This review is from: Doctor Who: Deep Blue (Paperback)
5th Doctor PDA's are usually fairly dull, mainly due to Peter Davison's mild mannered version of the Doctor. In order for the novel to be any good, it needs to have an interesting or powerful story to drive it (The Ultimate Treasure), otherwise it becomes boring (Zeta Major). As the author of Deep Blue, Mark Morris, gave us the brilliance that was The Bodysnatchers and I was hopeful for a decent story, I sort of got it.
The plot of Deep Blue revolves around an alien race landing in the sea and contaminating animals and human to spawn more of their race. People's bodies erupt when the alien emerges, and the resulting aliens like ripping limbs off and killing in brutal ways. It is safe to say that Deep Blue is a horror, which isn't to everyone's taste, myself included usually. As the story goes on it transpires that the vast majority of the humans in the book are slowly turning into the aliens, which is a nice touch, especially when you see the struggle to stay in control. Sadly the plot does stall a little at around the halfway mark, and it becomes a zombie novel, with the cast running away through deserted streets. I thought the ending was actually really well done. Yes it is all wrapped up a little too cleanly, but the big reveal as to the contaminations source was a good concept.
As previously mentioned the 5th Doctor is just dull in whatever guise he appears, that said Mark Morris does a good job of recreating his TV persona but he didn't really have much to recreate. Companion wise we have the mouthy Tegan and the slimy Turlough, as well as Mike Yates from UNIT who is actually a fairly decent companion for once. However once the rest of UNIT shows up he fades into obscurity as usual.
The alien race, the Xaranti, are a joke however.. They are also a group minded race, a plot point far overused in both the PDA's and the EDA's, and a race which seems to like gory killings for no real reason. The "infection" plot point is interesting, but the aliens themselves are not which is a shame. Likewise an alien which is a cross between a scorpion and a bull really isn't a sign of originality.
Deep Blue is an interesting horror story which is a lot better than it sounds on the cover blurb. It has some major strengths in its setting and characterization but parts of the plot and narrative do feel slow at times. It's not a must read by any stretch but it's entertaining nonetheless.