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

by Gareth Roberts

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2841539,700 (4.03)14
Member:Phoenix42
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
Rating:*****
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Shada: The Lost Adventure by Gareth Roberts (Author)

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» See also 14 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Meh. I remember being really underwhelmed by this book ( )
  Courtney_Anne | Jan 7, 2016 |
“The stranger looked between her and the spectrograph and seemed to come to a decision. He smiled suddenly and unexpectedly, with teeth like two rows of great gleaming tombstones. ‘Hello, I’m the Doctor,’ he said, extending a hand.”

Dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum (etc.)… Ooo-ee-ooo OooEEooo… oooooEEooooo… OoooEoooo… oooeEoooo… Du Du Du Du… Du Du Du Du…

Sorry, I always get the urge to do that when I review a Doctor Who book (this is only my second one*, perhaps I can refrain from doing this by the third book). I imagine “teeth like two rows of great gleaming tombstones” is enough of a clue for most diehard Whovians to figure out which Doctor this book is about. I mean who can forget these pearly whites:


Shada is a novelization of [a: Douglas Adams|4|Douglas Adams|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1189120061p2/4.jpg]’s script for a six parts 1979 Doctor Who serial that was only partially filmed and never completed due to a writers strike at the time. The incompletely filmed script has been adapted several times for animated direct to video release, audio drama and whatnot (see Wikipedia’s Shada entry). The only adaptation that concerns is here is Gareth Roberts' novelization.

The basic plot of Shada concerns a psychopathic alien’s plot to find an ancient Gallifreyan book that will lead to his dominion of the universe (a minimal goal for most Who villains**). It is up to the toothy Fourth Doctor, cute Time Lady Romana II, and the wondrous tin dog K-9 to save the day; added by an elderly Time Lord and a couple of regular earthlings.

The Doctor, Romana II, and K-9, with these three names I already have no resistance to this book, if it was very bad I would probably still quite like it. Fortunately it is the polar opposite of very bad. The breezy, affable narrative tone through most of the narrative is reminiscent of Adams’ [b: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy|11|The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1)|Douglas Adams|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327656754s/11.jpg|3078186] books, and a bit of [a: Terry Pratchett|1654|Terry Pratchett|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1235562205p2/1654.jpg]. I have not read anything by [a: Gareth Roberts|257752|Gareth Roberts|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1367537218p2/257752.jpg] before so I don't know if this is how he normally writes, though I am quite familiar with his works on NuWho episodes, namely "The Unicorn and the Wasp", "The Lodger", "Closing Time" etc. These episodes clearly indicate that he is no stranger to comedic writing. However, beside being very funny Shada is also a proper Doctor Who adventure. It is not wall to wall jocular silliness, the stakes are high, there is death and destruction, and even moments of pathos. The humorous tone of the narrative during the first half of the book recedes noticeably in the second half to make room for the sci-fi thriller aspect befitting any well balanced Who story, though it is still there in the background.

The characterization work in this book is top notched, The Fourth Doctor, Romana II, and K-9 are exactly as I remember them on TV. It is very easy to imagine Tom Baker and Lalla Ward acting out the story and dear old K-9 the tin dog has some dialog to die for. The supporting characters are all very well written, with the befuddled Time Lord Professor Chronotis being particularly memorable. The trusty TARDIS, the sonic screwdriver, and the wibbly space-time vortex are all present of course.

Shada really is a blast to read from beginning to end and should not be missed by Whovians and other Earthlings. It is even better with a bag of Jelly Babies.

Do read it, and don’t wander off!
___________________________________
* The other one is Alastair Reynolds' [b:Doctor Who: Harvest of Time|17162398|Doctor Who Harvest of Time|Alastair Reynolds|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1365109462s/17162398.jpg|23587921] featuring the Third Doctor (Pertwee!). It is also brilliant, a ton of fun, but lighter in tone than Reynolds' legendary [b: Revelation Space|89187|Revelation Space (Revelation Space, #1)|Alastair Reynolds|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1405532042s/89187.jpg|219037] (non-Who) space opera series.

** The truly ambitious ones would seek to dominate all multiverses. ( )
  apatt | Dec 26, 2015 |
Shada is a novel tie-in to the popular TV series Doctor Who. Specifically, it is based on the screenplay (written by Douglas Adams) of an unbroadcast eighth doctor story arc. The Doctor, Romana, and K-9 go to visit an old friend, Professor Chronotis, after receiving a distress signal. It turns out that Chronotis had stolen a dangerous book: The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey. All the Time Lords have heard of this book, but none of them quite seem to remember what it's for. When the book is accidentally borrowed by a post-doc, the Doctor and Romana must find the book and keep it out of the hands of Skagra, an evil genius bent on becoming the universe. (Important distinction here - he's not taking over the universe; he's becoming it.)

This is the first time I've ever read a novel tie-in to a show or movie. My opinion has always been that books can become movies but movies shouldn't become books. You have to add in so much information for a TV novelization to be a good book. When I read a book, I'm not just looking for a story, I'm looking for beauty. For art. For characterization. These are things that this book did not particularly have. You knew who the characters were, after all. Why develop them? You knew about the world in which this story was taking place. No need for world building. So, in that way, the book isn't what I'm generally looking for in a book.

That said, this book did have humor, excitement, and familiar friends going through wild adventures. It was Doctor Who, after all, how could I not like it?

The book was well-read - narrated by the actress who played Romana in the TV show. K-9's voice was John Leeson, as well. So that was a very nice touch. This is my first time listening to a dramatization with sound effects. I've heard multiple-reader dramatizations, but never with footsteps, creaking doors, etc. It was kind of fun. Maybe I'll try something like this out again. ( )
  The_Hibernator | Dec 26, 2015 |
This book started as a script for TV written by Douglas Adams. The script does not follow what we think of as Doctor Who cannon. Production did start on an episode (or movie?) but (apparently) not completed. Gareth Roberts took the script and expanded it into a book.

The book is an adventure story, it seems to be based on the Tom Baker version of The Doctor, but it isn't explicitly stated. It does have a good feel of Doctor Who, the deviations are pretty obvious and appear early, and it is easy to get past them and enjoy the story. The flavor of Douglas Adams is obvious, especially toward the end of the book.

The characters are interesting, although the relationship between the two primary human characters felt contrived. The plot is interesting and has enough twists to keep the interest up. ( )
  Nodosaurus | Nov 22, 2015 |
Douglas Adams vision was delightfully adapted by Gareth Roberts, and I was quite delighted by it. This story made me want to re-watch the shows of my first Doctor, Tom Baker. I felt this was a good adaptation, keeping the wit and humour of Douglas Adams, and the charm of the 4th Doctor and Romana. ( )
  nervouspig | Sep 29, 2015 |
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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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Epigraph
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'
Dedication
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.)
Disambiguation notice
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.

(summary from another edition)

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