Having a little bit of unexpected spare time at the end of this week's Librarian classes at TAFE I looked around for something to amuse myself in TAFE's library. I wasn't sure what exactly I would find aside from my ye olde friend The Internet considering that the collection policy at Wyong TAFE seems to be "If it's a TV/film tie-in buy it, if it's not it can fuck off. What? That's something that got made into a TV series? That's no good. We need the really tacky looking version with a photo of Sean Bean on the cover. Ideally with some full-colour plates of the filming in the middle of it and behind-the-scenes details at the back."
Seriously, they've got
Sharpe tie-in versions of the original novels
Buffy and Angel novels
The Independence Day novelisation!
The I-Spy novelisation!
Novelisations of things you could swear never came out in the cinema!
A novelisation of Cracker: Best Boys? By GARETH FUCKING ROBERTS?!?
What I didn't realise was that this meant they had nearly all the Doctor Who Ten Doctor Adventure novels, so I was now able to actually read one without paying any money.
Thank God for small mercies, huh?
It's hard to get any facts straight in fandom because both views are vigorously defended by two different, equally illiterate groups who like smashing their keyboards just as much. So, for me, I wasn't entirely sure whether the new books were new versions of The Adventures of Spot scrawled in crayon with 'Spot' occassionally replaced by 'The Doctor', or massively intellectual tomes that outshone the rest of DW with dazzling finesse and timeless prose to the point that Kurt Vonneghut would kill himself in shame upon setting eyes on them. The former is doubtlessly closer to reality.
2.45 I started reading Sick Building by Paul Magrs. By 3.15 I was over a 100 pages in. That's 3.3 pages a minute, people. The prose had nothing, Nothing, beneath the surface, it was like going down a slippery dip. The plot had nothing, for that matter. The Doctor screams "Whoa shit giant space-monster gon' eat this planet!". Luckily only three people happen to live on said planet so evacuating them in the space of two days is going to be easy, even with the TARDIS bafflingly parked half a day's walk away from their house. And - get this - the three people on the planet are a little socially awkward. And they have robots. This is mind-expanding shit.
Okay, it's possible that I just happened to be reading an unutterably lame book, but I think it's still evidence that, whatever happens, the worst thing that you can do in creating a children's book is throwing money at some guy and saying "Write for kids". I had the horrible feeling whilst reading this shit that if I had been ten-twelve years old I would have given up under the constant golden shower of condescension. And it's not as though I hate kid's books. As part of my work experience I was fobbed off onto the children's librarian to give my instructor time off and she showed me a book called The Pigeon Wants a Puppy for, I dunno, 4 year olds or something. And it was GREAT. So this isn't purely about my reading Terry Pratchett novels since before the age of 9.
To everyone who says otherwise, YES, the new Doctor Who books are for kids. Specifically kids who like books for kids. This message also goes out to Lance Parkin, who is in a sort of diplomatic denial over the matter and constantly argues that the PDAs if brought back would NOT be financially feasible. Mate, if I was twelve again, and the choice was between "Martha meets socially awkward youth who falls in love with her cue laughter here" and "Master goes on Sin City style gangland killing spree in London while Doctor's on vacation", I know which I'd fucking choose.*
*Yes, this is a strawman, because I chose the best example of the PDAs. EVEN SO, if the second option was "Patrick Troughton in drag hitting on Ben Jackson while walking sharks kill EVERYONE", I would still go old-skool... not sure what that says about me but there you go.