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Licence Denied

Edited by Paul Cornell

Book review by Paul Scoones

Licence Denied is an unauthorised collection of material from Doctor Who fanzines. The articles range from academic treatises on the show's changing styles to highly irreverent commentary on fandom with sometimes only cursory references to the show itself. Accompanying this diverse collection of articles are a handful of poems and a very small amount of cartoons and artwork.

As expected, almost everything originates in UK produced fanzines, although New Zealand and Australia get a look-in. TSV's represented, courtesy of Phillip Gray's article on The Horns of Nimon from TSV 41. America, however will apparently have to wait for a possible second volume.

Cornell's selection would appear to exhibit a bias towards non-DWAS (Doctor Who Appreciation Society) aligned publications - there's nothing from Celestial Toyroom, and the only piece from its sister zine, TARDIS, is a twenty year old critique of The Deadly Assassin. Elsewhere there is guarded criticism of the society and its organisers. The selection leans towards the subversive, with zines such as Cottage under Siege well represented. There's also a strong pro-Graham Williams era emphasis and surprisingly little JNT criticism to be found, though such things are perhaps indicative of a mood swing in UK fandom...?

There are some articles, notably those by Lance Parkin, Kate Orman and Matt Jones, which linger in my thoughts, whilst other bits (notably John Molyneux's 'form letter') reduced me to tears of laughter - a most uncommon reaction for me when reading a Doctor Who book.

The collection is uneven, unbalanced and diverse, and yet this is exactly what I might expect to find in a fanzine, so in this sense Cornell has captured the feel of the so-called 'underground' press of Who fandom. Here's hoping that the book is a success so that we may enjoy further samplings! [4/5]

This item appeared in TSV 52 (November 1997).