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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
Doctor Who: The Bodysnatchers
Format: Mass Market Paperback|Change

on 28 April 2016
Great book
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 18 May 2013
Taking its inspiration from two of the greatest Doctor Who stories, `Terror of the Zygons' and `The Talons of Weng Chiang', this novel places the popular, organic based technology, aliens in Victorian London and re-introduces Professor Litefoot, friend of the Fourth Doctor and Leela. With such ingredients any book should be enjoyable and this novel delivers quite successfully. It is certainly one of my preferred Eighth Doctor novels.

Inevitably though, this does mean that the plot is as you might expect. The Zygons are planning to colonise the Earth, they've infiltrated the new world of industrialism and are terrorising London with their cyborg Skarasen. Thus, at times, it is a little predictable. However, the story is written with enough varied events and pace to maintain interest and keep it enjoyable.
The Zygons themselves are pretty loyal to their on-screen portrayals. Balaak has bit of a basic villain character but he is utilised well and is exactly what is needed to suit this story. Tuval, on the other hand, is an interesting individual who offers a lot more of an insight into Zygon society. The balance between military and scientific characters is somewhat reminiscent of some of the Silurian stories and poses some of the same issues.

The Doctor is a little unlikeable coming across as a bit condescending and even patronising at times. His attitude to Sam is also sometimes more like that of a suffering parent. It is, perhaps, not the best Doctor/companion dynamic. Sam is portrayed very well though and her desire to impress the Doctor and assume the role of his right hand man is convincingly put across by the author. The irrational twinges of jealousy towards Emmeline are a nice touch and give her character more depth.

The characterisation of Litefoot is true to his TV persona and it is a great joy to re-visit him. Having him finally enter the Tardis feels a bit like a denouement to `The Talons of Weng Chiang'. Although he is a lot of fun it is a great shame that Jago isn't present as the two characters work so well together. Jago's absence is occasionally felt throughout and it seems an odd choice to omit him from events on a pointless pretext. The Eighth Doctor also doesn't gel as well with Jago. His relationship with the Fourth Doctor is much more vibrant and entertaining. As good as Litefoot's characterisation is it often serves only to highlight what is missing.

The best aspect of this book is perhaps the horrendous mistake made by the Doctor in this story. Without giving too much away, it is a partially novel and interesting idea to deal with what happens when the Doctor gets things wrong and what the negative fallout of his actions could be. It is also an interesting glimpse of the arrogance the Doctor sometimes exhibits.
This is a good, solid story, if occasionally a little basic in formula. There are enough newish ideas to give it a freshness and it is a strong re-visitation of one of Doctor Who's best and under-utilised monsters.
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on 10 September 2012
Continuing my read through of Eight Doctor novels I have come to the one I was most looking forward to reading. The Bodysnatchers. The reason I was looking forward to reading it is because I'd read a library copy back in 1998 and remember thoroughly enjoying it. However even if I hadn't the cover blurb simply makes you want to read it. I love stories set in the Victorian time, they are usually very atmospheric and the characters always seem so much more alive than other novels.

The book builds up swiftly and then the action just keeps on coming. I know some people like a lot of build up, but I prefer my stories to be fast paced and action packed. The Bodysnatchers doesn't disappoint here, but the characters are built up enough in order for you to visualise them clearly. The only annoyance is The Doctor's latest companion, Sam, who is still utterly irritating at times. However, like in Vampire Science, this is how she is meant to be, so it shows the author is doing his job well.

Talking of characters a couple of old faces return. Firstly Professor Litefoot who was in the TV serial "The Talons Of Weng Chiang" and secondly the Zygons. The Bodysnatchers was Mark Morris' first Dr Who novel so for him to be trusted with 2 fan favourites just goes to show how much talent this guy has. He has Litefoot down totally, you can honestly believe it is the same Litefoot from the TV show. The Zygons involvement was a masterstroke, and they too are spot on to the TV show.

One thing worth mentioning is the very adult content present throughout the book. As the title suggests dead bodies are frequent throughout, most have suffered horrible fates and the author describes these in vivid detail. As such I wouldn't recommend it as suitable reading material for anyone under 12.

I was hoping this book would be as good as I remembered at 17, and it was. The Bodysnatchers is a simply fantastic book, and one I'd thoroughly recommend to casual fans just getting started with the Eighth Doctor.
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on 29 March 2011
To the newly forged Dr Who fan, the 8th Doctor is amongst the forgotten. Played by Paul McGann he only appeared in one lacklustre TV movie and was replaced some years later by the Eccelesator. This is not true for fans of the books, as the 8th Doctor actually represents one of the golden periods of the written series, a time before the books were seemingly written from 12 years olds and printed in a size 16 font. In `The Bodysnatchers' the Doctor and his assistant Sam are in foggy old London town circa late Victorian era. They stumble across a mystery that is rather unpleasantly leaving human remains around the place. Can the Doctor et al save the Earth once again?

`Bodysnatchers' is an above average adventure in the 8th Doctor series and is a classic example of what they do well - science fiction adventure stories for adults. The 8th Doctor is a little softer than those that have gone before and he feels every death that is at his hand. Like in all good Who books what the good guys do, is not always the right thing. Author Mark Morris is not shy in sharing some of the more grisly details and this does separate it from the later kid friendly books. The story is fast paced and rips along. The aliens on offer are interesting and also seem somewhat realistic (in a sci fi alien sort of way). With plenty of action and a cracking pace `Doctor Who: The Bodysnatchers' is another good performance from the 8th Doctor series of Who books.
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on 16 August 1999
A rollicking adventure, though it would have been more enjoyable if the cover designer hadn't given away the surprise villain (which would be even more of a surprise than usual since the Zygons are shape shifters). Still it's good to wallow around in the London smog again and catch up with our old friend Dr Litefoot from The Talons of Weng-Chiang. It's a pity that his partner in crime(fighting), Henry Gordon Jago, couldn't join him, but then Morris probably thought he'd be pushing luck by taking on arguably the two most popular guest characters in the series' history in his debut Who novel.
As you might have twigged, The Bodysnatchers harks back to the Hinchcliffe era both in terms of continuity and spirit. The era is remembered for its gothic horror flavour, but there was a lot of wry humour and a wonderful camaraderie between the cast members that Morris picks up on. The story rattles along well despite being full of holes (there's precious little bodysnatching and, think about it, the original Terror of the Zygons made it quite clear that there could be only one Zygon colony on Earth). The noble if doddery Litefoot is worth the price of admission alone (a first class job), though sadly, it's impossible to picture the Skarasen slipping through the fog without seeing that awful puppet used in the original story.
All in all, this is a great introduction for those fans sceptical of the idea of the Eighth Doctor novels. Paul McGann's performance was strong enough to give writers like Morris and Dicks a character to work from. Openness and sensitivity appear to be his trademark, and may be it's the onset of middle-age, but unlike his predecessors, he doesn't feel the need to flaunt his alien qualities anymore. Sam strikes me as being a little bit too like Ace, and the implication that she has a slight (albeit suppressed) crush is logical given the new Doctor's looks and charm, though it does raise that nasty old Who taboo: sex. Another one is also raised by Morris: bad language. Lets hope the children aren't watching.
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on 15 April 2011
My Complete Illustrated Sherlock Holmes Books and Short Stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle sit on the lowest shelf of my book case not more than two feet from my shoulder as I write these lines. Bodysnatchers revisits the late 1800s that I so love reading about and Professor George Litefoot, a much loved character from the sublime The Talons of Weng-Chiang, along with the popular Zygons from Terror of the Zygons. The result is a book that indulges three items from many a Who fan's private wish-list. The Zygons are developed far more than the rather one dimensional baddies that were so casually dispatched by the Fourth Doctor. It's a shame that the book is marred by the rather flat characterizations of the Doctor and Sam that seems to haunt most of these Eighth Doctor books.
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on 23 November 2000
A thrilling and atmospheric adventure in the traditional Doctor Who mould. The story contains a little of everything that has always made Doctor Who successful: Suspense, action, humour, tragedy, it's all here, as is an occasionally unnecessary and lurid attention to gore which did sometimes seem out of place. The Zygons are exceptionally well developed here and we learn much more about them, their origins and characteristics in a convincing and attractive way. The Skarasen add to the story also, probably because in this case we can only imagine them! It was a shame Jago couldn't make an appearance but with dear old Litefoot well and truly on form his partner's absence was barely noticed.I did feel that the way the Doctor defeated the Zygons was rather extreme but hey, as we all know even the Doctor gets it wrong! Overall, one of the most satisfying and exciting adventures in the series .
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 3 August 2006
Taking monsters and supporting characters from 1970's doctor who, this is an attempt to reproduce the style of the time. Monsters and horror. And whilst it's not the best written book in the world, it succeeds in it's aims. If you want a good bit of scary doctor who which will fire up the memory cells, you could do a lot worse
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on 5 June 2002
This is a very traditional DW story but the formula is a winning one. Reintroducing the Zygons was a masterstroke and this is one of the best of the early Eighth doctor novels. It was also nice to see Professor Litefoot again, who was last seen in "The Talons of Weng-Chiang". I didn't give it 5 stars because there is nothing really very groundbreaking about it. However this is still a really good book that I enjoyed a lot.
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on 15 July 2003
Out of print for some time, this is a classic Who advenure not to be missed.
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