The book bunnies are all Whovians, that is, they are all fans of the British science fiction TV show Doctor Who. Having watched and enjoyed many episodes of the show from both its original run 1963-1989 and the reboot series 2005-present, they also have several books about the series on their bookshelves. Today Marshmallow talks about one of these books, Doctor Who: The Encyclopedia, written by Gary Russell in 2011. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.
Sprinkles: So Marshmallow, tell me a bit about why you wanted to talk about this book today.
Marshmallow: We went to a Doctor Who convention recently, and I thought it would be fun to revisit this book.
S: Yes, makes sense to me. So tell me a bit about Doctor Who for readers who may not know who he is.
M: Well, that’s a tall order. But let me try. Doctor Who is an alien, from a planet named Gallifrey, and he travels through time and space. Realistically, I think he finds himself on Earth way too often, but through his travels, he makes friends and defends humanity and anything good in this universe against all sorts of evil villains.
S: I think that is a good summary. And I like how you said he finds himself on Earth too often. In fact he finds himself in the UK, almost all the time, right?
M: Of course. It is after all a BBC show!
S: Of course.
M: And he has a companion or two almost in every episode. He is usually the only Time Lord — that is what people from his planet are called — but he often travels with a human or two, finding them in one of his many trips on Earth and bringing them along with him through many adventures.
S: I’m guessing Time Lords call themselves Time Lords. Kind of pretentious, don’t you think?
M: Yes, but they kind of are lords of time. They have the technology to travel through time and space, and they kind of have the ability to even get out of time sometimes. Which is of course weird, and even incomprehensible, for bunnies like us, who are bound by time.
S: I see. Okay, maybe they can call themselves Time Lords then. So tell me about the book. What is it about?
M: Well, it is written like an encyclopedia, and hence the title. So there are many entries, all ordered alphabetically, about all sorts of things about the show and its main characters.
S: I see on the book cover the faces of three of the Doctors.
M: Oh, yes, I forgot to tell you that one of the features of being a Time Lord involves regenerating as a new face and body when your original body is worn out or poisoned or otherwise damaged extensively. So of course this makes it awfully convenient for the BBC to change the actor who is playing the Doctor more or less regularly. And yes, the cover of the book has the ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, the tenth Doctor, David Tennant, and the eleventh, Matt Smith. These are the first three doctors from the reboot era.
S: I see. So the book was published in 2011 —
M: And the Doctor was still Matt Smith back then.
S: But he is no longer?
M: Yep. At some point Matt Smith regenerated, and became Peter Capaldi, who was the twelfth Doctor. Then Capaldi regenerated to become Jodie Whitaker, who is the thirteenth. Apparently she will regenerate, and they will bring back David Tennant for a couple more episodes before he regenerates into Ncuti Gatwa, who will be the fifteenth Doctor.
S: Do you think it could be a bit hard to keep track of all these doctors?
M: Not really. They all have their own personalities. Even though it is supposed to be the same person, and the show is really about the life story of one particular individual, each actor has their own interpretation, and each Doctor is totally different.
S: That is amazing, and it is one of the things that keep the show fresh, no?
M: Yes. I think so too.
S: Okay, back to The Encyclopedia. So this was published before the twelfth doctor, so it would not have anything about his adventures or companions or those of the thirteenth Doctor. Does it have information about the companions and adventures of the earlier doctors, or is it only about the three new doctors, nine to eleven?
M: I think it is mostly nine to eleven. But they have had a lot of adventures and so there is a lot to say. At the end of the book they list the episodes that the book covers, and they go from Episode 1 of the ninth Doctor to the end of the second year of the eleventh Doctor. And they also have some stuff about The Infinite Quest, which apparently was an animated series with the tenth Doctor and Martha, one of his companions. Somehow we must have missed that one.
S: I see. So there are a lot of details for about six years of the new show.
M: Yes, so you could learn so much! And the book has a lot of colorful pictures. It is really neat to read and look at. Though I must say, there are some scary pictures. And if you just see a picture like that when you turn a page, it could freak you out… It did to me.
S: What do you mean?
M: You know some of the episodes of Doctor Who are pretty scary, and so the pictures about those episodes remind me of the episodes and how scary they were. And even if I had not seen the full episodes, the pictures would still be very scary.
S: Hmm. So maybe this is not a great book for young bunnies.
M: No. But if a bunny likes Doctor Who and is not too scared of the scary episodes, I’m sure they would love this book. There are so many details on each of the episodes. It will be fun to re-watch the show after looking over this book. I think I will notice so much more.
S: So then you like the book, right?
M: Yes. If you are a Whovian, and especially if you like the new series, you have to read this book.
S: I see. Then how would you rate it?
M: I’d rate it 95%, only because of the scary pictures. But otherwise it is a pretty awesome book and would be appreciated by anyone who likes the show.
S: Thank you Marshmallow. I think that is fair. So what would you like to tell our readers as we wrap this up?
M: Stay tuned for more amazing book reviews from the book bunnies!