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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Original Doctor Who Novel For Years.
After having spent the last seven years having to make do with Doctor Who books that a two year old wouldn't find challenging, it's finally back to the subject matter that made the books such a success in the first place, the classic series.

The Virgin and BBC ranges of the '90's were the pinnacle of the Doctor Who novel and The Wheel of Ice fits that tonal...
Published on 25 July 2012 by Amazon Customer

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable romp
The setting wasn't as exciting as I felt it could have been, but it was an interesting concept. I enjoyed being in the company of the Doctor, but got a bit bored when it was just Jamie with those kids. The alien's backstory at the end was beautiful and I loved the idea, and the blue dolls are genuinely terrifying! However, Florian felt wasted. If you've got some spare...
Published 9 months ago by thed0dgydancer


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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Original Doctor Who Novel For Years., 25 July 2012
By 
Amazon Customer "A Likely Lad" (Sheffield, England) - See all my reviews
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After having spent the last seven years having to make do with Doctor Who books that a two year old wouldn't find challenging, it's finally back to the subject matter that made the books such a success in the first place, the classic series.

The Virgin and BBC ranges of the '90's were the pinnacle of the Doctor Who novel and The Wheel of Ice fits that tonal feel that those prior books had.

A couple of years ago it was decided to do a series of hardback novels based on Doctor Who that were written by more mainstream science fiction authors, rather than the usual group that were used in the past. They have had mixed results because the authors have fallen into the trap of using hard sci fi concepts and shoehorning the Doctor and co into them, in short, they are not really Doctor Who books at all, despite being well written.

This one is different. It actually feels like the era in which it is set, Troughton's final year.

I'm not going to go into plot, as I hate spoilers and I'm sure most people do too. But briefly, the story is set on a moon within the rings of Saturn, where by there's a human colony set up to mine for minerals. The story is set in the late 21st Century, so the technology of the humans is very much in the dank, dark and fairly primitive stage rather than Star Trek' Enterprise high tech look. The TARDIS has been brought here by a temporal disaster that is somehow linked to an amulet that is worn by a sixteen year old girl, which has been in her family for centuries. There's sabotage and murder on a regular basis and the base has been infiltrated by a race known as the Blue Dolls, whose existance is denied by the authorities.

As said, the tone of the piece is very much in keeping with the TV equivalent and one can actually visualise Troughton, Hines and Padbury in the parts of the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe, and the book even has the single element that made the Troughton years so memorable, the 'base-under-siege' scenario.

There are wonderful descriptive space scenes and fascinating background passages detailing the history of the amulet, which do not interrupt the flow of the story, but rather add to it.

This is, without a doubt, the best single Doctor Who novel since, at least, 2005 and proves that, as good as the new series is, there's nothing quite like the classic era of the show, for great characters and fantastic stories.

I hope that this is going to become the first in a line of new novels set in the eras of the first eight Doctors, one thing's for sure, if they are half as good as this, we are in for a treat.

Absolutely, and wholeheartedly, recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wheelie nice, 2 Sep 2012
By 
R. C. McGinlay (Ilford, Essex) - See all my reviews
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What do you get if you cross "The Wheel in Space" with "The Ice Warriors"? "The Wheel Warriors"? Nope. "The Ice in Space"? Try again. "The Space Warriors"? No, silly - it's "The Wheel of Ice", of course!

Following on from "Shada", BBC Books gives us another chunky hardback featuring a classic series Doctor, and this time it's a completely original novel rather than a novelisation - the first such publication since 2005! The TARDIS crew on this occasion is from the end of the 1960s monochrome era: the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe. I must be honest and say that Stephen Baxter's dialogue for the Doctor often does not sound much like Patrick Troughton to me, though the general characterisation is correct: compassionate, but with a hard-edged streak when the situation demands it. Jamie and Zoe come across well, though the former's accent is stronger than it tended to be on television.

The author throws in numerous casual references to aspects of the "Doctor Who" universe, particularly from Zoe's time aboard the TARDIS. There are allusions to "The Wheel In Space" (the fuel source bernalium is a major plot point, and meson shields and the Pull Back to Earth movement are also mentioned), "The Mind Robber" (the surface of Titan reminds Jamie of the landscape of the Land of Fiction, and Zoe recalls the comic-strip adventures of the Karkus), "The Invasion" (the Cybermen and UNIT) and "The Seeds of Death" (the Ice Warriors and T-Mat). In honour of Kit Pedler, the scientist who provided ideas for several 1960s storylines and co-created the Cybermen, Baxter includes a phenomenon known as pedleron particles.

The fact that both the Mnemosyne Cincture and the station where the Doctor first met Zoe are called Wheels is never commented upon in the book. Indeed, Baxter goes out of his way never to refer to Space Station W3 by its informal designation, the Wheel, which was used throughout "The Wheel in Space". However, it is possible that after the Mnemosyne Wheel made such a name for itself, the term became common parlance for any vaguely circular space station or colony.

You may have gathered by now that I came to this book as a "Doctor Who" fan rather than a Stephen Baxter aficionado, but I also enjoyed the hard science the author brings to the mix. The book incorporates a fascinating tour of Saturn's rings and satellites, including the icy Enceladus and the disconcertingly Earth-like Titan. After perusing such passages, I would frequently find myself going online to read more about these wonders of the Solar System (but not Mnemosyne, which is a made-up moon). Many of these sequences are seen through Jamie's eyes, thus ensuring that everything is explained in terms that non-scientists will grasp. They also involve plenty of interplanetary peril, which balances the intrigue and political machinations that take place on the Mnemosyne Cincture.

The author never allows his up-to-the-minute scientific knowledge to undermine the imagination of the Swinging Sixties. If it was shown or mentioned on the telly, then it is part of the "Doctor Who" universe, including Z-Bombs, taranium, and time-travel done with mirrors. If it seems far-fetched, it is worth remembering that in this version of reality, the British space programme reached Mars and Jupiter during the 20th century, so it is no giant leap to assume that there will be a colony at Saturn by about 2050. Where possible, though, Baxter grounds this stuff in reality or believable theory - surprisingly, the flying car depicted in a flashback to around 2010 is a real vehicle!

The secret that lies at the heart of Mnemosyne perhaps owes a little to "Star Trek: The Motion Picture", but for the most part "The Wheel of Ice" is a diverting amalgamation of cutting-edge science and the adventurous spirit of the Sixties. Wheelie nice.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic touch -back with the Second Doctor for an intriguing adventure., 9 Aug 2012
By 
A. I. McCulloch "Andrea" (Co Durham) - See all my reviews
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I loved this book and I'm not even a huge Dr Who fan. Well, not of the current Doctor. As a small-ish child one of my first TV crushes was Jamie McCrimmon, (Frazer Hines), the Second Doctor's Scottish assistant, and I suspect I wasn't alone. I remember being particularly upset when Jamie was returned to Earth with his memory wiped and no chance of a comeback with the Third Doctor. He's here again with his character intact. Woo-hoo! Stephen Baxter has recreated his voice, along with Patrick Troughton's and Wendy Padbury's. I suppose I should mention them...
What lifts this above the usual TV-tie in is the sheer quality of the writing. Stephen Baxter is a fine sci-fi writer and this book is completely outside the cliche-ridden formulaic Doctor books of recent years (I buy those for my grandchildren.)
The story itself is a real page-turner, it's difficult to describe it without inserting spoilers. We're on an alien world, with our heroes under siege... it's classic.
Older children will appreciate this, but this is definitely in the adult /cross-over category. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Second Doctor Audiobook., 24 Nov 2013
By 
Timelord007 (The Tardis) - See all my reviews
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Stephen Baxter delivers a real page turning adventure thats been adapted to audiobook form & is narrated by the son of Second Doctor Who actor Patrick Troughton.

The plot features The Second Doctor as the tardis averting crashing into Saturn but is saved with the help of a 16 year old Surfer whom is surfing on the Saturn rings who's name is Phee laws.

This adventure involves the planet Saturn in the late 21st century, A mining colony & strange creatures seen by children on a wheel that are rumoured to have been seen.

The Tardis is drawn to a strange Amulet worn on the arm of a 16 year old girl but what is the connection here that links it to the tardis?

The younger workers refuse to go down the mines of fear of being attacked & there colonys equipment is being sabotaged & thefts of the colonys resources have started going missing.

As well as sabotage & missing resources there is murder being commited by a invasion of the Blue Dolls but the blame for these event's is blamed upon The Doctor, Jamie & Zoe whom seek to investigate this mystery that may have in fact originated at the beginning of Saturn's creation which the Doctor concludes is becoming a critical situation that could in fact kill them all.

This is your typical Second Doctor base under siege story adding mystery & intrigue by author Stephen Baxter whom captures the essence of the Second Doctor era quite well.

This is superbly narrated by Patrick Troughton son David who captures his dads mannerisms exceptionally well.

The audiobook is a exellent adaption of the Novel by that keeps the listener intrigued thought most of this adventure.

There are a few part's were the pace drags a little but it's to be expected from a big story that this is.

Overall this is a great if unoriginal adventure, Whether you read the novel or listen to the audiobook this is recommended to fans of Doctor Who audiobooks.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid but not stand out, 6 May 2013
By 
Sarah A. Brown (Cambridge) - See all my reviews
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I was particularly keen to read 'The Wheel of Ice' as I am a great fan of Stephen Baxter's science fiction. However, I felt he had perhaps compromised too much in trying to hit the right tone/register for a novel aimed at a rather younger market. Nevertheless this was still an enjoyable novel - the characters were well drawn, the plot was quite inventive, and the novel had plenty of narrative drive. The flashbacks connecting the future setting of 'The Wheel of Ice' to our own day, via a series of vignettes of a single family through several generations, were also well done.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Feels like a Virgin New Adventure, 18 April 2013
By 
Paul B "-pb-" (UK) - See all my reviews
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The Wheel of Ice is an interesting mix. Using an old Doctor, in this case the 2nd Doctor, but feeling like one of the better Virgin New Adventures than the more recent 'Doctor Who lite' novels. It's certainly nothing to complain about, though.

The monsters of the piece, the Blue Dolls, seem a little familiar at times but it's probably due to using classic aspects of other monsters of the time rather than any particular character in classic Who. They do a good job of presenting the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe with a few problems of their own, though.

Based on some of the novels I've read, Jamie is a hard character to get right, often leading him into a pastiche of a period Scott, but here he seems to be a very recognisable character. That said, even the TV series still managed to make him slightly cringeworthy at times.

The only downside to this novel is the length of time between interesting events, usually to explain something or set up the next exciting set piece. But, in a way, this is mirroring some of the episodes of the time (and those well into the 70's as well).

The Wheel of Ice is certainly a worthy addition to the Classic Who stories and fans of the period should be pleased by the authentic feel of the story. Those new to Who may struggle with pacing here, but it's still a recommended read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superior Fan-Fiction, 23 Aug 2012
By 
Withnail67 (UK) - See all my reviews
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I want to say from the outset that I really enjoyed reading this-Stephen Baxter is a science-fiction writer of considerable skill and impeccable pedigree, and it shows in the quality of his writing and imagination. Attracting writers like him and Michael Moorcock produced two novels is a real coup, and should be encouraged. It was great to revisit the second Doctor again, rather than simply plough on with new adventures building on the current incarnation.

So what's my problem with this? Nothing serious really. I enjoyed the central McGuffin which was imaginatively realised and when introduced, although I did feel a little sense of anti-climax. Jamie's banter with a Glasgow-built robot was really touching and fun. I felt Jamie's character and Zoe's engaged me the most, and resonated with their on-screen personalities most effectively. There are a pleasing selection of fan in jokes and continuities in evidence, and their well deployed and delivered. I think when my main problems is I didn't really feel character of the second Doctor was used enough, or enough of his character portrayed. I did feel the late 21st/the 22nd century setting of space-base/expansion in the solar system was well realised, and provides a useful counterpoint to the character of Zoe.

I guess my feeling is that the worried a distinct set of contradictory elements yoked harmoniously together (to misquote Johnson) with hard 2012 science-fiction juxtaposed with rather more cuddly 1967 children's TV characters... But that sounds rather harsh, and I want to leave my review by saying I enjoyed reading it and will gladly reader another Doctor Who novel by Stephen Baxter.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Resilience Rememberance Restoration, 31 July 2012
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Fans of Baxter will appreciate The Wheel of Ice as another excellent novel. This is not written as a "children's book" any more than other Sci-Fi is written for adults, but all too often in recent years the Doctor Who range of books has been written-for and marketed-at the children's book-shelves. It is a refreshing change to have a master of Sci-Fi writing an intelligent story with authority.

Troughton's Doctor - the second Doctor - is no "celeb" doctor but a complex paradox whose wit an intellect come through in story. He relates well with the other characters in the story and his voice comes through clearly.

An excellent and engaging story, based in an alien world, the story flies along. Baxter's writing is, as ever, descriptive and detailed, but never boring. He is a master of Sci-Fi writing, and here he writes at his best.

A real page-turner, this is a step-change in the Doctor Who book range. Intelligent, well written and thought provoking I loved this novel.

The hard-back format of the novel is beautifully produced, and the typeface is ideal for younger readers getting used to "adult" books.

Five stars.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A voice from the past, 1 Aug 2012
By 
Amazon Customer "Boo62" (Ilkeston Derbyshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I haven't read a Dr.Who novel since the 1970's. Back then Terrence Dicks & Terry Nation produced no small number of quickly paced Who classics that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Stephen Baxter has done his homework & has managed to take me back to those days with a story that involves the second Doctor & his two assistants Zoe & Jamie.

Forced by the TARDIS to land on one of Saturns moons our trio find a ruthless mining company hiding secrets, a sentient building crane and workers who are at the end of their tether.
Something odd is happening with talk of `blue dolls' and machinery being sabotaged.
A rebellious group of teenagers are the Orwellian company representatives scapegoats but there is far more to worry about as a relic from a long dead planet manipulates everyone to it's own ends and plans it's escape.

No plot spoilers by the way, all the above takes place pretty quickly and the rest of the book is simply the plot opening up.

The characterisation of Patrick Troughtons irascible and somewhat volatile embodiment of the Doctor is subtly done here. He is perhaps a little `warmer' than I remember him but Baxter has nicely kept an air of mystery about him as well as his self reliance.
Zoe & Jamie are well rounded too although I'm still undecided about the accent for Jamie? Personal taste I guess.
The other players in the story are , for the most part, far more rounded out than I ever remember them being in the old novels? The extra depth works well & helps the reader invest more in their actions.

The action takes a while to really grow but once up and running it moves along quite nicely. You'll certainly find the final third flies by!

There are some minor niggles, there are times when explanation gets too wordy and this attempt at `hard sc-fi' grates with the general feel of the story. The one point perhaps missing here was the lack of peril for the three main characters until the final third.

All in all though this was a welcome return to the much loved tales of younger days and was well worth the reading.
A well thought out plot, good characterisation and plenty of nods in the direction of Who fans meant that this was an enjoyable book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "It,s mind is bigger than mine. Bigger and older. So much older! And it is in such pain "., 5 Aug 2012
By 
russell clarke "stipesdoppleganger" (halifax, west yorks) - See all my reviews
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My first Doctor Who encounters came at the start of the 1970,s with Jon Pertwee and I stayed with the good Doctor throughout the Tom Baker years but lost interest once Peter Davidson took over and only rekindled my interest with the Russell T Davis re-boot. So I have no memory of the second Doctor Patrick Troughton playing the Doctor, although I do recall someone once likening his portrayal of the Doctor to a cosmic hobo.
This novel by renowned sci-fi writer Stephen Baxter features the second Doctor with companions ZoŽ and Jamie .The Tardis is suddenly drawn to The Wheel , a mining colony situated in a rather precarious position in the rings surrounding Saturn . It is 2180 and the earth badly needs the resources the mine provides , so the workers are pushed hard. But problems plague the colony. Equipment failure, sabotage, theft , militancy and perhaps most worryingly off all there is talk of weird blue creatures ( is there any other kind ?) inhabiting the Wheel .
Baxter takes many classic Who themes- human mendacity & avarice , the corruption and heartlessness of big business, siege from hostile aliens , a misunderstood alien intelligence , humans on the outer edges of civilisation and fashions a compelling well written tale out of them without being too derivative . He brings hard sci-fi concepts into the plot , which may alienate ( no pun intended ) some fans of the series , but gives the action a more credible and intellectual feel. Plus the authors ties in other areas of Who mythology to make this a very satisfying literary addition to the Who canon.
The only criticism I can really offer is that very much like the modern TV series too much time is concentrated on the companions , though ZoŽ & Jamie are far more interesting than Amy & Rory ( which brings me to major gripe about the new Doctor Who. Why are all his companions taken from contemporary society rather than in the past like Jamie , or alien worlds like ZoŽ?)
It is shame this story is highly unlikely to make the screen given that second Doctor is no longer with us as this is a very cinematic tale that would transfer superbly to the small , or preferably the big screen . But then I suppose anything is possible within or even outside the ever evolving confines of time and space .
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Doctor Who: The Wheel of Ice
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