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Doctor Who: Loving the Alien [Paperback]

Mike Tucker , Robert Perry
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 May 2003 Doctor Who
A novel featuring the Seventh Doctor and his fan-favorite sidekick Ace. The Doctor knows Ace is going to die. Knows very well, because although she is sitting in the TARDIS watching the TV news, she is also beside him as a corpse. And there is something very, very strange about the autopsy results. In London, 1959, the Doctor does all he can to prevent Ace's tragic death, due to occur in a few hours. In the process, he discovers further anomalies - swarms of giant ants emerging from the ground being among the least of his worries. A disturbing fetish for Cyberisation has taken hold of Britain, and the Doctor can probably guess who's behind it! Against a background of international (and trans-dimensional) espionage, giant ants and Cyber-primates, and quite possibly the end of the world as we know it, the Doctor struggles to save his companion from a fate which she seems more and more determined to bring upon herself.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Books (5 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 056348604X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563486046
  • Product Dimensions: 17.9 x 11 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 247,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pacy but confusing 6 July 2003
By "rd99"
Having enjoyed all of Perry and Tucker's previous Dr Who books, I was looking forward to this one - but was very disappointed. I had trouble concentrating on the book, and got confused about which character was which, and whose side they were on. There was so much double-dealing, and double characters from different dimensions, that I, frankly, got lost. That said, the book is not a complete disappointment: these writers really know how to capture the personalities of their "dream team" of the 7th Dr and Ace; they keep things moving at a cracking pace; the setting, rainy London of the late 50s, is well established; and they can perfectly create a real "Dr Who" atmosphere, complete with four-part structure and edge-of-your-seat cliffhangers. The problem, for me, with this book was its plot, which I found confusing and unengaging. I still think this novel is worth your time; but for a really 5-star 7th Dr and Ace novel, try the same writers' "Storm Harvest" - you won't be disappointed!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm lovin' it lovin' it lovin' it 28 April 2009
The best novels in this series are generally the ones featuring The Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) and Ace (Sophie Aldred). The period feel is well written; apart from the mediocre TV stories 'The Idiot's Lantern' and 'Delta and the Bannermen', the 1950s is a period that The Time Lord has rarely visited on screen or in print, and there is a lot of potential with postwar anarchy and the move towards the era of the teenager and Rock and Roll. McCoy's Doctor is in sprightly form and his teenage tearaway companion is her usual moody, damaged self. A decent read but far from the best in the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Loving the Alien 1 Jun 2006
By Rich
Despite featuring my least favourite Doctor companion combo, I did enjoy this novel. It helps to have read Illegal Alien first as some of the characters are back in this one. A little slow to get going but it picks up quickly and moves along at a brisk pace. Characterisation of the 7th Doc is great, the same cannot be said for Ace who as usual is sullen, moody and not that sympathetic. Well worth reading.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loving the book... to a degree 25 May 2009

I gave this four stars because once again it was a slick, fast paced, action packed, shocking at times, (with its gratuitous, but wholly necessary, description of violence and the aftermath of it), novel which once again also contained several three dimensional, fully fleshed out characters. However, the reason I didn't give this five stars is because, for me, the epilogue was a bit of a copout in comparison.

Still, I thoroughly enjoyed how the writers conveyed George Limb's desperation and, as the book progressed, how intense that desperation got. I also enjoyed how the writers showed that you can respect certain aspects of someone, on a non-emotional, detached level, but still abhor the motivations behind the actions they take. I thought Limb's motivations were completely selfish, but, in a way, understandable.

...and on that, I also enjoyed the introduction of a somewhat similar situation to the Limb character through the Mullen character and how they showed that, depending on the individual, how that certain situation is broached in a different manner. A very nice piece of ingenuity.

However, what I didn't like about the book was primarily the epilogue. In short, what I got from the epilogue was that Time had finally decided to manipulate itself in order to save one person - Ace. Not good at all, in my opinion. Admittedly it's a nice way in which to save the character, but considering that, in my opinion, it utterly contradicts all that we've come to learn about Time and Space from the Doctor's POV, it's a terribly bad save.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Giant ants! Oh MY!! 9 Sep 2005
By Joe Tackett - Published on
This book has a lot going for it. Ace, The Doctor, 1950's England, and GIANT ANTS!! Sadly, it has a lot against it as well. DO NOT bring back a villian from a previous BBC Past Doctor book. Do not bring back other charecters from past Doctor books. I haven't read them all, so I miss the point. If you have not read the two previous books by these authors, don't read this one. Also, don't kill off Ace (It's on the back of the book, no spoilers) just to bring her back the last 5 pages of the book. Doctor Who is best when there are realistic plausible plots, I get so sick of the "alternate universe" cop-out. Again, I would have enjoyed this book much better knowing the charecters. It had a feel of one of the old Virgin New Adventures. Overall, a nice try, but lacked consistant quality.
5.0 out of 5 stars Costarring Jimmy Dean, but not the one you're thinking of 6 Dec 2012
By Michael Battaglia - Published on
I'm not even sure what the title of this has to do with the rest of the book. Which means they're either working at an angle totally tangential to my view of the book, or I missed the point entirely. It would certainly be easier if everything was my fault.

For quite a few Past Doctor Adventures, Tucker and Perry have been carving out their own little section of the Who universe by crafting a mini-arc around the Seventh Doctor and Ace. Taking place after the show is over (but sometime before the Virgin Adventures really seem to get going), they've been writing a continuing series of stories featuring Our Heroes, but with one little long-running plot thread. For reasons that haven't become clear until now, the Doctor has Ace's corpse from the future buried in a TARDIS basement. She's been murdered, you see, or will be, and he's trying to figure out how and where and why, presumably so can he stop it. At least that sounds like a reasonable plan, even if it does skirt the Laws of Time slightly.

Unfortunately, what does the Master Planner, the manipulative and clever, Mr Sleight of Hand and Back Up Plan the Seventh Doctor do? He figures out the how and the when and in an effort to figure out the why, he takes her to that period of time and place. Which is kind of like being told by a fortune teller that you're going to die in a horrible fire and then proceeding to attend Bonfire Night at your local high school. Sure it may not happen but no one is going to feel that bad that you went in asking for it.

As it turns out the Doctor has plenty of other distractions besides Ace's imminent and somewhat avoidable demise. A rocket test has managed to come down with a different pilot than the one who went up, which is even funnier because it's one of the pilots who is already on the ground. Also, giant ants are appearing and weird soldiers keep popping up. So it's no surprise that with all that going on, in the midst of it Ace gets away from the Doctor and manages to get capped in the head, just like Time has predicted. It's not even a spoiler.

From that point on the plot almost forgets about Ace entirely as it brings in characters from all the other Tucker and Perry novels just in time for it to become clear that parallel universes are afoot and things are about to get quite messy. Fortunately we know that the Doctor and Ace have to survive to go on to have the Virgin Adventures so it's more or less a matter of waiting for the resolution to occur and the reset button to get hit.

I'll give the authors credit, they ARE trying. But it seems that they're trying to appease the fans of the old Virgin Adventures by being utterly traditional, which misses the point somewhat. Footnotes to other Tucker/Perry romps abound, which never strikes me as a good sign, and the book is once again shoehorned into that four part format meant to mimic the television show we all think we remember. Bringing in all the old characters and referring to what happened only accentuates that it's been a while since we've read these other novels and too much seems to depend on us remembering what has happened before, otherwise all our emotional hooks become blunted. They're trying to write the Seventh Doctor as the figure we all remember from those "stories too big to fit the small screen" as best they can and some parts do have that feel but their portrayal of the Doctor lacks that edge of mystery and . . . alienness for lack of a better word. This Doctor feels familiar when he should be keeping us off-balance, our old buddy instead of the man kept at a slight distance that we have to meet all over again because we only think we know him.

Even worse the book keeps throwing out these ideas that could be neat but wind up being tossed aside in favor of focusing on characters that we've seen from other books. The giant ants are more or less window dressing but we've given an entire parallel world that could be worth exploring but we barely scratch the surface before it becomes just another function of the plot. The invasion of a parallel world isn't the most original idea in SF (for a more recent example, see the "Sliding Albion" arc from "The Authority" comic) but what do see makes it a shame that more isn't revealed, especially since the little glimpse is so frustrating. The main villain of the piece is a step in the Tobias Vaughn direction, and while he lacks that man's verve or personality, he seems to be clever enough and its a change of pace to see someone with evil motivations act through actual sociopathic tendencies as opposed to grandiose egomania.

But too many other parts feel off. A famous dead actor appears no longer dead but there's hardly any emotional weight or tragedy to it, the world seems to be the same as it ever was. When the Doctor sends cybernetic apes against the oncoming soldiers it doesn't have the urgency or last ditch desperation that it should and so feels wrong (especially since he knows they're going to kill everyone in sight). Ace is gone for many a page and then just as suddenly is back in what feels like an extreme cop-out as the whole point of the book is wondering how the Doctor is going to get around Ace's undodgeable fate. Turns out she can't avoid the fate but it doesn't matter but somehow she's okay anyway. It becomes the plot equivalent of painting yourself in a corner and then getting out by drawing a door in the wall. At times it feels like they were going to string out the Ace subplot for as long as they could until they were suddenly forced to wrap it up.

It's a shame because you get the sense they are trying very hard and what it makes even more frustrating is how close they come. A few more tweaks in a different direction would have made a world of difference. Though its possible now, with the Ace stuff out of the way, they can push further with the stuff that did work and give us something utterly new next time out. That's enough to hope for, really.
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