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3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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This is a good promising start to the Eleventh Doctor in print. It's a run-around romp with spaceships, moonbases, brainwashing, and plenty of running down corridors. The other reviewer so far compared it to a Patrick Troughton story, to me it really reminded me of a Jon Pertwee-style caper, partly thanks to some dodgy science and especially towards the end when the monsters are revealed. It's not especially clever or ground-breaking but it's good fun.

The Doctor and Amy both work very well and are utterly in keeping with what we've seen in the TV series so far. As is often the case it's Amy who's the real focus of the story for much of the time, but she comes across as very likeable so no problems there. The Doctor absolutely shines and gets plenty of witty lines. He begins to feel a bit like a 'greatest hits' of the best attributes of previous Doctors all rolled into one.

There are some interesting little allusions to the 2010 'story arc' about humans forgetting the Doctor's previous Earth adventures. As I write this (13th May) we're still mid-series so we don't know how that will all turn out but this story fits in very nicely to that, without it really getting in the way.

The little cliffhangers on most chapters make it ideal for kids who might be reading it in smaller chunks.

It's not an amazing or gripping novel but a fun read and a good Who book.
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VINE VOICEon 18 June 2010
Of the first three `Doctor Who' novels to feature the eleventh Doctor, `Apollo 23' is, for me, the most disappointing. This is somewhat surprising given the body of work that its author, Justin Richards, has behind him.

Things start off promisingly enough with an astronaut suddenly materialising in a shopping mall. We soon discover that moments before he appeared, he was on the moon. A woman and her dog are going about their business when they are suddenly transported to the moon. A man walking in a park asphyxiates, his body littered with moon dust.

With something of a nod to second Doctor story, The Seeds of Death, a teleportation system operating from a moon base has been set up. Clearly, the system is malfunctioning, but I have to report that, regrettably, it's not the Ice Warriors who are responsible. No, the alien invaders here are not that interesting.

This novel is well written and the Doctor and Amy's characters are in keeping with their television personas. But the story is quite dull and, at times, predictable. I'm always loath to describe scientific elements in a story as dodgy - I'm no scientist, so what do I know? However, I do think that some of the story's resolutions connected with its mind control aspect were a little too convenient.

If you haven't read any `Doctor Who' novels before, I would not advise you to start with this one. The other two eleventh Doctor novels currently available at the time of writing this review, The Forgotten Army and Night of the Humans, carry more humour and excitement. Also highly enjoyable are tenth doctor stories The Stone Rose and Beautiful Chaos. `Apollo 23' is, I think, one for the completists.
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on 14 April 2013
'For a few moments this afternoon, it rained on the moon...'

An astronaut in full spacesuit appears out of thin air in a busy shopping centre. Maybe it's a publicity stunt. A photo shows a well-dressed woman in a red coat lying dead at the edge of a crater on the dark side of the moon - beside her beloved dog 'Poochie'. Maybe it's a hoax. But as the Doctor and Amy find out, these are just minor events in a sinister plan to take over every human being on earth. The plot centres on a secret military base on the moon - that's where Amy and the TARDIS are.

The Doctor is back on Earth, and without the TARDIS there's no way he can get to the moon to save Amy and defeat the aliens. Or is there? The Doctor discovers one last great secret that could save humanity: Apollo 23.

A thrilling, all new adventure featuring the Doctor and Amy, as played by Matt Smith and Karen Gillan in the hit Doctor Who series from BBC Television
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on 18 April 2016
With an American astronaut randomly appearing in a takeaway and a man dying of asphyxiation during the middle of the day in an open park, there is plenty of intrigue in the opening stage of this novel. Investigating these incidences involves Amy and the Doctor embarking on a journey to the United States and the dark side of the moon. However, not long after reaching these destinations, any sense of mystery disappears. The basic idea of what is going on soon becomes quite apparent and it is just a matter of waiting for the Doctor to get back to the moon and sort things out. The latter two thirds of the book become too drawn out and inevitably start to get dull.

The only aspect of the story that remains elusive is the identity of the aliens and their nature. Unfortunately, once they are revealed they actually turn out to be quite poor, almost ‘joke’ aliens.

This was the first novel to be published that featured the eleventh incarnation of the Doctor. Despite there being no Eleventh Doctor episodes aired when this must have been written, the characterisation of the Eleventh Doctor and Amy is fairly reasonable. There is also a decent depiction of their early relationship.

However, the plot is const4ructed in such a way that Amy and the Doctor spend much of the time separated with one of them stranded on the moon and the other trapped on Earth. This does give them both some time to perform their own investigations and form relationships with various personnel. But it also means that Amy is kept waiting a long time for the Doctor with little to do but try and guess who is and who isn’t an alien.

There are plenty of Doc tor Who stories set on the moon and the dark side of it has provide a useful setting for science fiction way before Doctor Who. However, ‘Apollo 23’ has more in common with ‘The Faceless Ones’, many story elements being transposed from airport to moonbase. There is also a strong influence from ‘The Mind of Evil’; the Keller experiments even being referenced.
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A Doctor Who novel which tells an all new story for the Eleventh Doctor and Amy. As with all this range it runs for just under two hundred and fifty pages. It's divided into a prologue and twenty five chapters, and is suitable for readers of all ages.

The characters of the Doctor and Amy are perfectly well captured in prose and you can imagine the two actors saying all the dialogue. This was one of the very first batch of Eleventh Doctor novels and it was written before his first episode had aired on TV, so we can see, especially with the benefits of hindsight, how well the writer did with the characters. Karen Gillan and Matt Smith do look so very young in the cover photo.

The story sees strange things happen in the middle of an ordinary British setting. A man dies of asphyxiation in the middle of a park. An astronaut appears from out of nowhere. A woman is found dead in a crater on the moon.

The Doctor and Amy then arrive on the scene. Their investigations lead to the secret history of the American Space Programme. And a deadly threat to all life on Earth.

This ones gets off to a very good start, thanks to the familiar setting. Good characterisation of both the Doctor and Amy and the original characters created for the story, and having a very intriguing mystery to keep you hooked.

But that doesn't last long enough. It swiftly gets into slightly more familiar Doctor Who territory, with a rather typical cast of soldiers and scientists.

The threat of the story does echo certain classic stories of the show's years gone past. It's also very sinister at times and scary with it. But there are parts where it doesn't really hold the attention, and does just feel a bit too familiar. It does come together for a decent enough finale, though.

A very capable read and a perfectly decent book for what it is. But there are stronger Eleventh Doctor novels out there.
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on 27 April 2010
Matt Smith's incarnation of the Doctor has invited comparisons with Patrick Troughton's version and this book reminded me very much of an early Troughton story which I had listened to the soundtrack of the week before.

The Bad:
Overall, this is a great story with some very interesting moments and genuine 'cliffhangers', though the resolutions of those moments tend to be somewhat downplayed, almost as though the cliffhangers were forced into the plot.

Amy doesn't seem particularly well characterised until the latter part of the book. Before that it could easily have been any companion involved in the story.

The Birmingham setting of the book is a red herring and does not particularly fit logically with what is going on. It would have been better had this been changed to a mall in Texas (It feels as though Birmingham was shoehorned in to make the story more British).

The Good:
Matt Smith's Doctor comes out clearly in the story, despite having appeared in only a few stories.

The characterisation of the secondary characters, particularly those on the Moonbase are very good.

A nice reference to a Pertwee story is given without getting in the way of the plot.

The 'Apollo 23' of the title - wonderful detail and fun to imagine.

The aliens of the story are very different with a very good reason for doing what they do. It is perhaps unfortunate that they only really make an appearance at the very end of the story.

A nice read that fills in the wait between episodes on the television.
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Rather a pedestrian start to the Eleventh Doctor original novel range; I agree that this is very reminiscent of a late Sixties Patrick Troughton story such as "Doctor Who" and the Cybermen (Classic Novels) - I initially expected to see the metal meanies themselves appear from behind the scenes. Unfortunately, unlike the aforementioned Gerry Davis story, Apollo 23 simply lacks a spark; Amy and The Doctor are drawn pretty much as they are in the current TV series but I felt that a writer of Richards' pedigree could have done more with this intriguing idea.
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on 29 August 2013
The Doctor came across really well and Amy was also interesting. I liked the set-up and there was enough of a mystery and plot developments to make for an interesting read. Definitely one of the better 11th doctor stories I've read.
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on 29 December 2011
This was the first book I read of the 11th Doctor's adventures and I was amazed! Justin richards had pulled it of again, he is one of my favorite Doctor who book authors and he made a great start to these books! for the price this book is defiantly worth it and the print is a good size to read! 5 stars in my opinion, Now im not gonna spoil the entire story for you! But this is a must have for any Doctor who fan!
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on 24 June 2010
This is the first Doctor Who book I've read and that may actually make my review more favourable than if I was a long-term reader of the various DW spin-off books. The bulk of my enjoyment of the book was derived from the fact that it was a Doctor Who book, that it was an additional adventure to the ones on-screen. The story in its own right is pretty lacklustre as are the additional characters (i.e. the ones other than the Doctor and Amy) and the style of writing. There are several horribly misfiring attempts at humour, though a few attempts do raise a smile and they're throwaway enough to not mar the story in any real way, and the plot twists are telegraphed so obviously that it feels generous to call them twists at all. They're more like gentle curves that are helpfully pointed out several miles in advance by an overeager Satnav.

That's a shame because the characterisation of Matt Smith's Doctor is solid, if kind of by-the-numbers, the characterisation of Amy is as good as it could be since she's unfortunately amounted to little more than "plucky Scottish girl" in the 12 episodes of season 1 broadcast so far, and the concept is one with a lot of potential. Unfortunately very little of that potential is explored. The way in which people seem to be accidentally and randomly teleported between the moon and various locations on Earth is explored briefly in the first chapter or two but is then left behind as a mere set-up for the reason the Doctor goes to the moonbase.

It's rather like if in Quantum Leap, rather than each episode having Sam "leap" into a different person in a different life, he merely leaped into one person at the start of the series and then he stayed as that person forever more, reducing it to just a straight forward soap by only using the interesting concept to kickstart the story. So rather than a book full of interesting events based around the displacement of people and things around the Earth and the moon, we have a book full of the Doctor and Amy sneaking around a base on the moon and hiding in cupboards.

The climax reeks of deus ex machina - and it doesn't even has the decency to be a basic bit of "and suddenly the cavalry arrives" but instead tries to disguise its deus ex machina nature by making up some ridiculous bit of pseudo-science (seriously, even by "time travelling police box" standards this is bad; the TARDIS is a wonderfully eccentric idea whereas this plot twist is trying so hard to sound convincing and realistic) which just unravels any emotional investment one had in the plot up until that point.

A quick wrap-up of smaller points; easy to read in a Dan Brown novel sort of way, silly but enjoyable for the most part, starts out strong but gets worse as it goes on, the pacing collapses towards the end. This probably would have got 2/5 if I'd read the other, better Doctor Who novels but as it is, it gets an extra star simply from the subjective point of view that it's the first time I'd experienced Doctor Who in anything other than the TV show.

Oh, and I'm not really sure why the other reviewer thinks the shopping mall briefly mentioned in the intro is meant to be in Birmingham. It doesn't mention Birmingham once and the description of the mall, such as it is, doesn't sound like any of the malls in Birmingham that I can think of.
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