Books! People never really stop loving books. Fifty-first century – by now you’ve got holovids, direct-to-brain downloads, fiction mist. But you need the smell. The smell of books, Donna!
– Tenth Doctor, “Silence in the Library”
Time for another Top Ten Tuesday link-up with The Broke and the Bookish! This week’s prompt is “top ten books to read if you like such-and-such TV show / movie / comic / play.” Basically, books to read if you like a certain thing in other forms of entertainment.
Be glad I chose neither Game of Thrones nor Sherlock because if I had this post would be very short and sarcastic: “They’re adaptations! So read the freaking original books already!” Anyway.
I picked Doctor Who because it is currently my favorite show. There are actually Doctor Who books – original stories, not novelizations of past episodes – and if you’re really really really into the show you should probably try them. However, I haven’t read any, so this post is about books that remind me of the show and not the tie-in stories.
1. The Power of Un by Nancy Etchemendy. In this very short book, a middle-school student finds a device called the Unner, which can erase any mistakes. At the press of a button, he can change any event in time. But should he? Also, there are scenes in which people meet their past/future selves and I loved that.
2. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. This book is bizarre in a way that makes my brain hurt, which basically describes my feelings about Doctor Who‘s sixth series. With things like tesseracts, traveling through multiple dimensions, a giant disembodied brain, and characters with names like Mrs. Whatsit, I think this is perfect for fans of the show.
3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. The factory is certainly reminiscent of places the Doctor visits, but I’m actually including this book because Willy Wonka reminds me of the Doctor. Probably the Eleventh. He’s clever and mad and honestly, I don’t like him very much. (Are you supposed to like Willy Wonka?) I would also recommend its sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, which is less like fantasy and more like science fiction (because the characters travel into space).
4. The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis. The rest of the series… is not so much like Doctor Who. But again, Uncle Andrew reminds me of Eleven – discovering new worlds and experimenting with the rings and just generally being arrogant.
5. The Johnny Maxwell trilogy by Terry Pratchett. What a shame that Pratchett doesn’t write for Doctor Who, because this is essentially the show in book format. Although a quick Internet search seems to show that Pratchett doesn’t like the show, so… sigh. Anyway. Aliens come to life in a British boy’s computer game and there is time-traveling (and its resulting paradoxes) galore. If you read only one book from this list, let it be this one. Or rather, these three.
6. Coraline by Neil Gaiman. All right, all right, so I’ve only read the graphic novel adaptation. But it was excellent! And Gaiman has written for Doctor Who! Fans of the earlier series of New Who would especially like this, as it deals with parallel universes.
7. Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel. In this graphic novel, a terminally ill boy suddenly finds himself in a parallel world filled with ghosts. And science. And his future descendants. It’s just your basic good versus evil story but all the same, it is a quick, enjoyable read.
8. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. A futuristic, cyborg-filled retelling of fairy tales, this series is a perfectly Doctor Who-ish combination of fantasy and science fiction. Thorne and Iko would be completely at home in the show.
9. The Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer. Fairies? Using technology? To defeat a teenaged evil genius? Bring it on. I wish Colfer wrote for Doctor Who as well.
10. All Men of Genius by Lev AC Rosen. For the fans of Vastra, Jenny, and Strax! This recommendation will fall flat if you don’t care for the show’s occasional Victorian episodes but if you do, it is completely engrossing. Set in steampunk London, the story features a school filled with mad scientists, queer characters, and automatons similar to the Cybermen. Alas, alas, there are no warlike potato nurses. Deal with it.
But wait – that’s not all! There were many books I simply couldn’t fit on the list. With the exception of number ten all the main recommendations were children’s or YA books because after all, Doctor Who is a children’s show. BUT some classics remind me of the show so I’ll list them here: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.
And finally, I want to mention The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I have not read either but A) I’ve seen the movie version of the former book and it was similar in spirit to Doctor Who and B) Steven Moffat apparently based the relationship between River Song and the Doctor on the latter book. So they might be worth checking out if you like the show. I know I’m definitely going to try both.
I’ve suggested plenty of books to get you started – now it’s your turn, fans! What Doctor Who-like books would you recommend to me?