Top positive review
“He always thought monsters were cool, but not anymore”
on 13 July 2016
Martha and the Doctor visit a small New England town during the Halloween festivities. All is not well in the town of Blackwood Falls, however. There have been strange occurrences during the preparations and an eerie green mist has descended over everything. It soon becomes apparent that the Doctor is not the only alien in Blackwood Falls.
This book is basically the sort of thing you would expect if Doctor Who were to do a Halloween special. It could easily have deteriorated into something fairly tacky but, fortunately, the author has done a pretty good job with the usual Halloween material. All the general clichés you might expect from a Halloween romp are present. The aliens bear more than a passing resemblance to jack-o-lanterns, there’s the stereotypical evil clown, a dense mist, bodily possession and various attacks by bats, cats and skeletons. On top of this there is group of teenagers exploring the mysterious happenings; fortunately without being irritating.
Everything has a science fiction vent though even though the novel plays plenty of homage to the horror genre. The Necris, for example, is clearly inspired from the Necronomicon concept of Lovecraft. Although there is a science fiction reason for its existence and power.
However, even though the Doctor keeps referring to the Hervoken’s magic as science that we don’t comprehend it is a bit of a stretch. They do seem to be exhibiting powers with all the hallmarks associated with ‘black magic’ rather than utilising technology.
The assumption is that their technology is something similar to the semi-mystical ‘science’ of the Carrionites (although there is a certain level of similarity with the organic like technology of the Zygons). Indeed the Carrionites are mentioned several times in an effort to associate them in some way with the Hervoken. Both species seem to be part of that rather vague grouping of elder races that once ravaged the universe (which emphasises the Lovecraftian link as it is effectively the Necris book that summons the Hervokan from beneath ground).
The Hervoken themselves are reasonable monsters. There isn’t, perhaps, a great deal of potential for being re-used but they work remarkably well within the context of this particular novel and its settings.