I just finished reading "Only Human" for the 3rd time. And I *still* laughed out loud at this hilarious and sometimes touching book.
Ok, I have yet to read a Doctor Who novel that ranks as meaningful fiction (although "The Adventuress of Henrietta Street" takes an earnest stab at it), but with that in mind, all you have to do is slightly lower your literary expectations, raise your willingness to suspend your disbelief, and it becomes nearly impossible not to love this little story. Let's face it, if you're the sort who requires logical explanations, factual science, and plots that never betray the tiniest of holes, then you're not going to be a fan of Doctor Who in the first place. Just apply the same critical generosity to this novel, and you're going to enjoy it tremendously.
For one thing, the author HAD to have been working mostly off of writer's guidelines and finished scripts. It's possible that he, in fact, had never even SEEN an episode of the new series, since the book appeared on shelves a mere 5 months after the first episode was broadcast, if I have my dates right (according to the wiki, it was released September 8, 2005). I'm not at all sure how long it takes to write a novel like this, and what hoops it has to go through to get edited, published, printed, bound, and in the stores, but it's got to take several months, I would imagine. And if that's the case, then his ability to nail the characters so brilliantly is astonishing - you can truly hear the Doctor, Rose, and Captain Jack saying the lines they're given here.
As I said, this book is very funny. You won't just smile, or even chuckle - the humor here is of the laugh-out-loud kind, and I LOL'd many times before it was all over. If you're looking for emotion, it's here. You want some thematic depth, wildly imaginative ideas, thought-provoking commentary on the human condition, and nutty, non-stop action, that's here too. If you're a Cap'n Jack fan, you might bemoan the backseat he's relegated to, but whenever he DOES put in an appearance, it's invariably hilarious. If you are a Doc/Rose shipper, the book beautifully shows the tentative, ambiguous, indefinable relationship between this Doctor and his companion in its early days.
Well, some reviewers have said they were disappointed in this book. Obviously, you can't please everyone. But if you haven't yet read a Who novel, because you weren't sure if they were "adult friendly" or worth your time, start with this one. I'm betting you won't be sorry you did.
Rose blinked and ran a hand through her hair. 'So we're not just thick, we're evil? Why d'you hang around us so much, then?'
The Doctor looked into her eyes, serious. 'You can be brilliant, terrible, generous, cruel. But you're never boring.'
A tribesman dressed in a garland of flowers, evidently some kind of officiating priest, ran up to them, slapped Rose with another oily fish and shouted, 'Let the ceremony begin!'
'See,' said the Doctor.