Shada: novelized at last

This topic contains 6 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Rhindle The Red 5 years, 10 months ago.

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    There are four original series stories that were never made into novelizations: Resurrection Of The Daleks and Revelation Of The Daleks (both Eric Saward scripts that he didn’t want turned into books), and City Of Death and Shada (both Douglas Adams scripts, a writer who neither Target Books nor Virgin Publishing could ever afford). Shada was always considered hot property since it never even made it to TV.

    Next March, Shada is finally coming out in book form, adapted by Gareth Roberts for BBC Books.

    From the unique mind of Douglas Adams, the legendary ‘lost’ Doctor Who story completed at last!

    The Doctor’s old friend and fellow Time Lord Professor Chronotis has retired to Cambridge University – where nobody will notice if he lives for centuries.

    But now he needs help from the Doctor, Romana and K-9. When he left Gallifrey he took with him a few little souvenirs – most of them are harmless. But one of them is extremely dangerous.

    The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey isn’t a book for Time Tots. It is one of the Artefacts, dating from the dark days of Rassilon.

    It must not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands. And the sinister Skagra most definitely has the wrong hands. He wants the book. He wants to discover the truth behind Shada. And he wants the Doctor’s mind…

    Based on the scripts for the original television series by the legendary Douglas Adams, Shada retells an adventure that never made it to the screen. On sale March 15th 2012.

    It can be pre-ordered in theLogBook.com Store (remember that the US links being maintained in case Amazon backpedals on its associates’ freeze-out in Arkansas; the UK, Canadian and other links actually bring money into the site).

    This will be at least the third time that Shada has been “finished” – BBC Video released a VHS tape of the footage that was completed, with Tom Baker providing narration of missing scenes, in 1992, while 2003 saw Big Finish Productions’ audio adaptation, which replaced Tom Baker with Paul McGannn as the eighth Doctor.

    I’m underwhelmed by the cover. They go to such lengths to make the audiobooks of the old Target novelizations look like the originals, with the same artwork, etc.; why abandon that approach to make this look more like some kind of Hitchhiker’s Guide sequel?

    #3081
    Steve W
    Steve W
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    I’ve only partially watched the VHS version. I heard the Paul McGann audio story first, and I prefer that one. Actually, if they want the new TV show to “discover” another surviving Time Lord, they can always have them living on Shada, since it’s in a pocket universe that could only be accessed with the Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey book. And if they used that idea, they could remake Shada so it would be canon (I’m not sure if the incomplete version is considered canon by the fanbase). Or even better, tell the story of Shada in a flashback and bring in Paul McGann to reprise the character. They can always recast Romana if they need to – this is a woman who just got bored one day and regenerated for the heck of it, after all.

    #3082

    Rhindle The Red
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    As some others have mentioned, this was inevitable. Adams’ widow is carting out everything he ever did for repurposing. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Adams always meant to get around to novelizing his Doctor Who stories, but never found the time. (One wishes he hadn’t found the time for “Mostly Harmless”, but there you are.)

    His other problem with “Shada” was that he had recycled so much of it for “Dirk Gently” that he didn’t want the re-use made public. My understanding he wasn’t happy they released the VHS. *I* sure was.

    I love the VHS “Shada”. It shows how great the story would have been and, even in truncated form, has lots of great Adams moments and lots of great Tom Baker moments. And I can’t think of a place where Baker and Ward’s romance more clearly spilled into the Doctor/Romana relationship than in “Shada”. (Okay, the computer commercial where he proposes beats it out…) They’re just so *comfortable* with each other. I certainly hope the upcoming “Shada” DVD includes the original VHS version along with whatever goodies they are planning. I *do not* want disconnected scenes. I require the narrative intact.

    The webcast version was good. It was nice to actually *see* some of the scenes only hinted at in the VHS. But it suffered from the fact that Paul McGann simply isn’t Tom Baker. This isn’t a criticism, of course. McGann is probably my fourth favorite (after Troughton, T. Baker and Hartnell – fifth if we can count Cushing). But this was written for Baker and it shows. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Doctor/Romana relationship, which simply doesn’t work as it so clearly did with Tom and Lalla.

    Also, much of the added material (the required-by-lead-change opening scene, the “Ford Prefect” stuff) doesn’t jibe with Adams’ sensibility. Eoin Colfer will tell you how hard it is to capture Adams’ tone.

    Now, the important question for me is: “Will Tom Baker record an audiobook of this novelization?” If so, expect a fan-edit of the audio replacing McGann with Baker.

    Now *that* would be something…

    ***

    As for the question of canonicity… The bulk of the Doctor Who fanbase seems to accept *everything* in one shape or form. “Shada” is listed (in it’s intended broadcast location) on the BBC Classic Doctor Who web site, so I say it’s in. The Big Finish version *can* work, but is clearly just a construct to tell the story without Tom Baker’s participation, not something demanded by the continuity of “The Five Doctors”. (Which is why the “Special Edition” drops them back where they were, not to a different place and time. Another way of clearing up this issue.)

    To my mind, these events happened to the Fourth Doctor and that’s it.

    #3083

    Rhindle The Red
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    Oh, and I agree that the cover looks very “Hitchhiker-ish”. But that’s to be expected. We haven’t seen the cover for the audiobook “Resurrection of the Daleks”, but I’d be surprised if it looks like the Target books.

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