The story raises issues of land rights, the 1970s energy crisis, technological innovation, animal experimentation and the role of the military. Science is presented as the solution to many of the problems, but terrible acts result from the morality of the choices made by both humans and Silurians – and an exiled Time Lord.
The book is written by Robert Smith? (the question mark is part of his name), a mathematician, writer and editor. He is an award-winning professor of disease modelling at the University of Ottawa in Canada.
The Black Archive is Obverse Books’ series of critical monographs about individual Doctor Who stories. The range has recently acquired a new editor. Paul Driscoll, known to readers as the author of previous Black Archives on The God Complex and Doctor Who (1996), as well as for his work with fiction imprint Altrix Books. He will join Philip Purser-Hallard and Paul Simpson as joint editor of the series. He begins his work this year, on books to be published from 2021 onwards.
The first six Black Archive titles for 2021 have now been announced.
Paul Driscoll himself will examine Richard Curtis’ 11th Doctor episode Vincent and the Doctor, while long-serving Black Archivists Jon Arnold and Simon Bucher-Jones look respectively at 1970s staples Invasion of the Dinosaurs and The Hand of Fear.
New authors Andrew Orton and Billy Seguire will be writing on 1976’s The Deadly Assassinand 2005’s Dalek respectively. Theologian James F McGrath, editor of the academic essay collections Religion in Science Fiction and Time and Relative Dimensions in Faith, will be exploring the 13th Doctor’s first season finale, The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos.
The rest of 2021 will bring further releases, some of which will particularly please fans of the fifth Doctor, who so far has been rather underrepresented in the range.
In other news, while the catalogue of titles for 2020 remains the same, unforeseen circumstances behind the scenes mean that two forthcoming Black Archives will be delayed. James Cooray Smith's book on The Underwater Menace and Jonathan Dennis’ on Vengeance on Varos will now be published in April 2020, alongside William Shaw’s Black Archive on The Rings of Akhaten.
The current schedule for 2020-21 is therefore as follows:
- January 2020 – The Black Archive #39: The Silurians by Robert Smith?
- April 2020 – The Black Archive #40: The Underwater Menace by James Cooray Smith
- April 2020 – The Black Archive #41: Vengeance on Varos by Jonathan Dennis
- April 2020 – The Black Archive #42: The Rings of Akhaten by William Shaw
- May 2020 – The Black Archive #43: The Robots of Death by Fiona Moore
- June 2020 – The Black Archive #44: The Pandorica Opens / The Big Bang by Philip Bates
- July 2020 – The Black Archive #45: The Unquiet Dead by Erin Horáková
- August 2020 – The Black Archive #46: The Awakening by David Evans-Powell
- September 2020 – The Black Archive #47: The Stones of Blood by Katrin Thier
- October 2020 – The Black Archive #48: The Tenth Planet by Michael Seely
- November 2020 – The Black Archive #49: Arachnids in the UK by Sam Maleski
- December 2020 – The Black Archive #50: The Day of the Doctor by Alasdair Stuart
- December 2020 – The Black Archive #50A: The Night of the Doctor by James Cooray Smith
- January 2021 – The Black Archive #51: The Deadly Assassin by Andrew Orton
- February 2021 – The Black Archive #52: The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos by James F McGrath
- March 2021 – The Black Archive #53: The Hand of Fear by Simon Bucher-Jones
- April 2021 – The Black Archive #54: Dalek by Billy Seguire
- May 2021 – The Black Archive #55: Invasion of the Dinosaurs by Jon Arnold
- June 2021 – The Black Archive #56: Vincent and the Doctor by Paul Driscoll