I’d give you my thoughts on the Doctor Who finale, but I decided to just save it for the episode guide this time; you can find it here (but feel free to come back here and comment/debate/tell me I’m as crazy as Davros). For whatever it’s worth, I liked it much better than the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode of the same name. 😆
In case I haven’t bragged about it enough yet, this week also wraps up our guide to the entire original series; before the new season began, and back when Evan was itty bitty and napping much of the time, I realized that I had 13 gaps in the original series guide, fitting neatly alongside the 13 episodes that were, at the time, still to come from this season. So I watched and/or listened to those episodes that I hadn’t covered, wrote reviews, and rolled them out side-by-side along with the new season episodes. The guide to 45 years of TV Doctor Who on this site is now finished.
So naturally, what’s next is to rewrite it all. 😆 At some point before this year is out, I’m planning to go back through, organize, edit and in places rewrite all of the Doctor Who guide entries, as well as the audio adventures and some other material, and collect all of that into a single book. Entries that were not written by me will be rewritten from scratch for the book (though the very small number of not-written-by-me entries will remain on the site, thus giving each medium at least a few “exclusives”). The site’s Torchwood and Sarah Jane Adventures guides don’t feature reviews, but the book will feature newly written reviews to go along with those guides, as well as opening essays for each chapter to put everything into some kind of context. (A lot of this material is already written, as a matter of fact.) Now, this will most likely be done through Lulu.com, meaning that the book will be yet another “Unauthorized! Uncensored! Unexpurgated! Unexfoliated!” guide among so many on the same topic. But it’ll all be collected in one place, and the copious new material for the book will not appear on the site – ever. And I do realize that this is going to be a big book that we’re talking about here.
A few points worth going over here:
The season of reviews that were done Siskel & Ebert style won’t be reprinted that way in the book; I’ll be editing/rewriting my own reviews and presenting those on their own. I think that was a worthwhile experiment, and I respect the right of the other writer to hold his view of the show as he sees fit, but reprinting that season as-is from the site requires either culling things down to maintain a single voice, or going back and writing pro-and-con style reviews for every other episode in the show’s history. The former is just about the only sane way to go about it, for the sake of space and cohesiveness, and for the sake of getting the thing in print before 2014.
The book is unauthorized, but not unauthorised. By this, I mean that I won’t be trying to affect a British accent for the book. The spellings will be Americanized. With a Z. The reviews are written from the perspective of someone who’s grown up with Doctor Who from a very young age, watching it on PBS, watching the McGann movie on Fox, and so on. There are lots of books covering Doctor Who from a British perspective, naturally, because it’s a British show. But it seems to me that there’s a lot left undocumented about the experience of watching/growing up with the show as an American viewer.
The book doesn’t have a name yet. I’ve got a few ideas, but there are a lot of good ones already taken, and of course one has to explicitly avoid using the name, in full, of the show being covered, at least until one gets to the “unauthorized guide to…” blurb in smaller text.
The thought’s occurred that, covering 45 years of TV (plus spinoffs) and 10 years of audios (plus spinoffs), this is going to be a monstrously big book. But I think the idea of one book covering all those things – something that just hasn’t been done before – has some merit. No one’s done it yet.
The crux of any rewriting/editing will be “why you need to see/hear this story if you’ve only seen the new series.” I don’t think anybody’s re-examined the original series in that light, let alone Big Finish.
I’m covering the novel series in an essay overview, but won’t be reviewing the novels title-by-title in the book. I made a decision early on to cover only “performed media” (as in scripts, performed in some fashion by actors, in front of a camera or a microphone) as a rule, and the novels have been invalidated out of existence far more than the audios have at this point. Still, I felt it was important to at least overview those, as the new series keeps poaching them for stories.
I’m hoping that this will be but the first in a series of theLogBook.com books to come. The PDF DVD has pointed the way forward for me: the research is done, the stuff is written. The site isn’t on the tip of everyone’s tongues (or browsers), so why not exploit the material in other media? I’ve been against anyone trying to print stuff from the site, especially when it’s from things like ongoing current episode guides that aren’t truly cover-to-cover complete, but I feel that the current “pause” in the Doctor Who universe is an ideal juncture for publishing something like this, and aside from possibly PDF, it’s the biggest body of material on the site that I’ve written myself on a single subject. (To put it in perspective: the only things I’ll have to write from scratch because other people wrote the reviews that appear on the site are down to three TV stories and eight audio stories.)
The next book may well be PDF, but (a) that’ll be 2009 at the earliest, and (2) only if I can find a hook to hang it on that’s better than “a big-ass heap of game reviews”. Though I’ll just say vaguely that the PDF DVD may point the way toward organizing a PDF book in the most logical manner. Other strong contenders for book treatment are ’70s sci-fi, soundtrack review (though that’s been done to death), and/or a cover-every-series guide to Star Trek (this time with reviews which, again, wouldn’t be on the site itself). The last of these would probably adhere to the same rule – “the crux of any rewriting/editing will be ‘why you need to see/hear this story if you’ve only seen the new series'” – as the Who book, except substitute “new movie” for “new series”. A Trek book, while perhaps being the most obvious, is also the least likely because I expect Paramount will vigorously step on any and all “unauthorized guides” that appear around/after the new movie premieres…and there will likely be a great many who try to publish precisely that next year.
Why all of this planning ahead for publishing? I’d only be partially joking if I said it was because I have a kid to support. That’s actually a pretty good chunk of the rationale for it. And I’m not trying to work my way up to some kind of “Earl has written X books on X topics” credential by just cut-and-pasting stuff from the site willy-nilly. I actually feel a great responsibility to differentiate what appears in print from what appears on the site, and that’s a lot of work – cutting and pasting would be so much faster and easier. I guess it’s because I think – no, if you’ll forgive a fleeting egotistical moment here, I know – I’ve written quite a bit of good stuff for a site that just isn’t as well known as, say, scifi.com or Outpost Gallifrey or Trekmovie.com or what have you. The oldest episode guide material on the site turns 20 years old next year! That’s two decades worth of stuff waiting to be mined in some form. The bulk of the work’s already been done in generating the material, and while adjusting it and updating it and double-checking it does take time, the foundation’s been laid (considerably more than I have been in those 20 years, though one might just surmise that being the webmaster of a sci-fi site might have some bearing on that! 😆 ). I’d be crazy not to explore the material’s potential in other media.
Of course, the site’s not all written by me, so eventually there’ll be a question of a multi-author theLogBook.com book, but for the first few baby steps, it’ll be my material flying solo.
Anyway, that’s probably more than anyone ever wanted to know. Anyone with title ideas can feel free to shoot them to me via e-mail.