Never before have I seen a Doctor Who television episode or read a Doctor Who book with so many fight scenes. Of course, coming from a reviewer who reads a lot of Richard Stark and Mickey Spillane, you would think that I wouldn't mind the violence. Unfortunately, it just seems out of place in Doctor Who.Usually, the Doctor likes to work problems out with his mind, and ensnare the villans in clever traps. This book is just overloaded with situations where he has to fight his way out. There is blood everywhere, trying to fuel the story.The best thing about the book is that it deals with Anji's mental anxiety over her dead boyfriend Dave. It finally brings her closure. The book also features a very fitting, Who-esque ending with a clever trap that Who fans will enjoy.Clapham's writing is never dull, with good dialogue and great description. You get a real feeling for the dreadful city of Hope, as well as the emotion involved with all the characters. Some drawbacks but also many good points make this novel worth reading.
The Doctor, Fitz, and Anji find themselves in the city of Hope, on the planet of Endpoint, far in the future, separated from the TARDIS, which has sunk to the bottom of the poisoned, polluted sea beneath the city. The Doctor sees the city as violent, crime-ridden, and amoral, and wants to leave as soon as possible. However, in order to recover his ship, he is forced to make a deal with Silver, ruler of Hope in fact, if not in name. Silver has a problem: a mysterious assailant is decapitating the citizens of Hope, and the ongoing crimes are weakening the perception of Silver's control. While the Doctor and Fitz investigate the murders, Anji considers making a different sort of deal with Silver, one which could destroy her friendship with the Doctor . . .Mark Clapham, co-author of three previous Doctor Who-related novels, makes his solo debut here. After the epic scope and momentous events of The Adventuress of Henrietta Street and the madcap post-modern antics of Mad Dogs and Englishmen, I found Hope to be a refreshing change of pace in its conventionality. In terms of plot and storytelling, Hope is a comfortably traditional Doctor Who adventure. The Doctor and his companions arrive in a strange place, they encounter a mystery, eventually uncovering a villain behind everything, and the Doctor saves the day. The plot unfolds in a fairly straightforward, linear manner, the prose focused on clear storytelling rather than literary experimentation.So, I hear you ask, if the plot is so straightforward, what's the point in reading it? The point, I reply, is in the characterization. In many ways, this is Anji's book. She doesn't see as much action as the Doctor or Fitz, but we get a good look inside her head.Read more ›
At some point it was inevitable that things had to go back to normal. The format breaks that fueled the last two books couldn't be sustained forever and some degree of business as usual had to set in. Following up those last two books probably wasn't a real easy task and I doubt there were too many who were aching to follow them on the schedule (presuming they got a choice, and also presuming that someone didn't want to take advantage of diminished expectations, i.e. "It can't possibly be as good as what we just had"). So we get Mark Clapham, who has co-written some other "Who" books previous to this, embarking on his first solo outing.
The first thing that strikes you about this is indeed how normal it all seems. The Doctor, seeking to figure out how far the TARDIS can go into the future (didn't we already explore this in "Frontios"?) winds up in that future, landing on a lake of acid covered in ice that quickly breaks and sucks in the TARDIS, stranding them. Good thing they're outside a town! Turns out in the far future the ancestors have humanity have set up colonies that are struggling to survive and our heroes are in the city called "Hope", run by cyborg-man Silver and currently trying to figure out who keeps decapitating people because, frankly, they really have enough problems to worry about without things getting too messy. Silver at first glance seems to be a benevolent overlord, using his iron fist to keep the peace as best he can without too many people rioting, and he agrees to get the TARDIS back if the Doctor will help him solve the mystery of the murders. Thus, it becomes go-time.
Clapham attempts nothing super-radical here but manages to include a few nice touches.Read more ›