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tardis
This is a bold step by BBC books: a set of sketches which basically all revolve around the same joke, the Doctor (and the Whoniverse) intruding in the fictional world of Shakespeare's plays. The authors include James Goss, who for my money is the best current writer of Who prose, and Matthew Sweet, who brings a certain lit crit depth to proceedings (not to neglect Jonathan Morris and Justin Richards who are both reliable writers of Who fiction). The fifth writer is an undergraduate.

Combining Shakespeare and the Doctor is not new. On TV, quite apart from the 2007 story The Shakespeare Code, references to the Bard go back to his appearance on the Time-Space Visualiser which the First Doctor ripped off from the Space Museum in 1965. Actually the first reference in the Whoniverse is even earlier, in The Dalek Book from June 1964, in which young Daleks are told that "THE SHAKESPEARE PLAYS AND SONNETS WERE WRITTEN BY OUR EMPEROR". I listed the Who/Shakespeare crossovers of which I was then aware back in 2009.

Although this book is basically 200 pages of the same joke, there are some really good twists on it. One would need a certain amount of familiarity with both sets of canonical texts to appreciate all of it - the insertion of Romana into Pericles is actually really funny but only if you know that particular scene from Pericles, which is not exactly Shakespeare's best-known play. But A Midsummer Night's Dream is much better known, and the recasting of the Rude Mechanicals as Sontarans performing a stage interpretation of the events of Horror of Fang Rock is brilliant. And the recasting of the Master as Mephistopheles to Marlowe as Faust, rewriting Shakespeare's plays to remove him and the Doctor from history, is a genius touch - the Master gets some hilarious lines too.

Most of the rest is predictable but entertaining - I could have skipped the sonnets myself, though I see that other readers liked them. Worth the money anyway.

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
randomposting
Jul. 5th, 2014 02:30 am (UTC)
Shakespeare & Dr Who together in a book? My theatre geekery needs have been met. So happy I happened upon your blog, and found out about this!
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