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Customer reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars

on 5 April 2000
As an American fan of the series with limited exposure to the First and Second Doctors, I found this book to be enjoyable and interesting. One of the things that impressed me about this storyline was the individual attention that is given to the Doctor and each of his companions. Each member of the Tardis crew has a chance to shine in their own right in this storyline. This adventure also gives some details to the Time Lord nature of the Doctor's grandaughter Susan as she contemplates having to regenerate after serious injury. All in all, the purchase price of this Doctor Who Adventure was money well spent in my opinion.
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on 30 November 1999
I really love the period of the "first TARDIS team" and getting to read another of their stories is always fun. Bulis can be a hit and miss writer and this one does take some time getting started, but once you get into the story and the characters, you just keep on reading to get to the ending. Especially as that ending is stuffed to the brim with all sorts of twists in everybody's tail.
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on 20 January 2013
This book begins very well, perfectly capturing the original Tardis crew and the feel and atmosphere of the early William Hartnell period. The whimsical subtleties of the First Doctor's dialogue and behaviour are superbly characterised with Barbara, Susan and Ian naturally falling into their usual roles around him. Unfortunately, after this great start, things begin to go downhill.

The novel soon slips into an atypical, common and fairly dull plot involving a civilisation trying to escape its imminent destruction in a massive impractical ship incapable of transporting to freedom hardly any of the population. It isn't the most original idea and it isn't very well realised here. It would have probably been a lot better if the Doctor went on to play a more proactive role in the plot. He is, for the most part, incidental to events. His aid is minimal and his concern more with the Tardis, its key and his missing companions. He even comes over a little blasé about the fate of Arkhaven and its people at times. But then there were occasional moments in the First Doctor's first year within the programme where he behaved a little like this. So perhaps the author has grasped this accurately as well. I just prefer the Doctor to be more relevant to the plot.

The three companions are generally swept along with events as well. For the first half of the adventure Ian is quite a proactive force, dominating his scenes. Half way through the novel, however, the author seems to run out of ideas for his involvement and he generally hangs around by the Doctor's shoulder worrying about Barbara. Susan, despite some time unconscious during events, is given a sizeable role due to the two parts she is effectively given and provided with plenty to do. Barbara spends a lot of her time trapped or escaping (this being quite common in Doctor Who) but her reactions and responses to situations appear genuine and perfectly in character with her TV persona. Her last line is also suitably ironic considering that this book is supposed to occur before, `Planet of Giants'.

The other characters of the book aren't very memorable though. They might vary between politicians, medics, rebels, teenagers and religious fanatics but they are all quite two dimensional and what you might expect. Even Monitor is your average computer gone rogue after achieving some level of self-awareness. There is also a seemingly unnecessary attempt to add some alien/monster threat to the story by using the Taklarians. They add nothing really to the plot and could easily have been omitted.

There are some nice personal scenes and some well written sequences though. The story just lacks any gripping quality and the characterisation is often quite flat when not dealing with the Tardis crew. It's a story that could be fitted into many science fiction series' and feels a little too generic.
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on 20 March 2014
City at Worlds End is a 1st Doctor adventure featuring Ian, Barbara and Susan written by Christopher Bulis. The premise of the novel is that a planet is on the brink of destruction as a moon, flung off course by an asteroid hit, is due to collide. The city is building a rocket ship, but it’s only big enough to hold a select slice of society and the remaining “dregs” are herded into camps presumably to stop them from sabotaging the escape plan. The TARDIS crew arrive, and quickly get separated during a meteor shower which also buries the TARDIS under a load of rubble. What follows is an interesting tale of a city on the brink of its destruction and the dangers of allowing a class based system to run rampant, with plenty of plot twists and turns.

What really impressed me about City at Worlds End was the characterization of the regulars. Back in series 1 this story wouldn’t have had a hope in hell of being made due to budget constraints, so it’s nice to see the TV characters we know in a totally advanced society.

Keeping with the era the Doctor is in selfish mode to start with, insisting on exploring when his companions don’t want to. When the exploration leads to physical harm coming to his friends and the loss of the TARDIS he becomes very remorseful. The 1st Doctor was always a man of words and not actions, and this is hammered home with his psychological ways of getting what he wants without having to lift a finger. Ian and Barbara are both true to the era as well, with Ian a bit hot headed yet intelligent and Barbara the damsel in distress, but one you can’t help but think can take care of herself. Susan is the only regular drastically different from the TV era with her being shown to be far more worldly wise and to explicitly mention her Time Lord biology, something which was only really hinted at on screen.

The remaining cast are sadly fairly pigeon holed. The concept of the society is different classes, and obviously each class is exactly as you’d expect. The elite are hoity-toity and relying on the family name, the church is more concerned about spiritual matters and the NC2’s (the commoners) are treated like crap. The trouble with this system is that everyone from that class fits that class and tend to merge into one. This isn’t always a bad thing, but you don’t find yourself caring too much about the non-regulars.

City at Worlds End is one of those rare novels which takes an era of the show, runs with it yet still delivers a novel which wouldn’t seem out of place on the screens at the time. You can’t accuse Bulis of writing a novelisation, City at Worlds End is a novel well within its own right, yet it feels so familiar it could be. It has a very solid story, brilliant characterization of the regulars and is an absolute joy to read. Top notch stuff.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 8 August 2006
Christopher Bulis never writes great literature. But he writes readable prose and good stories. And that's what I want from this range.

This is a story that could have been done on tv in the 60's, and would have probably been a six parter if it had been. The original tardis crew arrive on a doomed world and get involved in plans to escape from it. But of course they find there's fare more to the place than meets the eye.

Not quite as strong in the writing as his earlier first doctor novel the sorceror's apprentice, but still an entertaining read.
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on 6 October 2001
A dark, mysterious and interesting story full of clever, unexpected twists. The first Doctor and his companions are characterised very well too. A little far fetched towards the end perhaps, but ingenious and well thought out.
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