Book: Doctor Who: The Five Doctors (#81)
Author: Terrance Dicks
Published: 1983 (Target)
Book: Doctor Who: Fury from the Deep (#110)
Author: Victor Pemberton
Published: 1986 (Target)
Let’s be honest, I got into Doctor Who for David Tennant and his thousand-yard stare.
But I very quickly stayed for everything else. And these novelizations of the original TV show are just like watching episodes from when all the special effects were spray-painted cardboard instead of cheap CGI; that is to say, rollicking, unintentionally hilarious adventures where everyone is shouting exposition at each other and the Doctor just knows everything somehow and the companions alternate between terrified and indignant that no one believes him and there are monsters.
Fury from the Deep occasionally read like a PSA because the main monster was this giant sentient seaweed that tried to choke everybody and control their minds on this series of oil rigs, so “evil weed!” and “vile weed!” (heh, shot of honey mustard, stat!) were sprinkled in there. The characters were all pretty flat, of course, but I was disappointed this included the Doctor. And one of the companions, Jamie, was a Highlander only when the author remembered. Seriously, y’all, he said “Och!” and “duna worry” in between speaking like an American high schooler. And they got rid of the seaweed by amplifying the shattering sound waves of companion Victoria’s screams. And then afterward she decides to stay behind on the oil rig because she’s homesick and tired of almost getting killed by traveling with the Doctor.
BECAUSE A 20TH CENTURY OIL RIG IS SO MUCH LIKE THE VICTORIAN ENGLAND SHE ORIGINALLY COMES FROM.
Haha, I told y’all this was good.
The Five Doctors was better writing, more complex plotting, and more distinct characters. All five regenerations of the Doctor get pulled from their time streams back to Gallifray to play this deadly game buried deep in the timelords’ planet so they unwittingly spring the traps so the president chief timelord dude can get to the ancient ring that promises immortality. Which he gets, only in living stone instead of life like he thought.
I liked watching the Doctors interact with each other. They were each distinctive in appearance and temperament and I never mixed them up. This book brought together all the feistier companions, too, and including a brief cameo from Jamie that revealed he WEARS A KILT AND TAM O’SHANTER. ALL THE TIME.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s still all terrible writing. So many adjectives and adverbs, y’all. So very many. But I feel like Cardboard David Tennant approves.