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Doctor Who: Independence Day Mass Market Paperback – 2 Oct 2000


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Books (2 Oct 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 056353804X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563538042
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 10.8 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 225,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

2.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Nov 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Independence Day" was a book I looked forward to for quite a while, but for a variety of reasons only recently got around to reading it.
Having read Darvill-Evans previous entry into the New Adventures series "Deceit" and finding highly enjoyable at the time - sometime in early 1993 - this was a huge disappointment.
The book starts out quite promisingly with a brief prologue featuring the underused Second Doctor and Jamie before proceeding to the main action with the Seventh Doctor and Ace. These early parts where the Doctor and Ace are together are actually quite good, but when the traditional device of splitting the Doctor from his companion occurs, that is where the problems begin.
The Doctor travels to this world which is populated by poorly characterised natives and evil oppressors who take these natives. I say natives, but they're actually human colonists who've been left on the planet when a corporation left them behind a considerable amount of time ago.
Ace's story begins on a space station and ends up with her being shipped into slavery. This whole storyline was unintersting and the characterisation of Ace was to say the least not good. Darvill-Evans in his characterisation of her goes for the early New Adventure approach and her character seems to be pre Love And War and doesn't really fit in with the way that the BBC Books have approached the character in the previous Seventh Doctor books. It also doesn't really seem to fit in with that New Adventure Ace. Therefore if this is a follow up to the last BBC Seventh Doctor adventure Prime Time, the changes in her character seem very drastic compared to how she was previously.
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By A Customer on 2 Oct 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After coming after the 4 brillient 7th doc books writen by Robert Perry, and Mike Tucker (illegal alien,matrix,storm havest, and primetime) This was a sad disapointment, I awaited the realise of this book with great hope, as I really enjoy the relationship between Ace and the Doctor.
It may have been important for the plot to work to have ace drugged, and out of the scene for the most, but that lead to the failure of the book.
What we did see of ace, we saw a 2d ace. The dark secrets, and evil of the 7th doctor we saw in matrix just wasn't here. Back is the tacky, sad 'depressed' doctor from the middle of the new adventures.
Roll on Mike Tuckers next book, lets hope he brings the doctor back to life
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By A Customer on 9 Oct 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Darvill-Evans was the power behind the first original Who novels, and I expected far far more from him than this. It feels as though it has been written by a robot for one of the old World Distributors Annuals. After Mike Tucker and Robert Perry's superb 7th Dr books this is a severe letdown. You can't win them all though.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Campbell on 8 Mar 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't often write reviews of any books, let alone children's books, but occasionally make an exception for cult classics. In the immediate aftermath of the doctor's 50th anniversary I felt compelled to buy a copy of `Dr Who and the Stones of Blood' by Terrance Dicks to add to the modest `Dr. Who' collection I began somewhere near Glasgow in the mid 1970's. Not only had the televised broadcast of this story been particularly memorable but I found the cover of the book to be quite entrancing and ultimately decided that it would `look good' during the 100 year celebrations. Similarly, when researching the Scottish Independence movement, I discovered that there actually was such a thing, I decided to purchase a copy of `Doctor Who - Independence Day' as a kind of un-superstitious `lucky charm.' Acknowledging the great crime of judging a book by the cover, I should point out that I have an eleven year old son so there is even a chance that the book may be read sometime. I thought that the `object' itself might neatly sum up the growing Celticity of `Dr.Who`, another factor which explains my affection for `The Stones of Blood'. By this I mean - Made in Wales, three Scottish doctors and Tom Baker's close affinity with the IRA.
I was not disappointed and now keep the book in a protective plastic wrapper.

Doctor Who and the Stones of Blood
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Okay story--pointless ending 20 Mar 2001
By Ed Matuskey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A Doctor who is caught up in events that quickly spiral out of his control, and an Ace who can handle herself quite well, thank you very much--some great characterizations, even if I didn't much care for parts of the story.
The book starts with a flashback to the 2nd Doc/Jamie days, where the Doctor carries off a piece of technology he liked the looks of. Years later, 7th Doc and Ace find it, and realize that it was actually rather important, and go to put it back. By then, however, history has taken a hand, and they end up seperated in the midst of a civil war. Classic novelized Doctor Who, this is a wonderful setup and series of events.
But there are some elements that are thrown in, seemingly at random, that sour the whole thing. A perfect example: at one point in the story, Ace gains total control of the space station everyone is using. Before she can take advantage, however, she's conked on the head and shipped out, and the matter never comes up again. Why tease us with the possibilities such a situation opens up, if you're not going to pursue any of them?
Another point of irritation: the whole basis for the story (taking something that isn't his, and bringing it back) turns out to not really matter, once things get going. The loss of the device isn't what created the current conflict, and once they're in the thick of things, the Doctor and Ace seem to forget the whole thing. As plot hooks go I suppose it's all right, but it was still annoying to see what I thought was an important plot element be abandoned mid-stream.
And then there's the ending. I don't want to give anything away, but suffice to say that the author throws in a hideous tragedy, for no good reason other than he could, letting the book end on an unsatisfying somber note. This seems to happen with a lot of Doctor Who novels--the (for example) killing off of a character just to provoke a reaction, when it doesn't really do much for the story. It's a cheap gimmick, and I expect more from my Doctor Who novels. Life is random and sometimes pointless--our stories shouldn't be!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Civil war and a messianic Doctor 17 Oct 2000
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book sees an adventure for the seventh Doctor and Ace. Ace, in exploring the TARDIS, turns up an item acquired by the second Doctor, which the current incarnation decides he should have left in place. The TARDIS takes the two back to the space station from which the item originated, and headlong into adventure.
This book is written by Peter Darvill-Evans, who had been the editor for the Doctor Who line of books published by Virgin. Ace is much more independent than she is sometimes portrayed, and in fact the two are separated for much of the book. As the story progresses, one or the other is dominating proceedings.
What I found particularly good is the examination of the impact of the Doctor on the people he is helping. Their position is so low that they find his actions miraculous, and he is fairly quickly cast in the role of a messiah. While this is not too far away from the way some people follow the Doctor, I don't recall it having been explored to the same extent as in this book. The Doctor finds his choices constrained by the sheer number of people directly relying upon him, and some of the things he would have preferred to do (like finding Ace) must be put on hold as he deals with the urgent needs of those who are his followers.
'Independence Day' is a welcome change from the dominance of Mike Tucker (with and without Robert Perry) in producing seventh Doctor and Ace books - not because Mr Tucker does it badly (quite the opposite) but sometimes a different view is refreshing.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
No fireworks here 14 April 2003
By bonsai chicken - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Doctor arrives at a twin planet system to return an item he borrowed many years ago and is caught up in a burgeoning slave trade. Ace, venturing off on her own, is sold into servitude herself, and the Doctor finds himself a reluctant messiah to the exploited underclass as he tries to find and rescue her.
Most of the narrative switches back and forth between political goings-on among the society's dignitaries, or the rebels' interminable wanderings in the desert, neither of which is particularly interesting. The Doctor is portrayed as some kind of superman, bending the barrels of shotguns in half and displaying immunity to anything the bad guys might throw at him. While his race does possess abilities and resistance beyond those of humans, this is a bit much. There is very little of the Doctor we know in personality either; indeed, there's very little of his character at all. Likewise Ace, who spends almost the entire time in a drug induced haze, which is a shame because the bits where she is in her own mind are the only relatively enjoyable segments.
In addition to being dull, this novel is written in such a way that anyone over the age of twelve or so is going to feel they're being talked down to. However, I wouldn't recommend it to any age. If you're craving an adventure that features the seventh Doctor and Ace, there are far better ones out there.
It's the boring Mad Libs version of "Doctor Who" 27 Mar 2011
By Michael Battaglia - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This isn't a bad story, but it certainly isn't a very exciting one. And it misfires on so many levels that you have to wonder if they were under deadline pressure to just release something. At least I hope that's the case because otherwise it shows a certain contempt for the audience, assuming that we'll just read any old thing.

As I've noted before, the Seventh Doctor has a wealth of narrative possibilities open to him simply because you can write stories about him that aren't totally bound to the TV continuity. Even if you have to leave all the exciting plot developments to the "current" Doctor, like having your companion turn into a living TARDIS, (the Eighth, at the time), as long as you make sure the Doctor is intact in order to get shot by a gang in the TV movie, you can pretty much do anything you want. Not everyone chooses to do that, of course, but at least it's nice to know that the option is there. Most of the time, the authors choose to tell a fairly standard story, which is okay if the story is told with a little bit of zest and some style. We all like our comfort food, even in our SF.

The bare bones of the story are promising. The Doctor goes to return an item that he took in his second incarnation by accident. Being a time traveler, he figures he'll just pop in five minutes after he took it and no one will be the wiser. It's an interesting premise to rest the story on, after all, what could go wrong in just five minutes? However, nothing is done with it beyond that and it just serves as an excuse to get he and Ace onto the space station and separated, whereupon the rest of the plot can occur. I'm aware that fiction is a construct and nothing occurs naturally but it would be nice if the plot hammering wasn't so blatant. There's no irony inherent in the situation spiraling out of control, no random occurrence of events as things slip further and further from where they started. They just needed to be there for the plot to happen and that's how it works.

The plot itself lacks ambition to the point of being alarming. A duke who helped a king get his start in taking over the planet now regrets it when he realizes that the king wants to take over the entire planet, and so is plotting on the sly with a group of loyal soldiers to take back the world, all the while working for the king as his right hand. Meanwhile, they're taking slaves from the second nearby world and dousing them with a potion that saps their willpower and turns them into zombies. The moral complications of this aren't really discussed beyond some mild scolding. Considering the effects of the zombie potion are permanent, you think there would be some regrets, but apparently.

Especially when Ace gets doused with the potion as well, sidelining her from the plot and taking away the one interesting thing about her subplot (the space station was left behind by the original mining company that settled the world . . . having got up there nobody knows how to work anything except for Ace, who has spent more than enough time in space stations) while pretty much every single person who sees her desires her body. I don't want to suggest that the author had a crush on Sophie Aldred but the motif sure pops up fairly often, and is discussed in great detail. Meanwhile the Doctor winds up on the other world and is caught up with the slaves, including Bep-Wor, who is looking for his mate Kia-Gia and the Doctor eventually rallies the slaves with the power of his personality and does wonderful things and oh my God who cares is it over yet?

I don't like to sound mean about this novel but there's absolutely nothing in here to latch onto. The threat is practically nonexistent and at no point does anyone seem in danger. It gets to the point where the Doctor himself is poison and not even for a second does Ace even assume that he'll be anything but okay. The Doctor is immune to everything and comes up with never before seen powers, which would be okay if the threat was worthy of him or if he was staying in the background manipulating things. But for the most part he's getting slaves to chant his name and listening to Bep-Wor whine about missing his mate or wanting to go home. The supporting characters are drab or one-dimensional, or both and everyone seems very involved in an outcome that never seems in doubt. It seems like everyone is in on the conspiracy but the king so the revolution, when it comes, is more of everyone finally getting around to it than anything else.

It would help if the prose was sharper but it reads like a young adult novel, all simple sentences and structures. It would help if there was some crackling Doctor and Ace banter but they're separated for most of the novel and are barely active simultaneously (while the Doctor is leading the fight, Ace is following orders dutifully, when it wears off because she somehow got the only temporary dose, the Doctor has been poisoned and is MIA for a while). More than anything else it's just turning pages in order to the end, without any joy or sense of discovery. It's just a generic world with a generic cruel leader that the Doctor has to lead a generic revolt against. Yawn.

The author seems to realize this as well, as he pulls out a dark and gritty ending out of nowhere. One character is permanently turned into a zombie and another main character commits a murder-suicide in the closing pages without warning. Since you don't really care about the characters anyway there's no real sense of loss and as its done in the closing pages there's no real time to even develop reactions to it. It just feels like an artificial attempt to graft some heavy meaning onto the plot, but it falls flat.

Given that Darvill-Evans was once an editor of the much edgier New Adventures line and was instrumental on maturing Ace from her portrayal on the TV show, I expected a little bit more here. Instead we get a simplistic story told in a simplistic fashion, with really nothing to recommend it unless you have a pressing need to read every single story featuring the Seventh Doctor.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The Doctor As Superman 24 Dec 2000
By Kevin L. Nenstiel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
There is plenty of adventure and derring-do in this story, that can't be denied. The hero and his tag-alongs travel between worlds on vessels that aren't fit to move livestock, there's a major civil war to overthrow a megalomaniac tyrant, attempts to solve an insoluble conundrum, and more adventures that would allow by to use big words. It's a good adventure.
However, I quickly grow tired of the Doctor as an unbeatable Superman figure. He is immune to a nerve toxin. He drinks poison and just goes into hibernation. He never gets tired or hungry, he never needs a bath or a shave, and his clothes never stink. Part of the fun of the series for several years has been how the Doctor gets himself into fixes where it looks like he's going to be done in, but he manages to pull himself out through his skill and quick wits. If nothing really affects him like it would us mere mortals, where's the tension?
Still, it's a pretty good adventure on the whole, with tension revolving around the attempts of the other characters to evade the influences that the Doctor can just shrug off. I can't say it's a "can't-miss" but it's definitely a pretty fun read.
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