April Books 7) Doctor Who: Shada, by Douglas Adams and Gareth Roberts
We've waited a long time for this, the lost novelisation of the lost Doctor Who story, brought to life from the final version of Adams' script by one of the best-placed of the current Who authors. And it is pretty damn good. Having watched both the 1992 video of the surviving parts of the original 1979 filming, and the webcast version with Paul McGann, and also read a previous fan-produced novelisation, the single most important thing about this new version is that it actually makes sense. Roberts has teased out threads of narrative left him by Adams, thickened them up and knitted them into a warm colourful and much longer scarf of story. I often find myself complaining about sf stories - and I think I have previously made this complaint about Shada - that the means and motivation of the characters, especially the bad guys, is inadequately explained. But now we actually understand who Skagra and Salyavin are, and why they behave as they do. In addition, we have the extra romantic depth we had always hoped must be there between Clare and Chris, nicely contrasted with the relationship between the Doctor and Romana. And Roberts delights with his love of the work, with several entertaining references to the Hitch-Hiker's Guide thrown in (I particularly liked a vignette at the end riffing off both a Hitch-Hiker's joke from the final radio episode, and the earliest moments of Who continuity). Not sure that this would be a good place to start for people who know nothing about Doctor Who, but I think anyone with even the vaguest knowledge of the Tom Baker years will enjoy it immensely. I think this was the most expensive book I bought at Eastercon - signed, too! - but worth every penny.