Hasslein Blog: Who Is Hasslein Books Publishing in 2014? Why, Yes, We Are!


Hasslein Blog

Friday, September 13, 2013

Who Is Hasslein Books Publishing in 2014? Why, Yes, We Are!

by Rich Handley

What's on the horizon for Hasslein Books, you ask? A better question might be WHO's on the horizon for Hasslein Books. Next year, to celebrate Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary, Hasslein will publish two books about that universe, which we're very excited about.

Few television series have remained in production for decades. Fewer have come back from cancellation. And fewer still have continued to thrive following the loss of their lead actor. So it's pretty amazing that Doctor Who can proudly boast all three claims. The British science fiction program, produced by the BBC, depicts the adventures of a centuries-old extraterrestrial Time Lord known as the Doctor, who explores the universe with an ever-changing lineup of companions in his TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space), a time-travelling spaceship resembling a blue police call box.

Doctor Who aired an astounding 26 seasons during its first incarnation, from 1963 to 1989, with seven actors in the title role, each vastly differing from his predecessor as much in appearance as in personality. (Writer Scott Edwards has been revisiting the show's early years in his ongoing Doctor Who Retro Review series for this site.) And yet the show not only thrived, but actually increased in acclaim and popularity as time went on. As if that weren't atypical enough, the show has come back from the grave twice, first in a 1996 TV movie, and then as a much-renowned revival series that has run from 2005 to date, taking both the older series and the TV movie into account as its back-story.

The show has become a significant part of British popular culture, and has evolved as a cult favorite in the United States and worldwide, with a staggering number of spinoff novels, comics and audios continuing the various doctors' adventures, as well as a pair of standalone films starring Peter Cushing. The series has changed radically over the years, with eleven actors portraying the Doctor to date (the 12th, Peter Capaldi, will soon take over the role, while John Hurt's mysterious 13th Doctor incarnation, recently revealed, has yet to be fully explained), and more than 50 companions joining him in his travels. But it has remained true to its roots, even after five decades.

The televised episodes are just the tip of the iceberg, however, as the Doctor has made numerous references to additional unseen encounters never expanded upon onscreen. With that in mind, RiffTrax.com writer and performer Matthew J. Elliott has accepted the herculean task of chronicling the stories set between the stories, in Lost in Time and Space: An Unofficial Guide to the Uncharted Journeys of Doctor Who. This is not a typical Doctor Who project… but, then, Matthew is not a typical Who fan. Stay tuned for updates about this project, which is currently in production.

Authors Brian J. Robb and Paul Simpson, meanwhile, are hard at work producing essays for their book, Who at 50: Celebrating Five Decades of Doctor Who. This edition will consist of 50 thematic and roughly chronological essays about Who icons over the past five decades. The two long-time collaborators have been posting preliminary versions of their fantastic essays over at Sci-Fi Bulletin that are well worth reading—even if you're not a Who fan, they're fascinating from an historical perspective—and you can check out their work here. To date, they've posted eight essays covering a variety of topics, including the show's evolving theme song, the signature title sequences, the Doctor's many companions, the TARDIS, producer Verity Lambert, the Daleks and other early monsters, history vs. science fiction, and the concept of Time Lord regeneration.

So stay tuned, Whovians, for further details about both books, which will be fantastically chock-full of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff. In the meantime, grab a jelly baby, put on your favorite bow tie and fez cap (they're cool) and don't forget to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow. (Mm? What's that, my boy? Too corny? Sorry… I'm so sorry. Please don't exterminate me.)

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