REVIEW: "Doctor Who: The Completely Useless Encyclopedia" Book
20 August 2000
Howarth, Chris and Steve Lyons, _Doctor Who: The Completely
Useless Encyclopedia_, (London: Doctor Who Books [Virgin], 1996).
[Image of Book]
RATING: 8 (of 10)
Once in a while doing a review of a previously released
Doctor Who non-fiction book is a revelation to its reviewer. My
reread of "The Doctor Who Completely Useless Encyclopedia"
reminded me of Picadilly Press's truly useless Doctor Who
Encyclopedia which is missing the last book (T through Z).
Howarth and Lyons instead have given Doctor Who fans a tongue in
cheek look at their favorite program.
This book pretends to order various topics from Doctor Who
in an alphabetical arrangement. In fact, the alphabetical order
is part of the joke as the authors use a single keyword to tackle
a variety of humorous topics. Examples of these oddly labeled
topics might be "First Female Prime Minister, Doctor Who's
Uncanny Prediction of the" or "Peri's Tits" (which is humorously
trade marked as well). What Howarth and Lyons really do is make
off hand comments about the program, its fans, and most amazingly
the Virgin Doctor Who novels (how they slipped the anti-New
Adventure comments past their Virgin Books editor is beyond me).
Half of the book's entries actually inform the reader of
information that they might not have known (such as plots to
candy card comics, or to the original TV Action comics), the
other entries simply make one laugh. Even better is the soapbox
that Howarth and Lyons are able to stand on and complain about
the revisionism of the (then) current crop of "researchers."
There is so much to talk about regarding the program and its fans
that the authors can easily cover 210 pages, and one still feels
as if they could cover more.
This book is so eclectic that it almost defies explanation.
One must actually give the book a try to see if it is what you
are looking for, but if you consider yourself a diehard Whovian,
this book is probably worth a look. The authors do occasionally
give such obscure references that their jokes can be hard to
follow (and they rarely explain their sources, so if one is not
in the know already one will surely be lost). Still, I have to
recommend this offering to anyone who has a funny bone and can
also laugh at one of their favorite television programs.
(c) Copyright Zepo, 2000.
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Last Updated August 28, 2000