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There are two curious things about Doctor Who fans (well, frankly there's more than two - but there's no point in listing them all because we'll be here all day).

The first is that few of us have resisted the temptation at one time or another to introduce the joys of the classic series (1963-1989,1996) to our husband/wife/significant other - despite the fact they may lack any interest in the show.

The second is that whilst Doctor Who fans are more than happy to rip the programme to merciless shreds we get a little upset when an outsider, or in Doctor Who-speak a "Not-We", does the same thing.

Neil Perryman's blog Adventures With The Wife In Space did both of these things, as Neil introduced his wife Sue to the many highs and lows of classic Doctor Who and then reported her findings. Her comments didn't always go down too well with some people as Sue slaughtered some sacred cows. But she was also perceptive, hilariously funny and brought a fresh perspective to what must be one of the most written-about and analysed shows in history.

There are countless blogs which have done the same thing (watch Doctor Who in story order) but AWTWIS was something special and quickly built up a loyal and vocal following. The story of the blog is part of the book, but it also covers a lot more ground.

So the book isn't a transcript of the website, and although you don't need to have read the blog first in order to get the most from the book, if you have then it's a good companion to the web experience. But there's plenty of new stuff too, for example the Sue/John Levene encounter is priceless and worth the purchase price alone!

AWTWIS is a lovely little read that ultimately has shown how a funny little TV series from long ago can help to bring a marriage even closer together. And Doctor Who was notable for featuring some top-notch carpentry too, which was nice.
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on 7 November 2013
I didn't expect it to be an extract of the website, mainly due to being prepped by Neil and the Tachyon TV massive through Facebook and the other announcements. Frankly (as I always am) I would not have been happy with "choice cuts" from the blog alone.

The book is very satisfying indeed, being not only a complement or companion to the (superb) blog - which I had the joy to follow as it unwound its spontaneous magic - but a rather affecting and personal insight into the life of a fan and a family man. A few things mirrored my own experience, some were radically different, and though I've had my moments of acute fandom embarrassment I didn't come into conflict with John "the suit" Levene, so for that I am eternally thankful.

But the blurb for once wasn't exaggerated and there's something moving about Neil Perryman's account (with lovely interjections from Sue). There are lots of Who books about what Tom calls "fan love" towards the show itself, or even its actors/makers. There are precious few - I can't think of any others - that manage to integrate fan love and the warp and weft of real life love. i.e. the life of an enthusiast combined with stuff about actually being in a relationship / family. This book manages that and so earns its space (and time) because it gets closer to what the show is - half of it is the work up to broadcast, but the other half is how it affects us, on the more important side of the screen.

It's an under-explored area, and I don't believe for one minute it's because of what Doctor Who Magazine would describe as autism, calling it "the fan gene" or implying any kind of sociopathy - if someone as nerdy as me can have a full social life and then a stable family life, it can't be that rare amongst fans.

Anyway, stuff all that - I devoured the book in a night, and loved it, and wanted more. It's the best amongst any Who memoirs, save Barry Letts's. Let's say any comedy Who books. Except it's not just comedy. "The three things... I'll come in again". It brought back so many happy memories of the decades of Who-love - including following, enjoying, and commenting on Neil and Sue's blog, which was a high point of my 40-year fandom. I bet the Trekkers don't have anything like it.

Neil's a good writer too - honed by the many blogs no doubt (and the teaching/lecturing); to include stuff like the unicorn hair was brave and commendable. As I tried to cope with my own tonsorial disaster today, it gave me strength :)

All I really want to know is - who is going to play Neil in the film?
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on 31 October 2013
Neil Perryman persuades his wife to watch every episode of Doctor Who. From the earliest episode with William Hartnell playing the original Doctor Who up to and including the final episode of Sylvester McCoy's incarnation as the Doctor in 1989 when the show was quietly cancelled by the BBC.
Mr Perryman records his wife's opinion on each episode and having created a blog, ([...] relates his wife's reaction to the world.
Though I am a Doctor Who fan, though certainly not an obsessive, I didn't believe I was going to enjoy this book as much as I did. This pessimism was due mostly to my having read previous books based on blogs and being astounded by their blandness.
However, Mr Perryman has written a very funny, literally laugh out loud, book that deserves to be read by more than just Doctor Who fans. Anyone who is a fan of shows like Star Trek, Blake's 7, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galatica, Star Wars, Firefly etc will be very aware of the author's situation at being in a relationship with someone who doesn't share their obsession. No matter what tricks or ploys one tries. No matter how many times you explain the merits of the Star Trek TNG episode, `Remember Me' or the allegorical nature of the excellent Battlestar Galactica series your partner refuses to take part in your life's obsession. But, the author succeeds where so many have failed and over a period of two and half years he and his wife sit down every night to bond over an episode of Doctor Who.
Unlike so many other books based on blogs Mr Perryman hasn't simply transferred the blog verbatim onto the printed page. He writes about his earliest memories of Doctor Who and the effect this had on the rest of his life. His wife, Sue, also writes a very funny chapter on her first encounter with the author and the subsequent events that led to them to getting married.
This book is a thoroughly entertaining read which made this reader wish that he had been aware of the blog while Sue and Neil were watching the Doctor Who episodes. However, this book more than makes up for that disappointment and I look forward to their next series watching escapade; as long as it's not Crossroads.
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on 19 December 2013
This is a consistently amusing and entertaining book. The 'interruptions' from Sue Perryman are often particularly funny as is the writer's self deprecating humour. The illustrations on the front and back cover are also brilliant. It is interesting to see how an outsider views classic series Doctor Who; Sue Perryman describes 'The Time Monster' (one of the most criticised Doctor Who stories ever) as 'A good end to the season'.

My only real grumble is the excessive level of swearing; it isn't funny or clever and it adds nothing to the book. Nevertheless this is a great book which I would strongly recommend to any Doctor Who fan.
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on 2 November 2013
Full disclosure here. I have known Neil for a while now ... in a way. He is one of those new breed of "Internet Friends" that nobody really has a way to categorize.

That aside though the book really is excellent, like a James Herriot memoir with less cow arse and more carpentry Neil manages to capture the feeling of growing up and living life with the burning love that cannot be told. Yes Doctor Who.
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on 1 December 2013
Genuinely one of the funniest books I have ever read - think Fever Pitch, but replace football with another predominantly male obsession, Doctor Who. I laughed out loud so many times my second heart almost exploded, prompting curious enquiries from my own wife (who is 100 per cent Dawson's Creek and Anne of Green Gables by the way), who took an instant delight in Sue's musings, especially their shared love of sarnies and the C-word. There are so many parallels in this book to my own failed attempts at growing up over the last 40 years. And I was so relieved to find out that I'm not the only one who has tried to wean my partner on to the classic series via Genesis of the Daleks! (Nah... didn't work)
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on 3 November 2013
this book is brilliant,funny,touching and moving at times i read this in only a couple of days and seriously i will be reading it again soon! unlesz another book comes and knocks the socks off this-this is the doctor who book of 2013!
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on 12 November 2013
I collect Dr Who stuff, including books, many (and I do mean many) I have started and gotten bored with or found trying to read them like trying to swim though treacle, and given up. This book however, was so different from the others..........humorous, and well written, honest for once and it does not try to convince the reader how wonderful Dr Who is, which is very refreshing indeed.

All said and done, a superb book.....well done Sue (Oh and Neil)
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on 22 January 2014
This was a Christmas present from my wife, and boy did she choose well. this is the story of Neil Perryman, a normal man, who grew up, and grew out, of Doctor Who. Other things came along to take his interest, from Buck Rodgers to girls. But somewhere along the line he fell back in with the Doctor. So far, so very like me. Where things diverge, is not only has he watched every single Dr Who episode available, but he's done it all in order, in the company of his wife. Not being a Who fan, she doesn't know what she's letting herself in for, but not only watches them all, but agrees to review them for his blog as well. I really can't imagine the reaction from my wife if I suggested that.
There's two strands to the book. There's the Dr Who stuff, and then there's the personal stuff. Neil growing up, the relationship between Neil and Sue, and between Neil and his step-daughter. No one bit becomes more important than the others, so this isn't a fan just talking about his love for Who, it's about a person, and what makes him who he is. You don't need to be a fan to read this, although it helps in places, if you can understand the love one person can have, not just for another person, but also for an idea, then you can read this book. Now I just need to persuade my wife to read it
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Neil Perryman is a huge Doctor Who fan. His wife, Sue, is not. Perryman hits on the idea of getting his wife to watch every single episode of Doctor Who - even the ones that technically no longer exist - and recording her reactions as a 'civilian', someone who isn't immersed in the fandom, someone who doesn't visit Doctor Who websites and someone who doesn't know that Robots of Death is supposed to be really good.

The result is not this book. Instead it's a blog, to be found here ([...]). The experiment took in watching 700 episodes and 156 serials over the course of two years, accumulating half a million words in the process. It would have been cheap and easy to simply condense the blog into a book format, but fortunately Perryman doesn't do that. Instead, the book is more about the experience of being a Doctor Who fan and the love/hate relationship that inspires with the show. It's also about the relationship between someone who is a geek and SF fan and someone who is - apparently - a 'normal person'. The result is a book that works surprisingly well on number of levels. It can be read by Doctor Who fans - the author slips in a few in-jokes only they will get - as well as their spouses/children/partners, who will find themselves sympathising more with Sue and her daughter as Neil makes another doomed attempt to get them into the show. The relationship dynamics at play are quite interesting, and it is amusing to discover the things that Sue obsesses over as well (such as carpentry and house renovations).

It helps that Neil Perryman is an engaging writer, with prose skills honed by many years working on various Doctor Who websites, attending conventions and working as a university lecturer. He has a dry sense of humour and a level of self-awareness over the crazier aspects of Doctor Who fandom - which sometimes inspires him to do ill-advised things as a wince-inducing encounter with Colin Baker demonstrates - which is entertaining. Perryman knows when to explore a subject in further depth and when to briskly move on to more interesting topics. There's also occasional, Dave Gorman-ish diversions into statistics and how Sue's view of individual episodes compares to the fandom's, which could be dry but ends up being amusing (especially how Sue's least-favourite Doctor ends up providing the highest-rated episodes). Mostly, it's a book about a relationship between two people with very different interests and how they manage to bridge that divide. The cover blurb that the book may work as therapy may not be as far-out as it sounds.

Adventures with the Wife in Space (****½) is a book for Doctor Who fans and non-fans who have to put up with them. It bridges the gap between SF fans and non-fans and presents differing perspectives of fandom. It's also funny and occasionally even sweet (without ever getting twee). The book is available now in the UK and USA.
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