This is a repost of an article that appeared on IBW Publications yesterday, but I felt as though this audience deserved the insite as well into this fantastic book.
In the nearly 7 years that Itty Bitty Writer Publications and the 11 years C. W. Buechler Online have been a major part of our life we have had some interesting opportunities presented to us, none more so than the opportunity to review the upcoming addition to the _________ Dig Time Lords series of anthologies that explore what Doctor Who means to whatever the “Blank” is. In this case we were honored to review “Queers Dig Timelords.”
Title: Queers Dig Time Lords
Edited by: Sigrid Ellis and Michael Damien Thomas
Editor in Cheif: Lars Pearson
Page Count: 240 (per our review copy)
Availability: June 4, 2013 from Mad Norwegian Press
An anthology of essays written by members of the LGBTQ community that reflect on the impact that Doctor Who had on their lives and how it impacts/ed their sexual identity. More or less that is it, of course we are not paying it any great tribute by shorting this books message to a single sentence, but then again without going into detail of each essay (which would negate the need to actually read the book) this is about the best way to get you to actually go out and buy / read this delightful collection of stories of Love, Discovery, Fandom and Doctor Who.
We were at first a bit uncertain of what we would think about a book that centers on the LGBTQ communities’ thoughts on Doctor Who, and the impact that the show had on the authors. For us the show has always centered on the story telling and outside of desirable aspects of nearly every companion, we did not relate sexual identity with the show. Additionally we are most notably not a member of this demographic, although our dearly departed best friend, best man (at 2 out of 3 weddings), God father to our eldest minion was gay; so we are aware of the turmoil and very real issues that impact that community as we got to experience his identity struggles first hand over a decade and a half of friendship. What we found was a collection of stories that made us think, made us cry and often times made us miss our friend in a way that is inexplicable to us.
While we clearly recall that the first story we ever watched was episode 2 of The Pirate Planet, and that one of our earliest thoughts were “My God who is that pretty woman in the pink pants and white blouse,” it had never dawned on us that others might look at the raw sexual nature of Tom Baker and be thinking the exact same thing. It makes sense though that this would be the case though, we are after all deeply sexual creatures; and Doctor Who does bring out the best in all of us.
It is interesting to note that unlike any other of the _______ Dig Time Lords anthologies this one seems to have caused an epiphany, simply put the show is Something to Everyone and Everything to Someone. This book clearly identifies that the show is what you take out of it, and everyone seems to be able to identify with the show through different aspects of the story telling. While I fell in love with the stories being told, others identified with the over the top fashions, the freedom to be who you were, the ability to be honest with one’s self.
What to like
- Each essay is unique, and tells the author’s story the way they intended and the way they desired to tell it. Sometimes it is a beautiful love story that bloomed under the watchful gaze of the tenth Doctor, sometimes a personal awakening and acknowledgment of ones identity during a certain Planet of Fire scene (as most famously noted by Russell T Davies himself.)
- 6 years ago, before our friends passing, this book would have been on the fringe of socially acceptable topics; which in part may have contributed to his taking his own life. Today, on the most part, we can embrace this community as being just another component to our society, at least we should embrace them. There are still aspects of society that are rooted in the fears and anxiety of those that are different…more on that bellow.
- This anthology opened our eyes to a view point on the show we love; and instead of detracting from it, filling it with the now infamous “Gay Agenda,” it helped make the show more complete. It fills in the gaps and provides a different perspective of a show that continues to fill our lives with joy.
- It is simply put delightfully prepared and the polish is exceptional. If you are a Doctor Who fan you can identify with the stories being told, if you are a member of the LGBTQ community who has never seen or heard of the show you will find out that it has provided the inner strength and encouragement to so many others (you might want to check it out for yourself you know.)
- While we personally find Captain Jack a bit grating, and it can be said doubly so for John Barrowman; there is no doubt that the man is a talented thespian, author and a roll model for many. His forward is a beautiful dedication to not only his time on the show, but also the shared love all of fandom has for the Doctor, John just happens to be lucky enough to have played a major role and been permitted to express our love on screen for each and every one of us.
What not to like
- While this series of essays will no longer be considered fringe reading material, there are those who will loath the book because of its subject matter. This book serves as a reminder that no matter how far we have managed to come, there is still a very long way to go before the LGBTQ community need not remind us of who they are. George Takei (to mix scifi universes) said it best:
“There may come a day when we need not come out of the closet, and need not remind others of the terrible violence, inequity, and ostracism that LGBT people face daily simply because of who we are and who we love. But that day is not here, and more importantly will never get here, unless people continue to step forward and offer themselves as examples, often at great personal cost. I am called “faggot,” “degenerate,” “queer” and “homo” by misguided people every day of my life, even on my own page, but this does not discourage me. It only reminds me of how far we have to go.”
It is because of this backwards sentiment that books like Queers dig Time Lords are needed to show us that despite differences in sexual preferences, the stories of their youth, and self discovery are in fact very similar to our own. It was hard growing up as a straight teenager, forming our own self identity and coming to terms with insecurity; we can hardly imagine the added stress of being gay. Works like QDTL help us relate better to those that had to endure that stress.
Queers Dig Time Lords gets a solid 5 out of 5, well written, charming, witty, eye opening and at times delightfully funny and tear inducing. We could not recommend this anthology more highly. You must go out and read it, this is an order.