Book Review – Doctor Who: Palace of the Red Sun

  • Title: Palace of the Red Sun
  • Series: BBC Books Past Doctor Adventures
  • Author: Christopher Bulis
  • Characters:  Sixth Doctor, Peri
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 8/24/2012

This book started very s…l…o…w…l…y. The Doctor (the 6th Doctor, played on the series by Colin Baker) and Peri land on a planet that seems to be an idyllic garden with a red sun. However, there are no people around. And for at least fifty pages… nothing happens, because there are no people around.
Eventually the Doctor and Peri get separated and the TARDIS disappears from where the Doctor left it. Again, very typical and not that interesting.
So I put this book down for a LONG time… like months. I just picked it up again and finished reading it in a couple of days. Overall, despite the slow start it was an OK read. Bulis really needs to improve his delivery style.
Anyway, when I picked up the book, the Doctor meets Green-8, a sentient gardening robot. Unlike most of the “thinking robots” in Doctor Who such as Daleks and Cybermen or indeed most thinking robots in science fiction in general (such as the Terminator movies) Green-8 is benevolent, curious, and even somewhat obsessed with philosophical questions such as “Who am I?” and “How did I come to be?” or even “Who made me?” and “Do I have to follow the Lords orders?” The Doctor convinces Green-8 to help him find his missing companion Peri.
Peri, meanwhile, has been taken hostage by the Red gardening robots and is being used as slave gardening labor alongside a group of other captured people called scavengers. Peri befriends a young scavenger boy named Kel.
Suddenly a large fireball appears in the sky, a huge wind and sand storm hits the land and considerable damage is done to the gardens. Peri uses this as the perfect opportunity to escape with Kel.
Meanwhile, the Doctor has just convinced Green-8 to help him find Peri, when the same fireball, storm, and shockwave hit his section of the planetoid. Green-8 reports the damage to the Lords in the Palace and orders his fellow Green Robots to clean-up and take care of the damage. This delays the Doctor and Green-8 from going anywhere. The Doctor also recognizes the firestorm as bombardment from space…and realizes he must warn the lords in the palace, even if it delays his search for Peri.
Meanwhile, a princess named Oralissa is beginning to have doubts — questioning things no one else around her questions, such as the mechanical servants that take care of the palace and grounds. She’s also less than happy to be forced into a marriage to one of two unsuitable suitors.
Peri and Kel encounter a “ghost girl nanny” then return to Kel’s home in the woods. Once there they soon run into a tabloid space reporter who’s covering the attack of a megalomanic dictator named Glavis Judd. Peri, Kel, Kel’s want-to-be bride, and another scavenger all head to the palace, accompanied by the reporter’s automatic camera drones.
Arriving at the palace, they meet the Doctor and the mystery begins to unravel… which I’m not going to spoil here. I will say that I had at least part of the mystery figured out before Bulis got around to explaining it. I also didn’t appreciate Bulis’ pushing the ideals of anarchy and anti-authority and anti-law and order every chance he got; especially given the epilogue is the exact opposite of his preaching.
Not the best Doctor Who book I’ve read in the BBC Books Past Doctor series, and overwhelmingly slow at times, but over all — not the worst book in the series either. The mystery elements were fairly well handled.

Book Review – Doctor Who The Tenth Doctor Vol. 2 – The Weeping Angels of Mons

The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Gabby Gonzalez’s adventures continue in this second volume in the Doctor Who graphic novels from Titan Comics. I thought this book was even better than volume one. The artwork is excellent. The Doctor takes Gabby on his promised trip to the past – but they arrive in the middle of a World War I battlefield. A battlefield that’s under attack by Weeping Angels. First, the Angels appear singly but soon there are hordes of Angels attacking the British troops, and the German troops occupying the nearby town have all ready disappeared.
The flashbacks of the English soldiers who are sent back in time are incredibly well-thought out, as well as well-drawn. The Doctor figures out that the Angels are desperate because they are trying to feed on the future timelines of the Lost Generation – who have no future.
As the Weeping Angels try to approach the British Trenches the Doctor and Gabby help fight them off. Finally, the Doctor is able to reach his missing TARDIS, and trap the Angels underground.
He then brings Gabby home, and says goodbye to her. But, Gabby is not safe in New York as she (and all of New York) is soon attacked by Galactic Hunters who hunt with noise weapons.
I really enjoyed this graphic novel and I recommend it.

Book Review – Doctor Who A Device of Death

  • Title: A Device of Death
  • Series: Virgin Publishing Doctor Who Missing Adventures
  • Author: Christopher Bulis
  • Characters: Fourth Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith, Dr. Harry Sullivan
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 12/17/2014

A Device of Death is a volume in Virgin Publishing’s Missing Adventures series of Doctor Who original novels. This story features the Fourth Doctor as played by Tom Baker, Sarah Jane Smith, and medical doctor and naval officer, Dr. Harry Sullivan. The novel opens with the Time Lords in an emergency monitoring station, monitoring a Time Quake as a result of the aired story, Genesis of the Daleks. They attempt to rescue the Doctor and his companions from the quake, but it doesn’t quite go perfectly and Harry, the Doctor, and Sarah end-up in three different locations in a solar system at war. So, right from the beginning our characters are split up. This means the novel moves very fast as the reader wants to know what’s happening to all three characters. The conflict also can only be resolved with information from all three locations. And in grand Doctor Who fashion both the Doctor and his companions get involved in local affairs, and become instrumental in figuring things out – especially, once they are re-united and can compare notes. The resulting secret they discover/figure out I found to be slightly predictable, and thus a tad disappointing. However, I still found “A Device of Death” to be quite the fun romp (despite the grim circumstances of the secondary/original characters) and the book was an enjoyable and quick read.

Book Review – Doctor Who Tenth Doctor vol. 1 – Revolutions of Terror

Revolutions in Terror collects the first five issues of Titan Comics Tenth Doctor range. The Doctor (David Tennant) meets a new companion, Gabriella Gonzalez (Gabby), a Hispanic-American from New York City. Gabby works in her family’s restaurant and also their laundromat, while studying accounting in night school. (Note to the editors – in the US it’s “accounting” not “accountancy”, and one must *pass* the CPA Exam before one is a certified public accountant. However, you can work as an accounting assistant without passing the exam.) Anyway, Gabby is tired of working for her family, and would rather go to graphic design school or art school and become an artist. Aliens attack the laundromat and soon the Doctor arrives to help. The alien invasion is connected to the Day of the Dead celebration – but the happiness and singing of those gathered to celebrate beats off the invaders.
The Doctor likes Gabby and takes her on “one trip” in the TARDIS to a futuristic art gallery. They end-up in danger, but it’s Gabby who rescues the artist captured by her own creation so to speak. The Doctor agrees to give Gabby a trip to the past too.
I enjoyed this graphic novel. The art is brilliant and the colors pop. I liked the idea of including Gabby’s sketchbook/diary as her comment on life in the TARDIS but I found the lettering very difficult to read. Cursive is not your friend, especially when it’s that small – and on a dark background.
The story felt, well, like they were trying to get their feet under themselves… feeling their way a bit… not polished. But it was enough to keep me interested in buying more of the graphics in the Doctor Who series. And I really enjoyed seeing a David Tennant original story.

Book Review: Doctor Who – The Indestructible Man

  • Title: The Indestructible Man
  • Series: BBC Books Past Doctor Adventures
  • Author: Simon Messingham
  • Characters:  Second Doctor, Zoë, Jamie, Gerry Anderson shows
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 2/23/2013

This novel is very, well, novel. As the photo-cover and title suggest, it really is a cross-over with all the Gerry Anderson stuff. Mostly it crosses Doctor Who (Second Doctor, Jamie, Zoë) with Captain Scarlet — the indestrcutible man, and with UFO, thus Zoë’s purple wig. But other Anderson shows make an appearance, including, Thunderbirds.

I was expecting, therefore, for this novel to be very funny, and it wasn’t, from what I remember it was actually kinda’ depressing. However, I did read it awhile ago, and it’s one of the Past Doctor Adventures I’d definitely read again.

Overall, definitely a book to read and add to your Doctor Who collection. It’s something to also recommend to the Gerry Anderson fan you know.

Adding My Graphic Novel and Book Reviews

After much thought, I’ve decided to add my Graphic Novel and Book reviews on this blog.  I was cross-posting them to LiveJournal, and trying to deal with the technical problems, but with Live Journal going under – I wanted a second place to post my reviews. Everything will still be posted to GoodReads first, but I hope to keep a copy here as well, and to tag everything to be easily searched.

The Librarians Season 2 Review

  • Series Title: The Librarians
  • Season: Season 2
  • Episodes: 10
  • Discs: 3
  • Network: TNT
  • Cast: Noah Wyle, John Larroquette, Rebecca Romijn, Christian Kane, Lindy Booth, John Harlan Kim, David S. Lee, Richard Cox
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, R1

The second season of TNT’s The Librarians brings back Noah Wyle for the first two episodes and the last two episodes. The series is a sequel to the Librarian movies, and the first two episodes play like one of the movies, as the Librarians are reunited with Eve and Flynn for four separate quests at a museum only to have to face down Moriarty, a Fictional, and Prospero – Shakespeare’s magician. Prosero is determined to change his fate and not follow the story as written by Shakespeare.

Unfortunately, we really don’t see Prospero or Moriarty until the last two episodes of the season, which also bring back Noah Wyle as Flynn, the Librarian. The opening and closing two-parters are great, and could even be viewed together, without watching the intervening episodes. The stand-alone stories, featuring the younger Librarians are hit-or-miss. John Larroquette is wonderful as Jenkins, caretaker of the Annex, and with the library back – now the Library as well. The first episode without Noah Wyle gives us background on Stone and his issues with his father (a real piece of work). “The Cost of Education” could have been a fun HP Lovecraft-type story – instead it’s full of stereotypes about college life. Not only that, but the young, gifted, highly intelligent woman – very like Cassandra, is talked into leaving university and pursuing magic – without even being a librarian. It was an annoying episode. The episode, “And the Hollow Men” brings back Flynn, but has a strange quality to it. As you can tell from the title, “And the Infernal Contract” is a tale of Faust or the Devil and Daniel Webster set during a mayoral race in a small New England town. “The Image of the Image” is a fun version of the story of Dorian Gray, though, like the previous episode, it was painfully obvious where it was going from the beginning. “And the Point of Salvation” was extremely fun – from Jenkins actually casting a spell to call and bind the fairy Puck (fitting in nicely with the Shakespearean theme of the season) to Jones and Stone binding over figuring out the video game they are stuck in – it’s much more unique than many of the other stand-alone episodes of the season. I also loved the growth in Jones’ character, though they punched the reset button on that at the end of the episode.

The final two episodes bring back Moriarty and Prospero – not to mention a trip through time, and Shakespeare. It’s the type of fun the show is known for and was so prevalent in Season 1. Eve and Flynn also have great chemistry in the episode. And I loved the cameo of the TARDIS and the Back to the Future DeLorean in the time machine room.

Overall, though I enjoyed season 2, Prospero was such a great villain I wish we’d seen more of him. And Moriarty was written and played brilliant as not the epitome of evil, but a complicated man trapped by his circumstances. I’d still recommend the series though.