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Discovering Who

By Keith Smith

I haven't been involved in Doctor Who fandom very long - maybe because it was only recently that I came into contact with the NZDWFC. However I have been an SF fan for as long as I remember, enjoying many aspects of the genre. Usually I read books but do enjoy many media shows such as Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Thunderbirds, etc. I remember old shows such as Time Tunnel, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Tomorrow People and (dare I admit it) Lost in Space. Among all of these was also Doctor Who.

I can't remember how long ago it was when I first saw Doctor Who but I do remember bits of the very early Hartnell episodes. The two scenes I do remember (don't ask me why) were: the Doctor and companions trying not to get washed down a plug hole (in Planet of Giants) and the Doctor with three Daleks labelled, Alpha, Beta and Gamma (from The Evil of the Daleks). This was way back in the days before VCRs.

I've also been in fandom for over 15 years. In the earlier years (up to a few years ago) I was in a fannish desert (Taranaki) so I only saw other fen at conventions. At other times I'd be reading - and reading and reading and soon built up a rather large library. Part of that library was the Target series of Doctor Who novelisations. I had started collecting these about a few years after they started coming out so I missed several of the earlier titles. However I was able to catch up when they were re-released at the time of the 20th anniversary. Now I reckon I've got a collection that nearly rivals Paul Scoones' set. I'm up to date on all the ones released in NZ anyway.

Doctor Who fandom didn't exist in New Zealand back then. In 1980, thanks to Nigel Rowe, I got in touch with the Australasian Doctor Who Club. They put out a magazine called Zerinza which I received for a short time. I'm not sure whether the club or the magazine still exists now.

I had heard of the current Doctor Who club only a few years ago when it was based in Christchurch but didn't really get interested until WhoCon in 1990.

Now that I have seen many of the old episodes again (apart from the Hartnell/Troughton era - wonder if they still exist anywhere) and have read the novelisations. I have a growing understanding about what the Doctor Who universe is all about and can now understand what other fen are referring to in articles, etc.

I see Doctor Who fandom as being a logical part of all round SF fandom. It is certainly an interesting part.

This item appeared in TSV 25 (October 1991).

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