BOOK REVIEW: Queers Dig Time Lords Edited by Sigrid Ellis and Michael Damian Thomas
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A collection of essays and personal reminisces about LGBTQ fans’ reactions and thoughts about the show.
PROS: Intriguing, interesting essays and perspectives that invite the reader to reconsider Doctor Who and by extension their relationship to it.
CONS: A stronger focus on analysis would make it a stronger work, academic-wise; more connections to the audios and other media would have been welcome.
BOTTOM LINE: Anyone with an interest in Doctor Who will enjoy this set of perspectives.
A media property approaching fifty years old has, just by the sheer fact of its longevity, invites interpretations, reflections and connections from its fans. In five decades, there is something for every stripe if you look hard enough and sometimes you find it without even looking that hard. You just need a slight change in perspective.
Thus, enter Queers Dig Time Lords, A Celebration of Doctor Who by the LGBTQ Fans Who Love It…the latest collection of essays on genre from Mad Norwegian Press.
Queers Dig Time Lords, is a spiritual successor to the Hugo Winning Chicks Dig Time Lords and the Chicks Unravel Time, and is in the same series as the Hugo-nominated Chicks Dig Comics and Whedonistas. Edited by Sigrid Ellis and Michael Damian Thomas, Queers Dig Time Lords collects over two dozen essays, stories and personal reminisces about Doctor Who from a queer perspective.
This collection has an impressive lineup. Tanya Huff writers about bisexuality on Doctor Who. Jennifer Pelland talks about her appreciation for Donna Noble and River Song. Melissa Scott filters her life and relationship with Lisa Barnett. Hal Duncan reveals how he came to love a show he once sneered at. Julia Rios analyzes a classic Key in Time episode in terms of the lesbian subtext that has been staring me in the face all the times I’ve seen it. And there is much, much more: analysis of the relationship of the Master and the Doctor; an analysis of Mickey, as seen through the lens of his alternate universe double Ricky, for example.
The essays and reflections can be extremely personal and moving as well. It should not have surprised me that Doctor Who would have such an effect on fans and be such a touchstone for their lives and self-identity. I was moved by some of these stories and reflections.
The only thing I can really say that the essay collection could be improved is that I was hoping for a little bit more analysis, perhaps. Don’t get me wrong; some of the very personal and touching reflections on Doctor Who made me laugh, cry and brought me to tears. I was hoping for more matter on the show itself, though. I also would have liked some more essays tying into the rich material that goes beyond the television episodes–the Big Finish audio episodes and the novels. One of the strengths of Doctor Who is that it is, really, a multimedia property. The very tight focus on the part of the participants on mainly just the episodes (and often just the newer ones) is a missed opportunity.
Even so, thanks to this book of essays, I learned to think of Doctor Who, its fans, and its themes in new and hitherto unconsidered ways. Queers Dig Time Lords, is strongly recommended for Doctor Who fans, especially those looking for personal reactions and connections to the program from a perspective that may be, but shouldn’t be, as alien and foreign to them as any Dalek, Ogron or Thal.
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