Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

December Books 6) [Doctor Who] Human Nature

6) [Doctor Who] Human Nature, by Paul Cornell

This Seventh Doctor plus Bernice Summerfield New Adventure is really rather good. Paul Cornell here asks the unaskable: what if the Doctor were to try being human for a while, to live and love like the rest of us? He has managed to get to the heart of the Doctor's mythos. I found it very satisfying, and raced to finish it, to the point of waking up early this morning to do so. It's the first of the Doctor Who books I have downloaded that I would really like to spend money on for a dead trees version.

Bits I particularly liked: I thought the character of Verity resonated particularly effectively. "Verity" of course means Truth, and she holds the key to the truth about the Doctor's character; the name of course also recalls the real-life origins of Doctor Who; and the character herself is of course a very close reflection of Neil Gaiman's Death.

I also very much liked the human relationships of the book. I caught on to the true nature of Shuttleworth's liaisons pretty early on; the John Smith and Joan Redfern relationship was neatly done; and the Epilogue, which the author admits he had doubts about putting in, was very effective.

Great lines, too:
  • "You may know me as mild-mannered John Smith, history teacher, but secretly I'm the Doctor, universal righter of wrongs and protector of cats."
  • "So what did you say to him," the Doctor asked.
    "That he believes in good and fights evil. That, with violence all around him, he's a man of peace. Thet he's never cruel, or cowardly. That he is a hero."
Sure, the book has its flaws, as mercilessly pointed out by some of the Doctor Who Ratings Guide reviewers (though most of them loved it). I'm with the Discontinuity Guide folks, though. I don't think I've read a better Doctor Who novel.
Tags: bookblog 2005, doctor who, doctor who: 07, doctor who: spinoff fiction, writer: paul cornell
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