Friday, February 24, 2012

Other - The Discontinuity Guide, by Cornell, Day and Topping

Originally excited to have finally found a second-hand copy, I was surprised by it's scatter-gun approach.  Each story is laid out in categories where often there is no explanation, minimal linking and less style.  As a book, written by three of the Whoniverse's leading anoraks, The Discontinuity Guide is for superfans who don't need much context to understand subtle references.  If this is your target audience (and where else could they be aiming?) this is fine, but makes it lightweight and somewhat engaging.

That they devote an entire section in each story to risible double entendres - grasping every possible reference no matter how banal - is the kind of thing that makes authors look back and shudder at their apparently virginal mid-nineties.  Their description of The Horns of Nimon as "Rather wonderful with some friends and a bottle of wine" only serves to emphasise this fact - no matter how true it may/may not be.  Although marketed as humour, it isn't - it takes a lot to make a book of lists funny.

Genre-defining. For it's numerous bad points, The Discontinuity Guide was the first light-hearted series guide written by fans since the party-line days of Peter Haining, Adrian Rigelsford and the factless Jean-Marc Lofficier.  It was written by guys who obviously cared about the series, had moderate knowledge of TV production - by educated fans, for educated fans.  Since it's initial appearance in 1995, it has spawned several internet-based imitations, including one which actually bears the same title; as well as starting the ball rolling towards the definitive Who guides: Lawrence Miles & Tat Wood's About Time series.

In a word: Platform.

Rating: 3.

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