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What Would The Doctor Think? - Sci-fi Buffs Taken Out of the Real World (1985)

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Victoria Weidner models her costume ... patterned after those on the TV show "V." Poster in background is from British show "Blakes 7."

What would The Doctor make of this?

In a darkened room the eyes of a dozen people are riveted to a giant TV screen as the paranoid HAL 9000 plots its nefarious act in "2001: A Space Odyssey."

Elsewhere in another world, perhaps players of "Dungeons and Dragons" conjure up majestic swashbuckling fantasies with the roll of dice.

Back in the "real" world a woman wanders about in what appears to be a witch's costume. Circa 14th Century Dutch, she says, and her uniform in the Society for Creative Anachronism, a group that transports the Middle Ages to the 20th Century.

And in a hallway two followers of The Doctor, Doctor Who, that is, debate which one was better, the one played by Tom Baker or the one played by Peter Davidson.

Different Worlds

What would The Doctor make of all this? One can imagine him viewing these scenes from his TARDIS, a wry smile on his face, and telling his companion: "Romana, these poor people need our help."

Actually, they are doing quite well on their own, thank you. An estimated 500 fantasy game players, Trekkies, Dr. Who buffs and just old - fashioned sci-fi readers are attending Omacon - 5, a three - day science fiction convention which ends tonight, and propelling part of Omaha's Holiday Inn - Central to worlds only they and clever writers and marketing experts can conceive.

By day these sci-fi buffs are nurses, students, businessmen and housewives, but let a group of them get together at Omacon and, well, grab your Galaxy Gun II. Who knows what strange worlds you may travel to and what weird creatures you might meet?

Mark Dion, a 28 - year - old life insurance underwriter, helped organize the first Omacon five years ago when it was a one - day affair held in a church basement. He says he is like many of the others who are attending the convention.

Broad Term

"A lot of the fans here are not the kids, 8 to 10 years old.

You're going to see the average age is in the late 20s and 30s," Dion, a "Dungeons and Dragons" player for seven years, said.

"Science fiction fans are usually avid readers who have followed science fiction in one form or another since they were kids ... I've been reading science fiction since I was old enough to read."

Science fiction, for the convention's purposes, is a rather broad term that encompasses everything from rockets in outer space to the fantasy games like "Dungeons and Dragons" and mythological figures such as Conan the Barbarian and even Robin Hood. Followers of each are fiercely loyal and brimming with information.

Sandra Stoltenberg is a 37 - year - old surgical nurse. Outside the hospital she is president of the Followers of Who?, the 100 - member Omaha Dr. Who fan club.

Dr. Who, she tells the uninitiated, is a time lord from the planet Gallifrey who can travel anywhere in time or space. Unwilling to just passively watch universal history play itself out, as time lords are supposed to, Dr. Who (usually called simply The Doctor) has stolen a TARDIS Type 40 and travels from time to time and planet to planet to assist the downtrodden and battle evildoers.

22 Years

The Doctor's TARDIS "time and relative dimensions in space" is a time machine that looks like a British police call box. Lately, The Doctor has been traipsing about the universe with a comely time lord named Romana.

The Doctor's exploits have been portrayed on British television for 22 years, making "Dr. Who" the longest running science fiction TV show in the world, Ms. Stoltenberg says. Six actors have portrayed the character. Tom Baker, curly - haired Doctor No. 4, can be seen on Iowa Public Television, while Doctor No. 5, Peter Davidson, can be seen on Nebraska Educational Television.

Who is the "better" Dr. Who is the subject of much debate among the show's followers. Tom Baker is most closely associated with the character since he portrayed him the longest, six years.

"A lot of people stick with one that they particularly like," Ms. Stoltenberg says. "They like the way he plays the part. They like his style, and they stick with him."

Ms. Stoltenberg says her interest in Dr. Who helps take her mind off the sometimes harsh realities of her work. "I treat science fiction as a hobby, like coin or stamp collecting, but you get a little more involved because you're dealing with people, not just objects."

"Car Wars'

While Ms. Stoltenberg talks about Dr. Who, some conventioneers buy and sell sci-fi paraphernalia of all types, from comic books to posters to Darth Vader dolls to ray - guns. Bryan Gibson, a former military policeman from Little Rock, Ark., is dressed as a samurai and awaits customers who want him to draw the fantasy figure of their choice.

Other convention goers are hard at thought and slaying demons and black knights in their minds. Or they play "Car Wars," one of the newer fantasy games in which drivers do battle on the highway.

These conventioneers are in this world, but in other worlds at the same time. Reality and fantasy collide head on.

What would The Doctor make of all this?


Spelling correction: Peter Davison

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  • APA 6th ed.: Young, Evan Roth, Chris (1985-08-04). What Would The Doctor Think? - Sci-fi Buffs Taken Out of the Real World. Omaha World-Herald .
  • MLA 7th ed.: Young, Evan Roth, Chris. "What Would The Doctor Think? - Sci-fi Buffs Taken Out of the Real World." Omaha World-Herald [add city] 1985-08-04. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Young, Evan Roth, Chris. "What Would The Doctor Think? - Sci-fi Buffs Taken Out of the Real World." Omaha World-Herald, edition, sec., 1985-08-04
  • Turabian: Young, Evan Roth, Chris. "What Would The Doctor Think? - Sci-fi Buffs Taken Out of the Real World." Omaha World-Herald, 1985-08-04, section, edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=What Would The Doctor Think? - Sci-fi Buffs Taken Out of the Real World | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/What_Would_The_Doctor_Think%3F_-_Sci-fi_Buffs_Taken_Out_of_the_Real_World | work=Omaha World-Herald | pages= | date=1985-08-04 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=20 November 2017 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=What Would The Doctor Think? - Sci-fi Buffs Taken Out of the Real World | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/What_Would_The_Doctor_Think%3F_-_Sci-fi_Buffs_Taken_Out_of_the_Real_World | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=20 November 2017}}</ref>