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4.2 out of 5 stars
Doctor Who: Fear of the Dark: 50th Anniversary Edition
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 January 2003
The opening 100 pages (or thereabouts) of 'Fear of the Dark' are quite entertaining. Baxendale isn't the best author writing for Doctor Who book range, but in this story of deep space mining and eon-old evil he manages to create a little atmosphere and tension, and characters that, while quite lightly drawn, are interesting to read about.
However, as the novel approaches the 200 page mark Baxendale's lack of narrative verve starts to become a little irritating. Without an injection of good, inspired writing, a novel (however entertaining the ideas or the set up) will always start to come apart, unable to hold the readers attention as the cracks in the narrative begin to appear. In 'Fear of the Dark' there is simply too much padding, and not enough story. Slowly the secondary characters begin to die and we don't really care about it; people run around a lot, fall in holes, but without any real sense of what is happening; and the Doctor's companions avoid dying in ever more contrived ways, because they're clearly not going to be allowed to die in this novel (for obvious reasons). The many near-deaths of Nyssa become a bit daft by the end of it all. This is all a problem of unimaginative writing: some promising ideas, in a promising setting, are let down by a narrative that never really tries to do anything new. Baxendale doesn't, as they say, "think outside of the box".
And as the novel approaches its final 80 or so pages, Baxendale doesn't so much lose the plot, as run out of plot altogether. What plot there is forms a pathetically undramatic conclusion. In the novel's final chapters you can almost see the author grasping around for ways to make a silly and implausible conclusion seem epic and scientifically rational.
A quick read, with some engaging elements at the beginning, but not one to linger over too long.
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on 2 May 2013
Very enjoyable.. different and couldn't put it down! It's going to be one I read again and again. Great for the Doctors 50th anniversary
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 6 March 2003
As a definituve Dr Who fan this book was a golden ray of light - how ironic. The book all the way through sucks you in, ever wanting to read on. The pages leading up to the 'spilling of the beans' are very chilling but they must be read at night with a small light on.
Any fan of Dr Who has to read this book, the fifth doctor as really at his best.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 29 January 2003
While Fear of the Dark is an easy and readable book it's real flaw is its failure to offer the reader anything new. The book cruises along on stock characters and situations, with the plot unraveling with such familiarity long term Who readers will find this book induces severe bouts of deva vu. Baxendales characterisation of The Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan is spot on, but its not enough to lift this book beyond being anything other than pedestrian.
With the BBC Who books release schedule halved to only 11 novels a year one would expect only the most inginious and inventive storylines to reach publication, as it is Fear of the Dark is so predictable it reads more like filler material.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 June 2013
The dark is scary. The end.

That's pretty much the content of this novel, which features the fifth Doctor and his companions Tegan and Nyssa. The companions are recognisably themselves (Tegan particularly), but the Doctor is a fairly blank template. I rarely found this depiction of my favourite iteration of the character to be wholly authentic, although he doesn't do anything wildly aberrant either. For the most part, I simply found him off key. Perhaps it was the emptiness of the plot. A thingy, which is scary, hangs about being scary, and everyone is scared. The problem is that the thingy is only scary by implication. There are some good moments, mostly reminiscent of the movie Event Horizon, but they appear and then vanish again. They fail to build. And the ending itself is anticlimactic in the extreme, and left me wondering what all the fuss was about. This whole story was done with infinitely more flair and texture in the TV adventure The Curse of Fenric, and the hollow core of this book functions best in illustrating how much better that was.
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Excellent read
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on 8 June 2015
splendid
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 17 July 2009
Transaction and shipping went through with no problems except for corner of package open upon arrival causing a few page corners to be bent. Think this happened when going through customs. Apart from that very satisfied.
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