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The Eighth Doctor & His Awesomeness

So, apparently, the Eighth Doctor made a little appearance today. To which, all I can say is...SQUEE!!!!! *ahem* Anyway, given the wonderful little prelude (I refuse to call it a "prequel") that is "Night of the Doctor," a lot of people may be wondering how to get into the Eighth Doctor. After all, between audio plays and books, he's one of the most written about Doctors. So, here are my suggestions of 3 audio plays and 5 books to, hopefully, get you hooked on one of my favorite Doctors: the troubled romantic Doctor, the poet Doctor, the one who keeps his thoughts to himself but wears his heart on his sleeve.

Audio
Quite a few people listen to Big Finish Audio plays and have been making decent suggestions today as to what plays to listen to to experience McGann in audio form. Obviously, the first story with any companion is a good jumping on point, the Lucie Miller series (beginning with Blood of the Daleks) being an especially good place to start, as the format is shorter and punchier than traditional Big Finish stories which still use the 4-part structure. However, I don't always think starting at the beginning is required or essential, so here are three other stories that I listened to and adored. Maybe you will, too.

The Chimes of Midnight by Rob Shearman--This is not an easy story. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is a challenging story. Most good stories are, I find, and Rob Shearman knows how to tell a good story. Here, the Eighth Doctor and Charley (first encountered in Storm Warning) find themselves trapped in a house that appears to be outside of time and space. Recommended for fans of haunted houses, murder mysteries, and "Ghost Light."

No More Lies by Paul Sutton--I'll probably catch flack for this choice, but I do so love a small tale of doomed romance well told. The Doctor and Lucie Miller are on the trail of a time criminal, but find themselves facing a very different kind of challenge. The voice actors in Big Finish generally are superb, but especially so here, with Julia McKenzie playing the main guest parts. Oh, and the Headhunter is a wonderful character who is part of this season's arc--she plays a large role in the story after this one, Human Resources which is also quite good.

Memory Lane by Eddie Robson--Another potentially offbeat choice, but I really enjoyed this story. The initial mystery is quite a good one, and it has a lot of wonderful moments. Like many Big Finish plays (and a lot of Doctor Who in general) the resolution may not be as strong as the set-up, but this is, I feel, one of the better stories to feature C'rizz, who is now, apparently, canon.

Books
As you know, I'm one of the co-hosts of the Doctor Who Book Club Podcast, wherein we discuss, among other things, the large number of original novels written featuring the Eighth Doctor. Of those, some have been good, some have been meh, but some have been amazing. Five of the amazing ones are:

The Dying Days by Lance Parkin--Written not as part of the BBC Books "Eighth Doctor Adventures," but rather as the last of the Virgin "New Adventures," this book features the Eight Doctor meeting, I believe for the only time, Bernice Summerfield. Oh, and Ice Warriors. It's lively, funny, and thoroughly enjoyable, with one of the best punch the air moments the Eighth Doctor has ever had.

Alien Bodies by Lawrence Miles--Now, Mr. Miles is quite a controversial figure in fandom these days. However, this book is brilliant. The Doctor and Sam, his first original companion, attend an auction for The Relic. What the Relic is, who the various bidders are, and what on Earth the Faction Paradox is is best left for you to discover by reading this truly astonishing book.

The Scarlet Empress by Paul Magrs--This book features Magrs' most famous creation, Iris Wildthyme, a sort of rogue Time Lady. Much like the Doctor, she travels in her TARDIS and has all sorts of adventures across time and space. In fact, she frequently claims to have had the same adventure as the Doctor. Who's telling this story, anyway? This is a brilliant piece of fiction, creating a vivid world filled with fascinating characters and layering over it a wonderful meditation on story-telling.

The Crooked World by Steve Lyons--The Doctor, now joined by Fitz and Anji, lands on a cartoon world. Sounds ludicrous, right? Well, what would you say if I told you that this book was not only one of the funniest Eighth Doctor novels I've read, but also the most profound about the basic question of what it means to be human? Because it is. An existentialist comedy set in a world made of slightly off versions of familiar cartoons, pretty much everything about this book is perfect, right down to the Doctor delivering a stem-winder of a closing argument during the trial of a cartoon cat.

The Tomorrow Windows by Jonathan Morris--If there's a book that's funnier than The Crooked World, it is this one, wherein Jonathan Morris channels his inner Douglas Adams. The Doctor and Fitz and Trix, his final set of companions in the novel range, are on the trail of something called "The Tomorrow Windows" and get caught up in an intergalactic real estate auction, among other things. It's highly absurd, and features a character who is essentially a floating lava lamp. This book brings the funny.

So...now you have my recommendations. Go, enjoy the Eighth Doctor in all his glory. You won't regret it.

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