I wish I knew why I have so much trouble getting audience participation. Heck, I had three people liking the poll for the next Chapter By Chapter book review but none of them actually voted. I didn’t even need comments, just the poll at the end of the article, and still nothing. The only one who voted was my friend Sean, which I warned you guys meant the next book was a given if he was the only one who voted. Thus it shall be.
For those of you who missed the post entirely I was trying to choose between three books for the next Chapter By Chapter. The choice would tell me more about my readership’s tastes and each of them had a good reason to be on the list. BattleTech: I Am Jade Falcon is the last piece of BattleTech media I have to review now that I finally got the cartoon done. Star Trek: Prime Directive is a classic era story I don’t even remember reading. Doctor Who: The Time Travelers is the only Doctor Who novel I have that isn’t an episode adaptation and I want to have access to the episodes, but I have wanted to do a Doctor and friends book. Well, the vote has been tallied and the overall winner by the one sole voter, the sixteenth book in the Chapter By Chapter book review series, is…
Doctor Who: The Time Travelers
by Simon Guerrier
I hope you folks do better when voting for your world leaders.
I have nothing against the book mind you, and it’s classic Doctor Who so obviously no issues there. And since the one voter is one of my best friends I obviously have no problems there. I was just hoping more people would show an interest but I’m wondering if any of you even read these books? I had one person respond to a few Black Stallions Ghost installments well after the fact, but I want to get some conversation out there. The only saving grace is that I don’t attract the jerks either, but I want to interact with people and I was afraid of interacting with others even before the quarantine we’re all slowly escaping. Enough about that though. Let’s discuss the book.
When I originally tried to read this the timing was bad. Weeks and even months went by between readings, as I only had time to read it when I went to the hospital, took my mom to the doctor, or when I was at the doctor. (Interesting given our hero’s name.) After I bought it I took time getting to it with the other novels I was reading at the time. Since this time I’ll be reading a chapter a week I should get done sooner.
I had heard of other Doctor Who novels that weren’t episode adaptations, during what was known as “The Wilderness Years”, that stretch of time when there were no new episodes on TV. Most of them continued the Seventh Doctor until the TV movie/unsuccessful pilot (Fox aired it at the wrong time given the competition that night) gave us an Eighth Doctor. The only Seventh Doctor novel I read was Lungbarrow back when the BBC had it available on the official Classic Who site, which doesn’t exist anymore. I did not care for it.
This one however features the original Doctor (as played by the late great William Hartnell, the first one to play that Doctor though a few others took on the role in later crossovers–his last was The Three Doctors and his health stopped him from playing a major role in the episode) and his first ever companions on the show. His granddaughter Susan and two of her former schoolteachers, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, are the reason the Doctor became a crusader for time and space justice. Most of today’s writers seem to have forgotten that. No, New Who writers, the Doctor did NOT choose that name because he’s “the one who makes everyone feel better” (oddly said during the period where they insisted death followed the Doctor rather than the other way around). When we first met him he was a self-opinionated jerk who just liked to travel around and wanted to stay out of it.
The choosing of Ian and Barbara, a science teacher and history teacher respectively, was also important for one other aspect of the show that was lost to time, and debatable if that was a bad loss. The show was originally intended to discuss history and science in a way that would interest children–and occasionally scare the daylights out of them. Yes, it used to be a children’s show, and over time writers and producers forgot that as well. It will be interesting to see if this author remembers any of that. So what’s our tale about?
24 June, 2006. The TARDIS has landed in London. Ian and Barbara are almost back home. But this isn’t the city they knew. This London is a ruin, torn apart by war. A war that the British are losing.
Well, their London was in 1963. As I recall it was written with that in mind. The novel came out in 2005, which is part of what makes the time setting interesting.
With his friends mistaken for vagrants and sentence to death, the Doctor is press-ganged into helping perfect a weapon that might just turn the tables in the war. The British Army has discovered time travel. And the consequences are already devastating.
And yet it wouldn’t be the first time the played with time travel in continuity. Then again, continuity is basically jelly in the Doctor Who universe. There are more contradictions than in an election campaign.
What has happened to the world that Ian and Barbara once knew? How much of the experiment do the Doctor and Susan really understand?
And, despite all the Doctor has said to the contrary, is it actually possible to change history?
Oddly the last part of the back cover tells us that this features the first Doctor, Ian, Barbara, and Susan, as if the actual description didn’t already state that. OK, a quick check on the author: This was Simon Guerrier‘s first novel but he did have a background in freelance writing. Whether or not that prepared him for this book we’ll soon find out. According to Wikipedia this wouldn’t be his last tangle with the Doctor as he wrote two more novels, various comics and audio dramas, and also wrote novels based on Primeval and Being Human, two other BBC shows. The former involves time traveling dinosaurs ending up in modern day and the other is a supernatural sitcom or something. I haven’t watched either show.
This book has thirteen chapters plus a prologue and epilogue. What makes this a thick book is that they’re rather long chapters so this is going to take a little more reading time than usual. Then again, all three books were going to take extra time, but at least they would spread it out a bit longer. I’m still going to do those other two books for the next two installments but this is the one that got voted on so next time we begin with the prologue and see how this all gets set up. It’s only four pages and will be probably the shortest read. The first full chapter is twenty pages long and it’s all in smaller type. Well, there goes my productivity on Sundays or, if I didn’t have time to read it, Monday afternoons. At least this time I should finish it quicker.