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Mixed Bag

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Monday 4 January 2016
Rating:   7

This book is a collection of critical essays by academics. There are some truly bad pieces here that show many of the excesses that have crept into academic critical studies. Among these are Tat Wood's "The Empire of the Senses," a truly and typically illogical essay in the manner of Foucault that has all the faults of such readings, such as mistaking analogy for equivalence, lack of historical context, and breathtakingly sweeping generalizations. Alec Charles' "The Ideology of Anachronism" is little better. Charles takes a post-colonial position, so the conclusions are as predictable as they are trite - "Doctor Who" stories use "narrative closure" to reinscribe colonial values in a wave of nostalgia for empire. On the good side are David Butler's "How to Pilot a TARDIS," which makes some keen observations about the relationship between the show and its audience, and David Rafer's "Mythic identity in Doctor Who," a look at the various mythical elements of the program. The editor should be praised for including material on multiple aspects of the show, including the music, the original novels, and the Big Finish audios.

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