Book Review – Doctor Who: State of Change

  • Title: State of Change
  • Series: Virgin Publishing Missing Doctor Adventures
  • Author: Christopher Bulis
  • Characters:  Sixth Doctor, Peri
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 11/08/2015

State of Change is an original novel in Virgin Publishing’s Missing Doctors series of paperback novels, featuring the Sixth Doctor as played on the BBC television series, Doctor Who by Colin Baker, and his companion, Peri. The novel begins with The Doctor and Peri in ancient Egypt with Peri hidden and taking photos of Cleopatra as she preforms a dress rehearsal for meeting the Romans. The Doctor hurries Peri back to the TARDIS and admonishes her for her habit of taking photographs that she can’t show anyone, plus the danger of her camera falling into the wrong hands. The Doctor then puts the TARDIS in flight and Peri heads off to the swimming pool to relax. The TARDIS is then involved in a collision in the Time Vortex which causes it to get stuck.

When it gets unstuck and crash lands, Peri and the Doctor are in Rome but it’s a Rome with steam ships, air ships (zeppelins), telegraphs, wireless (radio), and even a nuclear bomb, ruled by the uneasy triumvirate of Cleopatra and her brothers Ptolemy and Alexander. The crash has also left the Doctor and Peri in an unstable situation: Peri begins to turn into a bird, as she did in the televised episode, “Vengeance on Varos”, and the Doctor begins to regenerate backwards – briefly going back to his Fifth Incarnation before re-stabilizing as the Sixth Doctor. The Doctor develops a device to allow him to roam freely and not regenerate backwards, where Peri embraces her new bird-form, even more than the Doctor recommends. While the TARDIS recharges the Doctor and Peri get involved in events.

This story might sound grim – but it’s a rip-roaring action-adventure story set in an “alternative” Rome. The last third of the book wraps up some anomalies from earlier – explaining exactly where the Doctor and Peri are, a known Doctor Who villain briefly appears, and the situation is resolved quickly and basically happily. I enjoyed the story immensely, and even found it amusing (you’ve heard of steam punk – well imagine steam punk with Romans). It’s simply a wonderful Doctor Who story. I also liked seeing Peri grow up a bit, become comfortable in her own skin, take initiative, and even kick a little butt. Highly Recommended.

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