Queering the Tardis

BCN cover image

This originally appeared in BCN issue 120

Or was it already queer long before Captain Jack arrived?

Book review:
Queers Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the LGBTQ Fans Who Love It
.  Edited: Sigrid Ellis and Michael Damian Thomas, 2013.   Pub: Mad Norwegian Press (buy it on Amazon here)

In recent years Mad Norwegian Press have had a lot of success with their books about Doctor Who. The first two, Chicks Dig Time Lords and Chicks Unravel Time, are a collection of articles and essays analysing women and gender in the show from a female perspective. The contributors do this brilliantly, and the books give a voice to female fans who are often overlooked or dismissed by a male dominated fandom.

Queers Dig Time Lords is their third book about Doctor Who. It has same format as the previous two and serves a similar purpose for LGBT fans. We make up a large percentage of the fans compared to other TV shows yet LGBT related content is rarely included in discussions or media about it. We also face biphobia and homophobia from some heterosexual fans who, for example, vocally claim the show has too many LGBT references and characters. Having a book like this provides a safe space to talk about sexuality in the show as well as ourselves and the things that matter to us.

It’s a wide-ranging book with topics on all aspects of the show and its fandom – such as the bisexual character of Jack Harkness and LGBT subtext in the classic series. I’d assumed that there would be one or two token chapters on bisexuality, but was happily surprised to find that a large number of the articles were either about bisexuality in the show and/or were written by bisexuals. I didn’t keep a tally but it actually felt like bisexual related content was in the majority! So much so that the book feels like it’s something for me rather than a gay & lesbian book with a chapter I can relate to.

My only criticism is the lack of trans related content as I only noticed one chapter which talked about it.
I was also slightly disappointed by the amount of articles where fans were reminiscing about their memories of the show and talking about how much they love it. If you’re a fan there will be a lot you can relate to, but that can get quite tedious and repetitive by the time you reach the end. I would have preferred more analytical content about the show to people’s individual life stories.

If you love Doctor Who then I highly recommend Queers Dig Time Lords. It’s an important landmark publication and I hope the writers and editors produce more books like it.

Hannah Bee