Book Review: Adventures With the Wife in Space by Neil Perryman


Author:  Neil Perryman
Title: Adventures With the Wife in Space
Publication Info: London : Faber and Faber, 2013.
Summary/Review:

The Adventures with the Wife in Space is a blog which documents the experiment in which Neil Perryman (a diehard Doctor Who fan) gets his wife Sue (who is not) to watch and review every story of the classic Doctor Who from 1963 to 1989.  It’s brilliant because Sue challenges the fan community gospel of Doctor Who while also being wickedly funny.  One would expect that this book would simply be a compilation of the blog reviews with some extra content, but instead it is something better.  It turns out to be a memoir of Perryman’s life and interests (he’s obsessed with things other than Doctor Who, like Tangerine Dream and Jaws) and his marriage with Sue.  Turns out that the Perrymans are interesting people with lots of good stories.   The book also offers a behind-the-scenes view of the experiment watching Doctor Who which both strengthened their marriage while offering challenges of being an internet phenomenon.
Favorite Passages:

‘If anything, the old series has made me a fan of the new series. I bloody love it. But at the same time, I don’t need to wallow in the past. Yes, it’s nice to have it there to refer to, but you have to keep moving forward. You know, like a shark.’

Recommended books: Dalek, I Loved You by Nick Griffiths and Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
Rating: ***1/2

Book Review: Timewyrm: Exodus by Terrance Dicks


Author: Terrance Dicks
Title: Timewyrm: Exodus
Publication Info: London : Doctor Who Books, 1991.
Summary/Review:

In the 1990s, when Doctor Who was no longer being made for television, a series of original novels not only continued the adventures of the Doctor but redefined what a Doctor Who story could be. This novel takes on a familiar science-fiction/time travel them with a Doctor Who twist: what if the Nazis won World War II? It’s a griping adventure with the Doctor in his role as master manipulator and schemer.  It is discomforting in how Dicks makes Nazi characters somewhat sympathetic and even more so the suggestion that Nazism was due to manipulation by aliens rather than the worst of human nature.  That aside it’s a well-written and entertaining novel.

Recommended booksMaking History by Stephen Fry
Rating: ***

Book Review: The New York nobody knows : walking 6,000 miles in the city by William B. Helmreich


Author: William B. Helmreich
Title: The New York nobody knows : walking 6,000 miles in the city
Publication Info: Princeton :, Princeton University Press,, [2013]
Summary/Review:

The title suggests that the author has walked every block of every street and this book is going to be a story of this walks.  But for Helmreich, the walks are just a launch pad for something bigger, a sociological/ethnographic portrait of the City today in a single volume.  It’s a huge undertaking, but I think he succeeds in creating a comprehensive portrait of contemporary New York, built on statistics, and illustrated with stories from his walk.  His take on gentrification and life in New York for the poor today as well as the recent immigrant experience are particularly interesting.  This is a good book for people interested in New York or in studies of urban environments.
Favorite Passages:
Recommended booksSnowshoeing Through Sewers: Adventures in New York City, New Jersey, and Philadelphia by Michael Aaron Rockland
Rating: ****