I have reached the end of my crash course in Classic Who. So I figured that I would write this up before I get to my Doctors. I can’t wait to read Nine’s story. It seems to be (because I have a horrible habit of flipping through the pages at the end of books) a slice of time in between the Nestene Consciousness and Rose running off with Nine.
So, without further ado:
The Seventh Doctor: The Ripple Effect by Malorie Blackman
Here was a Doctor that made sense to me. He was lovely, talked a whole heap of science, and absolutely hated the Daleks. Yes, the Daleks were back! Finally, enemies I recognise.
Or were they?
The Doctor and his companion, Ace, had gotten themselves trapped in the Time Plexus, essentially time-and-space quicksand, and the Doctor had to make a star go nova just so that they could escape. The Doctor’s plan worked, of course, but what he did caused a ripple effect across the universe is some wibbly wobbly timey wimey way and caused some very disturbing changes. The most noted of which:
Let me say that again: Daleks that were nice. They had no ray guns, pleasant voices, shared their knowledge with different species and, in one scene, actually apologised to the Doctor.
The Doctor naturally assumes that all of this is some kind of Dalek plot. Lulling the enemy into a false sense of security, that kind of thing. But then the High Council of Time Lords shows up. Voluntarily. Something has gone terribly, terribly wrong and it’s up to the Doctor and Ace to fix it.
This story showed me a Doctor who was talking scientific gobbledegook, much like Ten. I felt a little more at home with Seven. My Doctors have all been known to launch into long winded explanation that only make sense to him, and his companions just nod along looking impressed. Well, except River.
So, Seven played the spoons? There’s Two with the recorder, Seven with the spoons, and Eleven with the triangle. I really hope, at some point in time, they all got together and had a bit of a jam session. Somewhere safe, of course, where that wouldn’t have caused a tear in the fabric of reality. Kind of a ‘Day of the Doctor’ type thing.
Malorie Blackman also gave me a name for that gong sound the TARDIS makes every once in a while. I don’t know if this was a concept that Blackman came up with or if this was established Doctor Who canon, but that gong sound (that happened an awful lot under Eleven, don’t you think?) is called the Cloister Bell:
“It’s what the TARDIS does instead of screaming blue murder when something really bad happens!”
The Eighth Doctor: Spore by Alex Scarrow
My only experience with Eight was in ‘Night of the Doctor’. I thoroughly enjoyed that prequel. Almost as much as I love a sassy Doctor. If you never saw the prequel to the 50th, then I suggest you watch it now. Actually, I suggest you watch it before continuing with this blog post. Don’t worry, I’ll wait for you:
This was the only story in the collection thus far where the Doctor didn’t have a companion. I suppose that figures, since Eight really wasn’t around long enough to have a regular companion. I wish he had have been. From what I’ve seen, Eight would have been a thrill to follow around on a week-to-week basis.
“Stop right there!” The muffled voice sounded young. Very young. And very frightened. “Raise your hands!”
“Tsk, tsk,” chided the Doctor. “Raise your hands…please!”
This was a brilliant story for so many reasons. The enemy was a strain of pathogen that had decimated the Gallifreyans years and years before. So we get a glimpse into the Doctor’s history, which is always a great trip. Then we get the fact that the Doctor was still claiming ties to UNIT. I’m not sure about what went on during Eight’s screen time, but I feel as though the Doctor was using his past employment record, rather than any kind of contemporary consulting gig he may have held at this point in time. He just wanted to help.
But what cinched this story for me was the fact that the Doctor [SPOILERS] triumphed through diplomacy. He didn’t do anything violent or scientific or technological. He just talked his way out of the situation. Yes, a pathogen that can be reasoned with. Only in Who, eh? It was such a nice Doctor moment. Because a lot of the time the Doctor does run around and do all sorts of things that we don’t understand. But just as often he wins through talking in circles just long enough to make his enemy see his point of view. And that is something that has been missing through these stories: the Doctor’s ability to just talk. Thank you, Alex Scarrow. You’re another author whose books I will be finding.
You know, once I finish the massive TBR pile I have at the moment.