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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Would've made a great tv story.
Alistair Reynolds you know your Third Doctor this is a epic Third Doctor adventure read superbly by Geoffrey Beevers(Big Finish audio Master & Master in The Keeper of Traken).

I wont give away to much but i would say if this story was made for the tv series it would've been one of the best Third Doctor storys made.

Reynolds writing of the Pertwee...
Published 14 months ago by Timelord007

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3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings...
It's Alastair Reynolds and it's Doctor Who. If you are a fan of both then you should buy this book. At least, that's what I thought...

The novel begins with a wonderfully nasty prologue and Reynolds fluid prose style engages immediately. There's a brilliant death in chapter one that could have been lifted straight out of a Terrance Dicks or Malcolm Hulke...
Published 6 months ago by Paul Laville


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Would've made a great tv story., 12 Sep 2013
By 
Timelord007 (The Eccentric Wanderer) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Harvest of Time (3rd Doctor Novel) (Audio CD)
Alistair Reynolds you know your Third Doctor this is a epic Third Doctor adventure read superbly by Geoffrey Beevers(Big Finish audio Master & Master in The Keeper of Traken).

I wont give away to much but i would say if this story was made for the tv series it would've been one of the best Third Doctor storys made.

Reynolds writing of the Pertwee era's characters is spot on & he also captures that Third Doctor/Master relationship of Good vs Evil with a underlined hint of friendship simmering beneath.

One of the best Who storys in ages & adapted well to Audiobook.

Recommended for any Third Doctor Who fans.

Then again Recommended full stop to any fans wanting a tense engaging story.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what the Doctor ordered!, 8 Jun 2013
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Bluedragonfly "Blue" (Stourport on Severn, UK) - See all my reviews
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Finally!!! And THANK YOU Alastair Reynolds, Mr, Sir. This lovingly written book is a complete gem. It perfectly captures the spirit of the Pertwee era right down to the smallest detail - like Mike Yates eating a ham sandwich, much to the annoyance of the Brigadier. You can actually remember seeing that scene on the black and white telly in the corner of your parent's living room. This book is THAT good. The dialog between the main characters rings so MANY familiar bells, you can hear every word just as if it was being spoken by the actors who played the roles.

If this WAS an actual aired story from the Pertwee era we would all (still) be talking about it even now as a 'classic'. Its as if Reynolds was channelling Malcolm Hulke AND Barry Letts, whilst Terrance Dicks looked on and occasionally passed him scribbled notes on continuity.

Sit back, open this book, and be transported back to saturday teatime, 1972ish.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doctor Who, 27 Aug 2013
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A fantastic classic .story set during the Doctor's Third Regeneration (Jon Pertwee) featuring the Master and of course UNIT, Well written with a deadly swam in the Sild. For those of us old enough to remember the original series pre the re launch and ideal for new fans to discover the past
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5.0 out of 5 stars I am the master, and you will remember me, 17 Aug 2014
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How to add anything to the vast body of justified positive reaction to Harvest of Time?

There is next to nothing to fault.

Alastair Reynolds reminds us that Jon Pertwee's time as Doctor Who was something to celebrate, not leave out in the cold. He captures Roger Delgado's performance as the Master wistfully well, and uses the scope of the prose form to add unexpected depth. Katy Manning's Jo Grant jumps off the page too, with the addition of a little inner life of her own. He even pays wheezing, groaning homage to the Target house style.

"Harvest of Time" runs nose to nose with, and maybe a little ahead of, Mark Gatiss's "Last of the Gaderene". With all the right notes in the right order, it's a reminder that an untarnished English 1970s pop culture icon should be treasured to the last smear of video flare and frame of grainy location film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best Doctor Who story never to appear on television, 20 July 2014
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A story involving the third Doctor, Jo Grant, Unit, and others. This feels very much like season 8 with perfectly recognisable characters. These ARE the versions of your much-loved characters and Alistair Reynolds deserves buckets of praise for this book.

The main plot involving activities on oil rigs feels so right and a fast pace makes this story rattle along nicely. The scenes where the first aliens appear are particularly tense.

I wish all Doctor Who books could be this good.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harvest of Time, 24 Jun 2013
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Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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I was very exicted about the prospect of a Doctor Who book by Alastair Reynolds, but also a bit nervous (memories of Michael Moorcock's efforts). This book was a total triumph. Alastair Reynolds has taken his skill as a sci-fi writer, and his obvious knowledge of and love for classic Doctor Who and written a brilliant Third Doctor story. Set after the Sea Devils story, this has the Third Doctor as portrayed by Jon Pertwee teamed up against Roger Delgado's Master. Old friends, older adversaries, the shared heritage that the Doctor and the Master have always showed through in unique ways in the Third Doctor era stories. And this has been captured perfectly in this story.

The Doctor and Jo investigate issues on oil rigs north of the coast of Scotland. Unknown to them, a small team from the Ministry of Defence is also doing some research of their own, utilising the skills of Prisoner M - a top security prisoner being held at the Durlston Heath complex under total lockdown. Or is he?

This story utilises the brilliant classic Third Doctor, Jo, and the UNIT team with the Brigadier, Mike Yates, Benton. There are helicopter rides, aliens from time and space, Timelord history, and good old 1970 English life portrayed in the book. The aliens are suitably alien, the bad guys are suitably evil, the Master and the Doctor are perfectly portrayed, down to mannerisms and conversational patterns. The author has written a total `classic' Doctor Who story, and one that will rightfully take pride of place in the Doctor Who novelisations. (But I did feel sorry for the cows!). I heartily hope that Mr Reynolds has plans to write some more Doctor Who.

Totally recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harvest of Time, 8 July 2013
By 
TomCat (Cardiff, Wales.) - See all my reviews
In many ways Doctor Who is perfect fodder for Alastair Reynolds. Just as time and memory are the major thematic preoccupations of the T.V show, so too have they become significant subjects of Reynolds' recent work. 'House of Suns (GOLLANCZ S.F.)' has that brilliant moment when the protagonists discover they were complicit in a horrific genocide thousands of years ago, and which has since been erased from their memories: a moment that forces the reader to morally re-conceptualise most of the book's cast. 'Terminal World' is set on a far-future terraformed Mars that has lost its own history and fallen into almost total decay; it features a troupe of characters who struggle (in a Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun- kinda way) against the remnants of high technology and the weight of a past they can't possibly understand. And most recently 'Blue Remembered Earth (Poseidons Children 1)' is an unusual SF novel written in the literary mode of the Family Saga, in which two siblings have to come to terms with the painful fact that their family's history isn't what they thought it was.

As its name suggests, 'Harvest of Time' continues this examination of time and memory, albeit in a more light-hearted and playful way than Reynolds' most recent novels. The book features the third incarnation of the Doctor (played in the show by Jon Pertwee), exiled on Earth in the early 1970's (so, in essence, it's the reader who's travelling back in time...). The Doctor teams up with the quasi-military organisation UNIT to investigate the unlikely collapse of a North Sea oil rig; an event that's soon revealed to be a precursor to a massive alien invasion unwittingly instigated by the actions of long-time Doctor Who villain The Master. Much of the book is recognisably Reynoldsian (if nobody's coined that term yet, I'm doing so now...); there's a country-sized space ship that stands as a testament to his fondness for massive scale, the narrative action hinges on the unforeseen and tragic consequences of decisions the characters made in their distant pasts, and the book ends with an absolutely brilliant, mind-blowing revelation that generates the kind of sense-of-wonder for which Reynolds is best known.

Despite the presence of these familiar tropes of Reynolds' writing, however, 'Harvest of Time' is very much a Doctor Who story, and the most interesting aspect of the book is the way in which the writer fuses his own narrative style with the tone and sensibilities of the T.V. show. The sartorial Third Doctor is his recognisable self; calmly authoritative, moral, and very much a scientist (he spends a good portion of the book looking through microscopes and fixing things); but there's notably less scientific terminology than we might expect from an Alastair Reynolds novel - a concession doubtless made out of consideration for a `Whovian' readership potentially unfamiliar with the tenets of Hard SF. The Brigadier is also present; a blowhard, gung-ho and right-wing encapsulation of post-war militarism and suspicion of the other, whose blustering interactions with the Doctor are one of the book's highlights. Rounding out the regulars is the Doctor's assistant Jo Grant; she's more head-strong here than she was in the show, but her inquisitiveness is very effective, and the character really comes into her own during the novel's second half, when she's separated from the Doctor and has to take matters into her own hands.

Alastair Reynolds, then, does a great job of capturing the tenor and the atmosphere of classic Doctor Who. Everything from the characterisation, to the period details, to the little idiosyncrasies of the characters' relationships feels just right. Even the name of the alien invaders, the "Sild", sounds like it belongs in the Who universe. The book is also very funny (one particularly memorable sequence involves a stampede of alien-possessed cows...), but the humour is always respectful of the source material, and never descends into the campy farce that's become an unfortunate hallmark of so-called `New Who'.

Of course, the advantage of writing for a pre-existing fictional continuity is that all of the groundwork for the lore, character history and technological "rules" of the universe has already been laid in advance. The fact that Alastair Reynolds doesn't have to deal with describing any of this stuff gives Harvest of Time an absolutely ferocious sense of momentum. Where a writer would usually spend pages setting up and developing the world of the novel, Reynolds is free to concentrate on plot, relationships and narrative action. The result is a book that hits the ground running with a strange and intriguing prologue, and doesn't ever let up from there. The action constantly flits between several groups of characters, and just as the tension feels ready to explode, Reynolds will end a chapter with a micro- cliff-hanger, only to change focus to another group of people in the subsequent pages. It's a technique borrowed from thriller fiction, but one that works particularly well here.

***

To return to the themes of time and memory. As the Sild invasion of Earth progresses and the plight of poor old humanity becomes ever more bleak, the Doctor is forced to team-up with his abiding rival - The Master - in order to put a stop to the alien nasties. The temptation at this point is to make some twee comment about `the original odd couple'; and yes, sure, there's plenty of entertaining banter between the two: but Alastair Reynolds' chief goal in making the Doctor and the Master work together isn't to exploit any comedy inherent in the situation; rather, this strange union serves to make some interesting points about the nature of Time Lords, and the premise of the Doctor Who universe in general. The invasion of multiple planets by the Sild (and the subsequent slaughter of millions) only transpires because of actions taken by the Doc and the M in their distant pasts. Harvest of Time examines the consequences of lives that are lived so long, and of changes made to history so monumental, that their repercussions become completely unknowable. There's a brooding sense of pathos that develops as the Doctor travels millions of years into the future to witness the consequences of his and the Master's actions. Of course, the Doctor is specially positioned to try to fix the mistakes of the past, but it's nonetheless true that the darker aspects of Harvest of Time are direct consequences of the quasi-immortality of Time Lords, and their galaxy-spanning meddlings in time and space.

The subtext to this is a suggestion that the Doctor and the Master are more similar than either they (or most fans...) would willingly admit. The Master may have more of a handle on the decisions he makes (his basic ideology is self-serving, and to hell with anybody else), whereas the Doctor is often morally conflicted, but the eventual truth is that both characters' actions change things on such massive scales as to have essentially unpredictable consequences. The moral difference between the Doctor and the Master, therefore, is revealed to be one of intent, and not one of results. I guess this is the ever-present sadness behind the smile(s) of the Doctor: his struggle to do the right thing is pitted against the knowledge that his deeds will have unforeseen effects as they travel into distant time. There's a slow war of attrition going on between two men in Harvest of Time, but in reality, they've never been closer. Jo Grant and Mike Yates and the Brigadier are all here, but the Doctor's real companion this time around, is the Master. They're holding mirrors up to one another, and the resulting infinity of reflections is a fitting mise-en-abyme to illustrate the echoes of their actions travelling to the end of time.

This is all quite extreme material for Doctor Who. Not just time travel, but millions of years' worth of the stuff. Planets are destroyed, races wiped-out, and there's a sort-of prison ship that takes millennia to explore (btw, that phallic... thing on the front cover? That isn't how I visualised any of the book's spaceships...). So perhaps the simplest way of describing Harvest of Time is to say that it's classic Doctor Who refashioned through the lens of modern Space Opera.

***

At this point I should note that not all of the book's cast is familiar, and the most prominent newcomer, Eddie McCrimmon, is a potential contender for the title of most interesting character. She's an executive in the oil company that bears the brunt of the Sild's initial invasion; she's self-determining, occupies a position of power and authority, and has a very moving back-story. Eddie is a convincing rebuttal to the frankly appalling way the T.V. show has handled women in recent years (companions now seem to be groomed from childhood, and they're consistently made into either shallow love interests, damsels to be rescued, or mere plot devices to be explored). And, in fact, you could probably extrapolate that further to claim that Harvest of Time proves Doctor Who's enduring potential for brilliance at a time when the live action programme seems to have lost its way (how many episodes have there been in recent years that resolve all their narrative difficulties merely by having the Doctor press some kind of reset button?).

But don't worry if you're coming to the book with only a rudimentary understanding of the Who-verse (God knows I'm no kind of Who expert). The book doesn't pre-suppose a deep knowledge of the programme and its history, and any obscure references are inserted more for the benefit of hardcore fans than in service to the actual plot. Harvest of Time is a wonderful novel; fast-paced, funny, inventive and unafraid to touch on the deeper, more philosophical aspects of Doctor Who. If only the T.V. show was this good.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dr who at his finest, 15 July 2014
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I gave this book 5 stars as I found it a thoroughly involving read. The Doctor and the Master are their usual selves, but with a new side at times, a new aspect to their relationship. With Jo Grant, Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart and co in tow, with the time travel you'd expect it met all the expectations from me in a Dr Who story- with a few twists along the way. Miss it, miss out!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars My current favourite British sf author delivers a book based on my ..., 12 July 2014
My current favourite British sf author delivers a book based on my all-time favourite tv show. Who could ask for more?
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3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings..., 15 May 2014
It's Alastair Reynolds and it's Doctor Who. If you are a fan of both then you should buy this book. At least, that's what I thought...

The novel begins with a wonderfully nasty prologue and Reynolds fluid prose style engages immediately. There's a brilliant death in chapter one that could have been lifted straight out of a Terrance Dicks or Malcolm Hulke novelisation (Who fans will know what I'm talking about here), and chapter two opens with the best description of a North Sea oil platform I think I've ever read. Here Reynolds is in fine form, writing Doctor Who using all the skills he brings to bear in his own sci-fi novels with no compromise. Brilliant!
As it progresses through its early stages, the story continues to wonderfully evoke the style and flavour of the 3rd Doctor UNIT era: The mystery of the oil rigs develops and the cast of regular characters is joined by some fully-rounded, yet still typically 3rd Doctor-ish types, including: 'recalcitrant rig boss', 'crazy wild-eyed survivor of alien attack', 'sinister Men from the Ministry', 'doomed yokel', 'doomed policeman', and of course (unmistakeably Roger Delgado's) The Master. (It's no surprise he's involved since he's mentioned in the blurb.)

There are so many things to like about this novel: the aliens are deliciously nasty and very well-realised (I would expect nothing less), the regular characters are true to their 1970s TV likenesses (likewise) and, like the best of the novelisations of that era, they are given depth and room to breathe - particularly Jo Grant. Reynolds' own characters are just as solid and 'real' but to be honest, from a renowned sci-fi novelist of Reynold's calibre, I would expect this to be so. The set-pieces are exciting to read and beautifully cinematic - easy to imagine this as the 3rd Doctor movie that never was. During the sequences onboard the big dumb object in orbit around the alien planet, as well as on the planet itself, we are in standard Alastair Reynolds territory. The derelict ship is dark and vast whilst the planet below it is a beautiful world, very well-realised.

In fact the whole thing seems to have been treated with some real respect and love for 1970s Doctor Who. In his acknowledgements at the back of the book Reynolds seems genuinely bowled over by the fact he got to write a Doctor Who novel! And why not? Despite all his successes in the field, this seems to have been a project he was delighted to be involved with. Clearly, Jon Pertwee's era of Doctor Who was a big influence for Reynolds, and it's wonderful of him to acknowledge it in such a public way.

The problem is.... the problem is that once the initial glow of nostalgia had faded, I stopped enjoying the novel. All that remained when that had gone was a pretty dull story. I felt underwhelmed probably from about two-thirds of the way in. What was really problemmatic I guess was the fact I didn't really buy into the key plot event regarding the Master. Given that the plot was by now being driven by this turn in the story, if I didn't buy it then I was always going have issues. Another problem concerns the fact that 21st Century Doctor Who on TV has a tendency towards circular plots that involve all-sorts of (ahem) 'Timey-Wimey stuff'. Here I got the feeling here that Reynolds was attempting to tie into that without losing the credibility of the 3rd Doctor's world he'd so beautifully evoked in the first half of the story. This is fine in principle, and I sort of trusted him to deliver a cracking climax on the back of his set-up. The problem was that I don't think he did deliver. In fact the climactic denouement was a real let-down. The big surprises at the end were not surprising at all, although to be honest - because of the whole Master thing - I just didn't care by then. He'd lost me. Also - while I'm on the subject - wasn't the Master in prison on TV in 'The Sea Devils'? In a much less hi-tech installation than this one?

In fact, as the remaining page-count diminished and the end of the novel approached, I increasingly felt as though I'd both read and seen better than this many times before, both in Doctor Who and even in Reynolds' own work. Not only that but I got the feeling that Reynolds was coming perilously close to cheating at the end of the novel, using his timey-wimey shenannigans to short-circuit his plot the way that JJ Abrams did in his first Star Trek movie (in which future Spock gives the Enterprise heroes every bit of future magic they need to defeat the bad guy and save the Earth).

"Harvest of Time" is not quite that bad. I think Reynolds just about gets away with not cheating here, but I think I'm also being somewhat forgiving because I'm such a nerdy fan. I guess my feeling is that the way the plot plays out in this novel is just 'ordinary'. The story ticks the boxes, it's all OK, but given the 'Sensawunder' most of Reynolds novels usually play around with, and given that at the start of the novel that same sense of wonder is right here on the first page, it all just gets a bit 'meh' towards the end. A bit 'by the numbers'. (Notice I'm using learned terminology here!) A bit ... dull.

It's a personal opinion, and others may well disagree because there is still so much to like (hence the 'Mixed Feelings'), but in the end a kind of 'so-what?' apathy fell over me as the thing dragged on.

In conclusion then, my feeling is that despite some brilliant Alastair Reynolds flourishes, some depth of character and a beautifully evoked period together with a sense of scale that the TV Doctor Who of the early 70s never had, it was ultimately a disappointment. It's not a bad novel, there is lots to like about it, but I felt that it could and should have been a better novel.
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Doctor Who: Harvest of Time (3rd Doctor Novel)
Doctor Who: Harvest of Time (3rd Doctor Novel) by Alastair Reynolds (Audio CD - 6 Jun 2013)
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