- Series: Doctor Who (Telos Hardcover)
- Hardcover: 120 pages
- Publisher: Telos Pub Ltd; Deluxe edition (March 1, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1903889030
- ISBN-13: 978-1903889039
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,505,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Time and Relative (Doctor Who) Hardcover – March 1, 2002
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As a story that is told entirely from the POV of Susan's diary, one may be a bit concerned with exactly how well this will be executed. During the course of her travels on-board the TARDIS, Susan was not always the most interesting of companions despite the unique relationship that she shared with the Doctor. When I heard that TIME AND RELATIVE was set before AN UNEARTHLY CHILD and that there would be no viewpoint outside of Susan's, I feared the worst. Susan dealing with rotten teachers. Susan dealing with catty classmates. Susan dealing with... boys. The horror, oh, the horror.
To my complete shock, my favourite portions of the book were those that focused on Susan's comparatively mundane adventures at Coal Hill School. Those diary entries are excellent. Many teenagers feel like outsiders at times, but an alien from a far off place stuck in an English school in the 60's is truly a unique individual. And Kim Newman captures her perfectly. As a character study of the two explorers that we met in An Unearthly Child, this story excels. The mystery that was so prevailing and compelling about those early days is back in full force, though there is a slight added twist, which you'll have to read for yourself to discover.
The story actually takes a slight dip once the main plot begins and the inevitable Doctor Who monsters show up. They're quite well written and interesting, but these passages simply aren't as good as the sections that heavily feature Susan's thoughts. Her viewpoints and opinion come through occasionally, of course, but they're spread too far apart. Susan and her strange Grandfather are the real stars of this story, and we hate being distracted from them, if even for a moment.
The plot itself is fairly simple and occasionally borrows from other stories, but it is quite well suited to the novella format. The ending is perfect, with the actual turning point at the conclusion being a stroke of genius. There are only a few points where it feels like a run-around, which it really is at the heart of it. It's all this other wonderful stuff around the bare plot that makes it so enjoyable.
As the beginning to a new line of books, TIME AND RELATIVE largely succeeds. If you're curious about this series, then know that this story is a great beginning. It plays to the strengths of its novella-sized format and includes some excellent character pieces. It may not be the greatest Doctor Who adventure that you'll ever read, but it's certainly one of the better ones.