on 9 August 2001
Steve Emmerson's previous Doctor Who book, Casualties of War, was well received and I found it to be an enjoyable, if insubstantial, entry into the Eighth Doctor Adventures. But unfortunately his new one, Dark Progeny, is very disappointing.
The main problem with Dark Progeny is that it fails to engage on many levels. The first hundred pages or so all pass by with very little of interest happening, and this feeling of detachment continues throughout the novel, even after the story starts to become more developed. It doesn't help that Emmerson pushes both Anji and Fitz out of the plots for the vast majority of the novel, with Fitz's appearance being little more than a cameo.
The premise of the novel is quite fascinating, but it's execution is flawed. Based on this and Casualties of War, Emmerson has great writing ability, and although Dark Progeny is well written in terms of it's actual construction, the prose tends to be lifeless. His characters are generally indistinct, the exception being Gaskill Tyran who is the most well developed character in the book.. Although the Doctor does some unexpected things in this novel, his character lacks the unpredictability that has become part of his character in the recent EDA's seems to be missing, and attempts to bring him into line with the 'darker' Doctor we've seen lately feel forced.
It's not really a bad book, just a rather dull one.
on 4 May 2002
This book struck me as a throwback to the early Eighth Doctor adventures. It's all very standard stuff: if this was a sci-fi film it would be one of those straight to video post-Alien ones with a few people creeping around black corridors with industrial tubing.
Normally, I just find this kind of thing boring, but I liked this novel. It has an author who can write and a plot that makes sense and a proper ending. And amid all the contrived weirdness lately this is a completely unpretentious novel. So it made a nice change.