interesting information such as this are few and far between in Doctor
Who publishing circles.  It's a shame that this offering had to be an
unauthorized work, but we are all better off to have it than to have gone
without it.

(c) Copyright Zepo, 1999.

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Last Updated December 22, 1999