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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A strong start for the Eleventh Doctor
This is a good promising start to the Eleventh Doctor in print. It's a run-around romp with spaceships, moonbases, brainwashing, and plenty of running down corridors. The other reviewer so far compared it to a Patrick Troughton story, to me it really reminded me of a Jon Pertwee-style caper, partly thanks to some dodgy science and especially towards the end when the...
Published on 13 May 2010 by Mr. Stuart Bruce

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 'We will be fine, Apollo...'
Rather a pedestrian start to the Eleventh Doctor original novel range; I agree that this is very reminiscent of a late Sixties Patrick Troughton story such as "Doctor Who" and the Cybermen (Classic Novels) - I initially expected to see the metal meanies themselves appear from behind the scenes. Unfortunately, unlike the aforementioned Gerry Davis story, Apollo 23 simply...
Published on 26 April 2011 by Scaroth, Last of the Jagaroth

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice concept wasted, 24 Jun 2010
Kindle Customer (Midlands, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Apollo 23 (Hardcover)
This is the first Doctor Who book I've read and that may actually make my review more favourable than if I was a long-term reader of the various DW spin-off books. The bulk of my enjoyment of the book was derived from the fact that it was a Doctor Who book, that it was an additional adventure to the ones on-screen. The story in its own right is pretty lacklustre as are the additional characters (i.e. the ones other than the Doctor and Amy) and the style of writing. There are several horribly misfiring attempts at humour, though a few attempts do raise a smile and they're throwaway enough to not mar the story in any real way, and the plot twists are telegraphed so obviously that it feels generous to call them twists at all. They're more like gentle curves that are helpfully pointed out several miles in advance by an overeager Satnav.

That's a shame because the characterisation of Matt Smith's Doctor is solid, if kind of by-the-numbers, the characterisation of Amy is as good as it could be since she's unfortunately amounted to little more than "plucky Scottish girl" in the 12 episodes of season 1 broadcast so far, and the concept is one with a lot of potential. Unfortunately very little of that potential is explored. The way in which people seem to be accidentally and randomly teleported between the moon and various locations on Earth is explored briefly in the first chapter or two but is then left behind as a mere set-up for the reason the Doctor goes to the moonbase.

It's rather like if in Quantum Leap, rather than each episode having Sam "leap" into a different person in a different life, he merely leaped into one person at the start of the series and then he stayed as that person forever more, reducing it to just a straight forward soap by only using the interesting concept to kickstart the story. So rather than a book full of interesting events based around the displacement of people and things around the Earth and the moon, we have a book full of the Doctor and Amy sneaking around a base on the moon and hiding in cupboards.

The climax reeks of deus ex machina - and it doesn't even has the decency to be a basic bit of "and suddenly the cavalry arrives" but instead tries to disguise its deus ex machina nature by making up some ridiculous bit of pseudo-science (seriously, even by "time travelling police box" standards this is bad; the TARDIS is a wonderfully eccentric idea whereas this plot twist is trying so hard to sound convincing and realistic) which just unravels any emotional investment one had in the plot up until that point.

A quick wrap-up of smaller points; easy to read in a Dan Brown novel sort of way, silly but enjoyable for the most part, starts out strong but gets worse as it goes on, the pacing collapses towards the end. This probably would have got 2/5 if I'd read the other, better Doctor Who novels but as it is, it gets an extra star simply from the subjective point of view that it's the first time I'd experienced Doctor Who in anything other than the TV show.

Oh, and I'm not really sure why the other reviewer thinks the shopping mall briefly mentioned in the intro is meant to be in Birmingham. It doesn't mention Birmingham once and the description of the mall, such as it is, doesn't sound like any of the malls in Birmingham that I can think of.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!, 16 July 2010
This review is from: Doctor Who: Apollo 23 (Hardcover)
One of the first three doctor who (of the new series) books to come out in 2010 and
I wasn't disappointed at all. The book is suspenceful and you just can't help but
keep reading. I loved the story too. Heres what the book is about...

'For a few moments this afternoon, it rained on the moon...' An astronaut in full spacesuit appears out of thin air in a busy shopping centre. Maybe it's a publicity stunt. A photo shows a well-dressed woman in a red coat lying dead at the edge of a crater on the dark side of the moon - beside her beloved dog 'Poochie'. Maybe it's a hoax. But as the Doctor and Amy find out, these are just minor events in a sinister plan to take over every human being on earth. The plot centres on a secret military base on the moon - that's where Amy and the TARDIS are. The Doctor is back on Earth, and without the TARDIS there's no way he can get to the moon to save Amy and defeat the aliens. Or is there? The Doctor discovers one last great secret that could save humanity: Apollo 23.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Vaguely interesting idea, very poor execution, 6 July 2010
Mr. D. Harris "duncle" (Bath, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Doctor Who: Apollo 23 (Hardcover)
It seems to me that Justin Richards has become bored and uninterested in the Doctor Who format over a long period of time. "Apollo 23" is a bog standard book with a half-interesting idea at its heart. The writing itself is clunky and unengaging, the sentences and structure are practically Jurassic and the characterisation of both the Doctor and Amy is threadbare and unexciting (and, in the latter parts of the book, completely unreliable: there's the feeling that you're reading a different Doctor's adventure!).

If the author has given up on the genre sci-fi he's churning out, he should give it up. Let's face it, as the 'series consultant' for the entire BBC Doctor Who book range, he's making things exceptionally difficult for everyone else!

Lastly, if read in the right frame of mind, this book is a startling apologia and a spurious rationalisation for homeopathy in the Doctor Who universe. And that's a crime.

Justin, give up. Go away, write young adult fiction of your own devising and leave the Doctor Who for people who actually enjoy writing to a formula!
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