Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Recent read; Doctor Omega

Doctor Omega is a bit of a novelty, especially for Doctor Who fans. A lost French scifi novel from 1906, it has some vague similarities to the later television show. Mostly due to some editions' illustrations that look a lot like the (First) Doctor (William Hartnell.)  The novel has been resurrected by Black Coat Press - a small press devoted to publishing English-language translations of classics of French popular literature, in the science fiction, fantasy and mystery genres.

The story is a fun, light, quick read. Typical turn-of-the-last-century style with a first-person narrative of Mars exploration - various weird flora and fauna along the way, and a few perils and escapes.

This novel was "adapted and retold" which means the translators (who are also Doctor Who fans) took liberties to add additional ties to Doctor Who - making it seem that perhaps Doctor Omega is an alternate or perhaps the Doctor himself in some form of exile. While that is enjoyable, I would still like to read a straight translation (I can't read French) so I could see the original similarities for myself.

I did enjoy it, and look forward to Doctor Omega and the Shadowmen - a modern anthology of Doctor Omega tales, also from Black Coat Press.

For a bit of fun, Black Coat Press commissioned the first cover (non-illustrated edition) to match the classic Target novelization cover of Doctor Who and the Daleks.  I'd be tempted to get it, but I don't have that edition of Doctor Who and the Daleks, anyway. (though, that was re-issued recently with a forward by Neil Gaiman.  Oh, the temptations of a collector.)


  1. You know, this sounds pretty good. I like a lot of older books. Not so pretentious in some ways. Never heard of it before though.

  2. Charles; I'd never even heard of it before, either and I'm a huge Doctor Who fan.

    I wouldn't say anyone at the BBC back in 1963 had actually read the French book, but maybe someone at the costuming department perused the illustrations when they were a child somewhere along the line.

    Black Coat Press have some very interesting titles and blurbs. I might need to take a chance on some more of these lost French tales.