The Whoniverse: An Untold History of the Universe by Justin Richards and George Mann
Published by BBC Books, Hardcover 320 pages.
The Whoniverse is a never-before-seen history of the Human Race – from the formation of Earth round the Racnoss eggs, and the creation of life by the destruction of the last Jagaroth spaceship, through to the eventual expansion of the sun and end of the world and beyond – to New Earth, and Utopia…
Along the way, The Whoniverse also explores the untold histories of other planets and other lifeforms as they have interacted with humanity. We examine the Daleks and Cybermen, the Time Lords and the Sontarans, the Ice Warriors, Silurians, Weeping Angels, and many many more… We visit Gallifrey and Skaro, Mondas and Telos, Mars and Sontar, to explore how their histories have coincided with the Time Lords, and with our own.
With full-colour illustrations, maps, charts and photography from key Doctor Who artists including Alex Fort, Chris J Lees and many more, The Whoniverse is a dramatic retelling of the uprisings, wars and battles that formed Doctor Who’s universe, and an astonishing compendium of the races that live within it. A treasury of accumulated knowledge, scholarly erudition and accumulated folk wisdom, it is the definitive, essential companion to this universe, and any other.
The Whoniverse is a lavish book, hefty in both size and scope. It endeavours to achieve the unenviable task of providing a historical journey through the universe as has been told throughout Doctor Who. Presented as an historical text it tells the stories that followers of the programme have heard before and so in some respects adds little but does supplement that which has gone before. However, the information found in the text is well written and does indeed take the reader on that journey through the universe of Doctor Who.
Despite what the accompanying blurb states there are very few photographs. Instead, the text is packed full of wonderfully stylistic interpretations of events seen on screen. Iconic moments such as the Cybermen outside St Paul’s Cathedral or the K1 robot towering over UNIT forces are presented as artistic interpretations of the events. This has long been an effective strategy with classic works of art being derived in the same manner, such as Da Vinci’s mural which visualised the Last Supper.
Artists Chris J Lee, Alex Fort, Shaun Williams and Richard Hardy have created fabulous new pieces for inclusion in this book. Not hampered by the need for accuracy they have created gloriously stylised visuals of the Time War, Daleks besieging space stations and Cyberman tombs to name but a few. For any Doctor Who fan with an eye for the aesthetically pleasing this book is a must and more than justifies the £35 RRP.
Although the text is strong much of the joy from this publication is, therefore, to be found in the stunning illustrations, appreciated at their best with a physical copy of the book. Some of it, however, is work that you may have seen before from concept artists such as Peter McKinstry. Oddly, however, concept designs for the Cybermen and the Sontarans are not credited to those artists but are simply declared to be BBC copyright. Unlike the equally impressive ‘Impossible Worlds’ released in 2015, ‘The Whoniverse’ presents these examples of concept art within the fictional world of the show instead of the practical mechanism of television production. Those who enjoyed ‘Impossible Worlds’ may need to make room on their bookshelf for ‘The Whoniverse’ as the two comfortably sit alongside each other. On its own ‘The Whoniverse’ also confidently exists in its own space and is a glorious release.
A very worthy 9/10 Blogtor rating.