As part of the Doctor Who 50th anniversary celebration, Puffin and the BBC will be publishing 11 short ebooks.
Each is written by a different well-known British children’s fiction author, and one will be released every month from January through November 2013. Each story will feature one of the 11 incarnations of the Doctor in order – starting with the first. The ebooks are also slated to be accompanied by a YouTube video detailing the career of that month’s participating author.
The first story, titled A Big Hand For The Doctor, will star the original Doctor, played on television by William Hartnell, and penned by Eoin Coffer, bestselling author of the Artemis Fowl book series. The other ten author names are being kept under wraps until their month comes around, but that hasn’t stopped the speculation.
Of course, most American analysts are predicting that Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and prolific fantasy creator Neil Gaiman will be on the list somewhere, probably because those are the only two British authors they know. I find both unlikely, however. Rowling has stated in several interviews that she’s done writing fantasy for a while, and Gaiman is already involved with writing some of the television episodes, so the BBC would likely like to give some other authors a chance.
The best guesses I have are that they would surely at least ask Philip Pullman, the author of His Dark Materials, the first book of which, The Golden Compass, was made into a major Hollywood film, and Michelle Paver, who has been prolifically writing children’s historical fantasies, which require many of the same skills as formulating a Doctor Who story, I think. Those two selections exhaust my own knowledge of British children’s fantasy literature, however. Not much in that genre makes it over to the States.
A Big Hand for the Doctor, and the Eoin Coffer featurette video, will be available on January 23rd. Additional books and videos are scheduled to follow each month around the same time until November. An anthology of all eleven stories are slated to be available for the holidays, and will be the only way to buy the stories in hardcopy.