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Doctor Who: The Silent Stars Go By Hardcover – September 29, 2011
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An entertaining, easy-going read and Abnett gets the regulars dead on . 4/5,A taut and readable book that exploits its isolated outpost setting to good effect. The Silent Stars Go By is certainly as solid a slice of Who storytelling as you’ll find this year.,Exciting, very good and a great read are the exact words that best describe Dan Abnett’s Doctor Who book The Silent Stars Go By,Like a hunting Martian ploughing remorselessly, effortlessly through freshly fallen snow of an ice world, the novel skilfully establishes its target and never fails to relinquish it; intrigue, scares, uncompromising adventure and all important character development... For a DOCTOR WHO novel, it’s both equally accomplished and accessible.
About the Author
Dan Abnett is a novelist and award-winning comic book writer. He has written over thirty-five novels, including the acclaimed Gaunt's Ghosts series, and the Eisenhorn and Ravenor trilogies. His latest Horus Heresy novel Prospero Burns was a New York Times bestseller, and topped the SF charts in the UK and the US. His combat SF novel Embedded was published in 2011. He lives and works in Maidstone, Kent.
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The Doctor promised Amy and Rory that he'd have them back in London for Christmas, but they end up on a world occupied by colonists from Earth who have spent the last 27 generations terraforming the planet with the goal of making it warmer. Inexplicably, the last several winters have been snowy and much, much colder than it should be. While searching for a missing colonist, the Doctor and company discover one of the Doctors most interesting foes; the Ice Warriors of Mars. They too are trying to terraform the planet, with the goal of making it much colder. To this regard, they have sabotaged the colonists' terraforming machinery.
There is another force at work on the planet that is allied with neither the colonists nor the Ice Warriors. Can the Doctor and his companions save the day? Of course they can, but the fun is in the telling.
To put it simply, I loved reading this book. The character voices were spot-on, and the whole thing just felt very much like an Eleventh Doctor adventure. (It actually reminded me a bit of The Hungry Earth / Cold Blood, from series five. Had a similar feeling about it.) It had its weak spots, as anything will, but the great parts easily overcame them. I will definitely be rereading it at some point.
It was funny and sad and touching and wonderful, and I would definitely recommend it for anyone who's looking for an excellent dose of Eleven and the Ponds.
Abnett builds a very convincing story. Character voices are so spot on that you can hear Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, and Arthur Darvil speaking the lines for their characters. The Ice Warriors figure nicely into the plot and Abnett certainly captures all the essence of the classic Who creatures. Plenty of twists and turns that jolt you just when you think you've figured everything out. Interesting culture of humans who seem close to a religious cult. Honestly, it plays out like one of the better two-part episodes from the new series or one of the best four part serials from Tom Baker's run.
Doesn't matter if you prefer the old Who or new Who this is a lovely book that all Doctor Who fans should pick up.
As I write this we are half-way through season seven. We've said goodbye to the Ponds, and a new companion is on the way. This year is the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, and I for one couldn't be more excited. Since discovering the revived series, I have caught up on seasons one through four, and have thoroughly enjoyed both Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant as the Doctor. But everyone has their own Doctor, and mine will always be Matt Smith.
Having enjoyed the show, I finally decided to give one of the books a try. I picked up The Silent Stars Go By partly because it features my favorite Doctor (and the amazing Amy and Rory Pond), and partially because of the clever way the book title and chapters are named after lines from Christmas carols.
The story begins as the Doctor is trying to get his companions back to Earth for Christmas, but, as is usually the case, they end up somewhere else entirely--a snowy planet sometime in the far future. As they explore they become separated. They discover the planet has been colonized by people from Earth, who for generations have been maintaining terraforming machines to make the planet more Earth-like (or Earth-esque, as the case may be). These "Morphans," as they call themselves, have become a superstitious, agrarian society, barely understanding the "Formers" they watch over.
Enter the Ice Warriors. Tall, bulky humanoids formerly of Mars, they, too, seek to colonize new worlds. They are trying to make the planet colder and more Mars-like, and their manipulation of the Formers threatens to make the planet uninhabitable by humans. And thus, conflict erupts between the mighty Ice Warriors and peaceful Morphans, with the Doctor, Amy, and Rory stuck, as usual, in the middle.
The story kept me entertained, and Dan Abnett captured the voices of the main characters relatively well. For most of the book, the Doctor and Amy are separated from Rory, which helps keep the tension high. The action really ramps up for the last third of the book as the conflict with the Ice Warriors comes to a head, and another even more fearsome menace appears.
All in all, a great read, and a worthy addition to Doctor Who canon.