Reviews with a Mug Brownie: Doctor Who: Shada by Douglas Adams and Gareth Roberts

Published January 17, 2013 by Britt


Taken from Doctor Who TV

Plot: The Doctor’s old friend and fellow Time Lord, Professor Chronotis, has retired to Cambridge University, where among the other doddering old professors nobody will notice if he lives for centuries. He took with him a few little souvenirs–harmless things really. But among them, carelessly, he took The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey. Even more carelessly, he has loaned this immensely powerful book to clueless graduate student Chris Parsons, who intends to use it to impress girls. The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey is among the most dangerous artifacts in the universe; it cannot be allowed to fall into the wrong hands.

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 mis-guessed the state of fashion on Earth, he also wears terrible platform shoes. He is on his way to Cambridge. He wants the book. And he wants the Doctor…

From the front flap cover.

And then Brittany runs in to start giving opinions.

To start off with, this book is not recommended to anyone who isn’t familiar with the Doctor Who universe. I also recommend familiarizing yourself with a bit of Classic Who for the people who do like Doctor Who. More specifically, the Fourth Doctor. This review may have spoilers, which will be tagged, and strange terms people may not understand.

I’ve read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. That was a great great great book, and I had some reasonably high expectations out of the late master. I also really liked the episodes that Gareth Roberts wrote (He made Shakespeare say Expelliarmus… He won things.), so I would have hoped he did a very good job of writing his humor in as well.

I started the book out wondering which Doctor exactly this was, and I ended up Googling before I got to a physical description that confirmed what I found. This is mainly from the fact I’ve only watched three episodes of Classic Who and I’m only on the First Doctor. The Fourth Doctor (Can I call him Scarfy?) has seemed pretty awesome though from pictures and stories I’ve heard about him, and I have a friend (Yes Jake, looking at you.) who wears a forum signature and avatar I made him of Scarfy, and so my first impressions were pretty decent of him.

As I read into the book, I found it easy to imagine the seventies camera style running around with this book. Like it was easy to imagine watching the book like a TV episode, if that makes any sense. It flowed well, and overall had a very interesting plot.

My favorite character may have been Skagra’s Ship. Yes, my favorite character is a Ship. A Ship WHO CAN TALK. She’s very sassy, but she’s cool. Just a cool cool ship. Douglas Adams seemed to have a thing for talking ships.

It definitely showed Adams’ calibre of humor, almost silly at times, but since this is Doctor Who, and the Fourth Doctor no less, silly is good. It’s how things are done in this show. And Gareth Roberts definitely stayed true to him in novelizing the script. Kudos to him.

As far as plot goes, Skagra was definitely a psychopath, a crazy one at that, and all of the characters had a good personality that each did its own particular job to the plot. Chris was a bumbling idiot but still had the human instinct that The Doctor and Romana (His companion at the time) lacked, Professor Chronotis was pretty cool and provided motivation for a plot, and K-9 was just K-9, and if you are a Doctor Who fan and you don’t love K-9, get out.

I was spending most of the book what exactly Shada was though, and it wasn’t revealed until about… three quarters into the book. Then it took a bit to wonder what exactly Shada had that was important, which was a criminal mastermind that can implant his own mind into other minds and Skagra wanted his mind so he could take over the world. And then we found out, and they got there, and…


There’s a vulgar message in Gallifreyan that replaced it. and I almost died. That was just perfect. There was even a picture. The supposed criminal mastermind escaped and left a sucker!note. It was perfect.

And then the criminal mastermind was with them the whole time and I did not see that coming. I liked Professor Chronotis. He was great. Just an old guy who liked books and tea. Not evil. And so I expected a showdown, but then… he really did just want his books and tea. He was literally the misunderstood villain. People say that stuff about Loki in the Avengers and how much he’s a precious baby? Dude, the worst this guy did was write a really bad curse word in Gallifreyan and stuck it in his prison cell, which he was only in because he had a special power everyone feared, when really he just wanted his books and tea. THAT IS WAY MORE MISUNDERSTOOD THAN LOKI, TUMBLR.

Anyway, one of my favorite things that the book did was the following quote:

An Earth classic, by one of the greatest writers in that planet’s history. Terribly funny, terribly thoughtful, wish I could remember the name of it, something about thumbing a lift, and there were towels in it, I remember that, yes, I think– oh yes, of course, it’s called The Hitch-

And then he gets cut off before he can finish the title, but we can see where he’s going with that, right? It was great. Just a great little thing to wrap up the ending. Just… a cute book.

Overall, 4 out of 5 stars. Good book, cute plot and story, great humor, but not a classic or something. Plus a book that isn’t for exactly for everyone because of the whole universe that surrounds it.

Next up: American Gods by Neil Gaiman


2 comments on “Reviews with a Mug Brownie: Doctor Who: Shada by Douglas Adams and Gareth Roberts

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