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Earthworld [Paperback]

J. Raynor
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 2001 Doctor Who (BBC Paperback)
An Eighth Doctor, Fitz and Anji novel. The first settlers of New Jupiter were a handful of humans, with androids to help make the planet habitable. Many generations down, the New Jupitan President, John F Hoover, faces a challenge to his hereditary role. His popularity is threatened by the Association for New Jupitan Independence - ANJI - who want to establish New Jupitan Independence. So Hoover has set up an Earth Tneme Park - EarthWorld. It is nearly complete and will enormously boost the planet's income from off-worlders - and thus the President's popularity. He has no intention of telling anyone that there are people entering EarthWorld who are mysteriously never seen again. Meanwhile the President has three triplet daughters to succeed him in his hereditary role. Unbeknown to him, they have been tampering with EarthWorld's androids - but why? And can the Doctor find out before the problems on New Jupiter get out of control?

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, fun break from the other novels! Sept. 24 2002
Format:Paperback
The Doctor, Fitz and new companion, Anji Kapoor arrive on a world that honours the planet Earth by showcasing time periods in a fun park manner. Whilst getting lost on the world all three must deal with dangerous dinosaurs, Killer robots, homicidal triplets, talking Sphinx and Elvis impersonators before they can work out what exactly is going on.
Jacqueline Rayner's first foray in to the BBC Doctor Who novels is brilliant. What better way to have Anji's first real adventure than to throw her into a really bizarre situation to flesh out what her character will be like..
Alongside Anji trying to come to terms with the loss of her boyfriend, Dave (Escape Velocity), and trying to deal with this bizarre new life she has with the Doctor, Fitz also must come to terms with the knowledge that he is not the original Fitz Kreiner, only a 'remembered' copy. Plus the Doctor is once again showing that he is not the man he was by acting in a more violent manner.
Overall, a great break in the serious books preceding it, very funny moments with great character development. RECOMMENDED!
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4.0 out of 5 stars It's crazy, it's loopy, it's altogether kooky Dec 4 2001
Format:Paperback
EARTHWORLD is quite an oddity. Not only does it do strange and unpredictable things, but one can't even anticipate when it will be bizarre and when it will become sober. The goofiness peaks earlier than one might expect, leaving the rest of the story to take a surprisingly serious turn (though it's still not all that serious). EARTHWORLD is one of those wacky stories that defy categorization. This is sort of a mixture of Douglas Adams, Terrance Dicks, and Isaac Asimov, with a dash of Red Dwarf and a measure of Blackadder. That doesn't really sum it up, of course, but it does give you the basic idea of what's going on.
The story begins in full romp-mode. Some of the early jokes don't work as well as they might, and right away one wonders if this is going to be a long, dull collection of jokes that are supposed to be funny, but just aren't (the only thing worse than a joke that falls completely flat is a book full of jokes that fall completely flat). Fortunately, the book steadies itself quickly enough and becomes much more assured and enjoyable.
All of the regulars shine with Anji in particular given some very good character development in her first story away from Earth. Placing her in the middle of an action romp while she's still grieving over the events from the previous story might seem like a terrible idea, but its one that ends up being played extremely well. I was worried at first, as all that Anji seemed to be doing was to deliberately distract herself from the issues, and I was afraid that the whole book would be spent avoiding the subject. To my surprise and great enjoyment, the matter was not only brought up, but handled extremely well.
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3.0 out of 5 stars "Earth"-shock Nov. 13 2001
Format:Paperback
Many TV tie-in action/adventure novels have a similar feel to them. A book begins with 150 pages of token plot exposition and character development, and then the final 150 pages essentially ignore the build-up in favor of running around and blowing things up. Major characters die, to lend the book an "adult" feel, and maybe there's a token unconvincing romance.
Not Jac Rayner's "Earthworld" -- Jac (the first woman to solo-write a DW novel in five years) neatly flips the formula on its head. Here the silly running around is confined to the beginning. Earthworld is a wacky historical theme park, built on "New Jupiter" (ha ha) thousands of years in the future. The android park attractions run amok and kill a lot of people offscreen. An Elvis impersonator strips down to (glittery sequined) boxer shorts for an impromptu game of Celebrity Deathmatch. The name of the President of Earthworld begins "John F. ...". See where this is going?
Happily, Jac puts back all the stops and submits a final 100 pages that are more serious and thoughtful than anyone had a right to expect, based on the beginning and middle. Characters suddenly interact in touching ways. There's a thoughtful, happy ending for (most of) the Earthworld characters. The TARDIS crew, fractured for so long, are handled with something akin to tenderness: Fitz gains new resolve, the Doctor begins to function even without his memory, and Anji...
...Anji, in only her second book as companion, is rewarded with a stunning 7-page finale that works through the trauma that befell her in "Escape Velocity", her debut. Especially coming as they do so soon after the silly opening, these final pages left me quite satisfied with "Earthworld" indeed.
Even if broad, miss-the-mark satire isn't your game, you'll still enjoy "Earthworld", a deeper book than usual.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Travelling in space and time once more March 30 2001
Format:Paperback
Following on from the events of 'Escape Velocity', the Doctor, Fitz and Anji find themselves back in Earth's prehistoric past encountering, is short order, a dinosaur and a caveman. Since these two are from different periods, it is plain something is wrong. They soon pass through barriers to other time periods, which also show a similar degree of wrongness. What has caused this? And are they even on Earth?
The first new adventure of the Doctor travelling through time and space following the stranded on earth story arc borrows significantly from the past: we have a beginning that looks like the changeover between the first two episodes of the TV series, a world set up not dissimilar to that in 'The War Games', a Doctor without his memories like 'Spearhead from Space', and so forth. And then it borrows from a movie, the name of which I won't reveal to avoid giving away the plot, but it is something-world, too.
So with all these references, how does the book stand up? Very well, thanks. Despite them, the novel is very much itself - its tone is nothing like those it recalls, and Jac Rayner is obviously in control. The story contains a variety of humorous elements, ranging from light to quite black, but the humour doesn't unduly dominate.
Perhaps most importantly, the characters of Fitz and Anji receive a lot of focus. This is Anji's first book as a full-fledged companion, and she wasn't the most sympathetic character in her first appearance. She ends up far more rounded, and the repeated literary device of her composing imaginary emails to her dead boyfriend helps to deepen both her and her now lost relationship.
Fitz has been out of the books for a while, and there are some facts about the character that really haven't been given due attention.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Travelling in space and time once more March 30 2001
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Following on from the events of 'Escape Velocity', the Doctor, Fitz and Anji find themselves back in Earth's prehistoric past encountering, is short order, a dinosaur and a caveman. Since these two are from different periods, it is plain something is wrong. They soon pass through barriers to other time periods, which also show a similar degree of wrongness. What has caused this? And are they even on Earth?
The first new adventure of the Doctor travelling through time and space following the stranded on earth story arc borrows significantly from the past: we have a beginning that looks like the changeover between the first two episodes of the TV series, a world set up not dissimilar to that in 'The War Games', a Doctor without his memories like 'Spearhead from Space', and so forth. And then it borrows from a movie, the name of which I won't reveal to avoid giving away the plot, but it is something-world, too.
So with all these references, how does the book stand up? Very well, thanks. Despite them, the novel is very much itself - its tone is nothing like those it recalls, and Jac Rayner is obviously in control. The story contains a variety of humorous elements, ranging from light to quite black, but the humour doesn't unduly dominate.
Perhaps most importantly, the characters of Fitz and Anji receive a lot of focus. This is Anji's first book as a full-fledged companion, and she wasn't the most sympathetic character in her first appearance. She ends up far more rounded, and the repeated literary device of her composing imaginary emails to her dead boyfriend helps to deepen both her and her now lost relationship.
Fitz has been out of the books for a while, and there are some facts about the character that really haven't been given due attention. This book helps to reintroduce him as a sort-of lovable loser while bringing these difficult facts to the foreground and having them dealt with - for the moment, anyway. With the Doctor still not having fully recovered his memory, Fitz has many more cards in his hand than either of his travelling companions, but needs to be conscious of what gets out as it may force the Doctor back to the state that his century-long recovery on Earth has been meant to heal.
Character driven and with a fun plot, this book is a good read. It is possibly a little overly backwards referencing for it to be a good start for new readers of the series, but regular readers should enjoy it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Earth"-shock Nov. 13 2001
By Jason A. Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Many TV tie-in action/adventure novels have a similar feel to them. A book begins with 150 pages of token plot exposition and character development, and then the final 150 pages essentially ignore the build-up in favor of running around and blowing things up. Major characters die, to lend the book an "adult" feel, and maybe there's a token unconvincing romance.
Not Jac Rayner's "Earthworld" -- Jac (the first woman to solo-write a DW novel in five years) neatly flips the formula on its head. Here the silly running around is confined to the beginning. Earthworld is a wacky historical theme park, built on "New Jupiter" (ha ha) thousands of years in the future. The android park attractions run amok and kill a lot of people offscreen. An Elvis impersonator strips down to (glittery sequined) boxer shorts for an impromptu game of Celebrity Deathmatch. The name of the President of Earthworld begins "John F. ...". See where this is going?
Happily, Jac puts back all the stops and submits a final 100 pages that are more serious and thoughtful than anyone had a right to expect, based on the beginning and middle. Characters suddenly interact in touching ways. There's a thoughtful, happy ending for (most of) the Earthworld characters. The TARDIS crew, fractured for so long, are handled with something akin to tenderness: Fitz gains new resolve, the Doctor begins to function even without his memory, and Anji...
...Anji, in only her second book as companion, is rewarded with a stunning 7-page finale that works through the trauma that befell her in "Escape Velocity", her debut. Especially coming as they do so soon after the silly opening, these final pages left me quite satisfied with "Earthworld" indeed.
Even if broad, miss-the-mark satire isn't your game, you'll still enjoy "Earthworld", a deeper book than usual.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's crazy, it's loopy, it's altogether kooky Dec 4 2001
By Andrew McCaffrey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
EARTHWORLD is quite an oddity. Not only does it do strange and unpredictable things, but one can't even anticipate when it will be bizarre and when it will become sober. The goofiness peaks earlier than one might expect, leaving the rest of the story to take a surprisingly serious turn (though it's still not all that serious). EARTHWORLD is one of those wacky stories that defy categorization. This is sort of a mixture of Douglas Adams, Terrance Dicks, and Isaac Asimov, with a dash of Red Dwarf and a measure of Blackadder. That doesn't really sum it up, of course, but it does give you the basic idea of what's going on.
The story begins in full romp-mode. Some of the early jokes don't work as well as they might, and right away one wonders if this is going to be a long, dull collection of jokes that are supposed to be funny, but just aren't (the only thing worse than a joke that falls completely flat is a book full of jokes that fall completely flat). Fortunately, the book steadies itself quickly enough and becomes much more assured and enjoyable.
All of the regulars shine with Anji in particular given some very good character development in her first story away from Earth. Placing her in the middle of an action romp while she's still grieving over the events from the previous story might seem like a terrible idea, but its one that ends up being played extremely well. I was worried at first, as all that Anji seemed to be doing was to deliberately distract herself from the issues, and I was afraid that the whole book would be spent avoiding the subject. To my surprise and great enjoyment, the matter was not only brought up, but handled extremely well. The smooth way in which this is handled is fairly indicative of the book as a whole; it starts off light and frothy, but when you aren't looking it becomes something much more subtle and strong.
Any way you look at it, EARTHWORLD was an enjoyable read. It entertains, it amuses and it is very well written for a first novel. There are some companion issues dealt with here that have needed to be addressed for quite some time, and it's nice to see the book not dance around the problems. The opening sections do have an overly light feel to them, and the way that a few jokes fail may give the reader a little pause to wonder if he/she really wants to finish the rest. Fortunately, EARTHWORLD is one of the few Doctor Who books that starts mediocre and rises to the occasion. The final seven pages are pure, understated wonderfulness.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, fun break from the other novels! Sept. 24 2002
By Daniel Firli - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Doctor, Fitz and new companion, Anji Kapoor arrive on a world that honours the planet Earth by showcasing time periods in a fun park manner. Whilst getting lost on the world all three must deal with dangerous dinosaurs, Killer robots, homicidal triplets, talking Sphinx and Elvis impersonators before they can work out what exactly is going on.
Jacqueline Rayner's first foray in to the BBC Doctor Who novels is brilliant. What better way to have Anji's first real adventure than to throw her into a really bizarre situation to flesh out what her character will be like..
Alongside Anji trying to come to terms with the loss of her boyfriend, Dave (Escape Velocity), and trying to deal with this bizarre new life she has with the Doctor, Fitz also must come to terms with the knowledge that he is not the original Fitz Kreiner, only a `remembered' copy. Plus the Doctor is once again showing that he is not the man he was by acting in a more violent manner.
Overall, a great break in the serious books preceding it, very funny moments with great character development. RECOMMENDED!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars These people could manage to find themselves in a homicidal supermarket Oct. 20 2011
By Michael Battaglia - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is one of those novels that walks a highwire act in terms of tone and a-l-m-o-s-t fails at it. The highwire act makes for some interesting reading but if the book fell apart because of it, the end result wouldn't be as satisfying as it wound up being. Halfway through this novel I was convinced I was going to chalk it up as "mediocre/okay" and was surprised that I was mentally upping my rating by the end. For a line that has demonstrated . . . variable quality over the last patch of books, to end strongly without really embarrassing oneself along the way is a rare feat.

So what happened to get me here to this change of heart? Let's start at the beginning. Coming almost immediately off the last book (it would have been funny if the last author had made up their cliffhanger ending and Rayner was forced to work with it . . . I doubt that was the case but it certainly would present a challenge) we have a memory-less Doctor, Fitz and new/inadvertent recruit Anji winding up on an Earth that appears to have dinosaurs. Of course they realize after some exploration that this planet has a lot more than dinosaurs and they're basically on a weird Earth-based amusement park that the king of another world built for his triplet daughters, who are very good with androids. And crazy, too. Like, their passports are well stamped for the country of Psychotic.

Rayner right off the bat does her level best to prove to us that this new status quo will result in business as usual. Even without his memory the Doctor is still capable of doing Doctor Things (his method for using the sonic screwdriver is remarkably like the trick to flying in the Douglas Adams Hitchhiker novels) but he's still not entirely sure what he's all about, Anji is alternating between mourning her boyfriend and wanting to get off this ride before it's too late. Which hilariously makes Fitz the adult of the group and the most experienced. Or so he thinks.

There's a much more humorous tone to the novel in the early stages, which at times lends a bit of a disconnect between what people are thinking and what is actually happening. Fitz for one is presented in an almost comical and slapstick fashion that seems like an exaggerated version of how his character has been and suggests that he hasn't matured at all in his time on the TARDIS. Anji attempts to confront her scenarios with humor but spends most of it worrying about her poor feet. The threat against them of the crazy triplets and the rogue androids brings the novel a little too close at times to "Westworld" and partway through I was wondering how they were going to get an entire novel out of this threat. It seemed more of an excuse for the characters to run around and interact and react.

And in a sense, it is. By giving us a less than universal threat this time out we're allowed to get a feel for these people again, which may have been lost with all the Important Events going on (Fitz in particular we've barely seen lately so a reminder of what he's all about is due) and see how they're going to fit together as the new TARDIS team. I think a little too much angst is given to Fitz's dilemma about him not being the original Fitz (something that I thought he had gotten over already, although "Ancestor Cell" is like a week ago for him) but it becomes clear partway through the book that Rayner is in more control than she seems. The barely lame jokes of the early chapters give way to funnier ones (a running joke about the amusement park based on Earth history that everyone got totally wrong winds up being hilarious because everyone plays it straight) and the tonal shifts between the funny and the serious don't come across as jarring. On some level this is a romp and it never feels like anyone is really in danger but at the same time the triplets are written as legitimately crazy people who are capable of doing disturbingly homicidal things on a psychotic whim, which makes them unpredictable presences when they do show up. When people die it's unpleasant but when the story wants you to laugh, eventually you do.

But what pushes it over the top is probably one of the more gut-wrenching and satisfying endings that the line has seen in recent memories. A lot of the climaxes and wrap-ups have seemed like the author just ran out of pages and had to close the plot out quickly but here it seems better paced and earned. There's poignancy and a resolution of sorts and it feels like we had a journey to get here, not that we're on some arbitrary page and the ending has to arrive because the editor said so. Oddly enough, Anji makes it all work. She goes through the usual companion first steps, confusion and panic and the prime moment of bravery when it becomes clear they belong with the Doctor . . . but Rayner adds another layer by forcing her to deal with the death of her boyfriend in the last novel. What could have been a gimmick of having her compose e-mails in her head that she'll never send winds up being almost unbearably sad by the end and the last few pages where she finally begins to come to terms with her grief is a rare poetic and graceful moment, a reminder that the series is capable of more than dazzling science-fiction.

So, not a game-changer but a good start, and a good example of how the series remains capable of sneaking up on the unwary and proving that just when you think you know how things are going, you really don't.
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