donderdag 24 april 2014

Book review: Doctor Who: Earthworld - Jacqueline Rayner

The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Collection.
Eleven Classic Adventures.
Eleven brilliant writers.  One incredible Doctor.

Anji has just had the worst week of her life.  She should be back at her desk, not travelling through time and space in a police box.  The Eight Doctor is supposed to be taking her home, so why are there dinosaurs outside?  The Doctor doesn`t seem to know either, or else he surely would have mentioned the homicidal princesses, teen terrorists and mad robots?  One thing is certain: Anji is never going to complain about Monday mornings in the office again.

With the 50th anniversary of the franchise, the BBC had a whole series of novels released, each detailing an adventure with a Doctor so far (this was between the `insertion` of the "War Doctor" aka John Hurt into the timeline), and this novel details a story of the Eight Doctor, who was prtrayed by the excellent Paul McGann in the not-so excellent TV movie when they did a first attempt to launch Doctor Who in the States.

Travelling with asian decended office drone Anji and the not so famous 60s crooner Fitz Fortune, they find themselves stranded on New Jupiter, in an amusement exhibition parc called Earthworld, which hommages their legacy to earth by recreating attractions from different timezones.  Though the fact those got filtered through into the future mainly due to popular current day entertainment like television shows and comics, there are a lot of (funny) mistakes and inconsistencies.

The Doctor, suffering from amnesia, and his companions soon get wound up in a series of accidents that kill visitors to the parc, and they learn that there is a struggle between those that want to re-attach to Earth, and those that want New Jupiter to develop it`s own cultural identity.  When the murderers turn out to be the three daughters of the reigning president Hoover, emotionally unstable and in anger due to having been locked up almost all their young lives for killing their mother, the chase is on to put a stop to the whole history parc gone rampage.

The story itself has a lot of intrigue and leads you on a wrong track more then once, as between the humans, there are also the very humanlike androids that occupy the parc.  You will get ideas of how it all fitted together, only to have it revoked a few chapters later, with a conclusion that was rather unsuspected.  Like in the earlier series, and especcially with the 5th Doctor and the stories on television back then, this Doctor (who had only 90 minutes of fame after all, petty considering what a great actor McGann is) tends to rely more on his companions then others, definitly more then the current day generation so far.

It is an enjoyable read, but not the best book I`ve been reading the last months, but it suited well as lightly digestive reading on the bus and the likes.  Is it worth getting?  Yes if you`re a Doctor Who fan, but if your `just` a general fantasy / sci-fi and the likes reader, I think there are many more books out there that might be more intresting to pick up first.

Overal rating: 5 out of 10

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