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Editorial

By Paul Scoones

It's proving to be a thoroughly ignominious end to a publishing success story. Virgin's New and Missing Adventures series have come to an untimely conclusion not with a bang but with a whimper, and it is largely not of their own making.

Copies of the last few books in the two series are extremely scarce, with Virgin running out of most titles before the New Zealand orders could be filled. Even in the UK, the one country in the world where you might expect Doctor Who books to be in plentiful supply, titles such as Cold Fusion, for example, are highly sought-after by frustrated readers.

In Lungbarrow and The Dark Path, Virgin printed an assurance that "copies of most of the New and Missing Adventures... will continue to be available for sale." Sadly, this statement has been contradicted by the recent news that - apparently due to the terms of the expiry of their licence to publish Doctor Who fiction - Virgin will shortly no longer be able to sell any existing titles from the two series. Within a year, the New and Missing Adventures will have no doubt have disappeared from most bookshop shelves, and the titles will officially be declared "Out of Print".

The Virgin titles will become rare collectors' items; currently we are seeking out overseas book wholesalers and retailers in an attempt to secure copies for New Zealand fans.

The long-term effect of BBC Books taking over the publishing of Doctor Who fiction, seems to be that Virgin's 61 New Adventures, 33 Missing Adventures, 3 Decalogs and Who Killed Kennedy will gradually fade in the collective fan consciousness. This will occur not just because the books will no longer be available in shops, but also because, due to copyright, BBC Books cannot use anything which was established in the Virgin novels.

I've read and supported the New and Missing Adventures from the beginning. I'm very sorry to see them go. I am pleased to say however that having recently read The Eight Doctors and The Devil Goblins from Neptune, I am cautiously optimistic that the BBC Books range of Doctor Who novels will be a great success.

Paul

This item appeared in TSV 51 (June 1997).