Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Review: Doctor Who: Apollo 23 by Justin Richards

Doctor Who: Apollo 23 by Justin Richards (April 2010, BBC Books, ISBN: 9781846072000)

First Line: Twenty minutes before he died, Donald Babinger was feeding bits of cheese sandwich to a pigeon.

Review: The Doctor and Amy arrive (by accident) near a shopping centre and Amy takes the opportunity to get some retail therapy except she doesn't get very far. Apparently an astronaut has just appeared in the burger place in the shopping mall and a man in the park outside, seems to have suffocated. The Doctor soon realises that quantum displacement is occurring, and allows the TARDIS to follow the source of the displacement activity, which turns out to be a secret US base on the dark side of the moon. The quantum displacement system has been damaged and the Doctor sets about fixing it but someone's not happy about that, and sends the Doctor back to Earth, apparently stranded. Amy is left on the moon to discover that an invasion is being planned. Can the Doctor get back to the moon and prevent the aliens from taking over the Earth?

Apollo 23 is one of the first set of three novels to feature the Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond. I don't imagine the writers had much opportunity to watch the actors in action before composing their stories. Regular Doctor Who novelist, Justin Richards captures the new Doctor and Amy very well and you can hear Matt Smith's distinctive delivery in your head as you read his dialogue. I've read a few new Who books and listened to several of the audio books and Apollo 23 is a solid addition to the series. It has a very intriguing start and though the rest of the story doesn't reach the same high standard, it held my interest throughout. You do have to suspend disbelief a little with some aspects of the alien invasion - I know this sounds a bit rich when we readily accept a Time Lord in a space-time travelling blue box - but nonetheless some of it seems very unlikely. However, taken at face value, this is time spent in the Doctor's company, which can't be bad, and he gets some great lines.

(I'm a Who fan but not an expert but I picked up a few episode references such as The Satan Pit and Victory of the Daleks. This adventure stands alone from the recent series; there're no mentions of Rory or cracks in time.)

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