Let’s start with the full disclosure: I know Lars Pearson, publisher of Mad Norwegian Press, well enough to be on a first-name basis with him at conventions. He has provided me with a few free books, some because I’ve helped him out with proofreading and some because he’s just a really nice guy. That said, I would still be telling you about how much I love the series of essay books he publishes even if none of that were true, because they’re really quite excellent on a number of levels. And apparently the Hugo voters agree with me, since one of them has already won a Hugo and there’s another nominated even as I write this (which is one reason I’m writing this now, because voting is still open for ‘Queers Dig Time Lords’ and it’s the best one yet. The other is I just saw him at a Doctor Who convention and I’m in the mood to talk about stuff that happened at the con.)
The essay series, which started with ‘Chicks Dig Time Lords’ and moved on to Whedon, comics, and has more in the works, is primarily intended as a space for people whose voice has traditionally been underrepresented in fandom to write about their experiences. The writing has been almost universally great, with some essays by excellent professional authors and new voices from within fandom, and it’s also been insightful. When you think you’ve seen it all, especially in a fandom like Doctor Who that’s now going into its fifty-first year and which had a period of about fifteen years with nothing to do but rewatch old episodes and talk about them to each other, there’s no substitute from getting a fresh perspective on the subject from someone whose life experience is different from your own. I’d never thought of relating the process of regeneration to transgender issues, but the metaphor was described so wonderfully in ‘Queers Dig Time Lords’ that I can’t see it any other way now. To me, it’s important to give these perspectives a voice, and I’m glad Mad Norwegian feels the same way, because opening oneself up to new perspectives helps you to appreciate other people as people. I always feel like I come away from these books with a tiny sliver of someone else’s viewpoint in my head, and it’s absolutely fascinating.
And they’re fun, too. Seanan McGuire (also known as Mira Grant, for those of you who’ve read her zombie novels) provides a hilarious piece in ‘Chicks Dig Time Lords’ describing her kid-self’s confusion about whether or not the Doctor was real–he was on PBS, after all, just like ‘Nova’ and ‘Wild America’. And Laura Mead gives an essay in ‘Chicks Unravel Time’ simply entitled “David Tennant’s Bum”. Because perspective is one thing, but nobody wants to be boring.
I’m really hoping that ‘Queers Dig Time Lords’ wins a Hugo, because I do think it’s better than ‘Chicks Dig Time Lords’; there are several essays that are genuinely moving, and I hope Hugo voters agree with me. But I also just think they’re worth reading, and I think that the people who read this site would like them.