In Chicks Dig Time Lords, a host of award-winning female novelists, academics and actresses come together to celebrate the phenomenon that is Doctor Who, discuss their rather inventive involvement with the show’s fandom, and examine why they adore the series so much.
I stumbled across Chicks Dig Time Lords while searching Amazon for Doctor Who books. Even though I don’t care too much for non-fiction books or essays, it looked interesting enough to put on my wish list. I’m glad I did. This book turned out to be a heartwarming and inspirational read. True to its title, it is a celebration of all things Doctor Who.
The essays in this book not only examine the show, but also the fandom that surrounds it; conventions, costuming (cosplay), and fanfic/fanzines, and they do it in a very personal way. A lot of the essays are like mini memoirs as the author talks about how Doctor Who became about of their life, how it affected them, and/or pulled them into the fandom. I really enjoyed Carole Barrowman remembrances of growing up with Doctor Who, with her little brother John (Captain Jack Harkness of the new series), including her own person fear-o-meter and where the Daleks stood on it at any given point in her life. The most touching was “Marrying into the TARDIS Tribe” by Lynne M. Thomas, one of the editors. She talks about what it’s like for a non-Whovian to marry one, and the slow conversion, as well as raising her daughter as one. What was so touching about this one was how her daughter, who has a heart condition, was treated so kindly by both the fans and the guests at conventions. It’s not the kind of story you would hear coming out of big convention like San Diego Comic Con, and shows how genuine and tight-knit the actors and fans can be.
Several of the writers advocated or defended a character, mostly the companions. It was nice seeing Nyssa, from the Classic series getting some recognition. But it’s the New Series companions that got most of the attention, as essays examined Rose, Martha and Donna. Some of these took a more analytical approach, which didn’t interest me as much. They felt out-of-place with all the more personal writings. I enjoyed “Regeneration X” by Catherynne M. Valente. She was able to analyze the show for its mythic themes without the essay feeling like it was a lecture.
It was also interesting to see the how the writers expressed their love of the series through fandom. Creating costumes and fan films, writing fanfic, both straight and smutty, for fanzines, and volunteering at conventions are some of the most popular ways to participate, and the stories about these fascinated me as I never really got to do any of those things myself. And as is inevitable it seems for a fandom mostly dominated by men, there were some stories about the difficulties of being a woman participating in it. While some of these are feminist in nature, that shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing. It’s a refusal to acknowledge and accept the differences between men and women that create so many of the problems in fandom.
Chicks Dig Time Lords is more than a great read. It’s inspirational. As I read the essays, I started to compose my own story and experiences in my head. It’s not a collection of dry essays talking about Doctor Who and its fandom. It’s warm, personable, and entertaining. It’s like being in a room with all these writers and listening to each of their stories, laughing, smiling and sharing in their joy. It truly is a celebration.