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Doctor Who: Scales of Injustice: The Monster Collection Edition (Doctor Who (BBC)) Kindle Edition
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|Kindle Edition, 6 Mar 2014||
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There’s a lot going on in this book, and it takes concentrated reading to make sense of all the people (some of whom remain nameless throughout, which doesn’t make it any easier to keep track of them), places and happenings in what is a fairly busy book. There’s a lot of continuity from the tv series, and the UNIT soldiers are often recognisable names. There are also references to other stories that crop up throughout. That’s good, as it gives a sense of ‘reality’ to the story within the Third Doctor timeframe.
Above and beyond the Silurian storyline, there is a lot of other action to be read about as well – the political manouevrings of the Government ministers and the bureaucrats in charge of UNIT and C19, as well as the private life of the Brigadier, and of Liz Shaw, which is a nice touch, as we don’t often get to see that. And it does all add to the story; the Doctor is able to get a head start on the Brigadier, and Liz is sidetracked from keeping an eye on the Doctor’s doings because of their own concerns. The UNIT side of things is nicely done, and the characterisations of Benton and Mike Yates in particularly are really reminiscent of the tv series. Overall, a really good story which incorporates a lot of elements. I think this book needs to be read more than once to really get the nuances of it all, which is not a bad thing.
For some years this novel had been a difficult book to obtain. Because of this it was made available in PDF format upon the Doctor Who website. It is, therefore, good to see it republished as part of the Monster Collection. It is good to see it back in print for other reasons as well.
Firstly, although the Doctor is reasonably well characterised and has plenty to do in the story, the focus is probably more on some of the more familiar members of UNIT. This is a particularly good story for Liz Shaw, the Brigadier and Yates. The novel offers a good insight into their personal lives and aspirations. Partly this is due to their being a noticeable gap in events between the first two years of Jon Pertwee’s tenure. Russell attempts to address this by providing explanations for Liz’s departure and Yates’ arrival and appointment as the Brigadier’s second (although I’m not sure how Yates’ situation works out in relation to the Big Finish audio ‘Vengeance of the Stones’, which covers similar ground). Naturally this allows for more background on them and for more of the story to come from their perspectives. Liz’s situation is particularly well dealt with, especially her anxiety over whether or not she should remain with UNIT.
There is quite an influence from outside the confines of the programme in these matters. Liz certainly seems to be more like the older version of her portrayed in the straight to video PROBE series and much of the Brigadier’s life outside of UNIT seems to have been influenced from the Yeti spin-off ‘Downtime’. The Brigadier’s daughter, Kate, who appeared in ‘Downtime’ is featured in this novel as a young child. From these humble beginnings she was, of course, to finally appear in the programme in 2013 and featured in the fiftieth anniversary special.
The novel is quite heavy with continuity references. Sometimes these are a little frivolous or the author showing off his knowledge, but at other times they are put to good use. They are at their best when used to attempt to tie up all the threads of the seventh series. Predominantly this is to do with Liz and Yates as stated above. However, the use of various bits of technology and knowledge obtained from UNIT’s encounters and their adoption and misuse by government bodies is also a very important aspect of this book.
There is a lot going on in this novel and sometimes things seem to lack the attention they deserve like the Stalker (who seems a bit irrelevant) or Marc Marshall (whose role is little callously down played). Mainly, though, there are a lot of interesting aspects that make a fairly good story.
NB.Another of the recent titles, Sands Of Time, is superior in my view to Scales Of Justice.
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