Most helpful positive review
on 30 April 2014
Parallel 59 is an Eighth Doctor novel by Natalie Dallaire and Stephen Cole. Natalie appears to only have ever written this book and Stephen Cole was in charge of the line at this time, which suggests that this book suffered from difficulties, not that you’d know it to read it.
The main premise of Parallel 59 is that the planet Skale is trying to reach out into space, but is divided into different parallels, each paranoid of the other. It’s obviously fiction, but it draws similar parallels (see what I did there?) with our own space race. The TARDIS crew land on a space station and have to abandon it, with Fitz taking one pod to the convalescent place of Mechta, and the Doctor and Compassion heading down to Skale. Fitz enjoys his new life, but the Doctor and Compassion are captured and tortured as spies. As the story progresses it appears Mechta isn’t all it appears, and neither are the space stations orbiting Skale.
The Doctor is on form throughout and actually gets a fair bit to do, which is nice given his lack of involvement in recent stories. Compassion has also finally cemented herself as a companion after her much needed character building in the previous novel, Frontier Worlds. She is still mysterious, but I felt connected to her for the first time since her introduction. The star of the show still is Fitz however with all his bits being an absolute joy to read. I really like the fact that he is basically a normal bloke in well over his head and just muddling through life as best he can. If I was trapped in a strange place away from my friends then I’d be shagging left, right and centre too. On the flipside you do see that the Doctor has rubbed off on him.
The staff at Parallel 59 are very well done, with only a few blurring into each other. The paranoia and tension makes for an interesting novel and it’s nice to see that none of them are truly evil, just out of themselves. There is a huge twist right at the end which I didn’t see coming, but felt entirely natural.
I really enjoyed Parallel 59, which given my initial apprehension about an unknown author being guided by the range manager was surprising. The more adult themes and general paranoia make a great novel and therefore I’d highly recommend it to all.