Book Nine of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Collection
By Gareth Roberts
Available now from BBC Books
For the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, the BBC commissioned a reprint of eleven novels to represent each of the Doctors. I love that they chose to reprint beloved novels instead of publishing new ones, to show off the history of the character. Books and radio plays have been as much a part of the series as the television show.
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.
Thanks to BBC Books and TLC Book Tours, I have one book to giveaway internationally. You can choose between ONLY HUMAN, REMEMBRANCE OF THE DALEKS (review June 20th), or WHO-OLOGY: The Official Miscellany. Giveaway ends June 30, 2013.
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