Thursday, 31 August 2017

Doctor Who: The Shining Man / Diamond Dogs / Plague City

So, to accompany Peter Capaldi's last series as the Doctor BBC Books have released another 3 of their series of hardback adventures, These things, which they've been doing with increasing irregularity since the arrival of the 9th, are usually a bit of a wobbly assortment but there's often 1 or sometimes even 2 that are a bit of fun and Doctor Who books are a bit of an addiction with me.


Doctor Who: The Shining Man
Cavan Scott
BBC Books

“Being scared is the least of your worries.”
The Shining Men are everywhere. You spot them out of the corner of your eye. Abnormally tall, with long lank hair, blank faces and blazing eyes. If they catch you, they’ll drag you away to who knows where. No one is safe. They’re on every street corner. Waiting. Watching. Shining bright.
Of course it’s a hoax. It has to be, right? It started as a joke, a prank for Halloween. Then it went viral. Idiots dressing up as monsters. Giving folk a scare. Silly masks and fright wigs. No one gets hurt. Because bogeymen aren’t real.
Until people start going missing and lights burn in the darkness. Burning like eyes.
But help is on its way, in the form of a strange man called the Doctor and his friend, Bill. The Doctor will keep us safe. The Doctor will stop the monsters. Unless the monsters stop the Doctor first.

Cavan Scott is a new name to me but here he's jumped into the world of the Doctor with both feet. It's not often that Doctor Who goes fully fantasy, usually there's some sort of alien doohickey, thingamabob or race behind the happenings but here we get a full on fairyland extravaganza filled with folkloric traps, supernatural critters and other realms.

Scott has reproduced the Doctor and Bill very well - although the Doctor being outfoxed by cloud storage seems unlikely - but with what must have been only a cursory peek at a couple of the early episodes he has nailed the interaction between the two which is testimony I suppose to just how effective a character Bill Potts was.

As is always the case with these books it's a pretty quick read both in terms of pace and page count which suits me down to the ground as I can read them in an afternoon and get my doctor fix. They're not always entirely satisfying but sometimes, like here, they're often, at the very least, fun.

Buy it here:  Doctor Who: The Shining Man

Doctor Who: Diamond Dogs
Mike Tucker
BBC Books

“Here on Saturn, it literally rains diamonds.”
For over fifteen years the crew of Kollo-Zarnista Mining Facility 27 has been extracting diamonds from deep within the atmosphere of Saturn, diamonds that help to fund the ever-expanding Human Empire. But when a mining operation goes wrong, a rescue mission must be launched to save a worker lost overboard, a worker who claims that he has seen something amongst the swirling clouds. Something that can’t possibly exist.
When the Doctor and Bill arrive, they immediately find themselves caught between hostile miners, suspicious security guards and corrupt company officials as they face accusations of sabotage and diamond theft.
And below them, in the crushing atmosphere of the gas giant, something is starting to rise.

The second - that I read but I suspect it's meant to be the first in the trio - of this years hardbacks is a Who by numbers romp for the 12th and Bill.

The Doctor takes a flying visit to a diamond mine in the atmosphere of Saturn in order to nick a diamond suitable to keep Nardole in biscuits. They are,of course, soon discovered, captured and inevitably find themselves embroiled in some sort of intergalactic incident that will erupt into all out war unless the Doctor does his usual thing.

There's nothing here that we haven't seen many, many times before and the whole thing feels rather tired. I was glad to be finished with this one.

Buy it here:  Doctor Who: Diamond Dogs

Doctor Who: Plague City
Jonathan Morris
BBC Books

The year is 1645, and Edinburgh is in the grip of the worst plague in its history. Nobody knows who will be the next to succumb – nobody except the Night Doctor, a masked figure that stalks the streets, seeking out those who will not live to see another day.
But death is not the end. The Doctor, Bill and Nardole discover that the living are being haunted by the recently departed – by ghosts that do not know they are dead. And there are other creatures lurking in the shadows, slithering, creeping creatures filled with an insatiable hunger.
The Doctor and his friends must face the terrifying secret of the Street of Sorrows – that something which has lain dormant for two hundred million years is due to destroy the entire city.

This third of the latest trio of NSA Who books is an improvement on the last one but still a fairly uninspiring read.

Morris is a regular Who scribe so knows his way around the Doctor and his crew and here he places them in the middle of a plague epidemic in Edinburgh of 1645 alongside a mysterious 'plague doctor' who seemingly knows when someone will die and the ghosts of those who have succumbed to the disease. He really piles it on does Mr. Morris and that's most of the problem.

The Doctor and Bill running around doing their investigating thing, meeting people and butting against authority figures is OK but increasingly it all gets a bit silly and with the arrival of the aliens and the volcano I pretty much gave up and just stumbled through to the end.

Buy it here:  Doctor Who: Plague City

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