Review by C.J. Bunce
Many books have called themselves the definitive guide to Doctor Who, but only one really can back it up. Five years ago the BBC tapped comic book writer Cavan Scott and Mark Wright to create the ultimate data source for the series’ 50th anniversary and the result was Doctor Who Who-ology: The Official Miscellany. It’s hard to believe five years have breezed by so quickly, but Scott and Wright are back again with an update in Doctor Who Who-ology: The Official Miscellany Regenerated Edition. Scott, writer of comic books and audio novels and one of the few people to have penned stories for Doctor Who and Star Wars and Star Trek, and Mark Wright, Doctor Who tie-in writer and audio actor, have filled in all the blanks leading up to the 11th Season (11th “Series” for British fans), coming this Fall.
So fans will find 55 years of encyclopedic information about everything Doctor Who in this 355-page hardcover brick of a book, nicely designed to represent the appearance of the TARDIS. For only a five-year span the updates to the 2013 edition are many, with updates representing David Bradley’s new stint as the 1st Doctor, the end of Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor, John Hurt’s appearance as the War Doctor, the entire run of Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor, and the beginning this past Christmas of Jodie Whittaker’s new 13th Doctor. Except for the 13th Doctor’s premiere appearance in this month’s Free Comic Book Day edition of the Doctor Who comic book, Who-ology looks to be the first book to feature Whittaker’s Doctor in an official Doctor Who publication.
Subject to the updates, the same design and organization that made Who-ology a British bestseller five years ago are back. A trivia guide representing both in-world information and real-world information, cross-references to actors, creators, and episodes of the series, plus references to the radio dramas, audio books, comic books and other tie-in stories will allow anyone to access answers to Whovian questions quickly. The scope and breadth of reference material demonstrates the reason why the series has so many fans. Do you want to see a complete list of all the famous celebrities and historical figures the Doctor has encountered? It’s broken down between people he only name-drops and personalities he encountered in his time travels throughout the series (from Alexander the Great to Shirley Bassey, and Nefertiti to Louis Pasteur). How about the Doctor’s explanations for all of Earth’s mysteries of the unknown, like the end of the dinosaurs, the fate of Atlantis, the abominable snowman, and the Loch Ness monster? And Who-ology isn’t just a big cold book of lists–Scott and Wright dig into the details of what makes all the incarnations of the Doctor and all their companions tick. It’s interesting stuff, tying in the four corners of pop culture fandom, including actors that appeared in both Doctor Who and the James Bond movies, Star Wars, Star Trek, and the Harry Potter movies.
Do you want to compare the quirks of the Doctors (there have actually been more than 15 actors to play them and they’ve gone by 75 names), of companions (nearly 50), or versions of the TARDIS (there are seven) or sonic screwdriver (there are eight)? All the types of Daleks (and 45 ways to defeat them), all you need to know about Gallifrey, Cybermen, Davros, the Master, alien species (and their appearances), River Song, the Doctor’s daughter, series writers and directors, all the functions and components of 55-years of the TARDIS, and five things to do if you only have minutes to live–it’s all in the book.
Who-ology features illustrations throughout by artist Ben Morris, also updated from the first edition.
A great resource and look back–and forward–at the series for all your favorite Doctor Who fans, Doctor Who Who-ology: The Official Miscellany Regenerated Edition is available now in the U.S. from Harper Design here at Amazon (and from BBC Books in the UK).