Dedicated fan Christopher Samuel Stone has created The Unofficial Doctor Who Book Guide in aid of the Bobby Moore Cancer Fund, which has been very well received – but will only be on sale for a few more days.
Featuring a foreword from Doctor Who audio stories author and novelist Iain McLaughlin, this non-profit book, which has been well received, is something of a love letter to the Target books that were once the only way fans could re-visit the Doctor’s old adventures.
Here, Russell Cook recalls his own memories of the books and reviews the Guide…
When my Mum bought me a copy of Doctor Who and The Sea Devils in 1974, little did I know that this would be the beginning of a lifelong literary love affair that would continue to this day. Especially for Doctor Who fans who grew up in the 1970s the Target books became an integral part what it was to be a fan as they were, for a long while, the only connection and opportunity to relive stories of the past. Childhood memories can become engrained in the memory and I can remember the Saturday mornings in the mid to late seventies on my regular trips to WH Smiths or Woolworths, to search for the latest title, not to mention the Library visits to borrow the Longbow hardbacks of the stories, to read those and preserve the paperbacks.
Life continued and I religiously bought each new title as they were published. Through school, college, my first job, I still frequented the children’s book shelves right up to early 1994, when the blue spined reprint of The Talons of Weng Chiang was published, the Target range had just about come to an end.
Over the years, I had bought the odd extra copy of a particular title, say to replace a worn out copy, a title that was perhaps wearing a little thin. With over one hundred plus titles I thought I was doing pretty well but with the advent of the Internet and social media I realised that my treasured collection was just the tip of the iceberg with regards to multiple editions of titles. Yes, I had the reissued 1970’s editions with new covers and the aforementioned blue spined reprints, but what about the German, French and Japanese editions and the ones published in the Netherlands? The United States versions – not to mention the Portuguese ones that were for a while very popular on the Algarve? No!
I began to feel I was missing out on something.
Someone who didn’t miss the publishing dates is Christopher Stone, who has compiled a 500 plus page guide to the history of, and I quote “…every Doctor Who book that has been published up to 2015″.
The Doctor Who Book Guide from Long Scarf Productions is a book collector’s dream as it covers every one of the titles released. In this comprehensive guide, the books are presented in story order and each edition of every book has a cover image, ISBN number and a value, alongside the year of printing and price. In fact a myriad of details that is all explained in context in the comprehensive introduction by Chris.
To accompany the images and information on the 160 plus books are various mini essays on the titles. A great many of them are tongue in cheek, but even I was taken in on some of the pieces which are so ingenious and close to the truth that you want to believe… was Philip Hinchcliffe really asked to novelise the entire Key to Time Season but got sent a contract for The Keys of Marinus by mistake?
This book is just glorious and definitely hits the nostalgia button for many but it is also a work of tireless dedication and research that will be of interest to book collectors and those interested in the changes in publishing styles and ideas over a fifty year period.
Now, I’m off to track down the white logo paperback of The Curse of Peladon, which has so far eluded my collectors’ eye. Then to trace a copy of the legendary red logo reprint of The Dalek Invasion of Earth. It exists, so people say, but no one appears to have a copy. The Truth is Out there!
• The Doctor Who Book Guide Unofficial is available for pre order in soft back and hardback from http://sandholes.wix.com/drwhobookguide All profits will go to the Bobby Moore Cancer Fund. It will only be available to order until 4th May 2015
• This review was first posted on A Brave New World and is cross-posted with permission of Russell Cook