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3.1 out of 5 stars19
3.1 out of 5 stars
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 February 2001
Jaqueline Rayner's 'Earthworld' marks the beginning of the next phase of the Eighth Doctor stories and sees the Doctor teaming with Fitz and new companion Anji on the planet New Jupiter where the Earthworld theme park is about to open. But people are dying there, and the androids seem to be the only people who could be responsible.
I'd enjoyed the stranded on Earth arc that dominated the books prior to this title, and this novel continues their trend of providing solid entertainment. Earthworld is an excellent read with some good writing and plotting. The story itself serves as Anji's introduction to the time and space travel game as much of the focus is on her. Introducing new companions into these books has never been an easy task for the range, but Jaq Rayner really builds on what was established about Anji in Escape Velocity to make her into a really interesting character. Her thoughts about her boyfriend Dave who died in the previous novel dominate her thoughts, and although the idea of using a diary type device to show this characters thoughts about something has been done before in Who fiction (with Bernice in the NA's mainly), there is a different spin on this with Anji sending Dave e-mails throughout the novel. I'm not quite sure I like the Doctor's current characterisation much - he's the Doctor but he doesn't remember much about specific details - but hopefully he'll regain his memory in time. Fitz works really well in this book as he confronts what he discovered about himself in the Ancestor Cell and finds a new purpose in his travels.
Overall, Earthworld is an excellent book. It's got some good humourous scenes in it, particularly the one where Fitz Fortune and an android Elvis duel each other, and some good advancement of character with Anji. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 July 2013
In the foreword to this book the author herself admits that she is not proud of her writing on this project, and rightfully so. The book is not written particularly well, but it is not terrible, I've read far worse. The prose is readable, but is neither compelling or impressive. The companion characters are not very likable, and the Doctor is not himself. As this book was part of a story arch, this cannot be blamed on the author, although this fact does not improve the experience for the reader in any way. My rating is based on poor story, characters and style.
On a more personal note, to me this edition's worst crime is its failure to stand alone as an independant story. I'm sure this was fine when reading the book as part of the original series, but as a part of the 50th Anniversary series - where it is an isolated story - this makes no sense. The book's start contains references to previous events which are not properly explained and it does not have a satisfyingly complete ending. I cannot imagine why the book was selected for this series, it's totally inappropriate. The idea surely is to provide a representative example of the Eighth Doctor for his character, yet due to his memory loss in this story we are still none-the-wiser at the end. The whole venture feels kind of pointless. At least the cover looks good alongside the rest of the books on the shelf, so I guess that's something.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 March 2001
Following on from the events of 'Escape Velocity', the Doctor, Fitz and Anji find themselves back in Earth's prehistoric past encountering, is short order, a dinosaur and a caveman. Since these two are from different periods, it is plain something is wrong. They soon pass through barriers to other time periods, which also show a similar degree of wrongness. What has caused this? And are they even on Earth?
The first new adventure of the Doctor travelling through time and space following the stranded on earth story arc borrows significantly from the past: we have a beginning that looks like the changeover between the first two episodes of the TV series, a world set up not dissimilar to that in 'The War Games', a Doctor without his memories like 'Spearhead from Space', and so forth. And then it borrows from a movie, the name of which I won't reveal to avoid giving away the plot, but it is something-world, too.
So with all these references, how does the book stand up? Very well, thanks. Despite them, the novel is very much itself - its tone is nothing like those it recalls, and Jac Rayner is obviously in control. The story contains a variety of humorous elements, ranging from light to quite black, but the humour doesn't unduly dominate.
Perhaps most importantly, the characters of Fitz and Anji receive a lot of focus. This is Anji's first book as a full-fledged companion, and she wasn't the most sympathetic character in her first appearance. She ends up far more rounded, and the repeated literary device of her composing imaginary emails to her dead boyfriend helps to deepen both her and her now lost relationship.
Fitz has been out of the books for a while, and there are some facts about the character that really haven't been given due attention. This book helps to reintroduce him as a sort-of lovable loser while bringing these difficult facts to the foreground and having them dealt with - for the moment, anyway. With the Doctor still not having fully recovered his memory, Fitz has many more cards in his hand than either of his travelling companions, but needs to be conscious of what gets out as it may force the Doctor back to the state that his century-long recovery on Earth has been meant to heal.
Character driven and with a fun plot, this book is a good read. It is possibly a little overly backwards referencing for it to be a good start for new readers of the series, but regular readers should enjoy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is the Doctor's first trip into a futuristic galaxy for some time.
The story is set on New Jupiter and 'Earthworld' is their glorified ( and gigantic!) theme park.
Having materialised in the prehistoric zone, the TARDIS crew are soon separated and are faced with homicidal triplet princesses, teen terrorists, crazy androids, a pathetic president and an Elvis impersonator.
Jacqueline's novel focuses on the character of Anji and her introduction to the TARDIS team. We follow her antics through the pages, looking through her eyes and relating all too well to another recent addition to the Doctor Who companion list.
Anji tries desperately to avoid thinking of her recently murdered boyfriend and Fitz comes to term with his carbon-copy self. The Doctor meanwhile still hasn't got his memory back, but he's worked out how to get his sonic screwdriver working again.
The plot is relatively simple, it's easy to read and a refreshing change from the heavy dramatics we have been used to; of which I do not complain! Doctor Who is such an expansive concept - that's its beauty.
Well done Jacqueline! A very successful first attempt!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERon 24 August 2013
This is the representative story for the Eighth Doctor in this 50th anniversary year of novel offerings. The story was first published in 2001, and features the Eighth Doctor with Fitz and Anji. The Doctor is still having some troubles with his memories; when the Tardis lands on what appears to be Earth, the three Tardis travellers are surprised to find themselves being chased by a caveman - all does not appear to be what they might have first thought. Meanwhile, Fitz has found himself acting out a role as an expert on twentieth-century culture, while Anji and the Doctor have teamed up with some apparent terrorists. Confused? Well, the storyline is slightly wacky, and I found the `humour' sometimes a bit off base. Much of the action is through the narrative of Anji or Fitz, so the Doctor is not really terribly `present' for much of the story, which is a shame. Good, not great; and definitely not what I would have considered the best example of a representative Eighth Doctor 50th anniversary story.
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on 21 December 2013
A vague parody of 'Westworld', this book is quite frivolous, often just plain silly. The vague promise of dinosaurs isn't really delivered as they become an insignificant part of the story, mainly seen in the background. Even a car crash with a triceratops is just mentioned in passing, the event not even described. Instead there is a ridiculous fight with Elvis, dubious android doubles and some farce with the Knights of the Round Table.

The only aspect that appears to be taken seriously is Anji dealing with the death of her boyfriend in a previous book. Even though this is a subject that requires addressing in this particular period of Eighth Doctor novels it simply feels out of place within this, otherwise, light-hearted adventure. Even so, the method of covering this is done quite imaginatively through a series of emails that will never be sent.

For most of the novel the Doctor is rather annoying. Anji and Fitz are treated a lot more caringly and this is really a novel that is based around the companions. The way Anji is trying to come to terms with the Doctor, the Tardis and all that they encapsulate whilst dealing with the death of Dave is handled quite well. Fitz's internal wonderings provide a more amusing aspect to contrast with this.
The story itself lacks some structure though and often the plot takes a back seat to the crazy things happening. As such the revelations at the end are difficult to care about, let alone arouse excitement.

It's a strange choice for this fiftieth anniversary series of re-releases. It doesn't really showcase the Eighth Doctor and isn't particularly typical of or important in the Eighth Doctor books. Jacqueline Rayner's column in DWM is more entertaining and humorous than this novel.
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This is Jacqueline Rayner's first attempt at a Dr Who novel and I have to say, despite some of the previous reviews, I enjoyed it. Sure, in comparison with the majority of the eighth Doctor novels it's a bit light.....or you could interpret that as meaning it doesn't wallow in self-importance like a good few in the range. So what if not all of the humour completely hits the mark?
I wouldn't like to see every novel in the range written in this fashion, but then we wouldn't want "Interference" every month either, would we? As far as Doctor Who is concerned, variety is the spice of life and 'Earthworld' for me makes a good refreshing break after the six 'stuck on Earth' books. I'm quite sure we'll get back to the heavy stuff soon enough. However, it seems some people just like to trot out the same cliched critiscisms 'one dimensional characterisations' etc etc. When was the last time a character had as much attention lavished on them as Anji?
Good work Jacq.
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on 1 September 2013
As the year winds on, it's increasingly obvious that whoever is behind this 50th anniversary series of reprints featuring a novel for each incarnation of the Doctor, really hasn't thought it through. Why else would the novel featuring the Eighth Doctor, the version most people will know least about by dint of his being on TV only once, be one from a sequence in which he's amnesiac and doesn't really know who he is? Still, at least it's a bouncy affair, and the companions Fitz and Anji are almost strong enough to cover the fact that the Doctor himself is almost by default as generic as he's ever been. Not bad. Not good. Baffling selection.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 27 August 2001
This book has been written through the eyes (for the mast part) of the new companion Anji in a style that totally ruins any chance the book had of being likeable. Set in a massive theme park (think Westworld) populated by androids running amok, this could have been good in the hands of a competant author. However, it has been written in a comedic, parody style. The opening pages supposedly seeing the point of view of Anji are patronising, simplistc, and guilty of sending up Doctor Who as though the writer is making fun of the whole thing. Paragraphs for example, where the character of Anji is saying to herself that she can't die because if this were a tv show she would be one of the main characters, or dialogue where "(gasps)" are inserted to show the character is out of breath are quite terrible. This style continues throughout as if its a sitcom. The character of Anji is annoying and not very likeable. The characterisation of the Doctor is abysmal; for the most part you wouldn't know it was the Doctor, and the triplets are irritating beyond belief. The supporting characters are dull and lifeless and the whole experience is one of detachment. I didn't feel for any of the characters and nor did I care how or if they got out of their predicaments, which seemed to consist entirely of running away and getting captured repeatedly. And having Anji write emails on her organiser was totally pointless. Where the author has tried too write a light, humourous read she has failed miserably. Truly, truly bad. Avoid at all costs!
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on 2 October 2014
Never have I found reading such a gruelling task. This is without a doubt one of the worst books I have ever read. The characters are mostly repetitive and pointless and there is barely anything resembling a plot.
Luckily I picked my copy of this book up for less than a pound but seriously, leave well alone and if you are going through the 50 Anniversary collection, just skip it and read 'Last of the Gadarene' twice.
It still counts.
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