Thursday, March 10, 2011

Book Review: Ultimate Regeneration

Ultimate Regeneration is a book compiling reviews and articles from the Doctor Who fan-site Kasterborous (named, of course, after the constellation that Gallifrey was in). The content is tied up with a newly-added cohesive narrative that covers the five years of Russell T. Davies' tenure as showrunner and writer. There are contributions from others as well, and they are given appropriate credit on the front cover. But for the most part it's what Christian Cawley thought of Davies' tenure.

However, that is not to say that the book is sycophantic as such books tend to be. Quite the opposite, in fact; if I didn't know any better, I'd say that the writer hates Davies with a passion. Many of the scripts that Rusty comes out with are said to have disappointed him, even when the episode seems perfectly fine. (In fairness, he does admit that these reviews are very much 'of the time' and that he has come to change his feelings about some aspects after re-watching them; he is also full of praise for the episode "Midnight.")

The cover (pictured as there is no Amazon page to link to as of this writing) is designed and illustrated by Anthony Dry (whose colourful visual style you may recognise from the "nifty art cards" mentioned in my earlier Doctor Who Series Fnarg review) and I must say I'm impressed. Most self-published works are just done with bare-bones covers, not professional-quality work.

The book does have two main problems, but one is cosmetic and the other is to do with content. The first is to do with the editing. I appreciate that as a self-published work, it won't have editors but it can't have been that hard to get someone to volunteer (I'm sure one of their readers would've jumped at the task). Hell, I would've done it for an editor credit. The book did have quite a few typos and suchlike. A particularly notable one is that they got Freema Agyeman's surname wrong twice in the same sentence - first they missed the letter 'y' (leaving 'Ageman') then reinserted the 'y' but left out the 'e'.

As I said, the other problem is to do with content. For a book that was finished in the beginning of 2011 (and finally published after numerous printing problems), the lack of a section detailing Matt Smith's tenure as the Doctor is surprising. It seems like it could've been used to detail how things improved or declined during the Moff's tenure.

However, for those two problems, the book is not actually bad. What you get is still good, covering as it does a longer period of time than The Writer's Tale by Russell T. Davies (in itself an excellent book), and I enjoyed reading it. Like the book I reviewed some time ago called Cinema Futura, this could've done with a larger print run than it got. The book was genuinely interesting and told me some things that I didn't know about Doctor Who and some misconceptions about same. Overall, it's worth buying -- go to to order -- if you want to know what the fans thought of Russell T. Davies and if you don't mind typographical and grammar errors.

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