Top critical review
Waiting for Gobo
on 6 May 2016
Conceptually ‘Night of the Humans’ is quite intriguing. Considering all the places the Doctor has visited the author has managed to find something a bit different with the Gyre. As its name implies it is based upon the vast collection of rubbish that has gathered in the Pacific due to the movements of our waste by ocean currents. The Gyre of ‘Night of the Humans’ has a more science fiction emphasis in being a gathering of space debris that has built up in one area.
Living upon the Gyre is a human colony descended from the crew of a crashed ship who have utilised what technology they still have available to them but turned it into the foundation for a retrograde religion. There are also familiarities, perhaps, with ‘The Face of Evil’, which is a positive thing.
Also, as the title might suggest, there is an effort to make the humans the monsters of the piece. This isn’t entirely followed through, however, and remains primarily only the view of the Sittuun. The humans may be uncivilised, religiously blinded and somewhat barbaric but in essence they are merely trying to survive in a relatively hostile environment. The Sollogs, giant slugs existing in the wreckage, are the literal monsters of the story but it is Dirk Slipstream who, with his callousness to life and selfish obsessions, who is the real monster of the story.
As the plot develops and the story progresses it becomes less interesting but somewhat more action orientated. However, the action is quite well placed, if maybe a tad repetitive, and the author holds back a couple of revelations.
The characterisation of Amy is a bit odd and, at times, it’s hard to see the Doctor of this novel as the Eleventh. Some of the other characterisation is quite good though, especially Charlie. It is Dirk Slipstream that probably remains the most interesting, however. From initial impressions he is a showy conman who thinks a lot of himself, but there is also a dark and malicious side to his nature. He also seems to have a backstory which involves a previous encounter with the Doctor. This is more of a plot device than anything as he hasn’t previously appeared in any other Doctor Who stuff and the referenced encounter is with an unspecified earlier incarnation of the Doctor.
A pleasant read and one of the better early Eleventh Doctor novels.