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Doctor Who: Silent Stars Go By: Unabridged Novel Featuring the 11th Doctor Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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Audio CD, Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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"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." -- Matthew Walter http://www.eyeofhorus.org.uk
About the Author
Dan Abnett lives and works in Maidstone, Kent. Well known for his comic book work, he has scripted everything from the Mr Men to the X-Men in the last two decades. He is also the author of twenty three novels, including the acclaimed Eisenhorn and the best selling Horus Rising. He was voted 'Best Writer Now' at the National Comic Awards 2003.
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Top Customer Reviews
The first book in that series, by science fantasy Master Michael Moorcock, THE COMING OF THE TERRAPHILES was, despite Moorcock's longtime and well documented affection for the show, a vastly disappointing affair, to put it mildly; rather than step into the DOCTOR WHO universe and continuity, he seemed to be appropriating the characters and some of the concepts to fit within his peculiar and legendary multi-verse. They bore little but surface resemblance to the authentic characters and more heartbreaking still, the book itself was a rambling, talky, discursive bit of twee high comedy, as if the setting were a drawing room in space.
But this second book by Dan Abnett, THE SILENT STARS GO BY, seems an aggressive attempt to reclaim the "adult" line's integrity. Abnett, though certainly a major player, does not represent the kind of high profile by-line Moorcock does, nor is he a "guest star" in the field of tie-ins -- he's had plenty of experience creating fiction out of franchises, and his by-line on a WHO novel is hardly news. But clearly, this time, the editors were more concerned about getting it right than having a brand name on the package.
Abnett's book is really no more "adult" than the primary line of books, save for the fact that it's somewhat longer. Mostly, it's just a ripping good WHO yarn, featuring Matt Smith's incarnation of the Doctor, plus married companions Amelia Pond and Rory Williams. He has the characters, their voices, their internalization, exactly right; his prose is facile (he likes a good, showy effect) but also witty, and also -- and I don't mean this to diminish its sophistication -- easy to read. The flow appears effortless.
This is not to say it breaks any new ground -- as I say, this book is *not* a literary experiment, it's DOCTOR WHO served straight up, with suspense, cool monsters and expertly timed comedy. And it spins variations on a few familiar science fiction tropes (among them the backwoods colony of settlers descended from space travelers, who view artifacts of their ancestors' technology in a reinterpretive, religious context.) But I think that's exactly what was called for to save the line of books.
Flaws? Sometimes THE SILENT STARS GO BY is (despite its highly poetic title) cleverly quippy to a fault, and Abnett works the wisecracks a bit too hard. (When the original play version of THE ODD COUPLE was in out of town tryouts, a colleague asked director Mike Nichols how it was going. "Pretty good," said Nichols. "We're taking out the jokes." Meaning, of course, they were getting rid of distracting excess, that moved off the point of character and story. Here and there Abnet could do with similar restraint.) But all in all, that's a minor quibble.
The book is a brisk, fun read, it truly does come off as a credible DOCTOR WHO episode (and in comparison to the weak 6th season entries, a superior one at that) ... and it can (and will) be enjoyed by young readers as well as adults. Geronimo ...
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.
Dan Abnett does a fine job of capturing the voices and mannerisms of the characters. Beyond that, well, this is pretty much what you’d expect: a by-the-numbers plot peppered with recurring quips, chase scenes, and recycled science fiction clichés (including the old “long-lost colony misinterpreting the original mission instructions as holy text” chestnut).
Because Abnett’s confined by the restrictions imposed on writers of these kinds of books, none of the characters closest to our hearts can grow, surprise us, or learn anything new. The result is a not-unpleasant but fairly mechanical series of events which, because they can have no long-term impact on the series, are entirely forgettable.
Verdict: Only die-hard fans should bother.