I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing a few titles from Obverse Books including some of their Black Archive range. First up is the book length reflection on the Fifth Doctor story, Black Orchid. Written by Ian Millsted, this 100 page work covers every aspect of the story you might imagine, and a few more besides. If this is the level of coverage the series is aiming for, it will become a first rate encyclopedic voyage in to the world(s) of Doctor Who.
Just to give a flavour of the scope of this book, here’s the contents:
Chapter 1: The Known
Chapter 2: The Unknown
Chapter 3: Race, Class and Colonisation
Chapter 4: Cricket
Chapter 5: Doubles, Twins – and Identity
Chapter 6: The Harlequin
Chapter 7: Structure
There are also some appendices, including a discussion Is Black Orchid a True Historical?
As you can readily see, this covers several aspects of the story in some depth, and hones in some main themes. Personally I was most attracted to the discussion on identity and the Harlequin, but your tastes will be different, and are bound to be catered for.
The first few sections reproduce the facts about Black Orchid and while relevant don’t add much beyond the contents of Wikipedia or TARDIS DATA CORE. It’s the other areas where Ian Millsted goes beyond the facts, tying up ideas and making the reader think. The prose isn’t just limited to the title story either, but often refers out wider into other episodes and media. There are plenty of footnotes and references out, mostly to DWM.
On the strength of this, I’d say buy any of these where you have a particular interest in the story in question.