Back to the Vortex
The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Doctor Who 2005

Author: J Shaun Lyon
Telos Publishing
RRP: 9.99 (paperback), 30.00 (limited signed hardback edition)
ISBN 1 903889 78 2 (paperback)
ISBN 1 903889 79 0 (hardback)
Available 20 October 2005

The adventures in time and space continue, as the Doctor and his faithful companion Rose Tyler travel time and space fighting evil, righting wrongs and saving the course of history. This is the ultimate guide to the newest adventures of the Doctor: an archive of information, review and commentary, from the press to the production to the fans, as the venerable Time Lord returns to television in 2005 in a thirteen-part series set to stun viewers and critics alike...

Back to the Vortex: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Doctor Who 2005 is one hell of a tome, four hundred and twenty-three fact packed pages which will tell you everything you will ever need to know about the revitalisation of Doctor Who. Written by J Shaun Lyon, who has been involved with the world of Who for some time, he is a writer who knows his subject.

Whilst, from the tone of the book, Vortex is obviously aimed at those under a certain age, who may have come across the good Doctor for the first time, there is a wealth of new facts and insights for the most hardened Whovian. In fact, only the first chapter is devoted to bringing new viewers up to speed to the point prior to the start of the process that would bring Doctor Who back to our screens.

The book is broken up into two distinct parts plus appendices. The first part of the book goes under the umbrella name of The Journey and consists of twelve chapters. This details the whole tortuous process that went into reviving the old show for the twenty-first century. Now, temptation would produce here a list of dates and times, an arid landscape indeed, but not for Lyon. He produces a story full of all the wrong turns. It's interesting to find how many times the daily papers got their facts wrong whilst trumpeting supposed scoops and informative snippets of what was really going on behind closed doors. Even if you didn't even like Doctor Who this part of the book details a fascinating account of how a television series is really brought to the screen.

The second part of the book titled The Adventure takes a look at all thirteen stories in turn. Within each story there are character development segments and analysis, among other things, and an interesting critique of each of the adventures. Now you may not agree with what the reviewers think, but it's refreshing that in some cases the reviewers disagree with one another. There are a number of pictures in the book, nothing spectacular, but then there are other books out there for this type of eye candy.

There is little denying that this book is good value, not only is it long but the text is fairly small, meaning that there is an awful lot of information contained here. Telos have done a wonderful job with the book itself, the internal design and layout makes it feel much more expensive than it is, they have even gone so far as to include a cloth book mark. Whilst this is an unofficial guide I'd be hard pressed to think of any aspect of the show that isn't covered here.

So, if you've bought one of those official books full of glossy picture but very little in the way of hard information, then buy this as a companion piece. As a stand alone book it's a must have for fans of the show.

Charles Packer

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£12.99 (Amazon.co.uk)
Paperback Edition
£30.00 (Amazon.co.uk)
Limited Signed Hardback Edition
£9.99 (Countrybookshop.co.uk)
Paperback Edition
£25.00 (Countrybookshop.co.uk)
Limited Signed Hardback Edition

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