Advice on the Virgin New Adventures

looks like im gonna have to lol. i am a pretty slow reader currently, just been very busy, so i may start a bit later in the series to make sure i finish in time for the book club … wonder if anybody’s got a skip list for the VNAs


I can help out! Currently most of the way through the VNAs.

Are you looking for mostly like which ones are most or least relevant to ongoing plot arcs, which ones seem to be most or least well regarded in general, which ones are my favorites/least favorites, etc.?

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mainly im looking for the ones that are the most enjoyable/interesting/well written (since i am absolutely terrible at completing series so i want to make this easy for myself) but i’d also like to get the major plot beats for the big arcs if i can… and if there are any you think a big Ace fan would enjoy id like to know hehe. i recently went through TardisGuide’s list and noted down whichever ones i’d heard were important/good, were by authors i liked, or had particularly high ratings, but im sure my list isnt the optimal skip/read guide lol. your opinions would be highly appreciated


Sure!! I will add the caveat that the most enjoyable/interesting/well-written is an incredibly subjective category lol, but I’m happy to share my opinions and some others I’ve heard praised!

In terms of major plot beats, there’s not really one overarching plot, it’s a lot like Classic Who on TV in that regard, but there are a number of mini-arcs within the series, books that introduce or develop recurring characters, and of course companion arrival & departure stories.

Would you like me to list books by why they’re significant (I’ll spoiler tag it if so so others don’t necessarily have to see those things) or keep that hidden and just offer a list?


ahh having the reasoning would be great :] thank u

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No problem! I love talking to people about this stuff lol :grin:


Companion arrival/departure stories: Love and War, Deceit, Set Piece, Original Sin, Happy Endings, So Vile a Sin, and possibly Lungbarrow (it’s one of the final three 7th Doctor VNAs, which I haven’t read yet, but it’s definitely the big finale, so I’m sure it’s too important to skip whether it falls into this category or not)

Books that give necessary context to the stories in the above category: Cat’s Cradle: Time’s Crucible (for Lungbarrow, or so I assume), Transit (for Set Piece), Lucifer Rising (for Deceit), The Left-Handed Hummingbird (for Set Piece), No Future (for Set Piece), Death and Diplomacy (for Happy Endings)


  • Timewyrm: Timewyrm: Genesys, Timewyrm: Exodus, Timewyrm: Apocalypse, Timewyrm: Revelation (This arc is very self-contained, and honestly any of the books could have been turned into the arc’s finale if desired. Its most significant contribution to the wider series is that Revelation was the debut novel of Paul Cornell, who would become extremely prolific and well-regarded as a Who writer—and Revelation really shows why!)
  • Cat’s Cradle: Cat’s Cradle: Time’s Crucible, Cat’s Cradle: Warhead, Cat’s Cradle: Witch Mark (this is a very loosely connected arc that really didn’t need to be marketed as a miniseries, as the only real connection is that the third book includes a further resolution to something that was mostly resolved in the first one, and will be subsequently un- and re-resolved in a later book lol)
  • The Alternate History Cycle: Blood Heat, The Dimension Riders, The Left-Handed Hummingbird, Conundrum, No Future (this arc, particularly in Hummingbird and No Future, has character beats that are very significant to Set Piece later)
  • The Psi-Powers Arc: Warchild, Sleepy, Christmas on a Rational Planet, The Death of Art, Damaged Goods, So Vile a Sin (Warchild and Christmas are less necessary to the arc & less good than the others imo, but they do add some context for other things)
  • The War Trilogy: Cat’s Cradle: Warhead, Warlock, Warchild (this trilogy of VNAs by Andrew Cartmel are very much their own mini story that feels less like Doctor Who and more like its own thing by the end, since the characters with arcs across the three are just the guest characters, but if you read Warhead and like it, or plan to read Warchild for the Psi-Powers arc, you might check out the others!)

Happy Endings, the 50th VNA, does go out of its way to reference and include characters from almost every previous VNA, so to get full and proper context to it would be reading literally everything else, but probably the books which are most relevant to it would be Timewyrm: Revelation, Cat’s Cradle: Warhead, Birthright, Iceberg, Blood Heat, The Left-Handed Hummingbird, Legacy, Theatre of War, All-Consuming Fire, First Frontier, Set Piece, and Death and Diplomacy

Stories with character significance for the regular characters:

  • for the Doctor: Timewyrm: Revelation, Nightshade, Lucifer Rising, The Left-Handed Hummingbird, No Future, Human Nature, Original Sin, Head Games (admittedly I personally actively dislike what it does with the Doctor lol), Sleepy, So Vile a Sin, and from what I’ve heard but don’t know firsthand yet, The Room With No Doors and potentially Lungbarrow
  • for Ace: Timewyrm: Revelation, Nightshade, Love and War, The Left-Handed Hummingbird, No Future, First Frontier, Set Piece
  • for Benny: Love and War, The Left-Handed Hummingbird, Sanctuary, The Also People, Just War, Death and Diplomacy, Happy Endings, Return of the Living Dad, and from what I’ve heard but don’t know firsthand yet, Eternity Weeps
  • for Chris: Original Sin, Head Games, The Also People, Sleepy, Return of the Living Dad, Damaged Goods, So Vile a Sin, Bad Therapy, and from what I’ve heard but don’t know firsthand yet, The Room With No Doors and potentially Lungbarrow
  • for Roz: Original Sin, Sky Pirates!, Toy Soldiers, The Also People, Just War, GodEngine, Return of the Living Dad, So Vile a Sin

Bonus round!
Missing Adventures that are especially relevant to the New Adventures: Goth Opera (to Blood Harvest), Millennial Rites (to Head Games), Lords of the Storm (to Shakedown), Cold Fusion (to The Death of Art and, in a different & probably more important way, presumably also Lungbarrow)

Okay, and now for my personal favorites!! I don’t think there’s any need to spoiler what these are lol, since that gives away nothing plot-related about them. :smile: (Also, this is a hard category to choose! There’s several others that I’m like “wait…do they deserve to be on the list too?”)
My favorites so far: Timewyrm: Revelation, Cat’s Cradle: Warhead, Cat’s Cradle: Witch Mark, Nightshade, Love and War, Shadowmind, Iceberg, Blood Heat, The Left-Handed Hummingbird, Legacy, Theatre of War, All-Consuming Fire, Strange England, Parasite, Sanctuary, Original Sin, Sky Pirates!, Toy Soldiers, Just War, GodEngine, The Death of Art, Damaged Goods, and So Vile a Sin.

(of that pretty extensive list, my top two are Sky Pirates! and Parasite)

Also, in case you’re interested,
My least favorites: Timewyrm: Genesys, Timewyrm: Exodus, The Pit, Birthright, The Dimension Riders, Conundrum, Blood Harvest, Warlock, Head Games, Shakedown, Christmas on a Rational Planet, Return of the Living Dad

(Fun fact, I’ve just counted and of the 57 VNAs I’ve read, there’s only seven I didn’t namedrop at any point so far lol, all of which I like—The Highest Science, White Darkness, Tragedy Day, St Anthony’s Fire, Falls the Shadow, Infinite Requiem, and Zamper)

Overall I really like the series and would always recommend reading all of them, since it’s impossible to know what one person will like ahead of time, but I very much understand that’s not for everyone! And hopefully this gives you an okay starting point?


THIS IS GREAT THANK U !!! ive been making my way through Cat’s Cradle: Time’s Crucible and wasn’t sure if I’d need to read the rest of the trilogy or not before going on… thank you for the level of detail omg im screenshotting this and saving it for reference


It would be a shame to pass on The Highest Science, White Darkness or Tragedy Day, IMO. All three were good reads.


i definitely had the highest science on my reading list lol. i listened to the first half of the BF adaptation and it charmed me so fast


I couldn’t stand the adaptation lol but the book I had a ton of fun with!

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Oh!! One other category I didn’t explicitly mention, which would probably be useful: Pairs of consecutive books that basically work as a duology, connected in some way that will mean more / give you a better understanding of what’s going on in them if you read both in order.

Duologies: Deceit & Lucifer Rising, Birthright & Iceberg (these two also lead into Blood Heat and affect how that book starts), Legacy & Theatre of War, Head Games & The Also People, Death and Diplomacy & Happy Endings

Also random thing to know, if you choose to skip The Pit, just be aware that later on in the series when people talk about the destruction of the Seven Planets, it’s from The Pit.