Alastair Reynolds Writing a Doctor Who Novel — Starring Jon Pertwee's Doctor!

Illustration for article titled Alastair Reynolds Writing a Doctor Who Novel — Starring Jon Pertwee's Doctor!

Alastair Reynolds is known for huge, sweeping space operas, like Revelation Space. So it's sort of fascinating that he's chosen to write a novel about Doctor Who's most Earthbound era, the days of Jon Pertwee's dashing military advisor.


Reynolds announced that he's joined Michael Moorcock, Naomi Alderman and Stephen Baxter in writing a new Doctor Who novel — and he's the first author in ages to focus on a past Doctor's adventures. The Harvest of Time will feature the Doctor, his assistant Jo Grant, and the original version of his evil arch-nemesis, The Master.

Writes Reynolds on his blog:

I've never had much interest in spinoffery - the idea of writing in someone else's universe generally leaves me cold - but Doctor Who is different. I've grown up with it. It's been part of my life since I was tiny, watching Jon Pertwee on a grainy black and white television in Cornwall, and being terrified out of my mind. All of the usual cliches apply - I was the boy behind the settee, too afraid to look at the screen, but somehow unable to leave the room. Daleks scared the hell out of me, to the point where I wouldn't go round to another boy's house because he had Dalek wallpaper in his bedroom. Above all else, Doctor Who still seems to me to offer near infinite scope for the writer. It must be the least constraining of televisual properties....

When I was offered the chance to pick a Doctor, it seemed natural to "do" Pertwee. He was the first, for me, and while I have equal admiration for the Baker era, I've always been attracted to Pertwee's portrayal of the Doctor as dashing man-of-science, charming, skeptical and rational. More than that, I felt that I had a better handle on Pertwee's mannerisms and modes of speech than I do on any other Doctor. I also loved the atmosphere of the UNIT era adventures - all that driving around in Land Rovers, crashing through checkpoints, sinister factories and bosses - and, of course, the looming threat of The Master, simply my favorite fictional villain in any medium.

Worth clicking over to Reynolds' blog for his full discussion of the novel project, including his responses to questions in the comments — like, for example, this won't be a hard science fiction novel by any stretch of the imagination, but Pertwee's central characteristic of being a proud man of science will remain intact. [Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon, via Guardian]


J.D. Buffington

After getting a chance to watch old Doctor Who on Netflix in the last year (stuff that if I had seen it when I was little, I simply don't remember), I think Pertwee is my favorite of those Doctor's prior to the new incarnations. Baker is visually iconc, to be sure, and I DO remember him, though only vaguely, but seeing it in the now, he seemed put out by his companions versus the first three Doctor's being very warm and concerned for their companions and their well-being. Perhaps Pertwee being "grounded" is what I like about him, he's like a dashing father who has an answer for everything, constantly at his companions' side and so confident he's bored while everyone else freaks out. He was a rock of a Doctor, to me, if only in the small sample I had available on Netflix. But it's good to see that Doctor can still get some new adventures.