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Don't Blink — Read!

by Tomas - 4 Comment(s)

neil gaimanIf you’re a Whovian, I don’t have to explain the significance of November 23rd. To those not yet initiated, this date marks the premiere of the 50th Anniversary special episode: The Day of the Doctor. If you're new to the phenomenon of Doctor Who, long-time fan Neil Gaiman recently shared a succinct synopsis of the show so you can dive right in:

“No, look, there’s a blue box. It’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. It can go anywhere in time and space and sometimes even where it’s meant to go. And when it turns up, there’s a bloke in it called The Doctor and there will be stuff wrong and he will do his best to sort it out and he will probably succeed ’cause he’s awesome. Now sit down, shut up, and watch ‘Blink’.”

In another post, Gaiman expands on his thoughts on the literary quality of the series:

“Doctor Who has never pretended to be hard science-fiction. At best, Doctor Who is a fairytale, with fairytale logic, about this wonderful man in this big blue box, who at the beginning of every story lands somewhere there’s a problem.”

The appeal to Doctor Who naturally extends to lovers of fiction (writers and readers). From a wardrobe that is bigger on the inside, to the wibbly wobbly act of Tessering, many books offer similar mind, space and time-bending experiences.

Over the years, a number of celebrated authors have contributed stories—in both television and book form—including Douglas Adams, Jenny Colgan and Neil Gaiman.

nenshiFans of the series also include our recently re-elected mayor Nahed Nenshi. In our centennial publication, His Worship wrote how he devoured every copy of the Doctor Who novels he could get his hands on.

“One of the things I really loved were science fiction novels and in particular I was a fan, and have been for a long time, of the British science fiction show Dr. Who,” ...

“There must be hundreds of Dr. Who paperbacks and I would always be awaiting them. I would always know which ones the Forest Lawn library had and which ones I had read.

“Whatever was there I would grab so I would read them wildly out of sequence which was ok because they were self-contained stories.”

In anticipation of the 50th Anniversary episode, Penguin Books commissioned 11 writers to come up with short stories. These were published monthly as e-books, one for each for one generation of the Doctor. So far these are only available as ebooks for sale, but hopefully will be added to our collection soon. In the meantime, you can check out the links below for samples of each writer’s story, courtesy of The Guardian, as well as interviews where they speak about their inspiration and enthusiasm for their particular Doctor:

 

Eoin Colfer - A Big Hand For The Doctordoctor who

Michael Scott - The Nameless City

Marcus Sedgwick - The Spear of Destiny

Philip Reeve - The Roots of Evil

Patrick Ness - Tip of the Tongue

Richelle Mead - Something Borrowed

Malorie Blackman - Ripple Effect

Charlie Higson - The Beast of Babylon

Derek Landy - The Mystery of the Haunted Cottage

Neil Gaiman - Nothing O'Clock

 


If the thrilling prospects of time and space exploration leave you wanting more, check out these other great reads.

A Monster Calls mister monday hitch-hikers guide hourglass wrinkle in time garden of iden

Explore other dimensions of your favorite Sci-Fi characters

by Tomas - 1 Comment(s)

Dr. Who reading

Fiction has always been a vital part of the Sci-Fi equation, and literature regularly figures into the plots of classic and contemporary TV series. Think of Mark Twain's visits to the Star Trek Universe, Data's obsession with Sherlock Holmes, or The Doctor's interest in pulp fiction (no spoilers here, check out the Angels Take Manhattan finale in the 7th season... coming to the library soon!).

Nathan Fillion - Kids Need to ReadSome of the crossovers aren't as conventional, and extend into the lives of the actors themselves. Looking at the line up for the upcoming 2013 Comic Expo, I came across an interesting tidbit about Nathan "Mal" Fillion. In addition to his work on Firefly, and later shows like Castle and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, this former Edmontonian is co-founder of Kids Need to Read, a non-profit organization which aspires to provide underfunded libraries with more books!

Another Expo guest, comic legend Stan Lee, recently formed the Stan Lee Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting literacy, cultural awareness and artistic diversity throughout the arts (as if his 50+ years of output through Marvel Comics didn't already provide enough encouragement...)

Across the pond, the BBC has launched a series of storytelling segments by some of the U.K.'s biggest celebrities, including -naturally - cast members from Dr. Who, such as John Barrowman (also a guest of the Expo). Come on, who hasn't wanted a bedtime story told by The Master, or Captain Jack (???)

Geordi and DataAnd then, there's Levar Burton: As a long time fan of his run on Reading Rainbow, as well as his turn as Chief Engineer Geordi Laforge on Star Trek: TNG, nothing could prepare my 15 year-old self for the mind bending moment when the two shows / universes paradoxically combined in one glorious episode!

Mind bending in an entirely different way is Leonard Nimoy's, ah, unique rendition of Tolkien's The Hobbit. Much more concise than Peter Jackson's take, but just as exhilarating an experience!

The Star Wars Comeback Special

by Jocelyn - 1 Comment(s)

The blog author embraces her inner Leia.

Ok, I admit it. I am of the generation that grew up with the original Star Wars (that would mean episodes IV through VI for the rest of you.) I grew up pretending I was Princess Leia, and I even had a Princess Leia shampoo bottle (disturbingly, the head is the bottle cap that twists off.) I embraced the Ewok movie too. Later on, I read Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces because I heard that was the book that inspired George Lucas. In San Francisco, I stared at the ships beyond the wharf, as I had heard that was the place that gave inspiration to many of the ships in Star Wars

So when I heard that they were making a new trilogy about Anakin Skywalker, I couldn’t contain my excitement. Sadly, like many of us who grew up with the originals, I was deeply disappointed in episodes I to III. It was like George Lucas had taken the greatest villain in cinematic history (Darth Vader) and reduced him to a whiney sniveling shadow of a young Jedi (what is up with that!?!?)

The good news is, despite all that, Star Wars is still wildy popular, especially in hyperspace, and it’s not because of George Lucas endlessly re-editing the films (I don’t even want to talk about what he did to Return of the Jedi). Lego certainly has something to do with it – Lego Star Wars books, the game on Wii, etc. have breathed some new life into old loveable characters, such as Chewie. One can only imagine what would happen if Lego teamed up to create some kind of Hunger Games model sets… but I digress.) The other factor is the fans themselves and the endless video spin-offs you can find on YouTube or the books you can find in the library – for example, I just read Darth Paper Strikes Back: an Origami Yoda book by Tom Angleberger. This is the sequel The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, and I quite enjoyed it.

For those who just want to peruse the art the fans have created on the internet, here is a few to check out:

1)Star Wars Uncut. This is a Star Wars fan tribute video, coordinated by Casey Pugh, where thousands of fans got together and did a scene by scene remake of Episode 4. They filmed with Lego, with their old Star Wars toys, with themselves, with their own home-made videos. And from what I have seen, it is awesome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ezeYJUz-84

2)Jedi Cats Strike Back. Two college students filmed this vignette with their newly rescued kittens. It is absolutely adorable, and pretty much the only non-violent light saber battle that I could find on the internet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z3r9X8OahA

3)Chad Vader. This is a series made by Blame Society Productions about a guy related to Darth who happens to work at a grocery store called Empire Market. Or at least he did. Here is Chad trying out some other work. It doesn’t go so well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmDf6SnTVxg

4)Pink Five. This series features Stacey, a rather chatty X-wing pilot that was created by some true Star Wars fans. Here, she has accidentally followed Luke Skywalker to the planet Degobah: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kf8bbaX6D1s

5)John Williams is the Man. This is a rather hilarious acapella Star Wars tribute (although it's actually done to the tune of the Indiana Jones theme...but that is just a mere technicality, right?): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk5_OSsawz4

And don’t forget to check out Wookiepedia – the Star Wars wiki – where you can get lost for hours reading everything you wanted to know about Star Wars at http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page