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Book Review

Book Cover

The Official Magazine Yearbook


Authors: Various
Titan Books
RRP: £7.99, US $14.95, Cdn $16.95
ISBN: 978 1 84576 936 9
Available 22 August 2008

Separate from the government, outside the police and beyond the United Nations, the secret organisation Torchwood solves paranormal crimes and scavenges alien technology for the benefit of humankind. The Cardiff division of Torchwood is led by the enigmatic, ever-watchful Captain Jack Harkness. This full-colour companion to the television series contains behind-the-scenes facts, cast and crew interviews, an episode guide to Series 2 and five exclusive new short stories...

Torchwood likes to think of itself as a more adult version of Doctor Who, so it is entirely appropriate that this yearbook, which is brought to us by the nice people who produce The Official Magazine, feels very much like a grown-up Doctor Who annual. No comic strips, artwork, games or puzzles here, but there are five new short stories (by authors such as Trevor Baxendale, Andy Lane and Joseph Lidster), interviews with actors John Barrowman (Captain Jack) and James Marsters (Captain John) and production designers Julian Luxton and Edward Thomas, as well as other features, including character profiles and a Series 2 episode guide.

This being an annual publication rather than a monthly one, things naturally aren’t as up-to-the-minute as they would be in a magazine. Behind-the-scenes discussions revolve around the production of Series 2 rather than spilling any beans about the forthcoming Series 3. Even so, the character profiles could have been updated to reflect the current status of Owen Harper and Toshiko Sato. There are some 2008 production dates in the episode guide, but that’s just an editorial blunder - unless some nifty time travel allowed the episodes to be broadcast before they had been filmed!

The short stories are the main reason to read this book. Though their endings tend to be philosophical rather than dramatic in nature, they are no less readable for it. In fact, I enjoyed the characters more here than I have done in certain TV episodes! The two stories nearest to the end of the book reflect the changing status of the series regulars: Baxendale sets his “Plant Life” shortly after Gwen’s wedding, while Lidster’s “Monster” focuses on the undead Owen.

Torchwood: The Official Magazine Yearbook - not separate from the television show, inside bookstores now and should keep you entertained beyond Christmas.


Richard McGinlay

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