Valerie Estelle Frankel,
Doctor Who: The Where, What & How --
A Fannish Guide to the TARDIS-Sized Pop Culture Jam

(LitCrit, 2013)

Either Valerie Frankel has a lot of time on her hands, or she has her own TARDIS.

I'm not sure how else I can explain the impressive amount of research that went into Doctor Who: The Where, What & How, which she describes on the cover as "A Fannish Guide to the TARDIS-Sized Pop Culture Jam."

The book follows the threads in the cultural tapestry that is the Doctor Who phenomenon. She explores its influences, and the things it has influenced. She talks about the show's subtle references to other TV shows and movies, its fannish devotion to literature and the individual passions of its primary cast and crew. She discusses the relationship between the program's 50-year television history and its rich vein of novels, audiobooks, comics and other variations on the theme.

She ties old Who and new Who together, finding common themes, sly winks to the past and occasional inconsistencies. She links the Doctor with his spinoff series, primarily Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures. She even provides a travel guide for people who want to visit sites connected to filming the series.

I'll be honest, there are a few more typos in the text than I'd prefer -- nothing egregious, but maybe one more read-through by an editor would have helped. And the book can be a little dry at times, but that's the nature of the beast: This sort of book contains a lot of lists, a great deal of minutiae, and I doubt any but the most diehard Whovians will want to sit down and read it cover to cover.

In smaller chunks, however, it's fascinating. I read a few chapters a day and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

book review by
Tom Knapp

3 January 2015

Agree? Disagree?
Send us your opinions!

what's new