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Doctor Who: Shada: The Lost Adventure by…

Doctor Who: Shada: The Lost Adventure by Douglas Adams (edition 2012)

by Gareth Roberts

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198None59,592 (4.1)7
Title:Doctor Who: Shada: The Lost Adventure by Douglas Adams
Authors:Gareth Roberts
Info:Ace Hardcover (2012), Edition: Book Club Edition, Hardcover, 400 pages
Collections:Your library

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Shada: The Lost Adventure by Gareth Roberts (Author)




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In 1979, Douglas Adams wrote an episode of Doctor Who that was never finished, due to a strike at the BBC. The story has since appeared in various iterations: there was a video release featuring narration by Tom Baker to summarize the unfilmed scenes and, later, an animated webcast version featuring the Eighth Doctor in place of the Fourth. Adams himself also cannibalized bits of the plot, integrating them into Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. Well, here's the latest version: a full-length novel adaptation by Gareth Roberts, who has fleshed out Adams' script significantly, as well as making a few changes. (Reasonably enough, I think, especially as Adams apparently wrote the original script very quickly and was reportedly not entirely happy with it.)

I enjoyed this, honestly, rather more than I was expecting to. Roberts writes in an amusing, often noticeably Adams-eque style (complete with Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in-jokes), but he largely manages to avoid making this feel like a forced or overly imitative Adams pastiche. And some of the dialog is both pure Adams, and pure Doctor Who. The result is a lot of fun, even (or perhaps especially) for those of us already familiar with the story. ( )
2 vote bragan | Aug 16, 2013 |
The Doctor and Romana are in Cambridge visiting an old friend of The Doctors, Professor Chronotis, when a student accidently takes an important Time Lord book out of Chronotis’ office. The book is “The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey” a priceless artifact. At the same time, Skagra, an evil man bent on dominating the universe through mind control has arrived on Earth to steal the tome from Chronotis. The volume holds the secret to unlocking the Time Lord prison Shada, a forgotten place of confinement that keeps the worst criminals from Gallifreyan history in cryogenic freeze.

This book was a delight to read. I could see Tom Baker strutting about with his long multi-colored scarf. At the end of each section I could hear the Dr. Who theme song. The novel was just like watching the show. In fact the third chapter was a scene used in “The Five Doctors” episode.

Douglas Adams was the script supervisor for Dr. Who during the fourth doctor’s tenure. He pinned one of my favorite episodes “The Pirate Planet.” “Shada” was written by Adams and partially produced. The few scenes that were filmed were released on video tape, but the production was never completed. Gareth Roberts does a wonderful job filling out the story. If you are a true Whovian who has seen the Tom Baker doctor in action you have to read this book. ( )
1 vote craso | Apr 5, 2013 |
Well, first, you really need to be a Dr Who fan to understand the story. Second, I did not know that Douglas Adams wrote a number of Dr. Who stories. It is fascinating just reading the history of this one, and now I need to go back and watch a number of episodes that he wrote. And finally to the book. Very much classic Dr. Who. Gareth Roberts did an outstanding job working with the original and turning it into a novel. There are a couple of slow spots at the beginning but it is quite a ride once it gets going. Just about any Dr. Who fan will like this. ( )
  Bill.Bradford | Mar 9, 2013 |
Shada is billed as a lost Dr. Who episode as originally conceived by Douglas Adams. I’m not enough of a Dr. Who fan to question this book as being part of The Doctor’s cannon nor am I expert enough on all things Adams to question its provenance, but I am very willing to believe that Douglas Adams is smiling down on Gareth Roberts for his part in this book’s creation, whatever that may be. There is enough of Adams’ spirit in the dialog and some of the satire to satisfy me, regardless of where this manuscript originated.

My Dr. Who experience is confined to the Tom Baker era and maybe in a large part to that, that is how I kept envisioning The Doctor in the book. So much of the imagery evoked. The snappy dialog, a true Douglas Adams hallmark, is the star of this book. I was also pleased at the cameo role H2G2 played in one of the scenes.

Pure escapist reading, the book makes for a quick read. Since I was pulled along like some piece of cosmic flotsam in the wake of a disappearing TARDIS, I must confess that I felt this to be a very compelling book that I had a hard time putting down. For that reason, I’m going out on a limb to give this four stars. Quite a refreshing change of some of the dark Steampunk and heavier Sci-Fi I’ve been reading lately. ( )
  PghDragonMan | Nov 2, 2012 |
"Shada" was a script written by Douglas Adams, for the show, back in 1979, but there was a strike at the BBC and it was never completed. Since then it's had a few different incarnations, from a straight-to-video release using the incomplete footage, with Tom Baker narrating the gaps, to a Big Finish audio play starring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor. Gareth Roberts' novelization stars the Fourth Doctor, Romana II and K-9, and sticks close to Adams' original script, but he fleshes the story out and his descriptions and additions are told in a fun style, with little touches of Adams-esque humour. Roberts also includes nods to the modern tv-series, with the Time Lord message cubes, the golden regeneration light, and a reference to the "Corsair" - a Time Lord mentioned by the Eleventh Doctor in the 2011 episode "The Doctor's Wife." This adds a new vitality to the story, and the Fourth Doctor, Romana and K-9 leap off the page with fresh energy.

As much as I love Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor, Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor will always be "my" Doctor, and Romana has always been my favourite companion. And what can I say, I love the tin dog, too! Gareth Roberts really gets them right - he's written episodes for the television series for the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors, and I discovered that he also wrote some spin-off books for the "Doctor Who: New Adventures" series in the 90s, featuring the Fourth Doctor and Romana. They are sort of hard to get now, but I will be keeping an eye out for them, because I really enjoyed his version of Shada.

Of course, it is Douglas Adams's script, you can't get better than that! The dialogue sparkles. There are some laugh-out-loud lines, and the whole thing is delightful fun, with lots of energy. The story is constantly engaging: the Doctor and Romana are called to St. Cedd's College at Cambridge University in 1979, to visit the Doctor's old friend, a retired Time Lord living there as Professor Chronitis. The professor brought a Time Lord book to Earth, and not just any book, but The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey, one of the most dangerous artefacts in the universe. Reading this novelization of Shada was so much fun, it makes me wish for more new Doctor Who novels featuring the old Doctors and companions. ( )
1 vote catfantastic | Aug 25, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Roberts, GarethAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adams, DouglasOriginal Scriptsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ward, LallaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The radical evil: that everybody wants to be what they might and could be, and all the rest of mankind to be nothing, indeed, not to exist at all.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Maxims and Reflections
...flat eyes that only turned toward the stars to estimate their chemical tonnage.

Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany's
Concern with other people is a mistake.

Quentin Crisp, Resident Alien
Does the body rule the mind or does the mind rule the body?

I dunno...

The Smiths, 'Still Ill'
For Clayton Hickman, whose role in the creation of this book was larger than Queen Xanxia's transmat engine, and whose role in my life is more precious than oolion.
And in memory of Douglas Adams.
First words
At the age of five, Skagra decided emphatically that God did not exist.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the 2012 novelisation. It should not be combined with the TV serial, the script, or the audio drama.
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The hands of the sinister Time Lord Skagra are unquestionably the wrongest ones possible. Skagra is a sadist and an egomaniac, bent on universal domination. Having misguessed the state of fashion on Earth, he also wears terrible platform shoes.

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