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2.5 out of 5 stars
2.5 out of 5 stars
Doctor Who: Escape Velocity
Format: Mass Market Paperback|Change

This is Colin Brake's first novel, ( personally I think he should stick to script writing for TV ).
From The Burning to Father Time, it has been fantastic to see a series of gripping novels, that have been well written, a joy to read and remembered fondly. Sadly, Escape Velocity does not do justice to its predecessing stories of The Doctor's century of helplessness.
The idea of having our favourite Time Lord stranded on Earth, given his near-immortality potential and WALKING through history for a change, was truly brilliant. I take my hat off to the person who thought of that one.
Escape Velocity however does not put the cherry on the cake, as I hoped.
Colin Brake's obsession with Brussels eclipses the actual storyline, the Kulan seem a rather flat, destructive race and their 'cop-out' end was not at all scintilating. Also the characters depicted were, agreeably, stereotypical of his script-writing background and the death tool was a little overused.
Is it me, or is the character of Control becoming boring now ?
The novel has its saving graces, I admit. The Doctor's final discovery of his true TARDIS is magical, along with his reunion with Fitz. The character of Anji Kapoor seems promising too and I must admit I have this image in my head of her looking like Nisha Batra from Brookside!
At least we know now that The Doctor is back on track, even if his memory is still not what it used to be and the end of the book leaves nostalgic thoughts with us all, I am sure.
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on 8 February 2001
For a book that brought closure to one of the most unique (and to many traditionally-minded fans, troubling) eras of the Doctor's history, Escape Velocity seemed a bit flat. I don't know quite what bothered me more -- the rather low-rent menace of the Kulan or the contrived stereotypes of the supporting characters. With the exception of the major players -- the Doctor, Fitz and, most notably, new companion Anji -- every character you'll meet in Escape Velocity is an archetype/stereotype worn thin by years of TV drama (not surprising, given Brake's TV writing background). Most annoyingly, some of the plot elements are so ludicrously contrived that I'm amazed they got past an editor. In particular, Arthur Tyler's third-act revelation (it's scarcely a spoiler but I won't mention it here; you'll know it when you see it) is utterly unnecessary.
Still, this is the book that puts things to rights, ends the earthbound arc and reunites Doctor and TARDIS. For that, I can't fault it too much. What's more, Anji Kapoor has been treated to the best introduction any companion has enjoyed in a long time, even though it sometimes seems like Brake is stopping just short of summing up her entire personality in a series of bulleted points. In many ways, this is Anji's book, and faced with a Doctor we no longer quite know, not to mention a Fitz with troubling memory problems, it's reassuring to be able to head into a new "season" of books secure in the knowledge that we're familiar with at least one character.
One last thing: does anyone proofread or edit at BBC Books anymore? The BBC DW line has long been a source of comical typos, but Escape Velocity is a treasure trove of comma splices, peppered with misused apostrophes for good notice. Scary. If you read this, Justin Richards, I'll be happy to do a spot of gratis proofreading if your resources are stretched a bit too thinly...
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on 7 February 2001
The end of the stuck on Earth arc is not as bad as it could have been, but suffers from a badly limp plot and uninteresting supporting characters. And I'm sorry but Anji Kapoor has yet to grow on me! The front cover is awful (but never judge a book by that) On the plus side it is readable and never exactly boring, and pleasure comes from the closure of the arc since "The Burning" as matters are more or less resolved. There are some good continuity jokes for the fanboys and the last page is a treat and very clever. Nicely packaged but very empty at the end of the day
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on 8 March 2001
Oh dear, not another corporate boardroom infiltrated by aliens. Sigh. Not particularly *bad* as such, but nothing particularly good, either. Average, bland, this novel has nothing new to say.
Oh, and new companion Anji Kapoor is already starting to annoy me. Hopefully the Doctor will lose her on a starship heading for a collision course with prehistoric Earth *real* soon.
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on 4 February 2001
The truth lies somewher between the following two reviews. The current story arc, which began with "The Burning" was generally of a very high standard. This finale however, was bland in the extreme. The Doctors character was spot on but little else grabbed interest. It's also about time Fitz was dropped as a companion.
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on 2 February 2001
Can't agree with the reviewer below - this is more by-the-numbers writing, clunky prose with no finesse. For a "season finale" and considering all the big reunions and introductions it ushers in, it is really underwritten, and frankly a yawn. A lousy end to a patchy arc.
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on 7 February 2001
This is a good end to the arc that began with the Burning. Sure the book has it's weaknesses - it can be a little muddled at times - but the author characterises the Doctor well and it sweeps you along as you read it. new companion Anji looks promising too.
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on 26 January 2001
Colin Brake's Escape Velocity is the final book in the current arc, and reunites the Doctor with both his TARDIS and his travelling companion Fitz. It also sees the introduction of new companion Anji Kapoor.
The story sees two business tycoon rivals, engaging in a space race to be the first privately funded man in space. They are both being aided by the mysterious aliens the Kulan, who have their own reasons for wanting to get into space. Into this, Dave Young and Anji Kapoor become involved when they see a mysterious man gunned down - a man who appears to have two hearts. A news report of this incident catches the eye of the recently returned from the events of the Ancestor Cell, Fitz Kreiner who heads out to meet them in the hope that the man they saw was not the Doctor. But the mysterious man left a package, which Dave wants to deliver. When he is kidnapped as a result of this package, there is only one man that Fitz can think of to help Anji to find her boyfriend. That man is the Doctor, but will the Doctor be able to help after a century trapped on Earth?
Escape Velocity is a good end to the arc that began with The Burning. It doesn't tie up all of the loose ends that stem from The Ancestor Cell, but it does succeed in restoring some of the fundamental elements of Doctor Who to the series. The Doctor is himself once again, even if he still doesn't have his memory restored totally, he has companions once more and of course the TARDIS has been restored. The moment when the Doctor realises the true nature of what the strange box he has been carrying since the Burning is magical.
New companion Anji is a promising addition to the TARDIS crew and she has an impressive debut performance. Fitz's return is also welcome. Brake has managed to re introduce him well, reminding the reader of who he was in terms of his background in the 1960's and highlight his worries about himself and the Doctor. The Kulan are an interesting alien race, although some of them are disappointingly motivated by the desire for conquest for the sake of it though.
Brake's writing style is good. He succeeds in telling the story at a good pace, and ensures that it is a very readable book. There are some familiar plot elements contained within the book, some of which were used in Father Time, but the story itself is appealing and a good end to this series. It sets up some elements which will form the basis of future novels, such as Fitz's disturbing memory problems regarding recent events and the Doctor's recovering memory. The final paragraph of the book is a very nice touch. It echoes back to the end of the very first episode of Doctor Who, and indicates perhaps that there is a new chapter of the Doctor's lives about to begin.
Overall, Escape Velocity is a good, well written novel, with some exciting action scenes and a fairly good plot. The characterisation of the Doctor is good, and it's good to see him back with his companions and off to new adventures in time and space.
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