Review: Doctor Who: Books: A History of Humankind

humankindBy Justin Richards

BBC Children’s Books, Out October 6

The real history of humanity, courtesy of the Doctor…

The latest in BBC Children’s Books’ “rewriting” of history is perhaps their best yet, with the 12th Doctor explaining to the pudding brains exactly what did happen with regard to the human race’s backstory, rather than what the boring old text books would have you believe. This is very much a complement to the all-singing, all-dancing, beautifully illustrated Whoniverse coming out later this month – whereas that takes things very seriously (and covers the whole universe, rather than just Earth), this doesn’t miss a trick for a gag.

The official version doesn’t get much of a look in – “Who wrote this drivel?” the Doctor pens over an early piece about the dinosaurs – and pictures are suitably amended to include Jagaroth, Sea Devils and anyone else who was really there. It mixes and matches elements from the whole 52 year history of the series – all three Atlantises are mentioned on one page (illustrated for some reason with Bok alongside Professor Zaroff and the Kronovore) – as it goes through history chronologically, with stories from the Hartnell era given as much prominence as those from Capaldi.

Dan Green’s illustrations work well in context – some are very good likenesses, others a little less so, but they’re all dynamic and feel almost comic book in tone: who’d ever have thought that the First Doctor and Cherub’s meeting would be portrayed in that way, for example?

Verdict: Tremendous fun, and heartily recommended. 10/10

Paul Simpson


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