Obverse Books’ Black Archive #15: Full Circle Wins Sir Julius Vogel Award

John Toon’s The Black Archive instalment examining Full Circle has won the prestigious Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Professional Publication. It’s a huge achievement, so a massive congratulations to Toon and everyone at publisher, Obverse Books.

The Black Archive is a series of book-length monographs about Doctor Who serials. The Sir Julius Vogel Awards are voted for by fans, awarded for sci-fi and fantasy ventures.

Editor, Philip Purser-Hallard said:

“Both of John’s books for the Black Archive have been a joy to edit – really sharp and clear-headed, approaching the Doctor Who stories they analyse from fascinating angles. This recognition of his work is well deserved.”

This is actually John’s third Sir Julius Vogel Award, having previously won for the award for best fan writer in 2013 and 2016, but this is his first award in a professional category.

Toon added:

“This thrilling win – against strong competition! – wouldn’t have been possible without Phil’s editorial input, Blair [Bidmead] and Cody [Schell]’s stylish cover design and Stuart [Douglas]’s professional touch. They all deserve credit for this award, although I’m sure they’ll understand that I’m totally keeping the trophy!”

Here’s the synopsis:

Well, evolution goes in quantum leaps, but it doesn’t go that fast.’

1980 was a time of profound change for Doctor Who, with a new producer and script editor both keen to overhaul the series at all levels. During the course of its 18th season the series would also undergo a complete change of its leading cast.

Positioned in the middle of this pivotal season, Full Circle (1980) exemplifies the new production team’s vision, one that rejected the fantasy overtones of previous years and put a more science-driven ethos at the heart of the series. It attempts to present the concept of evolution to a tea-time family audience in an entertaining way, dramatising it by depicting the inhabitants of a spaceship and a primordial swamp in conflict with each other.

But stranger elements lurk beneath the surface, forgotten and waiting to re-emerge. This book puts Full Circle under the microscope and discovers a mixed heritage of discredited science, pseudoscience and mysticism. It also considers the effect this story, the first to be written by someone who grew up as a fan of Doctor Who, had on the evolution of the series itself.

To celebrate the award, the electronic edition of Full Circle with be available until the end of June 2019 at the bargain price of just £1.99.