Book Seven of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Collection
By Ben Aaronovitch
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. In fact, REMEMBRANCE OF THE DALEKS is a novelization of Episode 152, also written by Ben Aaronovitch. This was his first novel, something I didn't know despite casually enjoying his Peter Grant paranormal mysteries.
I'll admit to being unfamiliar with the Seventh Doctor. But I know lots of people are fans of his companion Ace, and I knew Aaronovitch, so I decided to see if this book was a good introduction. I think it was. The Doctor is still the Doctor, with a plan he keeps to himself, but different from the Doctors I know better. And I can see why Ace has a fanbase; after all, she likes to blow things up. That's a good quality in someone being menaced by Daleks.
I liked the one-off characters too, particularly Professor Rachel Jensen. She's a scientist who becomes embroiled in the goings on, and is pretty appalled. It was a very realistic depiction of how a person might react to time travellers and aliens fighting each other and leaving a trail of casualties. I think there is a tad too much head hopping, which is probably a result of following the beats of an episode where not all the same characters are onscreen at the same time.
REMEMBRANCE OF THE DALEKS is rougher than ONLY HUMAN, the other anniversary collection novel I've read and reviewed. Aaronovitch is clearly playing with style. He's got a countdown, epigraphs, but little of it has enough purpose to really add to the story. At the same time, I can see seeds of the writer Aaronovitch would become. Perhaps most obviously in the passages dealing with race in England. The action of the book takes place in the 1960's, which has its own problems in that regard. But Aaronovitch definitely tackles that question as it relates to modern times in the Rivers of London series.
I wouldn't pick up REMEMBRANCE OF THE DALEKS if I wasn't at least familiar enough with Doctor Who to know what a Dalek is, but you can read it if you aren't familiar with Seven specifically. It's a straightforward adventure, with lots of action and short passages to keep the story moving quickly. Plus, the retro cool cover of the special edition looks great on my shelf.
ONLY HUMAN, REMEMBRANCE OF THE DALEKS, or WHO-OLOGY: The Official Miscellany. Giveaway ends June 30, 2013.
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