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on 11 May 2007
Imagine that you escape separately from a spaceship. One of you ends up prisoner in a society that mistrusts everything. You are tortured and questioned until you end up giving them they answers they want to hear. Meanwhile, the other person ends up in a peaceful society were everyone lives in Utopia. This is what happens to the Doctor, Compassion and Fitz. However, perhaps the Utopia is not everything that it seems?

The high concepts that sit behind this story are very good and the parts that dealt with this were very enjoyable. However, Dallaire is unable to create a coherent story within the concept and the book ends up being a confusing mess. Once again the 8th Doctor proves that he is one of the best, but even his humour can not save this book from becoming too complicated. An interesting read for lovers of hard science fiction, but many people will just feel confused.
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on 30 April 2014
Parallel 59 is an Eighth Doctor novel by Natalie Dallaire and Stephen Cole. Natalie appears to only have ever written this book and Stephen Cole was in charge of the line at this time, which suggests that this book suffered from difficulties, not that you’d know it to read it.

The main premise of Parallel 59 is that the planet Skale is trying to reach out into space, but is divided into different parallels, each paranoid of the other. It’s obviously fiction, but it draws similar parallels (see what I did there?) with our own space race. The TARDIS crew land on a space station and have to abandon it, with Fitz taking one pod to the convalescent place of Mechta, and the Doctor and Compassion heading down to Skale. Fitz enjoys his new life, but the Doctor and Compassion are captured and tortured as spies. As the story progresses it appears Mechta isn’t all it appears, and neither are the space stations orbiting Skale.

The Doctor is on form throughout and actually gets a fair bit to do, which is nice given his lack of involvement in recent stories. Compassion has also finally cemented herself as a companion after her much needed character building in the previous novel, Frontier Worlds. She is still mysterious, but I felt connected to her for the first time since her introduction. The star of the show still is Fitz however with all his bits being an absolute joy to read. I really like the fact that he is basically a normal bloke in well over his head and just muddling through life as best he can. If I was trapped in a strange place away from my friends then I’d be shagging left, right and centre too. On the flipside you do see that the Doctor has rubbed off on him.

The staff at Parallel 59 are very well done, with only a few blurring into each other. The paranoia and tension makes for an interesting novel and it’s nice to see that none of them are truly evil, just out of themselves. There is a huge twist right at the end which I didn’t see coming, but felt entirely natural.

I really enjoyed Parallel 59, which given my initial apprehension about an unknown author being guided by the range manager was surprising. The more adult themes and general paranoia make a great novel and therefore I’d highly recommend it to all.
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on 13 July 2008
This book was a fairly average read. Indeed nothing overly exciting happens throughout the book and it adds little to the ongoing story arcs.
This was however an enjoyable enough read. It is fairly technobabble free (in comparison to say Taking 0f Planet 5)and an undemanding read. if you'd never read an eighth Dr book before and you wern't bothered about continuity then this would be a good place to start.
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on 21 December 1999
Fleeing a doomed space station in tiny life capsules, the Doctor and Compassion find themselves prisoners of Parallel 59, a militaristic power on the planet Skale. Meanwhile Fitz finds himself apparently safe in Mechta, a colony for convalescents. A space race is in full swing on Skale, with each of the planet's many blocs desperate to be first to reach the stars. If the Doctor's knowledge helps Parallel 59 to succeed, the consequences for the rest of the world could be devastating. But Fitz knows nothing of his friends' predicament. Enjoying his new life, he's not even sure he wants to be rescued - which is a good thing. Because the Doctor has no intention of going to Mechta. He's decreed that Fitz's new-found utopia must be totally destroyed.
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on 7 February 2007
This is the first novel I've ever read that is a spin-off from a TV series / film and my hopes were not high. This was however a Christmas present and I felt duty bound to read it. However I was pleasantly surprised. The plot is dense (almost too much so in places), the characterisations pretty good and there are some genuinely suspenseful moments. The plot is far-removed from the TV versions which are fairly formulaic and the morality less clear-cut, but the Doctor's wit, intelligence and emotional involvement all come through in the writing. I was amazed that there appear to be over 70 other titles in this particular series and I may even have to pick up a couple more to while away my bus journies into work.
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A marvellous book, very well written, with an excellent portrayal of the 8th Doctor, an interesting overall plot, a lot of humour and a thrilling ending. The final pages are masterful and moving. The other reviewers are unduly critical, probably because the excellent sequence of novels since the totally brilliant Interference means they increasingly have a lot to live up to. Dr Who was never this good or this moving on television. The extraordinary thing is that Dr Who as a cultural phenomenon is not in some twilight but is in fact stronger and more inventive and more artistically assured than ever. Praise the Time Lord. (By the way I am 39 and normally read ever so serious stuff).
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on 17 June 2000
Although this book gives a false start for the first 100 or so pages and it just seems so dull, I was pleasantly surprised when the plot suddenly reached out and demanded my attention. From that point, I was hooked until the end. This book also hints Compassion is more than she seems, but I won't reveal more as I don't want to give away any spoilers for the novels after this one....
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on 31 October 2003
when I first started reading the book it seemed a little like i'd strated in the middle not the begining of the story. but oce i got into it i couldnt pu the book down. I was hooked right till the last page and even then I felt like there was more to discover.
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on 13 March 2000
This is the 'Monster of Peladon' of the BBC Books range. Thoroughly unengaging with 'faceless' characters. The basic idea is a good one, but there's too much padding. I was so glad to reach the end of it!
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on 18 January 2000
Escaping from a doomed space station, the Doctor and Compassion splash down in the waters of the planet Skale. Fitz, as per usual, has gone his own way, and arrives on the pleasant world of Mechta. Compassion and the Doctor are not so lucky, as they are captured by Parallel 59, owners of the orbital station. The Skalens are a paranoid, competitive bunch who have divided their planet into seemingly arbitrary power blocs. In contrast, the Mechtans are chilled, relaxing in convalescence. Fitz literally becomes immersed in their culture. So Fitz once more acts the playboy, where his only anxiety is keeping each of his lovers unaware of the others. But is there really something sinister in Central, as Fitz's circle would have him believe? And what's happening to the people who leave Mechta?
Convinced that they're from another planet, Haltiel, the Skalens set about interrogating the Doctor and Compassion. But the denizens of Parallel 59 are very politically charged, and some of them don't want the Doctor to repair the damage to the space station (which had unwittingly been caused by the Doctor and friends). Compassion escapes, and finds the obligatory band of rebels. However, she and the Doctor are marooned, forced to leave the TARDIS behind in the space station. Not only must the Doctor recover his beloved time machine, but he must also save Fitz from the true nightmare of Mechta...
This is the first novel by the editor of the BBC books, Stephen Cole, and it looks as though it could have been a real disaster, a case of too many chefs (Peter Anghelides is acknowledged to have helped out also). But Anghelides seems to have carried on with the most effective device of the previous novel (his own 'Frontier Worlds'), by having Fitz narrate his time in Mechta. This again brings us closer to Fitz, a character who had previously seemed lifeless. There's nowhere near the same level of wit as in Frontier Worlds, and Parallel 59 appears to be quite formulaic (how many cultures has Fitz lived in now?), and Compassion seems to bear a gun as unthinkingly as any Ace (but without the same gung-ho). The opening's also quite dull, as we're told about the dramatic escape from the space station, rather than being shown it. This adventure is also the first to feature an unclothed Doctor, but this sight doesn't seem to faze his cell companion, Compassion, so we must assume that the Doctor is fully humanoid in appearance (no hidden appendages like the Centauri in B5). But then it's hard to see Compassion reacting to anything much.
There is a point in the novel where all the plots and counterplots seem facile, but there's an even bigger twist towards the end. And this novel's conclusion is it's real saviour, for it is genuinely pulsating. If you go and reread the opening pages, you do realise that there are subtle signposts to what's going to happen. With three authors contributing, Parallel 59 could have been a disaster. It's a triumph that a clear narrative emerges, and the authors certainly couldn't be faulted for the use of their imaginations. There are duff parts certainly, but the final drama, I think, makes up for it. Parallel 59 certainly gave me that always desired DW buzz.
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