November 16th, 2012

earthsea

November Books 9) Goodnight Mister Tom, by Michelle Magorian

A classic children's novel, and a lovely heart-warming book about a young boy evacuated from an abusive mother in London to the English countryside as war gets under way in 1939, and how he and the widower on whom he is billeted find love, happiness, sadness and personal growth. One more or less knows what is going to happen from the setup, but there were a few unexpected twists, and some lovely lyrical set-pieces towards the end when the main narrative starts to slow down - thinking particularly of the seaside holiday chapter, and the introduction of the new art teacher in the supposedly haunted cottage. A real page-turner as well - I found myself lost in it, without necessarily racing through it. Strongly recommended.
doctor who

Doctor Who books of November

These are the Doctor Who books that I have read in the month of November, each year since I started bookblogging:

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My personal top five from the above list, in the order that I read them:

Doctor Who - The Rescue is the best of Ian Marter's ten Who novelisations and one of the best novelisations full stop. He takes a fairly slight two-part story which was basically a vehicle to introduce a new regular character, and invests it with vastly more detail and context, to make a particularly satisfying read for the range. It was the last book he finished before his death.

Farewell, Great Macedon is an extraordinary story that was never made, which would have brought the original Tardis crew to the deathbed of Alexander the Great. The book also includes a one-episode story of an alien who dies for love of Barbara. Big Finish recently did a decent audio adaptation of both, but the script book has lots of interesting detail.

I've only read two Bernice Summerfield novels, and one of those was before I started bookblogging, so Beyond The Sun stands as an enticement to an entire range of Who books of which I know very little. It's an excellent yarn of alien threat and psychological differences among a small team, perhaps consciously modelled on Colony in Space but an awful lot better.

The Torchwood novels in general were very good; Border Princes was the first I actually read rather than listening to, and I found it a witty and clever reflection on the first season - taking the plot of the Buffy episode Superstar and transferring it to Cardiff.

Finally, to actually include a novel from one of the major runs, I much enjoyed Dreams of Empire which takes the Second Doctor and team to what appears to be the last fortress of a dying Roman-style imperium, though of course it turns out that there is a lot more going on; intricately and engagingly plotted.

Honourable mentions:

The Dying Days, by Lance Parkin
Evolution, by John Peel
The Doctor Who Annual 1966
Campaign, by Jim Mortimore
The Coming of the Terraphiles, by Michael Moorcock

One to skip - the story we should be glad was never made - the misogynistic Prison in Space.