Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, by Quentin Tarantino (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2021)

Los Angeles, 1969. The lives of a TV actor and his stuntman buddy intersect with others, including members of the Manson family. A quasi-novelisation of Tarantino’s 2019 movie, taking a different path through the material. Lots of movie and TV arcana, some fun digressions, and a sense of confident ease throughout. Not sure how it’d stand up for those who haven’t seen the film, but it makes the prospect of an original novel an intriguing one.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

On Directing, by John Badham (Michael Wiese Productions, 2020)

The veteran film and television director on working in the industry. This second edition covers working with actors, directing action and suspense, TV and its differences to cinema, and preparation for shooting. An excellent personal perspective with practical value for any collaborative creative practitioner, drawing on a host of professional viewpoints and texts. Recommended.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Doctor Who: Dalek, by Robert Shearman (Target Books, 2021)

The Ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler intercept a cry for help from near-future Earth, where a psychopathic billionaire has amassed a museum of alien technology. A brisk, effective expansion of Shearman’s own Dalek episode of Doctor Who from 2005. Retains the feel of the original, developing character without compromising the pace of the story. Lots of fun. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Doctor Who: The Crimson Horror, by Mark Gatiss (Target Books, 2021)

People are going missing in 1893 Bradford: Madam Vastra and Jenny Flint investigate. A zesty novelisation of Gatiss’s own 2013 Doctor Who episode (with another story recounting Jenny’s first meeting with the eleventh Doctor). Every opportunity for Victorian pastiche, name-checking and in-jokes – both historical and Whovian – has full advantage taken. Plenty of brisk fun, basically.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

The Black Archive #50: The Day of the Doctor, by Alasdair Stuart (Obverse Books, 2020)

A monograph discussing the 2013 Doctor Who 50th anniversary special. An engaging and freewheeling exploration, too, probing the episode’s links to wider Who canon, its storytelling approach, and to the ways it exemplifies a postmodern attitude to story. By no means the final word on the episode, but Stuart offers plenty to think about, and makes some interesting connections.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Landscapes of Detectorists, edited by Innes M Keighren & Joanne Norcup (Uniform Books, 2020)

Academic essays on the BBC single-camera comedy Detectorists, plus context from writer/star/director Mackenzie Crook, and original producer Adam Tandy. Focusing on the programme’s engagements with landscape, history, and gender relations, this is a fine introduction to the thematic richness and blokeish pleasures of the series. Volume II, please!

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.