I picked this book up by chance, and was about to read it when I decided to look at the other reviews so far on Amazon - hmm, not filling me with confidence. However, onwards we go, and let's see what we make of it.
I like a good Doctor Who novel, but unfortunately they do seem to be a bit hit and miss. This one seems to be more miss than hit. I really found it hard to get into; I think that bothered me the most was that the Doctor, as characterised in this novel, seems much more like the Tenth incarnation - bouncy, almost manic; terrible puns; dashing about the place like a whirlwind - it just didn't gel as the Eighth Doctor at all. And I found it hard, then, to place "the Doctor" in the story. Sam, as companion, just seemed to be there as a plot contrivance. The story could have been good, but it really did remind me of a Star Trek episode - I almost expected Mr Spock and Captain Kirk to turn up.
Not one of Mr Mortimore's better outings. Quite a disappointment, really. Pity.
on 15 October 2013
Beltempest is an Eighth Doctor novel by Jim Mortimore and not one I was looking forward to reading as I loathed his previous novel Eye of Heaven, and it has garnered awful reviews pretty much across the board.
The story starts with a prequel detailing an impossible triple eclipse of a dying star and its subsequent impossible rebirth before moving into the present day with the Doctor and Sam being seemingly sucked out of the TARDIS and thrust into the Bel system in the midst of some odd solar behaviour. The Doctor joins a rescue party whilst Sam gets rescued by a religious freak who thinks death is the answer to eternal life beyond.
The Doctor in question is the 8th, or so the cover says at least. What we actually have is a Doctor more akin to David Tennant, youthful, exuberant and bouncing off the walls which I quite enjoyed reading about if the truth be told. I was a little bit put off by The Doctor doing his "all life is precious" speech but then showing a distinct lack of compassion for the many people who die throughout the novel. He also shows incredibly technological knowhow, creating force fields capable of lifting entire spaceships and repelling tsunami's with ease which is a little unbelievable. Overall I enjoyed the portrayal despite it not being the Eighth in any way.
Likewise, Sam is also incredibly badly written. Seeing I and the 4 following novels may as well not have happened as the Sam we have here is back to the whiny teenage version of old. The Doctor needs her help to sort out the sun, but she'd rather question his motives, claim he is acting like her parents, and throw away a bag he gave her after letting her go off on her own.
The other characters do tend to fade into obscurity though. The religious leaders are well done, but the few humans we see are standard doctors / space captains despite obviously being meant to be more important.
After reading reviews and fan opinion on this novel I really thought I would dislike Beltempest, but I really didn't find too much to hate about it aside from the extremely poor characterisation of the series regulars and even then I thoroughly enjoyed the portrayal of the Doctor. The plot is enough to keep you entertained throughout the reasonably short novel. I certainly didn't struggle to read it, as I have with previous Doctor Who novels, so it can't have been that bad.
on 21 February 2003
There are a number of factors that make Doctor Who so enjoyable, amongst those are humanity, humour, credibility and fun. Beltempest lacks all of these things and instead goes for a hard core science fiction approach which was simply unintelligable for most of the book. I'm sure there is a place for Beltempest in the vast Science fiction canon, but it should not be a Doctor Who book. The characters of the Eighth Doctor and Sam have developed nicely through the previous books, but Mr Mortimore seems to ignore this and almost creates new characters for this story. The Doctor dances around with glee at the birth of a new planet, despite the millions of deaths that are occurring and Sam becomes immortal and then (maybe I missed something here) returns to mortality after a few wise words from The Doctor.
This is a complete mess and possibly the worst BBC Doctor Who book I've read, unless you're a true Doctor Who fan or a lover of deep and intelligent Sci fi, avoid at all costs.
on 20 July 2007
'Doctor Who: Beltempest' has to be the worst DW tie in novel I have read to date; and this is a series of books that I do not expect much from. The Doctor and Sam find themselves stuck in a constellation of planets that is about to be engulfed by a dying Sun. They must try and get the local inhabitants to work together to save their lives.
The initial concept of the book does not look too bad, but try reading the book and you will soon become confused, as its gibberish. The Doctor's story is reasonable as he has to convince a warring species to seek a peaceful alternative, but Sam's tale is woeful. She meets a man who somehow gives her immortality and something about a hidden species speaking to her through metaphor. It makes absolutely no sense and Mortimer has filled the book with pseudo science and psychobabble. It's the kind of poorly written guff that none science fiction fans think the genre is like. Mortimer has done a disservice to science fiction with this book and Doctor Who - a stinker.
on 24 August 2000
Might just be me, but having finished Beltempest half an hour ago, I'm left wondering exactly what happened. I don't mean I didn't understand the book, but I couldn't actually determine what exactly the plot was supposed to be. From what I could gather, it was all about stars undergoing transformations and the consequences of such events, with a very Trek twist. Then there was stuff about religion and immortality and death, or something. Unfortunately, I didn't feel much actually happened. Still, better than sitting like a vegetable in front of the telly, i suppose. And that doesn't mean it was a bad book, it just didn't measure up to some of the excellent ones in the series like Seeing I or Vampire Science!