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Doctor Who: The Janus Conjunction Paperback – 5 Oct 1998
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The Doctor and Sam arrive on the planet Janus Prime after the Tardis malfunctions. The planet is certainly one of the strangest they have visited: it has a single moon which is permanently eclipsing the sun, and its sandy surface constantly glows with a blue radioactive luminescence. It's also the home of a race of eight-foot-tall spiders which have been systematically converted into cyborgs and are now used as guard dogs by a visiting group of mercenaries.
Also on Janus Prime is the Link, a hyperspatial fold in space/time which emerges on the planet Menda diametrically on the other side of the red sun. The Mendans have been using the Link to cross between the worlds and minor skirmishes with the troops on Janus Prime have broken out. But what is the secret behind the twin planets? Why are there strange obelisk-like alien artefacts in both places? What is the significance of the spider-creatures, and can the Doctor save both himself, the planets and Sam as she contracts a nasty and potentially fatal liquefying dose of Janus radiation?
The answers are revealed within this gripping and exciting novel. The relationship between the Doctor and Sam is described beautifully. The unravelling mystery and the handling of the radiation-scarred troops and the horrific deaths that await them makes for great reading. The settings are excellently defined and the solutions--when they come--are not obvious. However, it could benefit from more explanation right at the end when the Doctor tries to save Sam.
This is a novel which takes the concepts of Doctor Who and makes something special out of them. A wholly satisfying read, and a superb addition to the range. More please. --David J Howe
A Doctor Who novel featuring the eighth Doctor and Sam. When the pair arrive on the planet Janus Prime, on the edge of the galaxy, they discover a terrible weapon hidden in its glowing sands. If the weapon falls into the hands of the warring humans, it could destroy the galaxy.
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The Doctor and Sam arrive on Janus Prime, a planet permanently dark due to a fixed eclipse. The only light is a blue glow of the planets radiation. Upon arrival they save a Mendan from soldiers and then promptly get split up with the Doctor heading to Menda and Sam getting captured on Prime. It turns out a colony from Earth came to settle on Menda but crash landed, destroying their armed escorts way home. Once settled on Menda they find a link to Prime, where the armed escorts, led by Gustav Zemler retreat to. Sadly they all contact radiation poisoning due to prolonged exposure to Prime, and cannot leave without their bodies turning to slime. As it is their bodies are literally melting away at a very slow rate. Realizing Sam is in danger, the Doctor helps the Mendans to understand the link's technology and heads back to rescue her.
The Eighth Doctor is still wildly variable from novel to novel. Baxendale sadly doesn't do him very well and he comes across as more Pertwee than McGann however I have a soft spot for Pertwee style stories so I can't say I was that disappointed. He doesn't do anything un-Doctor like so no issues really.
Sam is back to the whiny teenage version, despite Baxendale referencing her maturity since the events on Dreamstone Moon. She gets captured and all she can do, whilst in great pain and wounded, is to try to be smart and flash but it comes across as rude. She even gives a guard the middle finger. Real maturity there. She gets slightly better when she is dying but still is so obnoxious that I half wished she would just die. This Sam annoys me no end, I prefer bland generic companion Sam to mouthy Sam and am getting more and more excited for the arrival of Fitz in a few novels time.
What Baxendale does do well are the supporting cast, which whilst totally stereotypically work really well to drive the story. As previously mentioned there are 2 groups who all came to Menda together, a group of colonists and there armed escort. The colonists are all farmer/scientist types who are fairly boring, however there number is swelled by Lunder, one of the armed escort who had fallen out with his comrades and didn't take the ill-fated first trip to Prime. Lunder is a typical solider type who distrusts the Doctor, but he has good intentions, spurred on by his obvious love for Julya, one of the colonists. His gradual softening has been done to death in Doctor Who previously, but it still was satisfying to read.
The Janus Conjunction is a fairly generic Doctor Who novel but very hugley entertaining nonetheless. The Eighth Doctor and Sam could be the Third Doctor and Jo and this novel would fit well into the PDA range, which for an EDA probably wasn't something the author was going for. That said it's an excellent story with very little to complain about, which keeps you wanting to read on. Perfect poolside reading and an ideal novel for fans and newcomers alike.
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