Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

A lot of Doctor Who related reading this year, what with it being the 50th anniversary and everything there was a lot available to read.

Available as a poll over on Live Journal (you don’t need an LJ account to vote, just an OpenID account which means an account from, Google, Yahoo, Blogger, etc.)

The Doctor's Monsters

Doctor Who

  • Dark Horizons by J.T. Colgan
  • Devil in the Smoke by Justin Richards
  • About Time Volume 7: 2005-2006 Series 1 & 2 by Tat Wood
  • TARDIS Eruditorum Volume 2: Patrick Troughton by Philip Sandifer
  • TARDIS Eruditorum Volume 3: Jon Pertwee by Philip Sandifer
  • The Doctor’s Monsters by Graham Sleight
  • Who-ology by Cavan Scott
  • Time & Space Visualiser by Paul Smith
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation 2 Volume 1
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation 2 Volume 2
  • Nemesis of the Daleks

Nemo: Heart of Ice

Graphic Novels

  • Nemo: Heart of Ice by Alan Moore
  • Fables Volume 18: Cubs in Toyland
  • Fables Volume 19: Snow White
  • The Invincible Iron Man: The Five Nightmares
  • John Constantine Hellblazer: Death and Cigarettes
  • Justice League Volume 1: Origin
  • Demon Knights Volume 2: The Avalon Trap
  • Stormwatch Volume 2: Enemies of Earth
  • Stormwatch Volume 3: Betrayal
  • Secret History of the Authority: Hawksmoor
  • Willow Volume 1: Wonderland
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 Volume 3: Guarded
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 Volume 4: Welcome to the Team
  • Weasels by Elys Dolan



  • Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch
  • Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie
  • Stonemouth by Iain Banks
  • Zoo City by Lauren Beukes
  • The Other Hand by Chris Cleave
  • London Falling by Paul Cornell
  • 1356 by Bernard Cornwell
  • The Iron King by Maurice Druon
  • Flashman and the Angel of the Lord by George MacDonald Fraser


  • Raw Spirit: In Search of the Perfect Dram by Iain Banks
  • Prime Minister Boris… and other things that never happened by Duncan Brack and Iain Dale
  • All the Countries We’ve Ever Invaded: And the Few We Never Got Round To by Stuart Laycock
  • Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Superhero by Grant Morrison
  • A Radical History of Britain by Edward Vallance

A decent amount of non-fiction read this year (including an amount of decent non-fiction), plus the whole (to date) of A Song of Ice and Fire.

Available as a poll over on Live Journal (you don’t need an LJ account to vote, just an OpenID account which means an account from, Google, Yahoo, Blogger, etc.)

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 2009

Graphic Novels

  • John Constantine, Hellblazer: Phantom Pains by Peter Milligan
  • John Constantine, Hellblazer: The Devil’s Trenchcoat by Peter Milligan
  • Midnighter: Anthem by Keith Giffen
  • Stormwatch Volume 1: The Dark Side by Paul Cornell
  • Demon Knights Volume 1: Seven Against the Dark by Paul Cornell
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 Volume 1: Freefall
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 Volume 2: On Your Own
  • The Boys Volume 10: Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker by Garth Ennis
  • The Boys Volume 11: Over the Hill with the Swords of a Thousand Men by Garth Ennis
  • The Boys Volume 12: The Bloody Doors Off by Garth Ennis
  • Fables Volume 16: Super Group by Bill Willingham
  • Fables Volume 17: Inherit the Wind by Bill Willingham
  • V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
  • Neonomicon by Alan Moore
  • League of Extraordinary Gentleman: Century 2009 by Alan Moore

A Certain Big Fat Fantasy Epic

  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
  • A Storm of Swords: Part 1 Steel and Snow by George R. R. Martin
  • A Storm of Swords: Part 2 Blood and Gold by George R. R. Martin
  • A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin
  • A Dance With Dragons: Part 1 Dreams and Dust by George R. R. Martin
  • A Dance With Dragons: Part 2 After the Feast by George R. R. Martin

Whispers Under Ground

Other Science Fiction & Fantasy

  • The Bride That Time Forgot by Paul Magrs
  • Hell’s Belles! by Paul Magrs
  • Conjugal Rites by Paul Magrs
  • Doctor Who: Frayed by Tara Samms
  • Snuff by Terry Pratchett
  • Star Trek New Frontier: Blind Man’s Bluff by Peter David
  • Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch
  • Bernice Summerfield – Life During Wartime edited by Paul Cornell

Historical (for some value of)

  • A Body In The Bath House by Lindsey Davis
  • See Delphi And Die by Lindsey Davis
  • Nemesis by Lindsey Davis
  • Death of Kings by Bernard Cornwell
  • King’s Man by Angus Donald
  • Flashman and the Dragon by George MacDonald Fraser

The Geek Manifesto: Why Science Matters


  • Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe by Norman Davies
  • Just My Type: A Book About Fonts by Simon Garfield
  • The Making of the British Landscape: How We Have Transformed the Land, from Prehistory to Today by Francis Pryor
  • Periodic Tales: The Curious Lives of the Elements by Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea by Christine Garwood
  • Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour by Kate Fox
  • The Geek Manifesto: Why Science Matters by Mark Henderson
  • Information is Beautiful by David McCandless
  • How to Land an A330 Airbus: And Other Vital Skills for the Modern Man by James May
  • How I Escaped My Certain Fate by Stewart Lee
  • Behind the Sofa: Celebrity Memories of Doctor Who edited by Steve Berry

Fewer graphic novels (especially superheroes) this year – almost certainly down to Croydon libraries being a lot poorer in that respect than Lambeth.

Available as a poll over on Live Journal (you don’t need an LJ account to vote, just an OpenID account which means an account from, Google, Yahoo, Blogger, etc.)

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 1969

Graphic Novels

  • The Boys Volume 6: The Self-Preservation Society by Garth Ennis
  • The Boys Volume 7: The Innocents by Garth Ennis
  • The Boys Volume 8: Highland Laddie by Garth Ennis
  • The Boys Volume 9: The Big Ride by Garth Ennis
  • Dark Entries by Ian Rankin
  • John Constantine, Hellblazer: Pandemonium by Jamie Delano
  • John Constantine: Hellblazer: Bloody Carnations by Peter Milligan
  • Angel: After the Fall Volume 3 by Brian Lynch and Joss Whedon
  • Angel: After the Fall Volume 4 by Brian Lynch and Joss Whedon
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight Volume 8: Last Gleaming by Joss Whedon
  • League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 1969 by Alan Moore
  • Tom Strong Volume 1 by Alan Moore
  • Eternals by Neil Gaiman
  • Fables Volume 15: Rose Red by Bill Willingham

Elisabeth Sladen: The Autobiography

Doctor Who

  • Doctor Who: Dragon’s Claw by Steve Moore, Steve Parkhouse and Dave Gibbons
  • Doctor Who: The Eyeless by Lance Parkin
  • Doctor Who: The Indestructible Man by Simon Messingham
  • Doctor Who: Wolfsbane by Jacqueline Rayner
  • Elisabeth Sladen: The Autobiography by Elisabeth Sladen
  • Running Through Corridors: Rob and Toby’s Marathon Watch of Doctor Who (Volume 1: The 60s) by Robert Shearman and Toby Hadoke
  • Time, Unincorporated 3: The Doctor Who Fanzine Archives: (Vol. 3: Writings on the New Series) edited by Graeme Burk and Robert Smith?

The Windup Girl

Science Fiction and Fantasy

  • Never the Bride by Paul Magrs
  • Something Borrowed by Paul Magrs
  • Enter Wildthyme by Paul Magrs
  • I Shall Wear Midnight: A Story of Discworld by Terry Pratchett
  • Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
  • Transition by Iain Banks
  • Surface Detail by Iain Banks
  • The City and the City by China Mieville
  • Looking for Jake and Other Stories by China Mieville
  • The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
  • Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
  • Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch

Other Fiction

  • Flash for Freedom! by George MacDonald Fraser
  • Flashman and the Mountain of Light by George MacDonald Fraser
  • Flashman and the Redskins by George MacDonald Fraser
  • Flashman at the Charge by George MacDonald Fraser
  • Flashman in the Great Game by George MacDonald Fraser
  • The Fort by Bernard Cornwell
  • The Kingdom of Light by Giulio Leoni


  • God Collar by Marcus Brigstocke
  • Map Addict: A Tale of Obsession, Fudge & the Ordnance Survey by Mike Parker
  • Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom by Tom Holland
  • Robin Ince’s Bad Book Club: One Man’s Quest to Uncover the Books That Taste Forgot by Robin Ince
  • Seven Million Years: The Story of Human Evolution by Douglas Palmer
  • The Story of English: How the English Language Conquered the World by Philip Gooden

'Out of this World' at the British Library

Last Thursday evening I attended the launch of the Out of this World science fiction exhibition at the British Library. I’ve blogged about the exhibition for work.

The launch night was fun in a peculiarly geeky way as I got to play spot the author/critic/BNF. Some people (Kim Newman to give the obvious example) are easy to spot but far too many fall into the general category of middle aged men with greying beards. In fact I could easily have been looking at the crowd at Salute or @media instead.

At the same time that I was listening to China Miéville give a speech to open the show, Lettice was at a different exhibition launch with Cilla Black and Ringo Star. There’s probably something profound in that contrast but I’m really not sure what.

Last year I said “I think 2010 may be slightly less weighted towards graphic novels”. Whoops.

How many of my 2010 books have you read?

Available as a poll over on Live Journal (you don’t need an LJ account to vote, just an OpenID account which means an account from, Google, Yahoo, Blogger, etc.)

Read the rest of this very true thing…

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Yesterday, I tweeted "According to my LibraryThing records I’ve read 141 books this year: 26 novels, 7 non-fiction, 102 graphic novels and 6 ‘other’."

Then I went out and bought another two graphic novels… But it must be said that most of the comics I’ve read this year came from West Norwood library, and now that I’ve exhausted most of their good ones, and some of their bad ones, I think 2010 may be slightly less weighted towards graphic novels.

How many of my 2009 books have you read?

Available as a poll over on Live Journal (you don’t need an LJ account to vote, just an OpenID account which means an account from, Google, Yahoo, Blogger, etc.)

Read the rest of this very true thing…

Doctor Who on Christmas Day, that was a bit of splendid nonsense, wasn’t it? And not long now until we find out how it all ends.

I’ve been passing the time between parts one and two by dipping into the festering mire of DW fandom to see what crackpot speculation people have come up.

Timothy Dalton’s character, “The Narrator”, is the Lord President of Gallifrey according to the preview scene on the BBC web site. He’s also clearly a bit of a nutter, vapourising a member of the high council and screaming “I will not die!”.

So some fans have decided that he must be Borusa. Because Borusa was, at one point, Lord President and, at one point, sought the secret of eternal life. I think this is rubbish. Borusa only went bad in his final appearance, before that he was cunning and sometimes ruthless, but basically a good guy. Many long term fans don’t like what happened to Borusa’s personality in “The Five Doctors” and even Terrence Dicks, writer of that story, has tried to redeem Borusa in a novel. RTD is more a fan of the 70s rather than the 80s so I think that he’d be unlikely to bring back the crazy Borusa from The Five Doctors.

Okay, time for my crackpot idea… Do you want to know who “The Narrator” reminds me of? Morbius. Warmongering psychopathic timelord obsessed with immortality – gotcha. Of course the timeline would be really screwed up if he was, but why not? In the middle of the Time War the Time Lords (willing to resurrect the Master after all) reach back in time and bring in a wartime leader.

(Of course, he’s also a version of the War King from the Faction Paradox encyclopaedia/novel “The Book of the War” but as the War King is actually the Master, this parallel probably won’t be followed through. Shame as we’ve had multi-Doctor stories in the past so why not a multi-Master story some day? As in multiple regenerations of the Master, not multiple copies of the same regeneration as we have as of the cliffhanger.)

Claire Bloom’s character, “The Woman”, is according to fans either Romana, the Rani or the White Guardian. Based on the facts that, in turn, she’s a woman, ditto, and where’s white. Every female character in the new series has at some point been claimed to be really Romana or the Rani. The White Guardian is definitely possible but having the White without the Black would be unbalanced, both in terms of mythology and storytelling.

My crackpot idea… (assuming for the moment that she’s far too po-faced and serious to be Iris Wildthyme) She’s Rose. An older Rose from many years hence who reaches back in time and across universes to help the Doctor one last time. It has a distressing ring of plausibility about it.

Wilf is a Time Lord who’s been transformed into a human and his real personality is inside his unfired service revolver. At the end, he will go off in his own TARDIS with his granddaughter Donna thus recreating the very start of the series. Except that this has already been done, and with better justification, in the novel “Sometime Never” where an alien empowered with some of the Doctor’s life force and the Doctor’s not-really but really really (don’t ask) granddaughter end up semi-amnesiac in a malfunctioning time machine in a junkyard with a superweapon thus providing an origin story for the Doctor, Susan, the TARDIS and the Hand of Omega in universe where the Time Lords never existed.

Having Wilf and/or Donna turn out to be another Time Lord would be heartbreaking. They are such wonderful, lovely characters and killing them to bring some Gallifreyan back to life is just tragic. I hope that Wilf turns out to be Wilf because there’s no one better he could be. RTD has shown in Torchwood that he’s not sentimental (except Rose…) about much loved characters so I’m somewhat prepared to be heartbroken.

Many people have speculated that the Time Lords are, in some way, stashed away inside the Master’s head, and there does seem to be some evidence pointing towards this. If this is the case, then RTD owes Lance Parkin, author of the novel “The Gallifrey Chronicles”, a large sum of money; because after the last time that Gallifrey was destroyed the Time Lords ended up stashed away inside the Doctor’s head (thus causing the longest lasting of the Eighth Doctor’s several bouts of amnesia). If the Time War in the TV series does happen “after” the Time War in the novels then maybe the Time Lords resurrected the Master for the sole purpose of using his talent for self-preservation in exactly the same way that the Doctor had used his own last time around.

So there you go, I’ve proved that almost everything that could happen in part two has already been done in the novels, and that I’m as anal and crackpot as any other fan.

I suspect that the reality of part two will be even more sane/crazy, predictable/unpredictable, clichéd/original than the above.

Today was the 10th anniversary of my first date with Lettice. Back in 1999 we went to see The Matrix in Streatham. Today we had an adventure to celebrate.

Robot Grasshopper from the Robot Zoo

First up was the Robot Zoo at the Horniman Museum. Did you know that it took three people to drive a chameleon?

Then we did a bit of shopping. Lettice bought beads and I bought Doctor Who books.(About Time 3 2nd edition is 500 pages long and has an end note about the Chuckle Brothers, how can you not want it?)

If you missed James May’s plasticine garden at Chelsea you can now see it at the Royal Festival Hall.

Then we went on the London Eye. Yes, we live in London. Yes, we work in London tourism. Yes, it’s been open for nine years. No, we hadn’t been on it before.

Then there was yarn shopping. Followed by Yo! Sushi (between you and me, the County Hall branch is always nice and quiet in the evenings and only a short walk from the heaving, 45 minute wait to be seated, restaurants along the Southbank).

Anyway, I’ll do a proper image post either tomorrow or on Monday, in the meantime there are pictures on Flickr.

So I found this file, last modified 10 June 1997, on a set of back ups and it’s a pub quiz that I ran in Balliol bar. In fact considering the date I suspect that this is the night that Lettice first clapped eyes on me and thought “nice guy, shame about the jumper”.

People on Facebook and Twitter said that they wanted to see the quiz, so here goes.

Read the rest of this very true thing…

Well, here’s what I’ve been reading this year. I said there was a lot of graphic novels.

Over on the LiveJournal version of this blog you can fill in a poll to show which of these you’ve read as well (not necessarily in 2008). I understand that you can use OpenID to log into LJ rather than creating an account there but I’ve never tested it myself.


  • A History of Venice by John Julius Norwich
  • Counterknowledge by Damian Thompson
  • Dry Store Room No. 1 by Richard Fortey
  • JavaScript: The Good Parts by Douglas Crockford
  • jQuery in Action by Bear Bibeault and Yehuda Katz
  • Middle Sea: A History of the Mediterranean by John Julius Norwich
  • Stand and Deliver: The Autobiography by Adam Ant
  • The Earth: An Intimate History by Richard Fortey
  • The Economic Naturalist by Robert H. Frank
  • The World Without Us by Alan Weisman


  • A Spectacle of Corruption by David Liss
  • Azincourt by Bernard Cornwell
  • Flashman’s Lady by George MacDonald Fraser
  • Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde
  • Making Money by Terry Pratchett
  • Matter by Iain M. Banks
  • Sword Song by Bernard Cornwell
  • The Coffee Trader by David Liss
  • The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde

Graphic Novels

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: No Future For You
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Wolves at the Gate
  • Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman
  • From Hell by Alan Moore
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier by Alan Moore
  • John Constantine Hellblazer: Bloodlines by Garth Ennis
  • John Constantine Hellblazer: Family Man by Jamie Delano
  • John Constantine Hellblazer: Fear Machine by Jamie Delano
  • John Constantine Hellblazer: Joyride by Andy Diggle
  • John Constantine Hellblazer: The Laughing Magician by Andy Diggle
  • Lucifer: Inferno by Mike Carey
  • Lucifer: Mansions of the Silence by M Carey
  • Planet Hulk Omnibus by Greg Pak
  • World War Hulk by Greg Pak
  • Serenity: Better Days by Joss Whedon
  • Ultimate X-Men :Ultimate Collection Book 2 by Mark Millar

Doctor Who

  • Ahistory by Lance Parkin
  • About Time 6 by Tat Wood
  • Doctor Who: Bullet Time by David A. McIntee
  • Doctor Who: Business Unusual by Gary Russell
  • Doctor Who: Companion Piece by Mike Tucker
  • Doctor Who: Emotional Chemistry by Justin Richards
  • Doctor Who: Endgame by Terrance Dicks
  • Doctor Who: Festival of Death by Jonathan Morris
  • Doctor Who: Grave Matter by Justin Richards
  • Doctor Who: Halflife by Mark Michalowski
  • Doctor Who: Sometime Never… by Simon A. Forward
  • Doctor Who: The World Shapers by Grant Morrison
  • Faction Paradox: This Town Will Never Let Us Go by Lawrence Miles

Odds and Ends

  • Star Wars: Dark Empire II by Tom Veitch
  • Star Wars: Vector Prime by R.A. Salvatore
  • Star Wars: Dark Tide 1 – Onslaught by Michael A. Stackpole
  • Star Wars: Dark Tide 2 – Ruin by Michael A. Stackpole
  • A Magical Society: Ecology & Culture
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