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One bright morning the citizens of me!Xu!xi-si!cisisa had got out of bed to find that their entire city was suddenly in the middle of a lake the size of Arizona. Which was why Bernice and saRa!qava had to catch a hydrofoil from a terminus on the lake shore.
This New Adventure is an obvious tribute to Iain M. Banks: the People of the title are very similar to the Culture, a post-scarcity interstellar society with intelligent drone robots and spaceships. Banks himself had mixed feelings about the show. In 2008 he wrote that "some of the Doctor Who episodes over the last few years have been amongst the best SF ever to appear on TV or film and may well prove much more influential than anything I've ever written", but by the time of his last interview he had "fallen out of love" with it. Banks fans who are at least vaguely acquainted with Who will enjoy Aaronovitch's adaptation of the Culture to the Whoniverse; for Who fans, who are of course the primary audience, it's one more well-realised alien culture, with a bit more depth to it than is the norm.

Apart from the audacity of the setting, it's quite a good story. The Doctor and friends (two of his current companions being their time's equivalent of police officers) are asked to investigate the mysterious murder of a drone, and work through the suspects despite various distractions. Roz in particular gets some very good character development time, which she hadn't really had much in her previous five books. I was less happy about the sub-plot involving the Brigadier's descendant Kadiatu Lethbridge-Stewart and Bernice; the Seventh Doctor as manipulator doesn't always work for me. But it's a small element of an enjoyable whole.

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