Fangirling with the Doctor

I couldn’t sleep last night, and maybe it’s because my head was filled with visions of multiple Doctors, each with his own shiny or banged up but totally lovable TARDIS.

(If you’re not a fan of Doctor Who, go ahead and click on something else. Really, I don’t mind. Excuse me my moment of fangirlishness!)

Last night was the theatrical screening of The Day of the Doctor, and it just could not have been more delightful.

The show itself was better than I’d even hoped. Seeing Ten and Eleven together was brilliant, and John Hurt was perfect. And Billie Piper! I’d heard she would be in it, but I was expecting Rose Tyler… and instead she was not Rose, and she was still wonderful.

Listen, I have nothing super meaningful to say about how this episode changes everything, what it means for the overall mythology, and where it goes from here. There are plenty of folks writing oodles upon oodles of essays, reviews, and critiques who really do know the Who-verse better than I do, and I gladly tip my fez to all of them.

All I want to say is: Last night was a perfect example of why I love being connected to a fandom.


I wore my Van Gogh TARDIS. Subtle, yet elegant, wouldn’t you say?

On a random Monday evening, to spend the night at a movie theater surrounded by people who love what I love — that’s bliss.

We could exchange knowing nods over clever wordplay while waiting in the popcorn line. Gaze admiringly at the committed souls decked out in full-on steampunk gear. Admire the clever T-shirts. Say “awwwww” over the 10-year-old boy in a tweed jacket and bowtie. Giggle over all the people with sonic screwdriver ringtones.

It was one of those events where you just know you’re surrounded by your people. And it felt great.

Except for the woman sitting behind me who wouldn’t STFU. See, that doesn’t happen in my living room. Other than that, however… it was kind of perfect.

We cheered when each new/old Doctor appeared on screen. A glimpse of Twelve’s eyes! All of the earlier Doctors on screen! Silly sight gags with sonic screwdrivers! I’ve rarely sat with a happier crowd. All the feels, truly.

I’ll admit that I like, but I don’t love, the Eleventh Doctor. Much more of a Nine or Ten fan, really. And yes, I’d occasionally zone out during some of the more convoluted recent plotlines. But Doctor Who doesn’t have to make sense. It’s going strong at 50, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Bring on the Twelfth Doctor!



My top 5 favorite timey-wimey books

It’s September 1st, and you know what that means, right? It’s the return of the Doctor! (And if you’re asking, “Doctor who?”, the answer is — yes!). The BBC’s Doctor Who returns for a much-anticipated 7th season tonight, and Whovians everywhere are dusting off their bowties and sonic screwdrivers in preparation for another fantastic journey through time and space.

“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint – it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly… timey wimey… stuff” – The Doctor

Inspired by the Doctor, step inside my TARDIS (that’s Time and Relative Dimension in Space, for the uninitiated) for a tour of my favorite timey-wimey books — books that deal with time travel, time slips, or just plain old time-related weirdness.

1) The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

I was just swept away by this mind-bending journey through a relationship between a woman who is fixed in time and a man who is not. Claire meets Henry when she is six years old; Henry meets Claire when she is 21. Early on, they discuss their temporal relationship in comparison to a Mobius strip, and it’s an apt metaphor. Older Henry visits child Claire; young Henry visits older Claire. In the midst of all the comings and goings, they find true love. At once tragic and beautiful, this book will make your head spin as you try to puzzle out whether the words “before” and “after” have any meaning whatsoever. This was one of the very few books that I began reading a second time immediately upon reaching the end the first time through, just to see how the pieces fit together knowing what was still to come.

2) Kindred by Octavia Butler

As Kindred opens in the mid-1970s, Dana is an African American woman in her 20s, happily married to a white man and living a contented life. She is yanked back through time to the ante-bellum South, where time and again she must intervene to save the life of her ancestor Rufus, son of a slave-owner. Dana’s experiences are shocking, raw, and brutal, and the effect upon her and her marriage is indelible. Kindred is less about time travel than about slavery, power, and freedom. It is a shocking book, and packs a powerful punch. Not to be missed.

3) Replay by Ken Grimwood

Replay is not about time travel, but the timey-wimey weirdness is here just the same. At age 43, unfulfilled and bored, Jeff Winston has a heart attack and dies… but wakes up again in his 18-year-old body, with his whole life ahead of him again, and with all the memories of his previous life. Is this a chance to right old wrongs? to set a new path for himself? to make an impact on the world? Jeff relives his life, but with alterations along the way, all the way through to age 43, when he dies again… and so on, and so on, and so on. Each time around, Jeff comes back to himself just a bit later, and each time around he thinks he’s found the way to get it right — but of course, life isn’t something you can plan for or make turn out just the way you want. Replay is hard to explain, but marvelous to read.

4) Somewhere in Time by Richard Matheson

Until a couple of years ago, I actually had no idea this was a book. I fell in love with the lush romance of the Christopher Reeve/Jane Seymour movies years ago, and was astonished to find the book at a used book sale. And by Richard Matheson, no less — someone who really knows how to tell a story. Richard is a modern man who falls in love with a woman in a photo from decades earlier, and using the power of his mind, finds a way to travel back in time to be with her. Passionate and intense, this is yet another interesting spin on a journey through time. (For more details, you can see my Goodreads review here).

5) 11/22/63 by Stephen King

I love Stephen King, am fascinated by the Kennedy assassination and all the associated conspiracy theories, and adore reading about time travel. Clearly, this massive novel was right up my alley! Given the opportunity to travel back through time and avert a national tragedy, would you? Should you? 11/22/63 is a combination of time travel, historical fiction, and romance, and it works. As I say in my review, I recommend this book wholeheartedly.

I’m leaving out some other great ones, not because I don’t love them — I do! I really do! — but because time’s a-wasting, and I must move on. So I’ll wrap this up with a list of a few other favorite books full of timey-wimey goodness. Let me know what time-related books you’ve enjoyed!

More time-travel, time-slip, and time oddities:

Outlander (and sequels) by Diana Gabaldon (which I didn’t include in my top 5 despite my mad love for them, just because I’m always raving about these books to the point of sounding like a broken record. Read these books! There, ’nuff said.)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling — the book that introduced my children to the brain-twisting concept of time travel!

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen
The Future of Us by Jay Asher
The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley
Lightning by Dean Koontz
The Sound of Thunder (short story) by Ray Bradbury

Read a book. All the cool people are doing it.

Taking a brief pause to appreciate TV characters who read… for no real reason except that it gives me a good excuse to Google stuff. Without further ado:

Damon Salvatore thinks sparkly vampires are stupid.

Sawyer rockin’ the reading glasses.

Don Draper is a very serious reader.

Good slayers always do their homework first. But where are the Scoobies?

Good slayers always do their homework first. But where are the Scoobies?

No, the other Scoobies!

Joey found Little Women kinda scary.

Gemma hitting the medical texts. Career change?

Trying to read here, Varys.

Never too old for a bedtime story.

Updated 8/24/2012 to add:

Piney reading a one-of-a-kind Stephen King novel. That’s “Cycle Zombies”, and it exists only in TV land.

That’s all I’ve got! If you come up with any other good ones, please share.

11/5/2012: Updated to add this additional cute photo:

Some scary things happen in “The Angels Take Manhattan” episode of Doctor Who, but this reading-friendly picnic scene is just adorable.