A franchise that spans time like Doctor Who is bound to have more stories in it than even the longest-running television show could tell. Doctor Who began airing in the 1950s and is still going today, but the show can not portray everything that an immortal Time Lord goes through in one lifetime or many.
That’s why it’s great news that fans can pick up a book or two and get lost in a brand-new tale. Follow all 13 takes on the Doctor and their companions on some of the best adventures to have come out of the minds of science fiction writers throughout the years.
Doctor Who: Nuclear Time
With Amy and Rory stuck in the idyllic town of Appleseed in rural America, the Doctor is left trapped in the TARDIS, traveling through his own past without control. Exploring the logistics of time travel is the basis of most of Doctor Who’s best ideas, and this came to the forefront of most of the Eleventh Doctor’s adventures.
Those ideas have a prominent role in Oli Smith’s Nuclear Timein which the Doctor is racing against his own clock to stop a nuclear bomb trapped in stasis.
Doctor Who: Only Human
In Only Humanthe Ninth Doctor and his companions Rose Tyler and Jack Harkness travel back to the start of humanity to solve a mystery across time. Gareth Roberts captures the voices of the characters perfectly, managing to balance the Ninth Doctor’s darkness with the humor that Jack and Rose bring to the mix.
With a plot classic enough to fit most Doctor Who stories, this is a comforting read that nonetheless offers a great commentary on current society’s issues, and that’s what Doctor Who does best.
This book has Wilfred Mott as a main character, so it’s automatically better than most! After Donna Noble was stripped of her memories of traveling as the Doctor’s companion, it affected her whole family, and they’re the first to tell the Doctor when her grandfather, Wilfred Mott, discovers a new star. Focusing on a touching story of the Doctor and Donna’s friendship, Beautiful Chaos is written by a veteran of Doctor Who fiction, Gary Russell.
For fans of Doctor Who that miss Donna Noble and wish there was a bit more closure to her story, Beautiful Chaos is a great place to start.
The Doctor Who Cookbook
If only for the novelty of it, Doctor Who fans should check this book out! Whether as a coffee table book or a gift for a baker, this cookbook is perfect for anyone.
From an Extermi-Cake to fish sticks and custard, the official cookbook for Doctor Who fans gives a creative twist to food. While there’s a bit of a learning curve to some of the more advanced recipes and some people might be tempted to buy it, set it on the coffee table, and never look at it again, the book is both a great display piece and a practical tool. It offers helpful instructions for designing and decorating the more complicated dishes.
Doctor Who: Alien Bodies
When the Eighth Doctor and his companion walk into an interplanetary auction, they realize there’s something for sale that could change the entire course of the world, one of the deadliest weapons there has ever been, aka the Doctor. Another of Lawrence Miles’ extremely creative Doctor Who efforts, Alien Bodies tackles cosmic horror, the intricacies of time travel, and the beginnings of the Time War that would become instrumental in the Doctor’s journey in the revival series.
Lawrence Miles shines with this book; in a midsize novel he manages to spin an intriguing tale that serves as a great introduction to some of the other tales he tells in the Doctor Who universe.
Doctor Who: Fear of the Dark
Fear of the Dark is widely claimed by readers to be one of the best Doctor Who books. Published in 2003, it follows the Fifth Doctor as he investigates the moon Akoshemon’s past with a group of archeologists. As they venture deeper into Akoshemon’s caverns, they’re forced to encounter the makings of their own dark dreams, fears, and thoughts.
This book deserves to be up there with Blink, The Impossible Planet, and The Waters of Mars as one of the creepiest Doctor Who stories.
Doctor Who: Interference
Possibly one of the most creative takes on Doctor Who – so much so that it needs years of prior knowledge of Doctor Who events and characters–Lawrence Miles’ Interference somehow manages to expand the DW universe into something new. The two-book story’s intricate plot is an extension of previous books and a television movie all focused on the Eighth Doctor, so there’s certainly a learning curve for anyone interested in checking it out.
Featuring alternate universe Doctors, companions from previous regenerations’ pasts, and a myriad of various enemies and antagonists from various previous plotlines, Interference might take some work to puzzle through, but it’s definitely worth it!
Doctor Who: Shada
Based on a television episode script written by Douglas Adams that never ended up being produced, Shada tells the story in full for the first time.
This book is notable for giving the audience more insight into Gallifrey long before the so-called “War Doctor” was ever conceived, much less before he was the cause of the planet’s destruction. With Adams’ characteristic humor and wit, Shada tells a thrilling, engaging story of egomaniacal Time Lords in search of a book that cannot by any means fall into the wrong hands.
Doctor Who: Ten Little Aliens
Ten Little Aliens is a loving homage to Agatha Christie’s mystery novel, And Then There Were None. A story to go down in history as one of Doctor Who’s most intense and horrifying, it features sci-fi alien militaries, haunted houses, and even a choose-your-own-adventure segment that places the reader into the story in an entertaining way .
If nothing else, the book is creative, piling on all the sci-fi elements that can reasonably be shoved into a mystery novel – and some that go overboard (see the aforementioned choose-your-own-adventure). For that reason, its sheer creativity has to be respected.
Doctor Who: Human Nature
The novel that inspired the game-changing Season 3 episode of the same name in 2007, Paul Cornell’s Human Nature follows a similar premise. The Doctor, working as a teacher named John Smith and living without his memories of being a Time Lord, inevitably gets dragged into danger when the Doctor’s enemies find him.
While in the episode, the Tenth Doctor became human to escape pursuit (only to have it find him anyway), the novel’s Seventh Doctor did it to better understand humanity and emotions in a way he could not experience as a Time Lord. It’s an interesting difference that makes Human Nature a fascinating read, both to visualize the events happening to a completely different character and to come to a better understanding of what the story was originally intended to be.
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