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When I reviewed the original release of The Target Book back in 2007, I concluded that this history of the classic range of Doctor Who novelisations had itself turned out to be a contender for the best Doctor Who book ever.
Back then, I couldn’t have foreseen that this affectionate tribute to a highly collectible series of books would also turn out to be one of the most sought-after books of all time!
The original paperback editions (and very strictly limited hardback editions with leatherette covers) sold out very quickly and have since commanded quite staggering prices on auction sites.
Whilst there has been strong demand for a reprint over the last nine years, potentially expensive technical issues have always rendered such a venture impractical for Telos Books.
The bad news for eBay traders who were still hoping to make a mint from selling off their original paperback editions is that the value of those books has just dramatically tumbled in price. (Although the fancy leatherette editions might still be worth a bob or two.)
The good news for everyone else who missed out first time round is that it has now finally become possible to reprint The Target Book as a stylish standard hardback edition for the first time. So, if you’re quick, you can now order your own copy without having to sell off that full-size Dalek that you stole from the BBC Car Park in 1972.
The book itself is still the same joyous celebration and exhaustive history of a beloved publishing legend. Writers, editors, artists and key players are interviewed and profiled within a gorgeous landscape of artwork which includes the reproduction of the entire collection of Doctor Who covers produced under the cherished Target banner.
Just about every conceivable angle of the mighty rise and quiet fall of Target Books is covered in breathtaking detail, including an overview of the ‘oddity’ books that existed outside the usual range of novelisations, a scrutiny of the overseas titles with their frankly alarming artwork, and a fascinating glimpse of previously unseen concept art and unused covers.
This long-awaited new edition is not quite a straightforward reprint. A few minor errors from the original editions have now been corrected, and there are seven pages of new bonus material covering the BBC’s recent audio versions and reissues of Target books which bring the story nicely up to date.
Unfortunately, the first run of pre-orders for this hardback edition was hit by a pesky printing error which affected the colour of four pages in the lovely gallery of Target covers at the back of the book, but this has already been corrected for all new editions now available to order.
In short, this is still a truly indispensable guide to a hugely important part of the older Doctor Who fan’s childhood years, and it’s still a contender for the greatest Doctor Who book ever produced.
Don’t wait nine more years to get your hands on a copy.
Daniel Lee Salter