Doctor Who: Apollo 23 Hardcover – 22 Apr 2010
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With the TARDIS and Amy trapped in a secret moon base, the Doctor battles to save the Earth from domination
About the Author
Justin Richards is a well known author of chldren's fiction, including the novels The Parliament of Blood, The Chaos Code and The Skeleton Clock. He also collaborates with Jack Higgins on thrillers for young adult readers. Author of a good number of Doctor Who books, Justin acts as Creative Consultant to BBC Books.
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Top customer reviews
The Doctor and Amy both work very well and are utterly in keeping with what we've seen in the TV series so far. As is often the case it's Amy who's the real focus of the story for much of the time, but she comes across as very likeable so no problems there. The Doctor absolutely shines and gets plenty of witty lines. He begins to feel a bit like a 'greatest hits' of the best attributes of previous Doctors all rolled into one.
There are some interesting little allusions to the 2010 'story arc' about humans forgetting the Doctor's previous Earth adventures. As I write this (13th May) we're still mid-series so we don't know how that will all turn out but this story fits in very nicely to that, without it really getting in the way.
The little cliffhangers on most chapters make it ideal for kids who might be reading it in smaller chunks.
It's not an amazing or gripping novel but a fun read and a good Who book.
Things start off promisingly enough with an astronaut suddenly materialising in a shopping mall. We soon discover that moments before he appeared, he was on the moon. A woman and her dog are going about their business when they are suddenly transported to the moon. A man walking in a park asphyxiates, his body littered with moon dust.
With something of a nod to second Doctor story, The Seeds of Death, a teleportation system operating from a moon base has been set up. Clearly, the system is malfunctioning, but I have to report that, regrettably, it's not the Ice Warriors who are responsible. No, the alien invaders here are not that interesting.
This novel is well written and the Doctor and Amy's characters are in keeping with their television personas. But the story is quite dull and, at times, predictable. I'm always loath to describe scientific elements in a story as dodgy - I'm no scientist, so what do I know? However, I do think that some of the story's resolutions connected with its mind control aspect were a little too convenient.
If you haven't read any `Doctor Who' novels before, I would not advise you to start with this one. The other two eleventh Doctor novels currently available at the time of writing this review, The Forgotten Army and Night of the Humans, carry more humour and excitement. Also highly enjoyable are tenth doctor stories The Stone Rose and Beautiful Chaos. `Apollo 23' is, I think, one for the completists.
The characters of the Doctor and Amy are perfectly well captured in prose and you can imagine the two actors saying all the dialogue. This was one of the very first batch of Eleventh Doctor novels and it was written before his first episode had aired on TV, so we can see, especially with the benefits of hindsight, how well the writer did with the characters. Karen Gillan and Matt Smith do look so very young in the cover photo.
The story sees strange things happen in the middle of an ordinary British setting. A man dies of asphyxiation in the middle of a park. An astronaut appears from out of nowhere. A woman is found dead in a crater on the moon.
The Doctor and Amy then arrive on the scene. Their investigations lead to the secret history of the American Space Programme. And a deadly threat to all life on Earth.
This ones gets off to a very good start, thanks to the familiar setting. Good characterisation of both the Doctor and Amy and the original characters created for the story, and having a very intriguing mystery to keep you hooked.
But that doesn't last long enough. It swiftly gets into slightly more familiar Doctor Who territory, with a rather typical cast of soldiers and scientists.
The threat of the story does echo certain classic stories of the show's years gone past. It's also very sinister at times and scary with it. But there are parts where it doesn't really hold the attention, and does just feel a bit too familiar. It does come together for a decent enough finale, though.
A very capable read and a perfectly decent book for what it is. But there are stronger Eleventh Doctor novels out there.
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