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Doctor Who: The Forgotten Army -- Review *completed* - Pulpfan

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April 16th, 2011


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04:58 pm - Doctor Who: The Forgotten Army -- Review *completed*
 Doctor Who The Forgotten ArmyPremise:  He's known, only, as "The Doctor".  He appears human, but he is actually the last surviving member of a race called the "Time Lords" and he travels through space and time, usually with a comely human assistant.  He doesn't go looking for trouble -- he seems to think of himself as a tourist -- but, somehow, trouble always finds him and he overcomes adversity primarily through his advanced intelligence, superior knowledge, utter unpredictability, and his trusty sonic screwdriver.

Story:  The Doctor and Amy arrive in New York city just as something unusual is occuring:  an exhibit of a preserved mammoth has come alive, in the museum of natural history.

The Doctor and Amy proceed to investigate and discover {spoiler -- highlight at your peril} that the mammoth is, effectively, a Trojan horse, concealing an invasion force of small aliens.

This invasion force is *very* speedy -- faster than the human eye can track -- very disciplined, and very effective.  They soon have Manhattan sealed off.  The Doctor and Amy have to figure out their invasion plan, and stop it, in a brief amount of time.

Positives:

  • The story moves at a quick pace.
  • The dialogue and characterization are consistent with the characters as portrayed in the TV show.

Negatives:

  • I suspect that the writer has previously written primarily for visual media:  he often will suddenly reveal something crucial in the environment that a character suddenly is interacting with -- which wasn't even *hinted* at before.  Its rather the inverse of Checkov's principle:  he suddenly have the proverbial gun going off, without ever having mentioned it before.  In a collaborative, visual media, this wouldn't be a problem -- the scenic designer or artist would insert those kind of details.  But in a narrative work, every time that occurs, it throws me out of the story, as I wonder "where did *that* suddenly come from?
  • The antagonists are a little too comical and absurd to take seriously as a threat.

Evaluation:  To the good, the action of the story was constant enough that it kept me reading along.  However, the errors in story telling and the crude humor frequently challenged my suspension of disbelief.

Assessment:  For only the second time here, I can't recommend this novel.  The writing is very, very poor.  

However, I've read some other Doctor Who novels, and most of them are quite entertaining.

I'll be recommending some good ones, shortly!


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