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Doctor Who: Grimm Reality Paperback – 1 Oct 2001
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The TARDIS and a trading starship both arrive on a planet close to an energy-emitting white hole. The Doctor and his companions intent on discovering more about the territory soon realize this is no ordinary planet. This is a place where fairytales exist, but with no guarentee of a happy ending.
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This differs from the usual sci-fi trappings and would seem at first to be an interesting idea. However the tale lacks a clear defined threat, is repetitious in the events it portrays and shows a clear lack of understanding of the central protagonists - the ever whimsical Doctor and his human companions Anji and Fitz.
Passages in isolation demonstrate tragedy, passion and humour but the novel as a whole has an empty, lifeless feel.
It is clear the authors have tremendous talent but a lack of focus. I still look forward to any future work from them outside the Doctor Who sphere as their skills would clearly have more fruitful application in mainstream fantasy.
Sadly, as a Doctor Who novel this fails to be even an average effort.
Still, it was a good book - the comparisons with well-known fairy tales were easy to depict, the Doctor being (in my opinion) sometimes being compared to the manic Baron Munchausen. There were also some morals to be learnt throughout the book (another fairytale concept rule) such as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, etc.
All in all, an enjoyable read.
It's interesting that Simon Bucher-Jones and Kelly Hale manage to adapt the storytelling style of a fairy tale without ever making it sound like a parody or satire. It seems that they love both fairy tales and Doctor Who and have successfully brought the two worlds together. I highly recommend this novel.
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