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Doctor Who: Shada Audio CD – Unabridged, 15 March 2012
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- ISBN-13 : 978-1445867632
- ISBN-10 : 144586763X
- Dimensions : 13.97 x 2.31 x 13.97 cm
- Publisher : BBC Audio, A Division Of Random House; Unabridged edition (15 March 2012)
- Language: : English
- Customer Reviews:
Shada, as an audiobook, filters Douglas Adams' style and voice rather wonderfully, evoking the sounds of the Hitchhikers' Guide. -- Cameron K. McEwan, http://blogtorwho.blogspot.co.uk
About the Author
Gareth Roberts was born in Chesham, Buckinghamshire in 1968. His scripts for Doctor Who on television include 'The Shakespeare Code' (2007), 'The Unicorn And The Wasp' (2008), 'The Lodger' (2010) and 'Closing Time' (2011), and he has also written many scripts for the spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures, as well as scripts for programmes as diverse as Emmerdale and Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased). He has written nine original Doctor Who novels, and lives in West London.
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It is an amalgamation of Douglas Adams’ original scripts and notes and the inventiveness of Gareth Roberts, renowned for writing some of the most popular Fourth Doctor and Romana novels (some of which are to be made into audio plays later in 2014). As a product of two authors it works very well. Roberts clearly knows and understands Adams’ unique style and humour and there is little indication of who wrote what. Having Roberts, writer of several televised scripts since the programme’s return, write the novelisation has the advantage of making the story feel that it is influenced by both the original run of Doctor Who and its return since 2005. Hence there are references to such things as Carrionites and the Corsair. It makes the story feel less routed in 1979. In a way it becomes more historical than modern.
The writing style is basically what you might expect if you’re a Hitchhikers fan or of any other works of Adams. Effortlessly whimsical and tongue in cheek but rarely frivolous to the plot and never pointless. The balance of humour is perfectly pitched. The novelisation is a fully fleshed out version of the TV story. This provides much more depth for the small cast of characters making them stronger and more dimensional, providing greater incentives and motivations for their actions and behaviour. Thus, however despicable, Shagra also manages to become a figure of sympathy. The love story angle between Chris and Claire is covered more satisfactorily and Salyavin becomes a far more understandable and explained character (something that felt a little absent in the TV version).
It’s great after all these years that ‘Shada’ finally gets a novelisation. It’s a good example of Douglas Adams’ marvellous contribution to Doctor Who and cements Gareth Roberts’ mastery over the Fourth Doctor/Second Romana era. I look forward to novelisation of ‘City of Death’.
Well here is a book that should have been written when I was a child, wasn't, but still gave me the frisson of anticipation when it was released this year.
Between the ages of 8 and 18, I absolutely loved Target's Doctor Who books. When I was 10-11, I I devoured them. I was off school for 3 months with glandular fever. Bored? Not a bit of it. I just had loads more time to blast my way through the massive back catalogue of brilliant adventure stories, written by Terrance Dicks, Ian Marter, Barry Letts, Malcolm Hulke et al.
I really enjoyed reading Shada. Gareth Roberts has made an excellent job of creating a very readable novel out of what must have been a collection of bits: a shooting script, the completed sections of the tv programme and of course Tom Baker's own linking narration on the early-90s video release.
It's great to read an adventure of the Fourth Doctor again. The author really captures the fun and the excitement of Tom Baker's era. There was definitely something special about Doctor 4 and his pairing with Lalla Ward's Romana. That relationship is bottled and served like a good wine (not a table wine, no!) in Shada. The villain, Skagra, whilst being as cartoony on the page as he was in the TV version, is still a good nemesis for the Doctor, and gives the Time Lord lots of scope to crack jokes and deliver put downs.
I haven't been able to get interested in the books that have written for Doctors 9, 10 and 11, so this is the first new Doctor Who novel that I've been able to read and enjoy in years.
We just need Gareth Roberts to novelize The Pirate Planet and City of Death now please :-)
In the meantime, there have been completions of the television version issued. Something of a legend has also grown up over the story. Hence, in some ways it is a surprise that a novel of the Shada story has not been written up until now, despite there being an industry in its own right of Doctor Who novels to which Gareth Roberts has contributed in recent incarnations.
Roberts mentions in an afterword that he has had access to various drafts of Adams' scripts. Some of the ideas in "Shada" were also reused by Adams in his novel Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Dirk Gently 1) . Thus not everything on display in this novel is completely unfamiliar. Roberts also explains he has introduced some ideas of his own in completing the story.
So what do we get here. By and large it a good story featuring the fourth Doctor as played by Tom Baker and Romana as played by Lalla Ward. The book can be recommended as having more than just curiosity value. There is a good narrative pace maintained in the story telling, It is an entertaining adventure, with the portrayal of Tom Baker's Doctor coming across particularly well. The style is also very consistent with that of modern Doctor Who, showing continuity in the series.
Yet though this is a good story, there will inevitably be comparisons made with Adams writing. I suspect there is a lot of overlap between fans of Douglas Adams and fans of Doctor Who anyway which means this will appeal to both. Gareth Roberts, by and large, succeeds in creating a Doctor Who novel that reflects both Adams style and imagination. The characters ring true to the original series, There are many Adams like flourishes such as a talking space ship, in-jokes and traces of humour playing with the language of science fiction and science writing well as ideas. Yet Roberts would probably agree it doesn't quite have the flair of Shada's originator to whom the book is dedicated.
But that said this book is still a more than worthy achievement. Gareth Roberts deserves to be credited alongside Douglas Adams in this book It is a highly entertaining read that will be essential reading for fans of the show and both writers.
Gareth Roberts has done a stunning job, returning to the latest notes and versions that Adams left and, as he says in a helpful postscript, having had the luxury of time to complete what Adams was writing in a rush.
I've always been cautious about written versions of Who and never convinced that they work as well as on TV, but Roberts (and Adams, of course!) show here that it's possible. Whether considered as a Doctor Who adventure alongside all the others (including the 21st century revival) or simply as a compelling story, this book succeeds - both bring to life the characters of the Fourth Doctor and Romana and also providing foils in Clare, Colin, and Professor Chronatis, who are swept in their wake (as well as a truly megalomaniac villain).
It's also possible to see aspects of Adams' other fiction reflected here (slightly irritating talking spaceships, bad stuff that might happen with airlocks and much more - it's fun to watch out for this.)
Overall, an enjoyable read, I'd have thought a must for those who are Doctor Who or Douglas Adams fans (or both).