BooksDoctor Who

Time & Space Visualiser: The Story And History Of Doctor Who As Data Visualisations by Paul Smith (book review).

‘Time & Space Visualiser: The Story And History Of Doctor Who As Data Visualisations’ is available as a paperback from Amazon for about £25. This is a data presentation on ‘Doctor Who’, no doubt trying to catch on to the 50th anniversary bandwagon. I didn’t get the book to review but instead viewed a PDF sampler of about 70% of the contents which made it a little bit difficult to visualise. Apparently the paperback is approximately 27 cm x 21 cm, 120 pages in colour.


Paul Smith has produced a colourful extravaganza of data in all forms of charts, graphs and presentations. It’s not a book you could probably sit and read but something to dip into at various times for entertainment. Frankly, it was a bit difficult to discern much from the PDF and the diagrams necessitated a lot of time to study. Obviously, a great deal of work has been devoted to the creation of the book and it is definitely worth looking at if you are a ‘Doctor Who’ fan. However, due to the nature of this production, it would be best to have a look at the website and then at the Amazon sales page to get a better idea of what it’s all about. One comment on the Amazon page said that it was a good book but a little over-priced.

Obviously there will be a great many publications on the market this year to commemorate 50 years of ‘Doctor Who’. I can remember watching the very first episode and I have followed the show all these years, taking in all it had to offer, good or bad. Smith’s ‘Time & Space Visualiser’ data does have a place, probably in a bookshelf with the other publications or on a coffee table for guests to peruse while the host is busy preparing dinner.

While being ostensibly a clever production with lots of fancy data, I’m afraid many people will just look at the pages and recoil, much in the same way as they would do when confronted with mathematical equations. Some people can’t comprehend straightforward bar graphs and this will be too much for them to understand. The book therefore has a limited potential. I can say this from being a former science teacher involved in education processes which involved presentations much less complicated than these that this will be a bit difficult to pass on to the general public. While Stephen Hawking’s ‘A Brief History Of Time’ was successful despite being complicated, I’m afraid this book doesn’t have the same initial appeal.

Without being able to say much more than that, I would suggest ‘Doctor Who’ fans should at least have a look to see what it’s all about and then decide yourself if this is the type of book you wish to purchase.

Rod MacDonald

July 2013

(pub: Wonderful Books. 120 page paperback. Price: £22.45 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-95760-620-3)

check out website: www.wonderfulbook.co.uk

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