Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Doctor How and the Illegal Aliens by Mark Speed (Review & GIVEAWAY)

As a big Doctor Who fan I was immediately drawn to the creativeness of Doctor How and the Illegal Aliens by Mark Speed.  Keep reading to get a glimpse of this book, along with my impressions of it, and learn even more about this book by visiting the other blogs hosting this tour.  Make sure to fill out the form for the chance to win a $50 bookstore GC!  And now, let's learn about where ideas come from courtesy of Mr. Speed.......

Ideas come from all around me, but mainly it’s by asking the question ‘What if?’ and either putting a character into a situation that you’ve read about in real life, or juxtaposing the original idea against some other idea. The horror novelist James Herbert, who was an advertising copywriter, said that he came up with the idea for The Fog whilst sitting in a particularly boring meeting. He wondered, “What if people just started jumping out of windows?”
A classic example from Victorian science fiction is H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. It’s a phenomenally successful story, spawning half a dozen movies, the 1938 Orson Welles radio play that fooled thousands of people across the US, and a host of me-too movies like Independence Day. Wells was a creative genius to come up with it, right? Wrong. The truth is that ‘invasion literature’ was a booming genre for nearly three decades before Wells penned his sci-fi classic.
The British had been invading and colonizing like no other empire before them, but the Prussians (as they united to form modern Germany) had demonstrated in the 1870 Franco-Prussian War that modern technology like breech-loading artillery and railways could be used to defeat a powerful enemy (France) very quickly. With a powerful Germany wanting its ‘place in the sun’ and sitting just across the North Sea, British paranoia grew, and the invasion novel was born with The Battle of Dorking (1871).
Putting this in its historical context, you can see that Wells was actually pretty late in asking the question “What if the invasion was from another planet?” That’s not to demean what Wells achieved, by the way. The key to his incredible and last success – we’re still appreciating the plot over a century on – was to make it scary and believable. It was the Prussians’ (Germans’) use of superior technology that had spawned the fear that had made invasion literature so successful. Wells made the Martians’ technology overwhelmingly superior to that of the human race. He also continued the ‘What if’ to beyond enslavement to “What if they fed on human blood?” The War of the Worlds was published in 1898. Is it any coincidence that Bram Stoker’s Dracula was published just the year before?
With Doctor How, the ‘What if?’ question was “What if the BBC wasn’t told the real story of Doctor Who?” A good ‘What if’ should leave you with many more questions than it answers. If the BBC hasn’t got the real story, then what is it?

Doctor How’s famous megalomaniac brother Doctor Who sold his fictional life story to the BBC half a century ago, painting himself as a lone hero. Disillusioned, their four cousins dropped out. For fifty years, Doctor How has held the line against the forces of darkness and stupidity. And he’s not that happy, since you ask.
Illegal aliens try to hack How’s Spectrel (TARDIS is a very rude word where he comes from), just as he suspects his estranged cousin Where has been compromised. When reports come in of mysterious attacks by alien creatures, Doctor How has to rely on his new companion Kevin, a petty criminal from south London, and Trinity, a morphing super-predator, as he counters this threat to humanity’s existence. Bungling agents from MI16, long desperate to capture the Time Keeper’s technology, hamper How’s efforts to combat the alien menace. Can Doctor How keep ahead of MI16, save Where and combat the alien threat?


“So is that your –”
“No it’s not my TARDIS, Kevin!” hissed Doctor How. “That’s a misnomer.”
“A misnomer.” Kevin looked at him blankly. “It means wrong name. It’s a misnomer put out by the BBC. TARDIS is actually a very rude word in my native language and nearly one in yours if you changed the ‘a’ for a ‘u’. A certain someone who will remain nameless thought it would be terribly amusing. According to the BBC, TARDIS is supposed to mean Time And Relative Dimension In Space.” The Doctor was now ranting wildly. “Can you believe the sheer gall of these people? Like they actually know, like they understand how the physics works?” The Doctor glared at Kevin, who shook his head.
“Let me tell you what it’s like. It’s like a troop of monkeys – and I mean monkeys, like baboons; not chimpanzees, not even apes – coming up to your very sophisticated saloon car with individual climate-control for each passenger, and a hi-fi system that would fool a bat. As you drive your state-of-the-art car through a safari park this troop of purple-bottomed baboons comes up to your car and calls it “Oog”. And then – and then – then they have the cheek to first of all capitalise the entire thing, so it’s not Tardis, it’s T-A-R-D-I-S, just to spell out the first letters of exactly what these monkeys think the physics is that they can’t even begin to comprehend. And after that they march down to another baboon who calls himself a lawyer and they register it as a trademark. So if I wanted to write my own biography, my autobiography, and I wanted the boneheaded human reader to understand the concept by way of using the word TARDIS, some baboon with a Technicolor™ bottom specialising in intellectual property law could demand money with menaces through the good courts of baboon society. And this,” spluttered the Doctor, “And all this after I saved your – forgive my crude colloquialism here – after I have saved your sorry collective Technicolor™ asses on more occasions than I can care to remember.”
Silence hung in the air. The Doctor was breathing deeply.
“You has got issues, innit?” said Kevin.




As a fan of the sci-fi show Dr. Who I was immediately drawn to Mr. Speed's loving homage to the show.  He's taken the show's well-known lore and turned it into something fresh and unique yet no less entertaining.  The main character of Doctor How is mysterious, intelligent, and acts superior throughout the story.  He's also a man on a mission trying to stop alien invaders as well as government cronies.  He does this through the use of scientific gadgets as well as humor.  One of the more memorable moments had an Abbott and Costello feel to the exchange as we learned about the other Time Keepers in a "Who's On First?" routine.

Along with the compelling Doctor comes his refreshing sidekick, Kevin, who balks at Doctor How's old fashioned viewpoint.  He's refreshingly modern with a wide eyed outlook of being with Doctor How.  He's a bit rough around the edges because of the environment he comes from but loves to learn and have new experiences and is the perfect companion as he says and does exactly what we readers are thinking.

From its colorful and vivid imagery to its numerous action-packed sequences, readers are kept on the edge of their seats as the battle to save Earth rages on.  The various aliens are vividly depicted and add to the story's uniqueness as does the scientific technology employed.  Though I wasn't always sure where the story was going I still found myself captured by its creativity.  As the first book in a new sci-fi series it makes for an intriguing read and shows great promise for future installments.

My rating for this is a B.

*I received this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.


Mark Speed has been writing novels since he was fifteen. His comedy writing has appeared in newspapers as diverse as the London Evening Standard and The Sun, and been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra. He performed his solo comedy, The End of the World Show, at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2011 and 2012. He is currently working on the five-volume Doctor How series.
Amongst other postgraduate and professional qualifications, he has a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from City University, London. In 1995 a chiropractor told him he’d never run again. Sensibly, he gave up chiropractors, runs every day and has completed several marathons and a couple of Olympic-length triathlons.
NLP founder Dr Richard Bandler called him a ‘polarity responder’.

TWITTER:  @doctorhow_tv


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  1. Very intriguing guest post Mark and you got a well deserved lovely review as well. Thanks for sharing today.

    ilookfamous at yahoo dot com

  2. Thanks for the interview and review. This book sounds like a 'must read' for me!

  3. Great review, sounds like a good read.

  4. Thanks so much for the review!

    Trix, vitajex(at)Aol(Dot)com

  5. As a fan of Dr. Who, I'm sure I'll really enjoy your book.

  6. Great excerpt. Loved your comment about what if? I never thought of it before, but it is perfect.

  7. HI Jody - thanks so much for the really positive review! I'm sorry I've only just got to the site to thank you for hosting me today: the day job has been really hectic today. One of the major concerns I had when writing it was not to offend other Who fans. You're right: this is a homage to the series, but with a nudge towards its failings in terms of continuity. Your review is very astute - I went beyond parody to create a meta-story that explains those gaps in the plot that 50 years of scores of scriptwriters have left. I'm so glad that the feedback I'm getting is what I'd hoped for.

    A big thank-you also to Goddess Fish for arranging this for me.

    1. Thank YOU for stopping by, Mark! As a big Whovian I thought you walked the line perfectly balancing your respect for the show as well as its shortcomings. Fans will find much to appreciate about your work and I look forward to where things go from here!

      The Scarf Princess

  8. Just stopping by to comment again! I really hope I win :D

  9. Hi Jody - again, many thanks. It's a weight off my mind! Edgar, thanks also for your comments about the trailer! Thanks again for hosting, and to Goddess Fish for having arranged.