Lost In Time And Space: An Unofficial Guide To The Uncharted Journeys Of Doctor Who by Matthew J Elliott (book review).

April 28, 2015 | By | Reply More

‘Doctor Who’ can travel anywhere in time and space. During the early years of the programme, these adventures ran sequentially with one adventure running into the other. Occasionally, the Doctor or Susan might mention a trip to Quinnis in the Fourth Universe, but really you went where the TARDIS did. Then, as the programme progressed through the years, we learned more about the Doctor’s past and his other trips through the cosmos. In short, there’s entire lifetimes of adventures that we only hear mentioned in passing. It is these adventures that Matthew J Elliott has chronicled in ‘Lost In Time And Space’.

LostInTimeAndSpace

Make no mistake about the enormity of the task, this is fifty years of storytelling generated from throwaway comments and unseen interludes. When the Doctor mentions that he’s met Napoleon, just when might that have happened? It’s an intriguing thought and can lead you down a rabbit hole of migraine-inducing possibilities. If it’s okay with you, Morpheus, I’ll take both pills.

Whether you’re a long-term fan or relatively new to the show, there’s oodles of continuity to get your head around. Elliott knows this and so, while he places each reference in context, he does do with a sly wink to the camera, Tom Baker style. He notes that the Doctor’s comment ‘Nobody’s perfect’ when Nyssa questions the fluctuation of ‘temporal grace’ between ‘Earthshock’ and ‘Arc Of Infinity’ ‘isn’t particularly helpful’ and, at other points, invites the reader to ‘draw your own conclusions!’ over sticky continuity points. This gives the book a refreshing informative but sometimes irreverent tone.

Elliot has also done his research, when the Tenth Doctor uses a mouse to cause a distraction in ‘The Doctor’s Daughter’, he goes to the trouble of comparing it with the mouse that the Fourth Doctor produces in ‘The Talons Of Weng-Chiang’. He concludes that the two mice aren’t the same, but at least went to the trouble of checking. Drawing connections like this is part of the fun of being a ‘Doctor Who’ fan. The show is, after all, praised for its ability to change but can also be massively self-referential. Only once or twice did I pick up some factual errors and perhaps the book could have had one more proof-read.

The overall effect of reading ‘Lost In Time And Space’ was rather similar to that of Lance Parkin’s ‘The History Of The Universe’, an all-encompassing stab at trying to fit ‘Doctor Who’ into one coherent narrative. For the fans, it is good fun to guess what might have been and, in some cases, what is still yet to come, as well as trying to guess the Doctor’s age in any given story.

This is a book best dipped in and out of, ironic perhaps given its attempt to show us the Doctor’s adventures in a linear fashion. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to any fans who enjoy working out all the places the Time Lord may have been. Of course, if you do find any continuity errors then simply do what the Doctor does and blame the Time War.

John Rivers

April 2015

(pub: Hasslein Books, 2014. 337 page paperback. Price: £16.77 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-57814-364-4)

check out website: www.hassleinbooks.com/pages/index.php

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Category: Books, Doctor Who

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