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Doctor Who: The Secret Lives Of Monsters Book Review

Doctor Who- The Secret Lives of Monsters Book

“Doctor Who: The Secret Lives Of Monsters” is another winner from Harper Design.

Similar in style to “The Doctor’s Lives and Times,” Justin Richard’s hardcover coffee table book “Doctor Who: The Secret Lives of Monsters” is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at the Doctor’s foes and or alien races he encounters on his adventures. Among the spotlighted creatures readers can expect to see are: The Cybermen, Zygons, Daleks (and Davros), Judoon, Ice Warriors, The Great Intelligence (and its servants like the Yeti), Slitheen, Weeping Angels, Sontarans, Silurians, Sea Devils, Silence, Ood, Nestenes and Autons, and Krillitanes (with some spotlight on K-9).

Instead of just providing a standard overview of the Daleks, Cybermen, and so forth, the book is written as if these creatures, aliens, monsters, and robots really appeared in the real world. Throughout the sections, Richards has included countless “documented” reports, episode pictures (presented as evidence), fliers connected to episodes, historical accounts, letters from series characters like Jackson Lake and Hector Finch, U.N.I.T. and Torchwood reports, memos (such as a Peladon and BBC one), journal entries, Dalek blueprints, book excerpts, art sketches (love that Judoon recruitment poster piece), ads for Farrel’s Plastics and ATMOS, Ood Operations pamphlets, and a whole lot more. Of course, fans also get well researched summaries of the aliens throughout their entire history of “Doctor Who.” This includes such material as episode guides, costume and special f/x information, behind-the-scenes photos, and blurbs about redesigns. Finally, the book concludes with an afterword by Sir Percival Addlington and a folder of goodies that includes frame worthy artwork of various DW aliens.

Even though I personally prefer straight forward “Doctor Who” reference guides, I have to applaud the unique approach to “The Secret Lives of Monsters.” Despite being rather silly at times (see the Beatles/Silence picture), there’s a massive amount of work and content in this book that displays a great knowledge of the Whoniverse. You really have to know your stuff to not only write this, but to appreciate the humor and complexity of some of these faux creations.

As extensive as the book is, however, there are a few bothersome exclusions. I understand that Justin Richards (and perhaps BBC) were trying to limit material to “Doctor Who,” but there could (and should) have been more about the monster characters appearances in spin-offs such as “The Sarah Jane Adventures” and “Torchwood.” Maybe I’m just being picky, but I do feel that those series are a major part of cannon too.

February 22, 2015 - Posted by | Book review | , , ,

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