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A holiday guide to (some) ‘Doctor Who’ books

A round-up of Doctor Who books for Christmas 2014
A round-up of Doctor Who books for Christmas 2014 McClatchy

There are a plethora of books aimed directly at fans of the BBC classic TV show “Doctor Who” this Christmas.

The Doctor is a time-traveling alien Time Lord with a liking for the planet Earth. He has managed to save it countless times from potential destruction.

Fans of the show span generations and the BBC believes in catering to all ages with their offerings. Even the first generations of fans, who watched it in 1963, might find something this year to their tastes — or their grandchildren’s.

From youngest to oldest:

For decades there have been “Doctor Who” annuals from the BBC out of the U.K. The 2014 issue (Penguin, $12.99) is aimed directly at the kids with puzzles, games, comics and articles. It introduces you to all the different incarnations of the Doctor, expositions on his many friends (e.g. The Paternoster Gang) and companions (currently Clara) and his many enemies, aka Daleks, Cybermen and Zygons. It could be used as an explainer for those who might not be familiar with the current Whovian universe.

For a more in-depth look at the Doctor’s enemies, there is “Doctor Who: The Secret Lives of Monsters” by Justin Richards, which offers a history of the Doctor’s defense of Earth from its earliest days. Written as if it were being revealed in an official report, it is rich in photographs and historical details. It also provides behind-the-scenes looks of the episodes. However, this is not for a “Who” novice unless they want to dive in the deep end first.

Sometimes, short story fiction is the best. “The Doctor Who: 11 Doctors, 11 Stories” by Eoin Colfer and Michael Scott (puffinbooks.com, $15.99) are aimed at the teen audience. Notable among the authors is fantasist Neil Gaiman, who has also written episodes of the show. Another plus with short stories is a reader can test out new authors and see if they like their style.

For older readers, there are the full novelettes such as “Doctor Who: Silhouette” by “Monsters” author Richards, “Doctor Who: The Blood Cell” by James Goss and “Doctor Who: The Crawling Terror” by Mike Tucker.

Probably the most interesting is “Doctor Who: Engines of War” by George Mann. This centers on the mysterious War Doctor, the Dalek invasion and the Time War (which all Whovians know was at the center of much angst for the Doctor until he figured out how to save his home world of Gallifrey from destruction.)

Finally, for those who want a special gift, there is the snazzy purple “Doctor Who: How to be a Time Lord — Official Guide” (Penguin). This is aimed at the juvenile set. It goes through the history of the Doctors, companions and nasty aliens, but also includes a simplified explanation of Gallifrey and the Time Lords.

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