Book Review – Doctor Who: Millennium Shock

  • Title: Millennium Shock
  • Series: BBC Books Past Doctor Adventures
  • Author: Justin Richards
  • Characters:  Fourth Doctor, Dr. Harry Sullivan
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 11/09/2014

This is the second time I’ve read Millennium Shock. The first time I realized it was a sequel, but read it anyway because I knew the first book in the series, System Shock was part of the long out-of-print Doctor Who Missing Adventures series of books published by Virgin Publishing, and I would be unlikely to find a copy.

Now that I’ve read an e-book version of System Shock I did find that Millennium Shock made more sense. There’s a lot of detail from System Shock that’s used in this book – and not really explained.

Anyway, Millennium Shock is in the BBC Past Doctor Adventures series. It stars the Fourth Doctor (played on the television series by Tom Baker) and Dr. Harry Sullivan (played by Ian Marter on the TV series) who is now working for MI5. Sarah Jane Smith makes a brief appearance at the beginning, then we don’t see her again.

The plot involves the Millennium Bug, and a two-part plan – a corrupt British politician who wants to use the Bug to his own advantage; and aliens who are manipulating the politician for their own ends. The aliens are mechanical and computer Cyborgs – combined with the reptile snake-like appearance of their original ancestors. However, they hide their forms to look more human. And they intend, again, to take over the world using Voractyll, an alien computer that can infiltrate computer networks. The original code had been split apart, so during most of the book the aliens are attempting to re-assemble the code.

The Doctor, of course, manages to divert the aliens – mostly by appealing to the emotions they thought they no longer had, and by turning their tricks against them.

Overall, the book made more sense the second time around. However, System Shock had more humor. Still, an excellent Doctor Who novel. I recommend it.

Book Review – Doctor Who: System Shock

  • Title: System Shock
  • Series: Virgin Publishing Missing Doctor Adventures
  • Author: Justin Richards
  • Characters:  Fourth Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 10/13/2014

System Shock is an original novel in Virgin Publishing Doctor Who Missing Adventures series and it’s an enjoyable and fast read. The novel features the fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) and Sarah Jane Smith. However, they meet and work with a much older Dr. Harry Sullivan, who is Assistant Chief of Staff at MI5. Sarah and Harry are both somewhat perplexed by the meeting, but since both have time travel experience, they deal with it OK.

The plot, which takes time to reveal, includes alien invasion as one may expect – but it’s a different concept in alien invasion entirely. Rather than the typical monsters or aliens – this invasion is being organized by a computer-controlled alien corporation. Yes, that’s right – alien invaders who track their progress with Gantt charts. The method of invasion is also unique, a completely intelligent artificial life-form called, Voractyll, that literally lives on a CD. The aliens plan on using Voractyll like a computer virus to take over the Earth using the new Hubway InterNet interconnected computer network (the book was published in 1995).

This Doctor Who novel is brilliantly fun. Richards’ use of corporate language and behavior is perfect, and amusing. I also found the plot, well, awesome. For a 20-year old Cyberpunk story – it still works, pretty much. Yes, some of the technology seems dreadfully out of date (I took my last two CRT monitors to the Electronic Graveyard recycling site at the beginning of the summer – in this novel, a CRT is the height of monitor technology) the plot still works, and it doesn’t seem out of date. I also liked all the characters. I’ve always liked Harry with Sarah – and in this book he’s older, wiser, more mature, and yet, still the same old Harry.

I recommend this novel, if you can find it, for not only Doctor Who fans, but for fans of the Cyberpunk sub-genre of SF.

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.