The latest volume of The Black Archive, Obverse Books’ series of book-length critical assessments of Doctor Who, is out now, and covers a fan-favourite story, Pyramids of Mars!
It’s the twelfth book of The Black Archive to be released, with previous volumes including Evil of the Daleks, The God Complex, and Ambassadors of Death, and is the first to be written by Kate Orman.
But of course, you’ll recognise Orman’s name from her numerous highly regarded Doctor Who novels, many co-written with her husband, Jon Blum. She continues to publish original science fiction and fantasy and recently edited the Faction Paradox anthology, Liberating Earth also from Obverse Books.
Here’s the synopsis:
“Your evil is my good. I am Sutekh the Destroyer. Where I tread I leave nothing but dust and darkness. I find that good.”
The Doctor Who story Pyramids of Mars (1975) is the inheritor of not only the colourful and complex mythology of Ancient Egypt, but a long tradition of Gothic fiction which emerged during the grip of ‘Egyptomania’ on the Victorian imagination. The alluring beauty and spectacle of Ancient Egypt, the late 19th-century flowering of occultism, guilt and anxiety over the Empire and the British rule of Egypt, and the ancient emphasis on the afterlife — including the elaborate preservation of the corpse in the form of the mummy — combined to create stories of the ‘reverse colonisation’ of Britain and British bodies, minds, and souls.
Rightly regarded as a high point of the vision of Doctor Who created by producer Philip Hinchcliffe and script editor Robert Holmes, the story pits the Doctor’s science against a god who’s really an alien, served by mummies who are really robots, in a struggle for the future of Earth against one of the series’ most powerful and frightening adversaries, the enemy of all life: Sutekh the Destroyer.
In our exclusive interview with Kate, she told us:
“I’m a lay Egyptologist (my apologies to any actual Egyptologists who read the book – I’ve done my best!), so that part was fairly straightforward; in fact, Pyramids is one reason for my lifelong interest in Ancient Egypt. The rest was my personal interest in plugging the gaps in my understanding of history and literature and how Pyramids is the product of both. I hope I’ve managed to make it as interesting to read about as it was for me to find out about it.”
Meanwhile, if you want a taster of the book, we have you covered! You can download your exclusive DWC preview PDF here.
If you want further sneak peeks inside all the Black Archive titles – Rose, The Massacre, The Ambassadors of Death, Dark Water/ Death in Heaven, Image of the Fendahl, Ghost Light, The Mind Robber, The God Complex, Scream of the Shalka, and Evil of the Daleks – by visiting the official Obverse website, and clicking on the respective books.
The Black Archive #12: Pyramids of Mars is out now, priced between £3.99 and £7.99. Although its RRP is £6.99, a physical copy will cost just £4.99, straight from Obverse.