Top critical review
on 4 October 2016
Expecting breakfast at Tiffanys, Martha is sadly disappointed to find herself on a water logged world. It isn’t long before the Doctor has disappeared, the Tardis has sunk and she is whisked off by something under the water.
In many ways this is a typical story of a human colony trying to adapt to an alien environment on a new planet. With the recent disaster of the sudden flooding the colony is left struggling with limited resources whilst an alien threat develops. The local wildlife, who have been equated with Earth ‘otters’ much to the chagrin of the Doctor, seem to be going through behavioural changes which also seem to have started affecting the colonists when the Doctor arrives.
The alien creature responsible is left a little ambiguous as to exactly what it is and where it comes from, but that works in its favour and somehow extenuates the threat it poses. It bares similarities to the Krynoids but is sufficiently different to be intriguing.
Like many of the Tenth Doctor novels, the characterisation of Martha is somewhat off. She comes across as less mature and a bit more self-obsessed than she does onscreen. And there are other incidences where she is portrayed slightly like Rose. She is given quite a jealous streak which, presumably, the author has taken from the situation with Nurse Redfern in ‘Human Nature’ (probably taking place shortly before this novel) and tried to develop. Unfortunately Martha’s attitude to Ty often seems unsubstantiated and a tad petty.
For the most part the Doctor is well characterised and some of the diction is very Tenth Doctor. There is a tendency occasionally to make him a bit condescending towards the human settlers though.
The colonists are represented by a few characters that provide a rough cross section of the community; particularly Candice and Ty who both spend a considerable amount of time with the Doctor acting in a semi-companion like role during the many times Martha is indisposed or unconscious. Except for Pallister (an over ambitious; power hungry Politician whose name the Doctor continues to deliberately get wrong in much the same way as he does with the Valeyard), the colonists generally seem to be trying to do their best in a difficult situation.