Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Brilliant Book

Received a copy of the Brilliant Book 2012 the other week, and to be honest, this is probably the best thing to have come along in recent years. Editor Clayton Hickman knows his Who (well he should do, he edited the official Doctor Who Magazine for many years) and the book collects together facts and figures, pictures and interviews from the most recent series. In a way, it strangely reminds me of my own book Timeframe - which people keep asking if there will be another volume of: at the moment unfortunately not as the BBC don't wish to commission 'outsiders' to do the books for them, preferring to rely on staff and 'known' writers to do the work.

The Brilliant Book sort of falls outside this remit as Clayton does not work for the BBC or Ebury as far as I know ... but anyway ... the content follows the most recent season and there are four or so spreads from each of the tales, peppered with additional interviews with Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill and Alex Kingston, plus interview comments from the writers and from Steven Moffat, and even pieces from the effects team on how they created some of the monsters along the way. For me this is wonderful - I've always loved these behind the scenes pieces - and the book blends all this material together along with nice tongue-in-cheek elements like a 'Welcome to Sardicktown' brochure, a flier from the theatre where Henry Gordon Jago presents a 'monstre gathering' culminating in Madame Vastra, a Handroid advertising pack, and 'facebook' updates from Cleopatra and Charles Dickens.  It's superb stuff, written with wit and presented superbly thanks, I guess, to the talents of designer Paul Lang who gets a co-credit with Clayton for the book.

For each story there are also some simply superb pieces of photo art from Lee Johnson. These are some of the very best I have seen in terms of composition and picture selection, and are presented as full page pieces - another perhaps-nod to Timeframe where we presented all the Target cover art throughout the book.  These would make a wonderful series of posters, and Johnson should perhaps be snapped up to work on some of the other licensed merchandise out there to create Jigsaws and covers and designs.

The book is something of a bargain at £12.99 for 164 pages all in full colour, and it complements the other Doctor Who releases admirably - there are some for the younger kids (like Where's The Doctor and the Annual), some for the readers (Dan Abnett's Ice Warrior novel The Silent Stars Go By), and some for the fact-heads (Gary Russell's The Encyclopedia, and of course Andrew Pixley's special magazines from Panini). And of course taking up any slack are companies like my own Telos Publishing with our books on the missing episodes (Wiped) and the more specialist season and story guides.

All you need are bottomless pockets to be able to afford all this stuff!

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