(ISBN 0-563-53827-9)







 Anji Kapoor has just

 had the worst week

 of her entire life, and

 things aren't getting

 better. She should be

 back at her desk, not

 travelling through

 time and space in a

 police box with TWO

 strange men.

 The Doctor (Strange

 Man No.1) is supposed

 to be returning her to

 Soho 2001 AD. So why

 there are dinosaurs

 outside THE TARDIS,

 Anji isn't sure.


 1960S refugee Fitz

 (Strange Man No.2)

 seems to think THAT


 prehistoric times or

 A parallel Earth.




 ON, surely he would

 have mentioned the

 homicidal triplet

 princesses, the teen

 terrorists, android

 doubles (and triples)

 and the hosts of mad


 ANJI's never going

 to complain about

 Monday mornings in

 the office again...


 PREVIOUS                                                                                  NEXT






MARCH 2001






After spending well over a hundred years confined to the Earth, EarthWorld

sees the Doctor thrown back into the unforgiving arena of time and space with only a shell-shocked Earth girl and an overconfident facsimile to keep him out of trouble. Jacqueline Rayner’s exuberant novel is therefore one that delights in celebrating the illimitable potential of Doctor Who’s original format. We have dinosaurs, we have robots; we even have three wicked princesses and a whole host of teen terrorists. With EarthWorld, Rayner has cast innumerable eclectic elements into a planet-sized melting pot; added a teaspoon of cliché,

a few hundred millilitres of humour, and a heaped tablespoon of heart, and then arranged

for the newly-regenerated TARDIS to materialise slap-bang in the middle of it.


The resultant novel is every bit as fast and as furious as Escape Velocity which it follows,

not to mention every bit as pleasurable. The idea of an android-populated crucible world dedicated to Old Mother Earth would have been a stimulating enough premise in itself, but having it built upon shoddy research really gives the book its sheen. The daft conceit should get old very quickly, but it doesn’t – little touches like the “Presidential F” and even the War Machines swarming around London’s Post Office Tower keep the reader’s smile coming back page after page. Better still, Rayner is able to render commonplace clangers such as cavemen co-existing with dinosaurs, evoking many a classic cinematic venture (and The Flintstones!) and in doing so creating a surreal, cartoonish vista that I find most appealing.

In a nutshell, EarthWorld is Westworld on acid, with just a hint of Jurassic Park; a rampant wallow in the hackneyed that never loses sight of how fundamentally silly its subject matter



Rayner’s characterisation,

however, is completely at

odds with the narrative’s

frolicsome tone. Unwitting

companion Anji Kapoor,

for instance, is handled

with real grace. From the

novel’s first page to its

last we are made privy to

Anji’s thoughts and feelings about the extraordinary circumstances that she finds herself in, Rayner taking us on a brutal and sincere journey with her as she slowly begins to grieve for her dead lover whilst dodging dinosaurs. Whether she’s begrudgingly unravelling jumpers from Harvey Nicks, complaining about blisters on her feet, hiding her bra from Fitz, or even imagining herself as a main character in a science fiction television series (they can’t die, see), Anji is unwaveringly real. Her dawning realisation of Dave’s death is absolutely heart-breaking to witness; the book is heaving with undeliverable e-mails that Anji has drafted to him on the fly (presumably on a very swish 2001 mobile phone), desperate to share what is happening to her with him. But she can’t, because he’s dead.



The Doctor, similarly, is captured delightfully by Rayner. I love how the prose alludes to his insecurity - his evident relief, for instance, when Fitz doesn’t ask him to work out where they are by reference to the stars really underlines just how much the Doctor has lost, as does his inability to pilot the TARDIS or use his sonic screwdriver on any sort of conscious level. Yet despite this, EarthWorld leaves the reader in no doubt that this man is still the same Doctor that we all know and love; the same Oncoming Storm. Despite her patent lack of confidence in him, the Doctor somehow makes Anji feel safe. He somehow inspires Fitz. He somehow saves the day.


Furthermore, as this book marks the Doctor’s first journey in the TARDIS for over a century and Anji’s first journey in it full stop, I’d expected Fitz to be reduced to a peripheral role here. Not a bit of it. In fact, EarthWorld pays off the snowballing doubts that have been amassing inside the character ever since he learned that he was an nth generation copy of the real Fitz Kreiner – the Fitz Kreiner who died a twisted, thousand-year old disciple of Paradox in The Ancestor Cell, having been abandoned by the Doctor centuries earlier in Interference when the Doctor mistook “our” Fitz for the real thing. Fitz’s nervous breakdown here is convincingly portrayed, being triggered by the tiniest of epiphanies. When the princesses decide to make “Fitz Fortune” a pop star, he’s astonished to discover that he doesn’t suck at all. His formerly humble talents haven’t faded through lack of practice or age; indeed, he’s better now than he ever was… because that was never him. He’s not the real Fitz Kreiner; he’s just a copy of a copy of a copy - a “Chinese whispers” Fitz. And as if the crushing weight of this truth weren’t enough, Rayner compounds the indignity by having the Doctor mistake the mad princesses’ duplicate of Fitz for him, demonstrating just how easy it would be for events to repeat them-selves. For me, this makes Fitz’s resolution at the end of the tale all the more commendable, underlining the character’s often-overlooked selflessness. Whereas even the thought of his lost love may not have been enough to lift Fitz out of his self-pity, the thought of protecting his best friend from the horror of his memories was.


At the end of the day then, EarthWorld is fast and it’s fun, but it’s also deceptive. Behind all its corny spectacle lies a story about three lost souls; each tortured in their own unique way, and each stuck with each other for the foreseeable future. It begins again…


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.

Unless otherwise stated, all images on this site are copyrighted to the BBC and are used solely for promotional purposes.

Doctor Who is copyright © by the BBC. No copyright infringement is intended.