Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Introductions: Harlan Ellison and Neil Gaiman

Let’s begin at the beginning, shall we? Not the very beginning, with Hartnell and a junkyard on Totter’s Lane, but my beginning. When I was first learning to read, the Pinnacle Doctor Who books were the first books I read that didn’t have pictures in them. I was far too young to know who Harlan Ellison was, but I knew what Star Trek and Star Wars were; and I knew the man who wrote about how much better Doctor Who was than either of them was funny, passionate, and clearly right. His words stuck with me for years, longer than any individual moment from the show, and it was from Harlan Ellison that I first got the idea that Doctor Who wasn’t just about moving pictures.
And then, years later, Neil Gaiman wrote his tremendous introduction to The Eye of the Tyger. It almost felt like Neil had read the same exact words, and had taken Ellison’s invitation right along with me (not actually possible, given the respective ages of everyone involved, but allow me a bit of romance here.) And Gaiman’s introduction talked eloquently and elegantly about the way Doctor Who changed you. It wasn’t just about the special effects or the acting, it was the ideas. Long after you grew up and recognized how silly the costumes looked and the way the walls wobbled, you’d never to be able to escape those ideas. Doctor Who takes place inside your head. What better medium for that than a book?

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