History 101 (novel)

History 101 is a BBC Books original novel written by Mags L Halliday and based on the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It features the Eighth Doctor, Fitz and Anji.[1]

History 101
History 101.jpg
AuthorMags L Halliday
SeriesDoctor Who book:
Eighth Doctor Adventures
Release number
Eighth Doctor
Fitz and Anji
PublisherBBC Books
Publication date
July 2002
Preceded byThe Crooked World 
Followed byCamera Obscura 


Set in the Spanish Civil War, the book (Halliday's first novel) explores the construction of history and the experiences of George Orwell.

The Doctor, Fitz, and Anji, after viewing Pablo Picasso's "Guernica" at the 1937 Paris exhibition, realise time has been changed. They travel back to Spain in order to uncover what affected the artist's vision of this terrible event.


  • History 101 is the only EDA not to have an italicised note at the end of the back cover blurb identifying it as "another in the series of adventures of the Eighth Doctor". The blurb describes the novel as if it were a history textbook, and the last paragraph continues this conceit by explaining it should be read as part of "the ongoing 'Doctor Who: Eighth Doctor' history course".

Outside referencesEdit

  • The chapter names are all Clash song titles, translated into Catalan (for example, "Una Casa Europea Segura"="Safe European Home").


In Interzone, Matt Hills writes, "The strengths of this book lie in its own historical research - displayed via a bibliographical list of reading - and in its depiction of an alien race that objectively seeks to record history, the Absolute. [...] Notable for its cubist-inspired fragmentation of perspective, and its Orwellian clock that strikes 13, this addition to the range's story arc is a satisfying read in its own right."[2]

In Continuum, Alan McKee writes, "Setting her story of time-travelling aliens in the midst of the Spanish civil war, and using Picasso's Guernica as a metaphor for the multiple perspectives from which humans see the world around them, Halliday argues that it is precisely the act of making sense - the existence of culture - which defines humanity. More than this, sensemaking is - she argues, necessarily subjective, and an aspiration to 'objectivity' is not only impossible, but undesirable."[3]

Piers D. Britton, in TARDISbound: Navigating the Universes of Doctor Who, describes the book as "one of the most intricate and demanding" of the Eighth Doctor Adventures, and states "History 101 digs deep into the heartland concerns of Dr. Who: the flow of time and possibility."[4]


  1. ^ "History 101". BBC. Retrieved 17 January 2023.
  2. ^ Hills, Matt (February 2003). "'Neo-Retro' Tales of a Time Lord". Interzone. No. 186. p. 58. Retrieved 19 January 2023.
  3. ^ McKee, Alan (2003). "Popular Theory". Continuum. 17 (2): 207–213. doi:10.1080/10304310302741 – via Taylor & Francis Online.
  4. ^ Britton, Piers D. (2011). TARDISbound: Navigating the Universes of Doctor Who. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 182–183. ISBN 9780857720092. Retrieved 20 January 2023.

External linksEdit