Doctor Who: Only Human Hardcover – Sep 8 2005
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About the Author
Gareth Roberts has written seven Classic Doctor Who novels, together with tv scripts for Emmerdale, Brookside, Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased), Swiss Toni and His and Hers. He now writes for the Doctor Who and Sarah Jane Adventures television series, including the Doctor Who episodes The Shakespeare Code (2007) and The Unicorn and the Wasp (2008).
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
A lot of fun, and another one that includes Captain Jack. The scene where the Doctor tells Jack to distract everyone is hysterical: in true Jack form, he takes his clothes off and runs streaking through the crowd.
An easy, entertaining read. Gareth Roberts also wrote The Shakespeare Code for the Tenth Doctor and Martha, one of my favorite episodes.
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.
The book chosen to represent the Ninth Doctor is ONLY HUMAN by Gareth Roberts. Roberts has written books covering both Classic and New Who. He's also written a couple of episodes, including fan-favorite "The Lodger." I had high hopes for ONLY HUMAN, given Roberts' pedigree and my love of Nine, and those hopes were not dashed.
The Doctor and his companions Rose Tyler and Captain Jack Harkness are in modern-day London when they run across a Neanderthal, known as Das. Soon enough the Doctor and Rose are going back in time to discover how Das ended up so far from home and Jack is attempting to help him blend in. I particularly liked the parts about Das and Jack - they're both far from home (Jack is from the future), but have very different perspectives on the present. Jack's bisexuality is just as matter of fact as always.
Meanwhile, the Doctor and Rose have stumbled upon a research team from a dark period in human history/future, when emotions are controlled by chemicals. Leader Chantal seeks to "improve" the human race, starting from the very beginning. It's an idealistic motive twisted in monstrous ways. This would be an episode to watch from behind the couch.
I'm not sure ONLY HUMAN would intrigue readers not familiar with the characters. It's a fun adventure full of great personalities, but the book isn't concerned with introducing the Who mythology. But it's a great choice for fans. I'll admit to not being that excited about cavemen, but I was proved quite wrong in my estimation of the setting's potential.
"Only Human" in particular was a fun read. Since we only had one season with Eccelstein's Doctor, it was fun to engage in another adventure with him, Rose, and Captain Jack. Even more importantly, the story line: Neanderthals, time travel, and futuristic Earth with limited technological capabilities-- are fascinating. It makes for a great read.
The story has plenty of humor and there are a lot of interesting elements with the time travellers, sometimes it feels like too much. They’re travellers from 400,000 AD where everyone has figured out how to modify their moods and lives to be totally comfortable at all times and avoid “wrong feeling.” And there are a small minority of refusers. This could be a book in itself.
And then you have a crazy scientist lady at the head of the operation who has removed her own consciousness and has some really evil plans...and this could be its own book.
And then you have the relationship between early humans and neandrathals...and this could be a book, through probably for Hartnell and not any of the modern day doctors.
There's a lot going on, and it's entertaining enough and pretty frenetic and fast paced. Mostly though, it does work. I do think the decision to set this during Jack's time on the TARDIS and having the neandrathal integrate into the twenty-first led only to light comedy and keeping Jack off the TARDIS. Probably the easiest thread to cut would have been this one. Still, it's a solidly enjoyable read as is.
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