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on 23 October 2005
When the TARDIS picked up an indication of temporal disturbances on Earth in the twentieth century, the Doctor is concerned about the primitive nature of the device. He found that its destination was early 21st century Bromley and with Rose and Captain Jack, he lands in Bromley's town centre. While the two guys use their technology to track down the disturbance, Rose uses a more direct method of information gathering.
The trio find their mysterious time traveller in a local hospital and rescue him to take him home. But his presence only raised more questions for no Neanderthal man could know anything of time travel. The Doctor's attempt to take him home failed nearly fatally.
With Rose, the Doctor travelled back to that delicate time when H Sapiens Sapiens was displacing H Sapiens Neanderthalis only to find a whole research team from the far future studying this period. But there was something strange (alright, even stranger) going on.
Like all the Ninth Doctor series of books, we get a good feel of the three main characters as represented in the TV series. Gareth Roberts has produced a fast moving book fully in line with the broadcast episodes while retaining the books remit to provide a strong story - I doubt the Hy-Bractors bloody rampage would have been broadcast in just that way.
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on 20 February 2009
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It was the first book of Doctor Who I've read (and I only read it less than a month ago). But I am torn. On the one hand, I can't say the book is awful, but there are elements that bring it down.
First thing - the writing, although not bad, feels like it was written by a scriptwriter rather than a novelist. The dialogue is better and more involving than the descriptive sections. Somehow, reading Doctor Who is still fun, despite this fact and I think its because you feel the writer is enjoying this.
Unlike other TV-based books (such as LOST), the characterisations are more consistent (if not terribly revealing beyond the boundaries that we see in the show)and the prose has a greater sense of heart and soul. Well, a little more. The prose is still somewhat stiff in places. Significant improvements are made with the latest books. I've read two old books with Rose and a new one with Donna ("Shining Darkness"), the writing and storytelling of the latter succeeds all previous efforts.
The story of "Only Human" is hit and miss. It meanders all over the place as various characters go off in different directions. Jack and Das are poorly served, left to wallow in a sub-plot that keeps getting in the way of the main action. These pages would have been better off edited together, or left until the end.
There are various plot-holes towards the end - and end which is too daft for even Doctor Who. I can't say much more without spoiling the book.
Overall: The writing, plot and the structure of the novel is bearable, but very inconsistent at times, as is the characterisation of a few minor figures important to the plot. The ending is too silly, you wonder if the author struggled with finding a decent climax to finish with. Yet despite these things, it has a warm hearted approach and it is easy to see that the author loves The Doctor. It is much more fun to read than I anticipated.
Try the newer novels, they're much better.
It ONLY JUST gets a 3/5 from me.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 6 September 2013
The core of this story is that of a group from way in the future who travel way back to the past and muck about with the accepted history of Earth. When a young Neanderthal man finds his way to 2005, the Doctor, Rose and Jack must try to put things to right. So far, so good.

I found this story problematic though. Firstly, Jack is separated from the Doctor and Rose and plays virtually no part in the story at all. The premise on which Das, the Neaderthal is not able to return to his own time is overplayed to the point of parody as he finds a new life in the modern world. Really didn't gel I didn't think. Meanwhile, back in 28,000 BC or thereabouts, there's a world where they go hunting on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and get Wednesday off, and they have marriage ceremonies which include the Great Fish of Matrimony. Sorry, don't buy it.

The futuristic part of the story is good. The mad scientist part of the story is good. The Neanderthal part of the story is bad. Pity, really. Even the characterisations of the Doctor and Rose don't win the story back to being all that great - I didn't feel that the Doctor was really true to his Ninth Doctor self; he seemed more like the David Tennant Tenth Doctor. This story was picked to be representative of the Ninth Doctor in the 50th anniversary celebration series of novelisation; I am sure there must have been better stories out there for the purpose.
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VINE VOICEon 23 September 2005
In this 5th Ninth Doctor novel the Doctor, Rose and Jack are thrown into another adventure when a Neanderthal appears on modern day Earth (no - not 'Stig of the dump'!). The TARDIS crew are split-up very early on, with the Doctor and Rose investigating a group of scientists in the past, where Rose suffers the indignities of getting married to a caveman and in the novels most outrageous sequence re-enacts an infamous scene of comedy gore from the movie Re-Animator. In terms of plotting Captain Jack is given the short end of the stick, being virtually written out of the main storyline while he stays in the modern day looking after Neanderthal Das, but this does lead to some great comedy moments. A very light-hearted romp, Only Human derives much of it's comedy from the 'fish out of water' misunderstandings of both the Neanderthal in modern life, and the scientists stranded at the dawn of civilisation. Very silly, Only Human is nevertheless one of the more ambitious of the 'juvenile' Ninth Doctor novels, and a very entertaining read.
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Another novel adventure for the ninth doctor and rose, this time with captain jack along for the ride. Finding a neanderthal man has been brought through time from his era to the present day, the doctor leaves jack to introduce him to twenty first century life whilst he and rose take a trip back to ancient times to find what caused. They come across time travellers, one of whom is up to no good.

By the time the batch of books this one is part of came out, the writers had seen the new tv series and thus knew exactly what the characters were like. And in the hands of a skilled writer such as gareth roberts, who wrote many of the best books for the old doctor who book ranges, you thus are in for a treat.

The Jack and neanderthal in present day plotline is a neat sub section, and the main adventures of the doctor and rose are throughly readable stuff, with some very funny moments of dialogue and a few serious moral dilemmas that force the reader to think about them on the way. One of the best of this range and well worth getting
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on 16 September 2013
A novel that's both pretty good, and intensely irritating. On the plus side, Roberts nails the 9th Doctor and Rose, and that's half the job when writing these tie-in novels. Watching those two characters bounce around is a great deal of fun. The primary plot is also interesting and well conceived, with splashes of family friendly body horror perking up a tale of mad science and human improvement. However, the novel collapses into the most irksome drivel when the sub-plots surrounding primitive homo sapiens and neanderthals rear their heads. The decision to write these characters as modern families in furs is neither particularly funny nor terribly illuminating, and they drag down a promising bit of tomfoolery.
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on 9 January 2006
This is the very first Doctor Who book I have ever read and it was suprisingly good. The quality of the writing is excellent and the characterisation is very good also - you could easily see this as an episode in the series.
It is short enough to be a guilty pleasure on a Saturday afternoon for when you don't want to read something too heavy - a bit like watching Doctor Who really! As I have only recently become incredibly interested in Doctor Who, I really enjoyed it - not sure how it would compare if you put it in the context of the whole genre though, but I liked it.
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on 24 August 2015
I read very few novels based on the SF TV shows that I watch as I do think it’s incredibly hard trick to recreate the flavour of most SF TV shows in book form. Particularly difficult for those usually centred around an action adventure format on the small screen. However this sequence of Who books are meant to be a selection of some of the best so I have been giving them a go.

Sadly we only had one season of Eccleston’s Doctor but this book pretty much pulls of the feeling of stretching that season by one more decent episode, and as I say I think that is pretty tough thing to do in a book format. The Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack all do feel and sound like what we have seen on our screens (though a poor plot choice, that I will come back to, means that does begin to trail off with Jack). The villain is well written, with a decent motivation, and I do love the idea of monsters that have to check a list before they eat a victim.

The rest of the cast (bar a great turn by a Neanderthal coming to terms with Bromley) are a bit cardboard cut-out. To be fair those characters are often one dimensional on our screens as well but at least this time the author has a technological explanation why most of them behave in that way…

The one significant flaw in the book is the early separation of Jack from the Doctor and Rose. It makes him a little dull from that time on and his expressions of boredom at this separation begin match our own at those points.

It is probably a three and a half star but let's be generous and round it up to a four.
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on 19 February 2013
This is one of the better Ninth Doctor novels. It has a good mixture of pace. The author produces some quite exciting, racey action scenes but also knows when to slow things down to allow for emotion, humour and even some social commentary.

There are some nice ideas thrown up by this book. These essentially revolve around the relationship between humans and Neanderthals and their attitudes towards each other. It is nice to see that the Neanderthals are not portrayed as intellectually stunted but merely as different kind of `human'. Likewise, the humans are not made out to be genocidal killers. Instead the author paints a convincing picture of two groups who fail to understand their similarities due to their differences. It is an interesting look at this very early form of racism.

The main story is a little weak, however. The motives of the main villain, Chantal, are a little obscure and I can't really see what she hopes to achieve by replacing humans with the genetically designed Hy-Bractors. It feels more like an excuse to set a story in a primeval setting. It also feels a bit like the Hy-Bractors have only been included so that there is a monster. The story doesn't benefit much from them.

The sub-plot, although minor, is of much more interest. Das' outlook on modern life is quite revealing, exposing much of what would seem idiocies of today's civilisation. Jack's good hearted frustration with Das adds to this. It is a pity more wasn't made of their activities. The sub-plot does feel a bit cut off from the main action and could have been integrated more.

The Doctor isn't badly characterised but there are less foibles and eccentricities to latch onto with the Ninth Doctor and sometimes the author side-lines him a bit. Jack is cut off from the main action completely though and most of his role is absorbed into the story of Das. It is almost as if he has been deliberately separated to let the Doctor/Rose dynamic take centre stage. Das is a well-conceived character. He is particularly sympathetic and endearing. It is a pity he didn't have more to do. Rose is very close to her TV persona and Roberts captures perfectly the various aspects of her character. As the bad guy Chantal works quite well. Rather than being out-and-out evil she is more of an amoral character in the vein of the Rani.

A worthwhile read but there is a lack of Jack and the Doctor.
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on 19 February 2013
This is one of the better Ninth Doctor novels. It has a good mixture of pace. The author produces some quite exciting, racey action scenes but also knows when to slow things down to allow for emotion, humour and even some social commentary.

There are some nice ideas thrown up by this book. These essentially revolve around the relationship between humans and Neanderthals and their attitudes towards each other. It is nice to see that the Neanderthals are not portrayed as intellectually stunted but merely as different kind of `human'. Likewise, the humans are not made out to be genocidal killers. Instead the author paints a convincing picture of two groups who fail to understand their similarities due to their differences. It is an interesting look at this very early form of racism.

The main story is a little weak, however. The motives of the main villain, Chantal, are a little obscure and I can't really see what she hopes to achieve by replacing humans with the genetically designed Hy-Bractors. It feels more like an excuse to set a story in a primeval setting. It also feels a bit like the Hy-Bractors have only been included so that there is a monster. The story doesn't benefit much from them.

The sub-plot, although minor, is of much more interest. Das' outlook on modern life is quite revealing, exposing much of what would seem idiocies of today's civilisation. Jack's good hearted frustration with Das adds to this. It is a pity more wasn't made of their activities. The sub-plot does feel a bit cut off from the main action and could have been integrated more.

The Doctor isn't badly characterised but there are less foibles and eccentricities to latch onto with the Ninth Doctor and sometimes the author side-lines him a bit. Jack is cut off from the main action completely though and most of his role is absorbed into the story of Das. It is almost as if he has been deliberately separated to let the Doctor/Rose dynamic take centre stage. Das is a well-conceived character. He is particularly sympathetic and endearing. It is a pity he didn't have more to do. Rose is very close to her TV persona and Roberts captures perfectly the various aspects of her character. As the bad guy Chantal works quite well. Rather than being out-and-out evil she is more of an amoral character in the vein of the Rani.

A worthwhile read but there is a lack of Jack and the Doctor.
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