THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
NOVELS "OPTION LOCK"
AND "LEGACY OF THE
OFFICIAL BBC 'EIGHTH
RELEASED IN MARCH
the Doctor and Sam
are separated and
trapped on A dying
planet. While Sam
becomes the focus of
attention in a barren
penal settlement, the
Doctor discovers the
secret of THE PLANETís
unique condition - just
as a race of hideous
creatures arrive in
force to reclaim it.
Caught in a struggle
for survival, it seems
time has run out for
every living creature
on Hirath - not least
Sam and the Doctor...
Talk about controversy! Longest Day by Michael Collier may be the most hated
and reviled Doctor Who novel of all time - the tumult of abuse that has been levelled at this book over the last decade or so is absolutely mind-blowing. Thankfully though, I hadnít seen any reviews of it when I first read my copy and so my thoughts on the story were Ė at least originally - entirely free from prejudice.
Even then though, I wasnít impressed with Longest Day. There is little to be found within its pages that I would class as being particularly good or compelling, but it does have to be said that worse has been released under the seriesí banner. There were numerous Virgin novels that plumbed depths lower than any that Longest Day scrapes, not to mention early BBC Books clangers like The Ultimate Treasure that to my eyes at least canít be distinguished from this one.
The main problem with Longest
Day is that it never capitalises on
what could have been a wonderful
premise. The idea of this strange
planet where time runs at different
speeds is brilliant fodder for Doctor
Who, but unfortunately the whole
thing dies on its arse because
the population of said planet are completely and utterly drab. I only just finished reading this book again last night and already Iíve forgotten most of the characters. The only one that does stick in my mind is Nashaad, and thatís only because I spent most of the book cringing at him as he bounced about on his Ďmetal legsí!
Whatís more, once he has been cut off from Sam, the Doctor doesnít carry his sections of the book very well at all. Collier hasnít really got a handle on Paul McGannís portrayal - here the eighth Doctor isnít even a generic Doctor, heís barely recognisable as the Doctor at all.
Only Sam goes any way towards redeeming this novel. Building on the sterling work done with her by Peter Anghelides and Justin Richards in the two preceding novels, once again Sam comes across as well rounded and convincing. Fair dues, sheís as boring as hell, but thatís the point, isnít it? Jane Doe slap-bang in the middle of a war on a planet where time has gone mental and her friend has wandered off? How would a person react? What would they do? Cry and faint a lot is the short answer, but in my view there is at least something to be said for a companion that lacks mettle. In certainly gives us a new perspective.
Altogether though, save for (another!) wet T-shirt scene and some particularly gruesome scenes of torture, death, and dismemberment, there is little else about Longest Day that stands out. Whilst I donít agree with the proportion of fandom that seem to have targeted
this work for singular derision, I must concede that Collierís opening effort is a far cry from being even a passable Doctor Who novel. If this novel were not the first book in a four-part arc, Iíd have to recommend avoidance of your longest day, but as it isÖ
...well, just read the end.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2010
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
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