THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
MOON" AND "PLACEBO
JONATHAN BLUM &
OFFICIAL BBC 'EIGHTH
RELEASED IN JUNE 1998.
HE HAS NO IDEA WHY
SAMANTHA JONES RAN
AWAY FROM HIM.
Sam is homeless on
the streets of the
colony world of
Ha'olam, trying to
face what's just
her and the Doctor.
He's searching for
her, and for answers.
While sAM struggles
to survive in a city
centuries from home,
the Doctor comes
across evidence of
and is soon confined
to a prison that
becomes a hell of
his own making.
Where did INC’s
come from? What
is the company
searching for in
the deserts? AND
What is hiding in the
Faced with these
by half a world, Sam
and the Doctor each
face a battle - Sam
to rebuild her life,
the Doctor to stay
sane. And if they
do find each other
again, what will be
left of them?
The fourth and final instalment of this multi-novel story arc is a tremendous improvement on the three distinctly uninspiring stories that preceded it. Though with the Vampire Science team of Jonathan Blum and Kate Orman steering the ship, it’s little wonder.
Indeed, the difference in quality between this novel and Dreamstone Moon or in particular Longest Day is simply staggering; it is so prevalent throughout that it is hard to believe that these books all belong to the same range.
I love what Blum and Orman do with
the regulars in this story. It’s always
particularly hard to break new ground
with the Doctor without corrupting the
fundamental tenets of the character,
but Orman especially has a real talent
for opening the Time Lord up. Here the authors introduce the Doctor’s
thread of the plot by showing him searching for Sam on the streets of Ha’olam and harrying the hilariously bureaucratic authorities for their assistance. From there, point by point, we watch the Doctor’s control of the situation slip away from him until he finds himself locked in a cell. For three years.
And, for once, he can’t escape. No matter how hard he tries. Suddenly the sixth Doctor’s offhand comment about a life sentence - “a handful of heartbeats to a Time Lord” - loses its sting; these three years damn near break the Doctor. It is so skilfully written by the authors that the reader could be forgiven for thinking that the Doctor was about to lose himself to madness.
In the meantime, Sam is living her life, day after day. She may be a marooned refugee on a remote human colony in her own personal future, but the Sam of Seeing I is learning how to live as a normal human being again. She’s falling in love, breaking up, working long hours, laying down in front of bulldozers… she even has a cat. In effect, Sam is building a life for herself from the gutter upwards – a life that closely resembles the one that she would have had on Earth were it not for the Doctor whisking her away when he did. The authors, through their use of ‘Dark Sam’, reflect this exquisitely.
By the end of this novel, Sam is twenty-one years old, and a heck of a lot more mature. In
a sense, Sam’s return is analogous to Ace’s return in the New Adventures – something which, incidentally, the authors explicitly refer to in this book – in that her whole ‘teenage angst’ angle is paid off relatively swiftly, allowing the companion to grow as a character (something seldom seen in the television series) satisfactorily but without having the range descend into soap. What sets Sam and Ace apart, however, is the fact that we saw Ace leave and we saw Ace return. Seeing I, conversely, sees the Doctor leave and the Doctor return and so the reader doesn’t feel like quite as much has been missed as we were constantly dipping in and out of Sam’s life during her ‘missing years’. I’m particularly fond
of the ending of this book – Sam plants a smacker on the Doctor, something that she had fantasised about doing for years, but now that she has grown up, she feels “…absolutely
no compulsion to do it again.”
The regulars aside, Blum and Orman also forge some great supporting characters here. Sam’s motivated flatmate, Shoshana, stands out primarily – a young woman who goes so far as to have one of her eyes replaced by an artificial one just so that she can get to the
next rung of the corporate ladder. I know a few like that.
The plot of Seeing I is without a doubt weaker than its character story, but that isn’t to say that it is poor by any stretch of the imagination – far from it, in fact. What this book lacks in incident, it more than makes up for in guile.
When all’s said and done, this novel may not be quite as extraordinary or as monumental as Vampire Science - which, let’s face it, really kicked off this range after a horrendous start – but it’s certainly head and shoulders above its immediate predecessors. It even contains quotations from sources as diverse as Casablanca and The Tomb of the Cybermen!
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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