Book Review – Doctor Who: Venusian Lullaby

  • Title: Venusian Lullaby
  • Series: Virgin Publishing Missing Doctor Adventures
  • Author: Paul Leonard
  • Characters:  First Doctor, Ian, Barbara
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 4/19/2013

I was greatly disappointed with this book, especially after the last one I read in the Doctor Who Missing Adventures line was so good. Paul Leonard attempts to write a solid hard SF novel and drop the First Doctor, Barbara and Ian into his story. Perhaps he would have been better off writing an original novel or series of novels. This book has a series of problems (1) as a reader I spent way too much time trying to figure out what was going on… there simply wasn’t enough exposition, (2) The Doctor, Barbara, and Ian should have abruptly turned around and left – the second they realised everyone on the planet (namely Venus) was due to die (3) far too much time is spent “running around” – The Doctor, Barbara, and Ian keep getting separated and as a reader I got frustrated because all I wanted was for them to meet up again and leave, and finally (5) because this is a prehistoric Venus, like three billion years ago or something we know from the beginning that the culture and people of Venus are doomed – this oddly has the dual effect of distancing the reader from the characters and reducing any sense of anxiety, from the beginning we know what will happen.

Any one of those “problems” could have been addressed and written in such a way as to enhance the novel rather than make it worse. After all, a lot of the televised episodes of Doctor Who have ample “running around” or characters being split up, having separate adventures, then joining up again. It can be handled well, or at least better, than in this novel, where it simply doesn’t work.

Or, the knowledge that we “know” that Venusians never landed on Earth could have been used to create “anxiety” about their fate, after all, several of the best episodes of Doctor Who involve a known historical fact and the Doctor’s role in it. But instead in Venusian Lullaby plays out like something the reader simply doesn’t care about.

Overall, quite a disappointment.

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