REVIEW: "Doctor Who: The Completely Useless Encyclopedia" Book

by Zepo
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