Of the first three `Doctor Who' novels to feature the eleventh Doctor, `Apollo 23' is, for me, the most disappointing. This is somewhat surprising given the body of work that its author, Justin Richards, has behind him.
Things start off promisingly enough with an astronaut suddenly materializing in a shopping mall. We soon discover that moments before he appeared, he was on the moon. A woman and her dog are going about their business when they are suddenly transported to the moon. A man walking in a park asphyxiates, his body littered with moon dust.
With something of a nod to second Doctor story, The Seeds of Death, a teleportation system operating from a moon base has been set up. Clearly, the system is malfunctioning, but I have to report that, regrettably, it's not the Ice Warriors who are responsible. No, the alien invaders here are not that interesting.
This novel is well written and the Doctor and Amy's characters are in keeping with their television personas. But the story is quite dull and, at times, predictable. I'm always loath to describe scientific elements in a story as dodgy - I'm no scientist, so what do I know? However, I do think that some of the story's resolutions connected with its mind control aspect were a little too convenient.
If you haven't read any `Doctor Who' novels before, I would not advise you to start with this one. The other two eleventh Doctor novels currently available at the time of writing this review, The Forgotten Army and Night Of The Humans, carry more humor and excitement. Also highly enjoyable are tenth doctor stories The Stone Rose and Beautiful Chaos. `Apollo 23' is, I think, one for the completists.