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Doctor Who: Option Lock [Paperback]

Justin Richards
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Feb 1998 Doctor Who
On contemporary Earth, the Doctor and Sam discover an ancient secret society is trying to start a nuclear war. An optical mystery compounds their confusion and the mysterious US-owned Station Nine brings further problems for them to resolve.

Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Books; paperback / softback edition (2 Feb 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 056340583X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563405832
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 11.2 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 163,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Justin Richards has written more books than he can remember. He has also written audio scripts, television, a stage play, edited anthologies of short stories, been a technical writer, and founded and edited a media journal.
Justin is the author of - amongst other things - The Death Collector, The Chaos Code, The Parliament of Blood and the series The Invisible Detective, Time Runners, and Agent Alfie. He is also Creative Director of the BBC's best-selling range of Doctor Who books, and has written a fair few of them himself.
His latest novel - The Skeleton Clock - is available for the Kindle.
Justin lives in Warwick with his wife and two children, and a lovely view of the castle.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ubelievable, but still a good read. 6 Nov 2000
By A Customer
...Although, I agree that there are points wee the reader will sit and laugh at this book, due to the sheer stupidity of it's main characters, I still found the story very enjoyable. Considering the state of other Who books, this storyline certainly stands above many others I have read. I would give it a 3.5 out of 5.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Option Lock 29 Jan 2013
Option Lock is an Eighth Doctor novel based on present day Earth and revolving around a complex plot to cause nuclear destruction. Sadly the word complex means just that. Within the first few pages the amount of different plot threads raised was staggering and served only to confuse this reader. That isn't to say parts of it were not interesting, there was just so much going I struggled to keep track. You have people collapsing, a plot to kill an obviously powerful American, dodgy ruins, and enough characters to fill a rather large hall.

After a confusing start, the novel then does get better. The Doctor and Sam are made welcome at the manor house under the flimsiest of cover and spend the next few chapters investigating the ruins, some spooky painting and something called the Philosophers Stone. It soon becomes clear that all is not as it seems and one by one the plot threads do sink into place and the final half of the book is exciting and interesting. The fact it took so long to reach this excitement rather ruined the book for me.

This is a fairly standard Doctor Who adventure which will please the majority of people but be forgotten within a month.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A by-the-numbers entry in an often sloppy range 26 Nov 1999
By A Customer
Many of the early BBC Doctor Who novels were rather dire and dull. This is, sadly, no exception. It starts off aching with promise, and then just yawns to a conclusion. It's just not probable - why, if you were an evil mastermind intent on world domination, would you invite the Doctor to stay in your country house just because he popped up in the grounds? If you simply had to have him around, couldn't you at least put him up in a B&B nearby so that you can get on with your sinister midnight scheming? It's just one of those books where you end up dutifully suspending your disbelief so much you stop believing in the book entirely. And then you wonder why you're bothering.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull, dull and duller 21 Mar 2002
By A Customer
It started off so promisingly and then gradually fell apart. I was really looking forward to reading this, but in the end, the only reason I wanted to finish this book was because of the monotony. The alien aspect of the plot might as well has been non-existent. The only reason it's there is to provide the characters with some motivation. We see the aliens at the beginning and then again in the middle(and even then only as dessicated corpses). The plot was interesting but it would have been more absorbing if we'd seen a little bit more of the aliens. There is however, lots of action but I'm afraid that doesn't compensate for this novels bad points. However this novel does seem slightly better when viewed retrospectively.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars OH, PLEASE... NOT AGAIN 17 April 2001
By Thomas E. O'Sullivan - Published on Amazon.com
A better title for OPTION LOCK might be - DOCTOR WHO, OR HOW I STOPPED WORRYING ABOUT THE BOMB AND LEARNED TO LOVE SAM IN A WET T-SHIRT... and yes, the wet t-shirt does make it into this novel, and it's just as odd and misplaced as pretty much everything else found between the pages. OPTION LOCK, the Eighth 8th Doctor adventure, is an odd mix - just by reading it you can tell that nearly all of this book must have been written and submitted by Justin Richards to other publishing houses and rejected. It's a gripping tale of US nuclear policy and a secret space defense platform known as STATION NINE - with this in hand, he hammers in the Doctor and Sam, steals BIG from the Third Doctor's adventure - THE DAEMONS (almost all the plot and feel from that adventure is in OPTION LOCK - if the BBC didn't own it, and this wasn't a DOCTOR WHO novel... they would have sued), plus adds in the Fifth Doctor's THE AWAKENING - and hopes for the best. But it dosen't work - Sam and the Doctor are hardly in this novel, and even when they are, they are reduced to playing roles that just outright bore you and make you cringe (see said passage about the wet t-shirt). Sam still is one of the worst WHO companions - and I think I finally have found the reason why, and it's this: she has no skills. None. Other than biting her fingernails, hiding, and still making eyes at the Doctor - she does nothing. At least with other companions, they had a talent - Ace could fashion explosives (and she could fight), Susan was a Time Lord, Viki was a mental giant, and on and on and on... the only companions Sam might feel at home with are Mel (who never got an introduction in the series proper) and Dodo (who never got an exit - she just disappears about two episodes into THE WAR MACHINES and is never seen again) - but they are rare cases. Overall, this book is just plain dull and offers nothing new to the DOCTOR WHO universe. But, they are becoming harder to find... so if you're a collector, I recommand picking one up to make the set - but as for entertainment, you're better of either writing your own - or watching the series on tape.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull, dull and... more dull 14 Nov 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This book is not especially hard to get into, but finishing it really is a challenge. The whole plot centres around a group of alien beings who crashed on Earth in the thirtienth century and now a wealthy Englishman is trying to revive them, even if it means starting a nuclear war. A solid enough plot. However, its just the way it's done that I dont like. The aliens feature in it at only two points both of which are relatively short. If it wasn't for those two brief sections of the story you wouldn't know the plot even involved aliens and at times it seems to run independently of them. It does feel very Bondian at some points, especially in the parts involving the Russians and the Americans. Not a bad novel, just incredibly boring.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Do you fancy starting a nuclear war? 31 Dec 1999
By Pamala P. Ritchie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was hard to get through at times. The Doctor and Sam are forced to land the Tardis on Earth in the 21st century. They find themselves on a manor estate and get caught up in the sinister machinations of the "Lord of the Manor".
Frankly, although I like James Bond, the middle section of this book was boring to me. I kept thinking of stories like "Independence Day" where the suspence was kept to the breaking point without bogging down the story. If this is all accurate (and I suspect it is), I know more about the responses of the US Government to a nuclear strike than I ever wanted to. I suppose all that detail was necessary to the plot to explane why the LOTM was doing what he was doing. But, oh it was boring! Not enough Doctor in it.
That's another thing - the character of the Doctor was wrong. I can see a trend here - the authors of some of these books seem to see Sam as an Ace-wannabe that is growing into a Mad Max kind of woman. Strong, tough but can still be female and break down in tears. Humm - maybe, but it isn't quite right yet. Not a book I'll be likely to read again.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who is the plan, the plan is Who 7 Jan 2008
By Michael Battaglia - Published on Amazon.com
Sometimes you get the impression that the writers of these books really wanted to write another type of novel, but the BBC requires their Doctor Who line of novels to actually mention the title character once in a while and so suddenly they have to shoehorn the Doctor in there somehow. Granted, the inclusion of the Doctor isn't that awkward here but one does get the impression that Richards wanted to write a suspense filled novel of high espionage but instead settled for a novel of nuclear war and aliens and oh, right, the Doctor. That aside, the bits with the Doctor are pretty good, he and Sam are pulled off course and land on present-day Earth and find themselves guests in a house where some strange plan seems afoot. These sections are interesting as the Doctor tries to piece together an unfolding mystery before the people in the house figure out that he isn't on their side and afterwards he's just trying to stay one step ahead. However, interspersed with all the alien fun as scenes involving the US government either engaged in conspiracy, being victims of a conspiracy or discussing whether a conspiracy is actually present. As much as I enjoy global politics, for some reason I don't find the sequences with the US President interesting at all and found myself flipping pages to get back to whatever the Doctor is doing. This is sort of a compliment because I think Richards writes a really good Eighth Doctor, he's got a mixture of the other incarnations but slightly different enough that he stands out and he does manage to carry most of the novel without doing anything too mysterious or deus ex machina. He even get to be an action hero for a little bit. The aliens' scheme may not exactly live up to the complexity it's clearly hoping for but it at least seems partially well thought out, although sometimes unduly complicated and if a secret platform existed orbiting the planet I suppose the plan would be entirely plausible. And things do get better whne the global hijinks start to dovetail with whatever the Doctor is doing and they don't seem to be occurring in two entirely different novels. But the end starts to go over the top just a little bit, although admittedly the blood and violence is a change of pace. Sam is a little bit better than normal although she's still nothing special (everyone seems mad over the wet T-shirt scene, but it's just so much static with her) the authors do seem to want to subject her to at least one trauma per novel so that she can weep uncontrollably, plus it gives them something to comment on in the next book for the sake of continuity. There's nothing really bad about this book and it's actually well written and well constructed but when you're finished it's just kind of there, without any real excitement or any striking images or themes to take home. Even the secret of the paintings (it drove the artist mad and he killed himself) really isn't that spectacular once you find out. It's a book that goes down easy but leaves you with nothing to take out of it, so I can recommend it as a not-bad book, I can't really recommend it as a great book. Does that make any sense?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid story proves Doctor Who is still thrilling fiction 22 Jan 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
A solid Doctor Who book which mesmerises the reader with an action sequence of James Bond proportions. The mysteries in the story are wonderfully built up and the character of Sam Jones fleshed out in surprisingly strong fashion. Never derivative or boring, Option Lock is a great introduction for new readers to a wonderful science fiction series.
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