Aug 25 2017 12:00pm

Books to Read If You’re Excited About a Lady Doctor Who!

Jodie Whitaker as Doctor Who

Long before the main character of Doctor Who regenerated into a woman—specifically, actress Jodie Whittaker, who will be the 13th Doctor—a few sci-fi romance authors have been tangentially filling in the representation gap. A book can't be the same as a television show, of course, given the massive differences between the two mediums. However, that doesn't invalidate the entertainment and representation service such books can provide, especially since female Time Lords existed only as mere crumbs on Doctor Who up until now. Books (and fan fiction) can help fill a void when other mediums lack the characters we crave. It's a particularly important service when that lack is an artificial one.

I don't recall hearing about a sci-fi romance publicly announced as being a story directly inspired by Doctor Who, but a few feature heroines who capture the spirit of a female Time Lord. My main criteria for the comparison is that the heroine embarks on some kind of time travel/alternate dimension adventure. She either possesses the ability to travel through space and time because of a superhuman ability or has access to technology that allows for it.

Naturally, a sci-fi romance involves a romantic relationship between the heroine and her partner, which involves different dynamics than the mostly platonic relationships between the Doctors and their companions. (I must say, it feels good to use a gender-neutral pronoun now that we have a female Doctor Who in the mix!) In that sense, sci-fi romance can help bring an added dimension (!) for readers who have always wanted more romance in the show.

Here are a few sci-fi romances that deliver a taste of female Doctor Who type stories…

The first two are ones that gave me the strongest sense of a “lady Doctor Who” heroine. Pippa Jay's Keir (Traveler's Universe #1) (Amazon | B&N | Kobo) opens with the titular hero in a perilous predicament, but it's the heroine who comes searching for him that will give you Time Lord déjà vu.

Tarquin Secker has an innate ability to travel through space and time, and is also immortal. Quin's ability to travel nigh-instantaneously across the universe is instrumental to the story and just like any Doctor Who, she's a heroic, larger-than-life character with amazing abilities.

Pauline Baird Jones' Kicking Ashe (Project Enterprise #5) (Amazon | B&N | Kobo) stars Ashe, a time-traveling heroine who works for the Time Service. Stranded on an unfamiliar planet after her Time Tracker suit malfunctions, she meets the hero and embarks on a mission to help him find his missing brother. Ashe has a helper “nanite” in her head called Lurch, who, in the vein of Doctor Who, could be described as her “companion.” Like many Doctor Who characters, quirky is the name of the game when it comes to Ashe and her adventures.

The Spiral Path by Lisa Paitz Spindler (Amazon | B&N | Kobo) features a heroine who's half human, half Chimeran, which gives her the ability to phase shift between dimensions. The heroine of Sandra McDonald's The Outback Stars trilogy tumbles into a mind-bending time-space adventure after encountering mysterious alien technology. For something totally bonkers, read Gill McKnight's The Tea Machine, which features a spinster time traveler, her centurion warrior lover, and lots of space squid exploits!

Additionally, many tech-based time travel romances feature heroines having fabulous “Time Lady” adventures. These stories don't claim to replicate Doctor Who, but they'll make fun interim reads while we wait for the show's newest incarnation!

H&H Editor Picks:

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Heather Massey seeks out sci-fi romance adventures and writes about them for Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly. She’s also an author in the subgenre. To learn more about her published work, visit

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