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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now Thass What I'm Talkin' Bout
There have been literally hundreds of DOCTOR WHO novels, but with the new millennium incarnation of the TV series, BBC Books (inevitably) renovated its line to match. The publishing "reboot" features three kinds of book: the main line of compact hardcovers sans dust jacket, technically marketed at YA readers, but written at a general audience level; a number of series...
Published on 9 Oct 2011 by Amazon Customer

3.0 out of 5 stars A good story
But not the best written book. There are unnecessary moment when the author decides to repeatedly remind you who is speaking. On top of this there are few quiet moments when the characters can just be themselves without imminent danger. I would love to give this a higher rating because the premise is good and some of the descriptive language was brilliant but the writing...
Published 5 months ago by Mr. S. J. Williams

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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now Thass What I'm Talkin' Bout, 9 Oct 2011
Amazon Customer (Long Island City, New York USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Silent Stars Go By (Hardcover)
There have been literally hundreds of DOCTOR WHO novels, but with the new millennium incarnation of the TV series, BBC Books (inevitably) renovated its line to match. The publishing "reboot" features three kinds of book: the main line of compact hardcovers sans dust jacket, technically marketed at YA readers, but written at a general audience level; a number of series *specifically* for younger readers, including annuals, Quick Reads and the 2in1 volumes of novellas; and what I guess might be called the "adult" line: mainstream hardcovers presumably written at a higher literary level.

The first book in that series, by science fantasy Master Michael Moorcock, THE COMING OF THE TERRAPHILES was, despite Moorcock's longtime and well documented affection for the show, a vastly disappointing affair, to put it mildly; rather than step into the DOCTOR WHO universe and continuity, he seemed to be appropriating the characters and some of the concepts to fit within his peculiar and legendary multi-verse. They bore little but surface resemblance to the authentic characters and more heartbreaking still, the book itself was a rambling, talky, discursive bit of twee high comedy, as if the setting were a drawing room in space.

But this second book by Dan Abnett, THE SILENT STARS GO BY, seems an aggressive attempt to reclaim the "adult" line's integrity. Abnett, though certainly a major player, does not represent the kind of high profile by-line Moorcock does, but clearly, this time, the editors were more concerned about getting it right than having a brand name on the package.

Abnett's book is really no more "adult" than the primary line of books, save for the fact that it's somewhat longer. Mostly, it's just a ripping good WHO yarn, featuring Matt Smith's incarnation of the Doctor, plus married companions Amelia Pond and Rory Williams. He has the characters, their voices, their internalization, exactly right; his prose is facile (he likes a good, showy effect) but also witty, and also -- and I don't mean this to diminish its sophistication -- easy to read. The flow appears effortless.

This is not to say it breaks any new ground -- as I say, this book is *not* a literary experiment, it's DOCTOR WHO served straight up, with suspense, cool monsters and expertly timed comedy. And it spins variations on a few familiar science fiction tropes (among them the backwoods colony of settlers descended from space travelers, who view artifacts of their ancestors' technology in a reinterpretive, religious context.) But I think that's exactly what was called for to save the line of books.

Flaws? Sometimes THE SILENT STARS GO BY is (despite its highly poetic title) cleverly quippy to a fault, and Abnett works the wisecracks a bit too hard. (When the original play version of THE ODD COUPLE was in out of town tryouts, a colleague asked director Mike Nichols how it was going. "Pretty good," said Nichols. "We're taking out the jokes." Meaning, of course, they were getting rid of distracting excess, that moved off the point of character and story. Here and there Abnett could do with similar restraint.) But all in all, that's a minor quibble.

The book is a brisk, fun read, it truly does come off as a credible DOCTOR WHO episode (and in comparison to the weak 6th season entries, a superior one at that) ... and it can (and will) be enjoyed by young readers as well as adults. Geronimo ...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Silent Stars Go By, 9 Dec 2011
R. Thomas "unreadable" (S Wales) - See all my reviews
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A book that truly feels like it could be the novelisation of a TV episode. The key word for this book is danger, there are elements of it everywhere in the prose be it the threat of the human race dieing out or from the villains' in the chase sequences of the book. I wouldn't quite say its dark but its definitely not of the "jolly" nature of post comeback Who books.

Featuring The Doctor, Amy and Rory the regulars are captured near perfectly, I especially enjoy Rory's self depreciation. Looking for Christmas they land on a future colony planet where things aren't going to well for the human race. The planets weather pattern is mysteriously becoming more winter like and the Ice Warriors are afoot. I especially enjoyed the fact that the Ice Warriors were allowed to be monsters for a large part of the book. Eventually they get into chatty mode but its enjoyable to see a monster be a monster.

Fully recommended and I give it five stars, very much an all action book with my favourite parts being the aforementioned chases. Although don't be fooled as its also got a good little plot with the odd twist and surprise late in play.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Its cold out there, 16 Dec 2011
Sussman "Sussman" (London CA) - See all my reviews
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The classic baddies are back, in the shape of the Ice Warriors. The story written by Dan Abnett and the audio CD is narrated by Michael Maloney. This is my first listening from the collaboration between these two people and they do not disappoint. The story is set on a frozen inhospitable world where the people try to survive against the odds, where the food harvest is critical to their survival. They hope that one day they can change the world to one that more resembles mother Earth.

However, the crops begin to fail and the corresponding live stock are dying what was a harsh existence is even worse.

The action begins with some pace and there are moments of humour seeded here and there in the narrative. What is great about this audio CD, for those us who remember the Ice Warriors of old, on TV, is the way your imagination is engaged, and the fear you felt as child while not to the same degree now, but none the less does give slight goose bumps. The story is littered with character and framed well in what we know and would expect from a good Dr Who story. My only slight critic is that at 6 hours long the pacing and narration seem to dull a bit, as another reviewer has mentioned and I quote `part three seems padded out'. That said, the there is depth and detail to this tale, and unlike our all too short TV format Dr Who episodes the time taken to expand explain and back drop set up are what make some of these audio CDs. To best sum up the quality of this Who adventure. A quote from Homer, Homer Simpson that is, Ice Warriors Mmmmm, as he salivates.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'New' Doctor Who comes of Age..., 20 Nov 2011
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Silent Stars Go By (Hardcover)
I must admit that what attracted me to this book was The Ice Warriors on the cover. I just love the tardis in the snow flanked by Ice Warriors with broadswords! That said I found this book to be an engaging read, well written with a healthy respect for the show, but (more importantly) NOT dogged with super-continuity/history.
As a long time enthusiast I loved the 'old' series of BBC Dr. Who books from the 1990s which featured the 8th Doctor as well as all the past doctors which were aimed at a more adult readership which were unceremoniously dropped when the new show came out - it was like a slap in the face to all the people who had helped keep the show alive in the hiatus. Well if this book is anything to go by then that may have begun to be redressed.
Although Amy & Rory have their parts to play in this book the doctor comes to the fore and has a nice exchange with the Ice Warriors, where some of their history is explored and the Doctor's faux-pas in getting his time eras wrong certainly brought a smile to my face.
Although I find the characters of Amy & Rory on TV quite irritating they are (thankfully) underplayed in this book and therefore for me, more believable. I think therefore this book should appeal to new and long-time enthusiasts alike as a wonderful consolidation of old & new.
I like also that the cover has a timeless quality about it by not having images of the current doctor & companions which also reflects the latter policy of the books in the '90s, to allow the book to retain it's appeal once the actors decide to move on... indeed it appears that in the TV Xmas special Matt Smith will be going solo - Hurrah! It's been sometime coming but it appears Matt Smith has become a 'proper' Doctor! More excellent books like this one can only serve to underline this. Now, can we have an occasional past Doctor book please?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Terrafirming, 24 Aug 2014
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
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A Doctor Who novel. Telling an all new story for the Doctor and friends that hasn't appeared before in any other medium.

It features the Eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory. It's set at a point somewhere early in their second season.

It runs for two hundred and seventy nine pages. It's divided into a prologue plus eighteen chapters.

There's also a short introduction from the writer which is worth a read.

Although this was originally published separately from the main range of these - which are suitable for all ages - as a hardback edition, which tend to be geared more towards slightly older readers, this one is pretty much suitable for all ages as well.

Set on the colony world of Hereafter, the colonists are people known as Morphans. Life is not going as well as it has been for them, as the weather seems to be getting worse all the time. Then a girl disappears. Strange creatures are seen in the woods.

Three strangers then arrive. One of them claims to be a Doctor. They might just be what the planet needs, in order to find the secrets that await...

This is written by a writer who does a lot of franchise fiction. And they are clearly a master of that craft. You can't write anything too sophisticated, or something that changes tv continuity. But you have to write a story that feels like an episode of the show, and also uses the medium of the printed page and the reader's imagination to conjure up visuals in the mind's eye that a tv budget possibly couldn't manage.

This more than succeeds in doing that. Getting the three main characters exactly right, with dialogue you can imagine the tv actors saying.

It's also good science fiction. The world is a good setting and the Morphans come over as people who have lived in such a setting for a long time, with language traits that show such signs.

There is an old monster involved. It handles them really well, keeping them a vague presence at the start. With some great visual descriptions of how those who don't know them react to them. Plus there's some really good plotting, that has clearly been worked out right from the start. Allowing for some excellent surprises and plot twists in the final quarter.

This is not great literature. But it's really good Doctor Who novel writing. So it's well worth a read if that's what you're looking for.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting 11th Doctor Novel, 8 Nov 2013
Timelord007 (The Tardis) - See all my reviews
Doctor Who: The Silent Stars Go By.

Paperback Novel.
340 Pages.
50th Anniversary Re-issue Edition.

What's The Story.
The winter festival is approaching for the hardy colony of Morphans, but no one is in the mood to celebrate. They're trying to build a new life on a cold new world, but each year gets harder & harder.

It's almost as if some dark force is working against them. Then three mysterious travelers arrive out of the midwinter night, one of them claiming to be a Doctor.

Are they bringing the gift of salvation or doom? & what else might be lurking out there & is about to wake up?

Timelord Thoughts.
Dan Abnett wrote The Harvest for Big Finish which is one of my favourite Seventh Doctor audio adventures & here writes one of my favourite Doctor Who novels that features The Ice Warrior's.

Mr Abnett really knows how to write for different Doctor's as here he plays to the eccentricity of Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctors quirky nature & also captures the characterization of companions Amy Pond & Rory Williams.

The story has a Second Doctor feel to it, A colony planet featuring survivors of the human race with strange atmospheric weather patterns that are changing rapidly becoming more & more wintery but what is the cause of this?

Disappearing livestock & now humans have starting to go missing from the colony, Just what is going on here?

The Silent Stars Go By sees the return The Ice Warrior's one of the Doctors greatest enemy's who have there own sinister agenda for being here.

Writer Dan Abnett has written the Ice Warrior's as a major threat to the plot which strengthens this story during some tense & chilling moment's throughout this fast paced engaging novel.

This exellent novel which is a real page turner that had me hooked from beginning to end & was intrigued by the storys mysterious plot threads, Yet the plot isn't convoluted or hard to follow which makes this adventure a easy one to get into.

One of the best releases & along with The Harvest Of Time is a recommended novel for fans of the Eleventh Doctor.

Timelord Rating.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Birthday present, 10 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bought for my son, he really enjoyed it and so has prompted me to buy more in the series for future presents.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent story superbly told, 21 Jan 2012
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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Since the revival of Doctor Who there's been something of a glut of publishing opportunities for Doctors past and present, with the old faithfuls of novelisations of classic stories and unfilmed or new stories being met with a plethora of quickly knocked off cash-ins on the Doctor du jour, audio adventures by the BBC with far more erratic quality control than the previous, more classic fan-led Big Finish audio adventures and finally a noble attempt to recruit serious writers to create more adult 'proper' novels to give the 'property' a bit more upmarket credibility. The first out the gate, Michael Moorcock's Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles, was a rather unsatisfying and somewhat overwritten affair that never quite made its author's multiverse and the Doctor work together, but thankfully Dan Abnett's The Silent Stars Go By is a huge improvement.

The story itself is decent rather than great, with the Doctor, Amy and Rory landing on a planet where generations of Terraforming by the last survivors of Earth are starting to go very wrong as winters get worse, livestock and now people go missing and the Ice warriors stalk the land with their own agenda. There's not a huge amount that's new here, with the society that has turned scientific manuals into a religion and a corrupted language not a million miles from the crash survivors of the late Tom Baker story Full Circle, but that doesn't matter so much because it's the telling that counts, and Abnett tells it very, very well. Right from the opening chapter it's clear that this is, at times, a quite beautifully written novel in its own right, the writer creating rich atmosphere with some particularly fine prose that never gets too wrapped up in its own language to lose sight of the story. It also helps that rather than giving into the temptation to turn the Doctor into one of his own characters, as Moorcock occasionally fell prey to, Abnett writes perfectly for the established characters with a keen grasp of both Matt Smith's Doctor's verbal mannerisms and banter and the familiar voices of his sidekicks so that you're never in doubt that this is part of the same universe as the TV series even if they probably couldn't afford the budget this would require and certainly wouldn't give it the time it needs to tell its tale.

As a result it's a particularly satisfying addition to the Whoniverse that works both as a standalone book and part of the series, the unabridged 6CD audiobook version also benefiting from a splendid reading by Michael Maloney that's one of the very best on disc - he even manages to make Amy sound right when so many previous readers have stumbled so badly with female companions' voices! All in all highly recommended, especially (but not exclusively) for the long Winter nights.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Silent Stars Go By, 17 Dec 2011
Jane Aland (England) - See all my reviews
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'The Silent Stars Go By' is the second in a new series of annual 'event' novels, following last year's offering from Michael Moorcock, 'The Coming of the Terraphiles'. That novel seemed to get a very mixed reaction from fans, so this time BBC Books appear to have decided to play it safe. Michael Moorcock offered a very distinctive and different take on Doctor Who, filtering the concept through his own style and 'Multiverse' mythos, and offering something new in the process. Dan Abnett on the other hand is primarilly a professional tie-in writer, and the result is exactly what you'd suspect: a very slick, professional read, with the regulars to the fore and entirely in keeping with their television counterparts. The downside is it's also completely anonymous in style. This is a good solid Doctor Who adventure, but it offers nothing new, and it could have been written by anybody, so it's designation as some kind of 'event' book seems to rest on both the return of the Ice Warriors, and a few vague story nods towards Christmas. Still, the story is the main thing, and whilst the initial chapters seem to have been distilled from some data bank of traditional Who cliches (prologue where a supporting character is attacked by something nasty in the woods; Doctor and companions land and are immediately suspected of wrongdoing by the locals and locked up; civilisation where historical truth has been corrupted over the years), Abnett does manage to fit in a couple of enjoyable twists along the way, and there is plenty of action for all three of the regular cast.

Reader Michael Maloney has a curiously old-fashioned and somewhat fruity delivery, so his Doctor occasionally feels more like a throwback to the slightly posher early Doctors, but he manages to invest his character with a range of distintive voices without going overboard on silly accents. It should be noted that whilst Amazon lists the reading as taking place over 8 CDs, it's actually only 6, as 'The Silent Stars' go by is much shorter and tighter novel than 'The Coming of the Terraphiles'. For an audiobook however, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Again - a good, 'solid' Doctor Who adventure - but sadly lacking in originality and authorial voice. Good, but not great. 3.5/5
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brrr! Ice Warriors just in time for Christmas!, 17 Dec 2011
R. Wood "ryecroftwood2" - See all my reviews
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One of the reasons why we really should be thanking Russell T Davies for the success of the Doctor Who revival is for the overwhelming popularity surge it created. Tie-in merchandise was inevitable as a result, and because of just how good the revived series turned out to be, we were subjected to novels and audiobooks. Some very good (Pest Control), really great (The Resurrection Casket) and utterly essential (i.e. The Forever Trap, Prisoner of the Daleks).

Because of the success of various hardback novels and BBC audiobooks, this trend has carried over well for Doctor Who merchandising when Steve Moffat took over. The new wave of hardback novels and audiobooks arrived, featuring the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) and his companions Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill). And with the new wave of books, came something else; mainstream hardcover novels, much larger than the smaller series of books, complete with a cover sleeve and presumably aimed at a more older demographic.

Last year, we had Michael Moorcock's The Coming of the Terraphiles. This year, we have Dan Abnett (YES!) writing The Silent Stars Go By. And because this is the Audiobook telling of the novel, we can also expect Michael Maloney's narration.

The setting is far into the future, where our solar system has long gone and humans (now known as Maintainers) are struggling to make their `plant nation' habitable. The worst possible time, then...for the coldest Winter imaginable threatening to drive the Maintainers toward extinction. As the Doctor, Amy and Rory arrive hoping for a Christmas celebration, more uninvited guests arrive; the Time Lord's old foes, The Ice Warriors.

There's good reason why I'm a Dan Abnett fan. His works spans across so much science fiction, and he's one of the most prolific writers in Britain. Having read so much of his books, it's no surprise that I was looking forward to The Silent Stars Go By. Again, Dan writes a highly engaging story, reeling the reader and (in this case) the listener with a multi-layered plot and a faithful understanding of the Who universe and its continuity.

As shown with his previous Doctor Who story, 2008 audio exclusive The Forever Trap (featuring the Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble), Abnett understands the characters and world he's dealing with, capturing the personalities of the Eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory perfectly. And the same can be said of the Ice Warriors. Having never actually seen any of the old TV episodes featuring them - only reading of them and remembering their honorary mention in 2009's The Waters of Mars - I really enjoyed being properly introduced to them in this story.

True to their history, the Ice Warriors are indeed honourable foes. Formidable, yet wise. Not true villains, the Ice Warriors are bound by their code, yet employ questionable methods which prevents them from being the great species they should be. It's a fascinating concept, and one that the author clearly relishes in telling, particularly through the Ice Warriors' interaction with the Doctor.

The Silent Stars Go By is both wonderfully engaging and absolutely thrilling. The author (again) knows how to balance intelligent plotting with describing the action. The chase sequences, the danger scenes, character interaction and the unravelling of dark secrets are all so eloquently done and nothing short of captivating.

The story doesn't have the same impact as say Trevor Baxendale's Prisoner of the Daleks...or the psychological perfection of The Forever Trap. You feel for the Doctor, Amy and Rory, but few of the other characters have the same emotional gravitas that they or the Ice Warriors do. But the atmosphere that Dan Abnett paints is deliciously cold, the elements of Christmas are comforting and the great references to the Cybermen, the Second Doctor's (Patrick Troughton) first encounter with the Ice Warriors and old companions Zoe Heriot and Jamie McCrimmon are just brilliant to hear.

The audiobook release is completely unabridged, spanning approximately six hours across six discs. Michael Maloney delivers a soft-spoken narration of Dan Abnett's story and although sometimes he speaks TOO softly to be heard, he does a fine job of bringing Dan's words to life, being just as engaging as the original text. Fine impersonations of the Doctor and his companions, suitable voices for the Ice Warriors and a chilling narrative of the book's atmosphere and scenery make Maloney's voice work the ideal match for the novel.

Doctor Who: The Silent Stars Go By isn't something that all fans MUST own, but be it hardback or audiobook, this is a tale that fans certainly won't regret. For fans who've never really been exposed to the Ice Warriors before, it's an excellent introduction and a great tale in its own right. Like fellow reviewer Pelaphus has said, this is much stronger than a lot of the episodes that occurred in the `ho-hum' Series 6. Strongly recommended.
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Doctor Who: The Silent Stars Go By
Doctor Who: The Silent Stars Go By by Dan Abnett (Hardcover - 29 Sep 2011)
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