- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: BBC Books (2 Mar. 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0563405813
- ISBN-13: 978-0563405818
- Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 2.5 x 18.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 989,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Doctor Who: Longest Day Paperback – 2 Mar 1998
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Having landed on the strange planet of Hirath, the Doctor and Sam become separated as they both strive to understand and help the inhabitants of a world where different time zones mean that the planet's biosphere is out of control and heading for disaster.
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Overall, this was a nice little novel, however the pace takes its time in that everything spread over a bit, however that may be a blessing in that you feel almost as uncomfortable as the characters do when reading it( particularly all that Sam ensures), quite an unexpected ending too
Story wise a planet called Hirath is split into zones of temporal energy, which a company is renting out to the highest bidder. The trouble is they can't actually control the temporal zones very well, the planet is falling apart and a race of bloodthirsty aliens have come along to reclaim it. The Doctor and Sam get split up and embroiled in separate storylines. The Doctor has to find the source of the planet's sudden demise and Sam gets involved with revolutionaries and has to fight to stay alive. It's all very Doctor Who, and the first half of the novel is well written and entertaining however towards the end of the book however things really do start falling apart. The story slows to a crawl, plot devices appear from nowhere, awful elements from previous books are included for no apparent reason and the solution to Hirath's troubles is one of immense techno-babble and just seems shoe-horned in to end things promptly. It all is a bit of a let down as the potential is there.
Character wise no one gets off lightly, most non-central characters end up dead in gruesome ways and even the Doctor and Sam get knocked about a fair bit. As such the characterisation is awful but it doesn't really matter. The Doctor and Sam are done well, Sam especially matures a lot and you do end up rooting for her, which is a nice change. The main enemy are called the Kusk and they are totally brilliant. Sure they like to kill people, but they shouldn't have been on there base/planet in the first place. Collier makes them believable as a race, and they are so good it's a shame we haven't seen any more of them.
In short, Longest Day isn't a brilliant novel by any stretch, but neither is it as bad as people make it out to be. Try re-reading it with the knowledge everyone dies and it actually is quite enjoyable.
It's a very depressing book, lots of horrible thngs happen and it all looks like it's going to turn out horribly, and indeed all is not well at the end of the book. However, that's to be understood as it is, after all, part one of four of this Sam-is-lost arc, the rest of which is absolutely brilliant [Legacy of the Daleks is next, then Dreamstone Moon, but Seeing I, next, is top!], and so whilst not being a brilliant novel, it serves a purpose.
I found it extremely difficult to get into at first, probably due to the mass of very similar characters, who we hardly get to know as they are bumped off at a fairly regular pace. The Doctor himself takes on a true hero mantle and is the subject of much swooning from the simpering Anstaar and much longing from Sam who is growing up more as the books progress.
It is admittedly a difficult read but the saving grace has to be the Kursks, classic Who monsters with a bit of Hellraiser thrown in. They are repulsive and scary in equal measure and the first description of one of their victims is "American Psycho" material and certainly not for the faint hearted.
I do hope the Kursks return in a less convoluted story, and I hope the doctor fixes his VW Beetle, this is a great little detail reminiscent of John Pertwee's "Bessie".
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