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Edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Tara O'Shea 

Mad Norwegian Press


192pp/$14.95/March 2010

Chicks Dig Time Lords
Cover by Katy Shuttleworth

Reviewed by Steven H Silver

My first introduction to Doctor Who came in the early 1980s when the local PBS station began running episodes starring Tom Baker.  A friend of my, a huge Doctor Who fan, tried to get me to watch the show, and I did watch numerous episodes, but found them campy and slight.  Eventually, I was introduced to other Doctors...Peter Davison, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, and William Hartnell.  Liked some of them (Troughton, Hartnell), didn't like others (Pertwee).  Overall, I had a hard time getting past the cheesy special effects (I never could buy the idea that they were a strength of the series) or the need for ending each story with several cliff-hangers.  With the revival of the series, I've been going back and re-watching many of the older episodes as well.  I've come to the conclusion that, even with the higher production values, Doctor Who has almost always been a better concept than reality. 

Lynne M. Thomas and Tara O'Shea have contacted numerous fans of the television series, both the original that ran from 1963 through 1989, and the new series which has run since 2005, and asked them to discuss their own perceptions of the series and its effect on their lives. Not only do the editors include the works of fans, but also of actresses (Sophie Aldred, who played Ace from 1987 through the end of the series, and India Fisher, who played Charley Pollard in Doctor Who audio adventures), authors (Jackie Jenkins, Jody Lynn Nye, Seanan McGuire, Kathryn Sullivan, etc.) and even Carole Barrowman, whose brother, John was in the cast before spinning off to star in Torchwood.

The articles range from personal reminiscences, such as Jennifer Adams Kelley's "Rutle-ing the Doctor: My Long Life in Doctor Who Fandom," which discusses her role in film fannish continuations of the series to more academic papers looking at Doctor Who from a sociological perspective, as Helen Kang does in "Adventures in Ocean-Crossing, Margin-Skating and Feminist-Engagement with Doctor Who." However, even the most theoretical essays all have an anchor to the very real experience the authors' have as fans of the television show.  Kang discusses Doctor Who in terms of her own personal relationship with the show. The various essays also offer intriguing counterpoints to each other, such as the difference between Kang and Bradford's view of Martha Jones.

With so many different writers, the experience is very different for all of them.  Naturally, the focus is on the new series of Doctor Who, starring first Christopher Eccleston and then David Tennant, but several of the authors also have ties to the original series.  Practically all of the actors to play the Doctor are discussed, including one-timer Paul McGann (although, inexplicably, William Hartnell is not named anywhere in the book). The classic companions don't fare quite as well, with many of them not mentioned at all, although given the number of lost episodes, it isn't entirely surprising that some aren't discussed. Other companions, such as Nyssa of Traken or Ace, have entire essays devoted to them.

While Chicks Dig Time Lords can be seen as an affirmation of the television show or that it is okay for women to be fans of the series, on a larger scale it serves as an affirmation of Doctor Who fandom as a whole, and, by extension, science fiction fandom. Rather than being about the geeky loner who has discovered a hidden passion, they essays show fandom as being about finding like spirits.  The essays are generally short and show how different experiences can be while they are still tied together.

Elizabeth Bear We'll Make Great Pets
Carole E. Barrowman Time is Relative
Jackie Jenkins Being Jackie Jenkins: Memoirs from a Parallel Universe
Deborah Stanish My Fandom Regenerates
Helen Kang Adventures in Ocean-Crossing, Margin-Skating and Feminist-Engagement with Doctor Who
Lloyd Rose What's a Girl to Do?
India Fisher An Interview with India Fisher
Johanna Mead Costuming: More Productive Than Drugs, But Just as Expensive
Francesca Coppa Girl Genius: Nyssa of Traken
Sophie Aldred An Interview with Sophie Aldred
Jennifer Adams Kelley Rutle-ing the Doctor: My Long Life in Doctor Who Fandom
Lynne M. Thomas Marrying Into the TARDIS Tribe
Tammy Garrison & Katy Shuttleworth Torchwood Babiez in "Behind the Scenes"
Lisa Bowerman The Digging Chick
Tara O'Shea The Tea Lady
Jody Lynn Nye Hopelessly Devoted to Who
Amy Fritsch Two Generations of Fangirls in America
Seanan McGuire Mathematical Excellence: A Documentary
Kathryn Sullivan The Fanzine Factor
Laura Doddington An Interview with Laura Doddington
Liz Myles Renaissance of the Fandom
Kate Orman If I Can't Squee, I don't Want to be Part of Your Revolution: Crone-ology of an Ageing Fangirl
Shoshana Magnet & Robert Smith? Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Have We Really Come That Far?
Mary Robinette Kowal Traveling with the Doctor
K. Tempest Bradford Martha Jones: Fangirl Blues
Christa Dickson In Defense of Smut
Catherynne M. Valente Regeneration X

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