Review: You And Who – Contact Has Been Made Vols 1 & 2 / Author: J.R. Southall, Christopher Bryant / Publisher: Miwk Publishing / Release Date: Out Now
Following up the entertaining and entrancing You and Who, Starburst’s own J.R. Southall brings us the next instalment in his magnum opus – You and Who: Contact Has Been Made. Like its predecessor, this is a collection of essays entirely fan-sourced and this time the theme is (sort of) one essay for every story up until The Snowmen. This has resulted in a tome so mighty that the gods themselves have decreed that it shall be split into two parts. Each part is available to buy separately (but why would you?), comes in around 450 pages (yes that’s 900 altogether!) and any profits go to Children in Need.
The books don’t only give you every TV story but also essays on various specials (including Curse of Fatal Death), spin-0ffs (Torchwood, Sarah-Jane Adventures) and other stalwarts of the Whoniverse (Big Finish for example). There are also various essays on the Doctors themselves, guest essays and more.
This is not just a free-for-all – this is a properly edited set of essays that cover the spectrum of interpretations of the programme. Having dipped in I managed to miss the bus to work as I was engrossed in understanding how some of my least favourite episodes could yet be other fans' most important.
And here is the magic of this project: I pick this up as a fan and I can (almost) strike up a conversation with another fan on almost any episode ever made (yes, there have been a few more shown since the cut was made) and engage with them. We may never meet or communicate in any other way but I now feel connected to the wider community in ways I wasn’t before.
This is a terrific achievement and I for one will be tracking J.R.’s website awaiting news of any further projects.