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19) [Doctor Who] Evolution, by John Peel
20) [Doctor Who] The Stealers of Dreams, by Steve Lyons

I have read some serious books recently, honest, and reviews of those are coming up Real Soon Now. But it just so happens that I have managed 14 Doctor Who books this month, the nine Ian Marter novelisations and five spinoffs; perhaps I need to admit to myself that I am a fan?

I got both of these as a result of recommendations. Evolution somehow fitted into my purchase of Managra months ago; it is a Virgin Missing Adventure featuring the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith, set immediately after "The Brain of Morbius". The Stealers of Dreams was recommended to me last week by loveandgarbage; it is one of the Ninth Doctor Adventures published by the BBC last year, featuring Rose and Captain Jack.

Evolution is much the better of the two, a glorious Victorian romp featuring the young Arthur Conan Doyle (just after I discovered my own obscure family connection with him) and an even younger Rudyard Kipling, combined with affectionate references to those classic Fourth Doctor stories, "Horror of Fang Rock" and "The Talons of Weng-Chiang".

The Stealers of Dreams takes us to a rather unlikely planet where both fiction and government have been outlawed, resulting in a heavily policed and medicated society. Some good ideas, and nice capturing of the Doctor and his companions, but my science-fictional soul prefers settings that feel a bit more alien rather than just London give or take a few features necessary to the plot.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
loveandgarbage
Nov. 30th, 2006 04:34 pm (UTC)
Sorry you didn't enjoy teh Lyons that much. Steve Lyons was asked to write in the series at short notice when ti became apparent that others (including I think Mike Tucker) would not be able to meet the deadlines.

The Stealer of Dreams is not as good as his earlier books, Conundrum Head Games (both of which are tied to The Mind Robber and the land of fiction), or Crooked World (which is set in a cartoon world with cartoon logic and consequences thwarted by the Doctor's arrival and bringing of reality), which are on similar themes, but worked quite well for the target audience (if my 12 year old relative is a gauge). Sadly, the new more expensive hardbacks are not as good as the BBC EDAs, which in turn were not generally as good as the Rebecca Levene era Virgin NAs. The spin off series produced some decent fiction with the EDAs having Paul Magrs and getting some interesting work out of Lawrence Miles, Lance Parkin and Kate Orman and Jonathan Blum (the latter 2 are on LJ). The NAs had Paul Cornell, Orman, and some really interesting world building (and destroying) by Jim Mortimore. It's a pity that a range that had produced fifteen years of decent novels died a death and now ignores the more demanding readers.

I've not read Evolution. Peel's reputation is not great and I did not enjoy his Dalek EDAs, but did like his Troughton novelisations of Power and Evil of the Daleks. If I come across Evolution I'll give it a try.

Scott
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