Today I Read…The Shakespeare Notebooks

Today I read Doctor Who: The Shakespeare Notebooks by James Goss, Jonathan Morris, Julian Richards, Justin Richards, William Shakespeare, and Matthew Sweet.The Shakespeare Notebooks

William Shakespeare–without question one of Earth’s greatest writers of all time. His works and life have been scrutinized over and over again, by historians, literary analysts, students of all ages, and fans of the Bard. And yet so many questions remain.

At last, Shakespeare’s personal notebooks have been discovered and made available to the public. Anecdotes from his personal life, early drafts of many of his greatest works, and insight into the thought processes of this remarkable man can at last be shared with the world, including his strange relationship with a man known only as the Physician. Was Shakespeare ill throughout his life? Were they friends? How much influence did this mysterious Doctor have on Shakespeare’s work? Would a Doctor by any other name still save the world?

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I love the Doctor Who episode “The Shakespeare Code”, so I was interested when I heard about this book. On reading it, it is both brilliant and hilarious, but will probably appeal most to those who are both Doctor Who fans and Shakespeare fans.

The book is a collection of sonnets and scenes from plays, rewritten to include the different incarnations of the Doctor and his Companions. It really is amazing just how attracted aliens are to England–it’s a bigger tourist destination than Disney World!

It’s actually quite interesting seeing Shakespeare’s purported thought processes on some of the works–going through what he might have thought about as he was writing, the revisions to the works, and the ‘final’ drafts that were lost or changed for various reasons. Presumably he didn’t actually include all of the references to the Doctor–but then again, who knows? Many of the passages end with an unrelated quote that has been changed to include the Doctor, such as “Friends, Daleks, Cybermen…”, “To reverse or not to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow?”, or “That which we call a Rose by any other name would still be Tyler.”

This is a great book if you have a liberal attitude towards historical correctness and a lively respect for Shakespeare as a popular storyteller instead of an old man in a ruff reciting dead words.

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Sonnet 18

Shall I compare thee to a Type Fifty?
Thou art more lovely and more temporal:
Rough time winds shake the positronic flow,
And Fast Return hath all too short a spring:
Sometime too hot the Eye of Harmony
Is by a Temporal Orbit stopped at last
And every wheezing groan sometime declines,
By chance, or Vortex changing course untrimmed:
But thy materialisation shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of thy Time Rotor,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st Gallifrey,
Wherein eternal Rassilon dost thrive,
So long as Time Lords plot, or Daleks kill,
So long my TARDIS will you serve me still.

 

 

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