January 7, 2013

Children’s authors writing Doctor Who stories


Matt Smith, the current Dr. Who

The British sci-fi show Doctor Who is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and to mark the occasion, Puffin — in partnership with BBC Worldwide — will publish 11 short stories about the time-traveler. They’ll be published digitally first, as “eshorts,” and a paperback collection of all 11 is due out in November. The BBC reported last week that each story will be written by a children’s author.

The beloved television series owes its longevity in part to a clever bit of science fiction that allows the time-traveling doctor to regenerate his body when he’s close to death, which has given the show the freedom to introduce new actors to take on the role every few years. Matt Smith currently plays the title character, and he’s the eleventh person to do so. Thus, it’s no coincidence that Puffin is planning to publish 11 stories — each one will feature a different incarnation of the Doctor, beginning with William Hartnell, who played the role from 1963-1966.

The first participating author will be announced today on the Doctor Who Facebook page, and while those in the know were keeping quiet about the details, publisher Juliet Matthews expressed excitement over the writers they have lined up for the project: “We are delighted to have 11 sensational children’s authors involved in the series, all bringing an individual style, imagination and interpretation to their eshort tribute to The Doctor. This is a who’s who of children’s fiction coming together to celebrate the much-loved Doctor Who.” The series’ head writer Steven Moffat also promised “tremendous surprises” for the show as it celebrates its golden anniversary.

By the time you read this, one of the authors will have been announced already, but that shouldn’t stop us from speculating on whom the roster will include. Neil Gaiman seems like a natural fit, as a favorite among sci-fi and fantasy readers who’s branched out into kids’ books. Hypable speculated on several other possibilities as well, throwing out names like J.K. Rowling and Philip Pullman. Which children’s authors are you hoping will pen one of the Doctor Who stories?




Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.