In Doctor Whom, A. R. R. R. Roberts provides readers with a humorous parody of both the British science fiction television drama and of a strict adherence to grammar and punctuation standards. Roberts follows traditions of the show Doctor Who, including a brilliant alien time-traveler with a larger-on-the-inside spaceship, his average human companions, and continued attempts to save the planet from certain doom – but twists them with plays on words and logical but often ridiculous extensions of program staples. Instead of sparing Earth from alien invasion, the Dr of Roberts’ novel fends off a very different danger – that of misplaced modifiers and poor punctuation. The Doctor and his companions are interrupted in their mission of good grammar by villains that are almost familiar to fans of the show – the android Garleks, a version of the program’s dreaded mechanical assassins the Daleks, and the Cydermen, Roberts’ development of the intimidating Cybermen who represent an “upgrade” of the human race to a more computerized form.
The narrator of the book, a writer by the name of Prose Tailor (named for his occupation, and as a nod to Rose Tyler, companion to the BBC’s Doctor), provides the story of his adventures out of chronological order. While sometimes confusing, it adds a unique element to the parodic nature of the book. Tailor’s rabbit trails into grammar dilemmas as he writes can be both entertaining and off-putting to those who understand the trials of a conscientious writer. In the end, however, Prose Tailor learns with the reader that grammar and perfect commitment to traditions are not always the best methods for problem solving, but that a bit of creativity, though less orderly, can sometimes be the right answer. Doctor Whom may be intended for an audience familiar with the show, but the principle of flexibility and learning from others is relevant to all.
As one who considers herself a fan of the show, I found that the gentle mockery of one of my favorite fictional characters did not hamper my enjoyment of it in the least. The ending, in which the narrator and the reader find themselves presented with an alternative to the Dr’s strict grammatical views came both as a surprise and a challenge to me – a challenge to not only accept but to seek out new ideas and solutions that may be more successful. On a lighter note, I look forward to reading Doctor Whom once again – this time in proper chronological order.
When working on creating this blog and deciding on a name, I knew that I wanted a blog name that reflected my interest in reading and in science fiction and fantasy in particular. These novels let the reader, just for a little while, travel to a different place, one that they otherwise could not see – and sometimes learn something about themselves in the process. I definitely wanted this “other-worldly” nature of my favorite books to be part of the influence for this blog.
This isn’t just true of the science fiction genre of books, or just fiction novels. Non-fiction as well can take us to a world that is not our own, letting us understand more about other times, places, and people. Reading, when the material is worthy, can help us learn and grow as individuals – as well as transporting us to other worlds. And that is also something I wanted to have reflected in the naming of my book review blog.
Finally, and where the initial inspiration of the name came from, is that “Of Other Worlds” also happens to be the name of an anthology of essays and stories by one of my all-time favorite authors, C.S. Lewis. His Narnia was one of the first fictional worlds that I had the pleasure of exploring through books (and if you haven’t read his other works, they definitely deserve reading). Someday I hope to have written an allegory, and that is definitely inspired by Lewis.
What books first brought you into a love a reading? If you’re a writer, what works inspired you to become a writer? I would love to hear from you!
Today I am starting out with something new – something I had intended to do a long time ago, but I am just now getting to: a book review blog. I’ve been an avid reader since my parents taught me how to read. My interests began with Dr. Seuss and Winnie-the-Pooh, centered around animal stories for some time, progressed to Encyclopedia Brown and any and all mystery novels, changed to romance and historical fiction, then centered on fantasy and science fiction. Now, I read in a wide variety of genres, including non-fiction, classics, historical fiction, and more – but my favorites are still science fiction novels and fairytale retellings.
The range of books reviewed on this blog will be as widely ranged as my interest, including both fiction and non-fiction titles. However, the reviews will most likely be heavily weighted toward science fiction and fantasy novels, as those are the kind I am most likely to gravitate toward. I am also participating in several challenges, including the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2016 Reading Challenge, the Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge, and the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge. I may not complete them all (I’m looking at you Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge!) but these lists will also influence my reading choices and reviews that appear on this blog.
I plan to post brief but informative reviews of all the books that I read. These reviews will include my thoughts on aspects such as writing style, technical quality, structure and organization, character organization, and other aspects I find unique or noteworthy, as well as my personal enjoyment of the novels. I hope that you will find my reviews both interesting and informative, and even possibly help you decide whether or not to read a book you were considering, or help you find a new favorite author! And if you have suggestions for books you would like to review here, please let me know. I’d also love to see your comments, whether you’ve read the books I’ve reviewed or not!
I hope you’ll enjoy taking this reading (and blogging) journey with me!