August 25

The Doctor Who Experience

i kissed a dalekHave you ever wanted to lay a big smooch on a cute little Dalek? Anyone? …Just me? Well, just in case I am not the only one, I thought I’d tell you guys about The Doctor Who Experience in London‘s Olympia, where I got to lay one on this little guy (make love, not extermination).

A couple years ago, I wrote about my trip to the Coventry Travel Museums Doctor Who Experience, and that was amazing. I thought this would be a larger scale version of all the awesome I experienced there–hanging out with the Ood and K-9, taking pictures next to the TARDIS, that kind of stuff…

K niiiiiiineAnd was I ever wrong. The Doctor Who Experience is truly an experience. Buy your tickets in advance and show up early, because you will join a group, and walk into what is basically an episode of Doctor Who, written for you to play in. Matt Smith (as The Doctor) appears on screen through out, to guide you through Daleks, Weeping Angels, and tons more while you help him get his TARDIS back and defeat the Daleks. I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say the two children in attendance were not the only ones having a blast. When you come out the other end of the interactive portion, there are more displays, including all of the Doctor’s costumes, and most of his enemies.

I took a picture of The Silence, because…well, you know.¬†The Silence

There was also a great space set aside to show what the Doctor Who writers’ office looks like, and perhaps geekiest of all, an entire display on how the theme music and sound effects are done (and have been done) throughout the series.

There is no shortage of things to make a Whovian go “squee”. I spent at least an hour snapping pictures of all the displays, which include life sized models of four different TARDIS incarnations, a ton of villains, and many of your favorite companions. I can’t recommend The Doctor Who Experience enough. As we were going in, there was a boy about seven years old, dancing in circles and chanting about how excited he was for the exhibition–when we left, goodie bags full from the gift shop, I admit, I was behaving similarly.

 

Matt Smith

 

     

    It is a running exhibition with dates through (at least) November, so no reason to miss it, The Doctor is counting on you!

    August 24

    Out of this World-British Library

    sciencefictionThere are at least a million different things a geek can do in London, and in my effort to do them all, alas, I failed. One major highlight was the current free exhibition at The British Library (for us yanks, it is like The Library of Congress), Out Of This World: Science Fiction, But Not as You Know it.

    First, I am a bibliophile, so this was like Disneyland for me, except at Disneyland you can take pictures and touch things. Each section of the exhibition had a specific theme ranging from the birth of Science Fiction (in the 1600s!), Utopian societies, distopian¬†societies, graphic novels, robots (did you know that the first “robots” in literature were actually synthetically made human slaves, and not machines?), and more. Among these were impeccable, perfect first editions, that made me drool, with some of the most beautiful, and outright cool cover art you will ever see. One major highlight was an original telegram sent from George Orwell to his publisher, lamenting that 1984 would have been “better” if it had not “been written under the influence of TB”, where he goes on to call Satre a “big bag of wind”.

    I could write for days on the books on display and how amazing it was to see hand written pages of first drafts, books hundreds of years old, amazing posters (see?), but what really struck me were the interactives they had set up, for all age ranges. You (or your kid) can use an interactive touch screen to draw your own alien, and then watch it join other hand drawn aliens dancing around on the wall behind, there was a sleepy robot that was motion activated that carried on conversation about his favorite science fiction robots, a computer where you could challenge AI to the Turin’s Test, and at least five other things I didn’t have time for.

    All in all, this would be an amazing stop in London (runs until September 25), even (or maybe especially) if you have kids in tow.