Over the last few weeks, to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Oxford Doctor Who Society, I’ve been possibly placing the reputations of several people at risk and uploading many more of the early issues as pdfs,. Links to these have been quietly appearing on the ‘Issues online’ page. The first twelve issues are now all available and I’m grouping the links here.
(The) Tides of Time didn’t provide a nursery for an influential group of creative writers or inspire a new movement in cultural analysis, but it has provided a space for Doctor Who fans largely at or associated with Oxford University to put down and exchange some ideas about a television programme they grew up with and in the process practice writing in styles and about subjects for which it was difficult to find an audience before the internet age. These contributors are mainly undergraduate and graduate students across all disciplines, but have also included postdoctoral researchers, an ordinand and a learning-disabled admin staff member of a university department.
These issues were published between 1990 and 1994 and cover many of the subjects wider Doctor Who fandom was talking and writing about at the time, post-morteming the 1980s in general and the McCoy era in particular, enthusing about increasingly widely available old stories, however legitimate the source of the video tapes, and (from 1991) the New Adventures novels published by Virgin. Along the way the humour quotient increased, with stories such as ‘Apathy of the Daleks’ and ‘Sadness of the Sontarans’ being joined by cackling agony columnist Aunty Ainley. Similarly the format changes from photocopied A5 assembled using cut-and-paste to full-fledged DTP in A4, rather like the mainstream of Doctor Who fan publishing, though we could never aspire to the glossiness of The Frame or Skaro and the photocopier remained the main printing method until the 2000s. There are the inevitable shifts from material very much aimed at readers who were members of the university society, to articles which could easily have found a larger audience in the fanzines or indeed prozines of the day.
The direct links to the pdfs are to the left on the list below; the contents links connect to the quasi-bibliographical blog posts which I made in 2010. For administrative reasons (known as cutting and pasting) they count down backwards to the first issue. Enjoy this look back to the work of privileged university students over twenty years ago.