Doctor Who: Harvest of Time Hardcover – 6 Jun 2013
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A thrilling new Doctor Who adventure, by one of the world's most renowned science fiction writers.
About the Author
Alastair Reynolds was born in Barry, South Wales. He gained a PhD in astronomy and worked as an astrophysicist for the European Space Agency before becoming a full-time writer. His books include Revelation Space (shortlisted for the BSFA and Arthur C. Clark Awards), Chasm City (winner of the BSFA Award), House of Suns (shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award), Terminal World, and Blue Remembered Earth. He lives in Wales.
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It's a complete and self contained book in three hundred and sixty five pages. There are thirty five chapters. Plus a prologue and an epilogue.
The BBC usually markets their Doctor Who books for all ages, but this range, past rather than current Doctors, tends to be bigger and a bit more detailed. So younger readers might struggle with some of it.
The story sees UNIT investigating a mysterious incident on a North sea oil rig. Meantime, strange crab like creatures are taking over humans. The Sild have arrived. A terrible menace thought lost to time. The Doctor might need the help of the Master in order to defeat them. And yet people can't remember who the latter is...
This does a pretty good job at recapturing the feel of it's era of the show. And of the supporting cast as well. It also has a pretty good cast of wholly original supporting characters. A couple of whom do get some good depth and motivation and character arcs.
In trying to be a story that fits the normal format - something bigger and more involved and with more scope than could be managed on tv - it does pretty much succeed at that as well. Although the story diverges paths halfway through. With the Doctor and the Master off in space and time whilst UNIT deal with things on Earth. The former half, whilst having some great scenes between the two time lords, does get a bit involved and perhaps somewhat too, to coin that phrase, timey wimey. It is all very clever though and it does all come together well in the end. But it's not a book that, in the second half, really manages to keep up the momentum of it's first.
A decent attempt at a Third Doctor novel, though, and worth four stars.
There is next to nothing to fault.
Alastair Reynolds reminds us that Jon Pertwee's time as Doctor Who was something to celebrate, not leave out in the cold. He captures Roger Delgado's performance as the Master wistfully well, and uses the scope of the prose form to add unexpected depth. Katy Manning's Jo Grant jumps off the page too, with the addition of a little inner life of her own. He even pays wheezing, groaning homage to the Target house style.
"Harvest of Time" runs nose to nose with, and maybe a little ahead of, Mark Gatiss's "Last of the Gaderene". With all the right notes in the right order, it's a reminder that an untarnished English 1970s pop culture icon should be treasured to the last smear of video flare and frame of grainy location film.
I've listened to a number of unabridged stories narated, initailly wary that I may not enjoy them as much as a full-cast drama, and because this is so long (almost 12 hours) I worried that it would be padded out with boring bits but I was so wrong. This is the best written and read, and most captivating of all the Who audios I've had the grand pleasure of listening to which I do on my way to and from work (hour each way).
RECOMMENDED - by me anyway.