THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE TV
EPISODE "BLINK" AND
THE NOVEL "FOREVER
OFFICIAL BBC HARDBACK
RELEASED IN SEPTEMBER
WHEN THE TARDIS
MAKES A DISASTROUS
LANDING OF THE PLANET
SUNDAY, THE DOCTOR
HAS NO CHOICE BUT TO
ABANDON MARTHA AND
TRY TO FIND HELP. BUT
THE TRANQUILITY OF
SUNDAY'S SWAMPS IS
DECEPTIVE, AND THE
TARDIS CAN'T PROTECT
THE HUMAN PIONEERS
OF SUNDAY HAVE THEIR
OWN DANGERS TO FACE:
HOMELESS AND ALONE,
THEY'RE STARTING TO
SEE THAT SUNDAY'S
WILDLIFE IS NOT AS
HARMLESS AS IT FIRST
APPEARED. WHY ARE
THE OTTERS BEHAVING
SO STRANGELY, AND
WHAT IS THE CREATURE
IN THE SWAMPS THAT IS
SO INTERESTED IN THE
HUMANS, AND THE NEW
THE DOCTOR AND
MARTHA MUST FIGHT
TO ENSURE THAT HUMAN
BECOME THE GREATEST
DANGER OF ALL.
I’ll tell you a story. Back in June I went on holiday to Rome with our lass. On the return journey, as our jet was circling Doncaster Robin Hood Airport awaiting permission to land, I spared a glance through the window. ‘That’s funny,’ says I. ‘I didn’t realise the airport was that close to an estuary.’ As we subsequently disembarked and walked down those portable stairwell-thingies that are commensurate with cheap flights, another thought struck me. ‘That’s no estuary!’
Suffice it to say that we arrived back from holiday to find half the city, though mercifully not our own house, under water. Some of our family were not so lucky and so to cheer them up, we took them to the cinema to see The Simpsons movie. You should have heard the boos when the trailer for Evan Almighty, complete with its “Here comes the flood!” tagline, graced the silver screen.
And then, just two months after the worst flood that this nation has seen in a century, we get Wetworld - Mark Michalowski’s first crack at a new series tie-in. Of course you can’t blame the poor chap for the appalling timing of his novel’s publication, but I have to admit that a half-drowned TARDIS emblazoned on the front cover didn’t do much to endear this book to me before I started reading it.
On top of that, I‘ve not been overly impressed with many recent tenth Doctor novels. And so having reached a point where my interest in the range was waning to such a degree that – shock horror – I even contemplated waiting for a bit before buying the newest batch of releases, I was interminably grateful to Michalowski for writing an upbeat, enchanting and quite frankly riotous Doctor Who book which reminded me exactly why I enjoy reading so much. Whilst I haven’t read Forever Autumn or Sick Building as yet, and as such can’t comment as to how fellow BBC Books veterans Mark Morris and Paul Magrs have fared,
I sincerely hope that this influx of proven Doctor Who writers can inject a bit of fervour into
“Just otters? What’s happened to human creativity, imagination?
Love looking for the familiar in the unfamiliar, you lot. Come on!
You’re on a brand new world, brave new horizons,
boldly going where no-one’s ever gone before, blah, blah.
You should be making up exciting new names for things. Call ‘em jubjubs.”
The above quotation encapsulates
everything that I love about this book.
Like most of the authors in this range,
Michalowski has the brown-suited
tenth Doctor pegged superbly. Don’t
get me wrong, Wetworld is quite a
strong story for Martha too, but it is the Doctor who drives the story forward and the Doctor who gets the limelight. As the television episodes are so often the other way around, I found it refreshing to read about the Doctor enjoying an adventure – enjoying being the operative word. Set towards the end of the 2007 series, by the time of this story it has been a while since he lost Rose and consequently the Doctor in this novel is much more like the zesty feller that we first met properly at the end of The Christmas Invasion. In this story, whether he’s passing himself off as an Adjudicator (fanw**k be praised) or christening native life forms “jubjubs” the Doctor never stops.
Michalowski also populates the planet of Sunday – I agree with the Doctor by the way, lovely name for a planet – with a whole host of colourful characters. TV, Pallister, and especially young ‘Candy’ Kane, whom the Doctor befriends in a Tommy Connelly / Idiot’s Lantern kind of way, are all memorable in their own fashion. That said, I couldn’t help but picture Pallister looking exactly like a certain ex-Manchester United centre-half, which destroyed any sense of menace that the character would otherwise have had. No offence, Gary.
The plot itself is quite bizarre; when I started reading it I feared that it might turn out to be a Power of Kroll-esque monster mash, but in truth the story is far more complex and far more compelling. Any story that sees a monster try to launch itself into space by setting off a nuke underneath its bum cannot be bad.
And so in summary, if you haven’t done so already, buy this book. The blurb and the cover really don’t do it justice; it’s one of those novels that you would never pick off the shelf if it was surrounded by other, superficially more interesting titles, but if you are just the sort of saddo (like me) who reads every book then I think that you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this little gem.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2007
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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