Doctor Who: Apollo 23 Hardcover – May 4 2010
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About the Author
Justin Richards is a well known author of chldren's fiction, including the novels The Parliament of Blood, The Chaos Code and The Skeleton Clock. He also collaborates with Jack Higgins on thrillers for young adult readers. Author of a good number of Doctor Who books, Justin acts as Creative Consultant to BBC Books.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
When the Doctor and Amy stop by a mall for lunch, they don't expect to find a NASA astronaut stumbling around the food court. Since he's tracking very real moon dust around, they decide to investigate. But they don't expect to find a massive base on the far side of the moon. They even less expect to find scientists experimenting on prisoners. And who gains from these bizarre psychological treatments?
Justin Richards manages to seamlessly integrate impossible technology, globe-spanning secrets, and a creepy invasion of Earth by the most disgusting aliens since the Sontarans. He captures the smart, rapid banter between the Doctor and Amy that has become a hallmark of the series. And while a few secrets and surprises are eye-rollingly obvious, none of them stand in the way of readers' enjoyment.
Now the bad news: not much original happens in this story. Hypercritical readers will spot how much is stolen from stories we already know. I spotted elements cribbed from DW TV episodes, and not just recent ones: though I saw many David Tennant stories, some reached as far back as Tom Baker and Peter Davison. And not just DW, either. I saw Star Trek, Farscape, and even crumbs from Joss Whedon's leftovers.
You have to decide how much this matters to you. I managed to enjoy this novel just fine, but to do so, I had to suspend a little judgment. Jaded DW hipsters may resent this blatant recycling. But if you can just sit back, not demand more than the book is prepared to give, and treasure it as it is, this is a fun weekend read.
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.
The story would make a fine TV episode and I don't think that can be said about too many of these.