“The Resurrection Casket” by Justin Richards

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I don’t know if you’ve cottoned on yet, but I’m going through a bit of Doctor Who withdrawal at the moment. Well, specifically, a good companion withdrawal. On UKTV I’ve got the Ponds, and on Syfy I have Leela. All three of which are strong, independent (yes, even Rory), and their own people. But I know that, come August or September, or whenever it is the BBC is giving us Season 8, I’ll be stuck with Clara again.

As opposed to Rose, Jack, Martha, Donna, Amy, Rory who would be telling the Doctor to hurry up...

As opposed to Rose, Jack, Martha, Donna, Amy, Rory who would be telling the Doctor they’ve already found it…

I just really don’t like her. Or her story. I mean, in the Christmas special when it comes out that she fancies Eleven? No! From what I’ve seen, they have a bit of a mother-son relationship. Especially because Clara divides herself through time and space in order to save the Doctor from the Great Intelligence. Yes, it could be argued that she did it for love. Romantic love, that is. I saw it as the ultimate sacrifice a mother could make for her child.

I am aware that as a Time Lord who has lived for over a millennium, it is weird to be taken care of by a twenty-something year old. But hey, Never Apply Logic To Who. I should get that tattooed somewhere.

To distract myself from my reality, I’ve been reading all about Ten and Rose. But I’ve come to my last TenxRose story. Which just sucks. I move onto Martha now. I may hate Martha for trying to eclipse Rose, but she was still so secure in who she was that she gave up travelling through time and space because it hurt too much to be with the Doctor. That takes so much strength.

That’s enough of a diatribe against Clara. So I’ll get stuck into The Resurrection Casket.

DOCTOR: Amy, what are you doing? AMY: Saving your life. Okay with that, are you?

What struck me most about this Who story was the strong resemblance it had to another story in the Whoniverse: ‘The Curse of the Black Spot’. There’s a monster that’s going around killing people who have been given a black spot. Only instead of the black spot being on the person’s skin, it’s on a piece of paper that gets slipped into a pocket or something. Plus, there are pirates. It took a lot of mind power to get the timeline right in my head. This story happened before Eleven. So it was the Season 6 writers drawing inspiration from Richards, not the other way around.

The brilliant thing about The Resurrection Casket was that there were elements of steampunk in there. Robots who can’t use their fancy electronic systems so they have to go back to the old ways of steam powered robotics. I love it. Steampunk Who, steampunk pirates. It doesn’t get much better than that.

What was interesting was the amount of brutality in this novel. We get slashing claws, blood everywhere, bloodthirsty robot pirates, a man who murdered his wife because she cheated, and a man who had molten lead poured over him for being the lover of that murdered wife. At times it felt like I was reading a Torchwood story, not a Doctor Who one. I liked that, though. I mean, not everyone reads the stories. It’s the TV show that has to stay around the PG/M rating. The books can deviate a little. Probably because you can’t see the blood, it’s only imagined.

I did have a few issues with The Resurrection Casket, though.

First of all, a lot of end-of-chapter cliffhangers were the same. Claws/blades/hammers/axes being swung at someone’s head. I mean, steam-powered robots and a casket that supposedly brings people back from the dead? Richards could have been a little more creative than that. Not to mention the fact that we all know the Doctor and Rose were going to get away. We don’t lose Ten until The End of Time. And we don’t lose Rose until Doomsday (or Journey’s End, however you want to look at it). We know how their stories end. So what’s the point of trying to put these characters in life-and-death situations? I mean, I love seeing Rose attack a robot that made the mistake of underestimating her, but I really don’t get it. I suppose there’s a bit of a formula to Who, but there’s got to be a way to play with that formula. That’s what writers do! All the time!

My main issue with this story was Ten’s character. I felt as though his voice was lost. Ten is quirky, but in a way that’s all his own. Sometimes Ten would rant like himself, and sometimes I could swear it was Eleven. And none of that makes any sense because this story came out years before Matt’s incarnation of the Doctor. So, I suppose what actually happened was that Richards lost the essence of Ten. I caught glimpses of my favourite Doctor but he got lost inside either Richard’s story or inside Richard’s head.
Rose was fine, and the new characters were awesome (a robot named Elvis going by the alias King? Genius!), but the Doctor was not himself. Maybe he was feeling a little under the weather?

How can you not want more of this?!

How can you not want more of this?!

Oh! And the bond between Rose and the Doctor? Barely touched on. Like, it was almost non-existent! Not OK, Richards, not OK.

★★★

PS: The pictures I use in my posts are not mine. I’m not talented enough to make GIFs and things, so I borrow them. But I always link to the original source. All you have to do is click on the picture. 

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About Bec Graham

Bec Graham, 24, was born on the wrong continent. Everything from her burns-like-paper skin tone to her inability to cope with the slightest hint of a hot day suggests she should have been born under the gloomy skies and mild sun of the UK. She hopes writing will get her to her rightful home one day. Failing that, she scans the skies for a spinning blue police box, hoping to catch a lift back to the motherland.
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11 Responses to “The Resurrection Casket” by Justin Richards

  1. Glad I am not the only one who doesn’t love Clara. I really liked her before she was Clara, back in her Oswin Oswald days, being a Dalek and the Impossible Girl. Before she became a companion!

    But no one can compare to Rose Tyler in my book! Always going to be my favorite.

    • Bec Graham says:

      So did I! I was watching Asylum of the Daleks the other day and I was just sitting there wondering “now, where did THIS Clara go?”.

      I am so glad that I’m not the only one!!!

      • I was kinda hoping with the new Doctor we would get a new companion. It isn’t looking like it though :/

        How long do you thinks she is going to be around?

      • Bec Graham says:

        I’m hoping Clara’s relationship with Twelve is completely different. Otherwise I don’t know how much more of her I can stomach. Someone told me Moffatt wanted Clara to be the next Rose. That is EVERY SHADE OF WRONG!!!!!

      • Well, good thing we have RTD who can put his foot down on that one, hopefully. It is absurd. She is nothing even like Rose!

        She isn’t even close to Amy, Martha, or Donna. They were all strong and stubborn. Not afraid to tell off the Doctor (repeatedly sometimes) when he was making a bad decision, or to go off and fix shit on their own. Clara is just like, “where are you going? I will just follow you and do as I am told and be completely oblivious to your entire personality.”

        Like in the Christmas special? How was she surprised he sent her back? Seriously? It is like, his basic MO.

      • Bec Graham says:

        I know! I just.she’s nothing like the other companions. Her identity depends on the Doctor. For the others, they let the Doctor enrich them, they didn’t let him become their whole world. That’s why I loved Amy so much. She never left Rory for the Doctor because she loved him too much. That was beautiful.

        I know! Exactly right! I mean River showed up the Doctor in front of all his friends, Donna stopped the Doctor destroying that spider thing (can never remember its name, Martha helped mend the Doctor’s broken heart (while breaking her’s in the process) and Rose.justRose “No, you’re not keeping the horse!” “I let you keep Mickey!”

        And OMG, right? Rule number one: the Doctor lies. She needs to spend a few days with River. Seriously, River would be like “Ummm.yeah, so how about you let up a bit?”

      • Haha oh god, now I am picturing a Clara/River sit down. Hilarious!

      • Bec Graham says:

        Have you seen that episode of How I Met Your Mother where Ted gives Barney Robin lessons? ‘Robin 101’. I can see River doing that with Clara about Eleven. Man, in the name of the Doctor where the Doctor says River died and River’s looking at Clara like “YeahI so am. Oops.”

      • And the Doctor can totally see River the whole time. His sassy wife.

        I loved in the Christmas special when he was just like, “totally married her.”

        I love them!

      • Bec Graham says:

        So do I! I am so glad River was his next love. She’s so different from Rose. But both of them knew how to handle him.
        Oh yeah, that bit was brilliant. But my favourite ElevenxRiver moment was when River was ranting at him in The Name of the Doctor, goes to slap him, and Eleven catches her hand. OMG…I well up every time.

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