Saturday, April 25, 2009

Book Review of Inside the Hub: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Torchwood

Inside the Hub: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Torchwood
Author: Stephen James Walker
Publisher: Telos (Sept. 2008)
Paperback, 250 pages, $27.95
ISBN-10: 184583013X
ISBN-13: 978-1845830137


Inside the Hub: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Torchwood chronicles the hit BBC series from the first announcement of the Doctor Who spin-off through the time that Series 1 aired in the UK. The book features many quotations from magazine and newspaper articles, biographies of the cast and crew, and a very thorough episode guide.

The episode guide and the section detailing the influence American science fiction shows (such as The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer) on Torchwood are interesting and probably the best parts of the book. It's obvious that a lot of time and thought went into both of these sections.

Unfortunately, the book's flaws are more prominent than its attributes. Run-on sentences abound; the most egregious example of this is a 170-word sentence in the Introduction. There are no pictures, which I assume is due to the unauthorized nature of the work. The text is small and hard to read at times. The book often gets bogged down with minutiae; things like air dates for 30-second trailers are listed in detail.

With the exception of the episode guide, most of the content of the book is available elsewhere. There are many quotations from popular British magazines, British TV critic web sites, and even "fan reactions" taken from sites such as LiveJournal. As an American, it was interesting to see how the launch of the series was covered by the British press. While having all of this information collected into a single book is nice, I would have preferred more original content from the author.

I heartily recommend both The Torchwood Archives and The Official Torchwood Magazine Yearbook (You can read my review of this book here) to Torchwood fans. Give Inside the Hub a miss.

Rating: 2/10.

6 comments:

  1. 2 out of ten is pretty darn bad. Luckily, I never heard of Torchwood and don't need it.

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  2. Good luck on getting all your reading done before Tuesday. I started reading The Beekeeper's Apprentice and enjoyed what I read. I'm rooting for you.

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  3. I've never really gotten into Torchwood, but I've been watching re-runs on BBC America for the past few weeks. I'll probably never get as into Torchwood to equal my obsession with Doctor Who, but I've enjoyed the random eps I've watched so far.

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  4. I'm sorry this wasn't a better summary. I've started watching the series on BBC America and have been a Dr. Who fan for a few years. Guess I'll need to look for more episodes instead of an unofficial book.

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  5. What the heck is with these comments. NEVER HEARD OF TORCHWOOD???? Do you people live in trees and make cookies for a living? Torchwood is the best written, most interesting sci-fi television show on TV....

    Seriously, WTH? "Don't need it?" I might as well stop breathing before I'd give up Torchwood and John Barrowman.

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  6. I think Caite meant that she didn't need this particular book, since she's not a Torchwood fan and I didn't give this book a favorable review.

    We don't live in trees and make cookies for a living -- we just have the misfortune of living in America.

    Torchwood is (unfortunately) not widely available in the United States, where I and many of my readers live. Torchwood is broadcast on BBC America, but many cable companies in the United States do not carry that channel as part of their basic service. I've been lucky in that I can catch the new episodes of Torchwood on Comcast On Demand within 2-3 weeks of their original air date in the UK, but I have to watch my DVD sets when new episodes are not on the air. As far as I know, Comcast On Demand hasn't shown Torchwood since about a month after "Exit Wounds" aired. I'm hoping they will start re-running the series to gear up for Children of Earth.

    It's a great show, and one that I wish would get more airtime over here. I also wouldn't mind more Doctor Who episodes...I believe "The Next Doctor" still hasn't aired over here (Could someone who has BBC America confirm this?), and I probably won't see "Planet of the Dead" until it's released to DVD on July 28th.

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