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I, Who: The Unauthorised Guide to Doctor Who Novels

By Lars Pearson

Book review by Brad Schmidt

Since almost the beginning of Doctor Who, numerous publications have catalogued the making and development of the show from various angles. It has taken a lot longer for publications covering its regeneration into print to emerge.

I, Who is a mammoth publication indeed, covering almost a decade of novels in a detail best described as a mixture of The Programme Guide and The Discontinuity Guide. In fact, it covers it in such detail that it could compensate for the fact many of the novels are no longer available. Lars Pearson has written what appears to be as comprehensive work as such a work could be, but it would be near impossible to tell otherwise considering it would be a daunting task indeed to catalogue all the novels in the detail attempted and achieved here. I, Who should be taken as the ultimate guide to Doctor Who novels thus far, and should certainly receive as wide a distribution.

Each novel is dissected enough to make reading them afterwards still a pleasure. The most interesting parts are the character development notes, which bunch together thousands of off-hand remarks about companions and the Doctor in all his incarnations. The study of each story is followed by Pearson's own mini-review of the adventure, which are usually in keeping with the widely accepted opinions of certain novels. For new readers, that's good as a guide for what to read; for readers established with the novels already, it's rather unnecessary. Regardless, for both I, Who is almost essential considering the vast amount of novels published in a relatively short time.

The typesetting leaves a lot to be desired. The amount of mistakes, such as the omission of an entire story - The Ultimate Evil - and entire sentences is rather shocking and undercuts the professional look and prose of this unauthorised work with a probably more appropriate amateur feel. If there weren't such a gap in the market, it would certainly unavoidably mar this extensive work. However, this guide is desperately needed, and the exhaustive content more than makes up for the unofficial sloppiness of its presentation. [5/5]

This item appeared in TSV 60 (June 2000).