About the Author:
Simon Guerrier has worked as a writer and an editor, including writing audio plays for Big Finish.
AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
4 out of 5
Doctor Who: The Pirate Loop
An original adventure featuring the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and his companion Martha. Unable to restrain their curiosity, the Doctor and Martha board the starship Brilliant, known to history to have disappeared shortly before the outbreak of an intergalactic war. They soon discover that the Brilliant's fate is tied to the testing of an experimental time drive and the arrival of ruthless space pirates.
I've always enjoyed Doctor Who stories that play with the inherant intrigue and potential paradoxes of time travel and here we get that in spades. I was a bit frustrated to have to have the concept of time dilation explained in detail, however. If I'm enough of a science fiction fan to have bought a Doctor Who novel, you can bet that I understand the concept of time running at different speeds in different places. Don't patronise me. But that aside, I really liked what Guerrier does with the wibbley-wobbly nature of time here.
At first I was unimpressed by the badger-people space pirates, thinking them rather silly an idea. However, the simple enthusiasm of those characters soon allowed me to warm to them.
Overall this book felt like a mash-up of the end of the TV episodes 'The Doctor Dances' and the predestined doom feel of 'The Fires of Pompeii'. And that should be taken very much as a compliment, since those are two episodes I've always loved.
4 out of 5
Doctor Who: The Slitheen Excursion
A Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) adventure in which he meets university student June in present day Athens and offers to take her on a short trip into Greece's ancient past. However, arriving in 1,500 BC, they discover that human civilisation is not what it should be and is being controlled by a group of Slitheen who are running a shady package holiday scam for time travelling aliens.
This first thing this book does is introduce us to June, a new one-off companion for the Doctor. It actually does a good job of making June an appealing character, as well as giving us not only the reasons she'd hop in a time machine with a strange man, but also why she's the sort of person who the Doctor would actually open the doors of the TARDIS to. Unfortunately, there is a downside and that's the fact that the Doctor's relashionship with June doesn't feel appropriate for when this book is set. This is the Tenth Doctor when he's in his damaged and lonely stage after the end of Series 4, but there's no real hint of that hurt reluctance to open up to a possible companion that you'd expect. In fact, I suspect that this story may have been planned to originally include one of the onscreen companions but the time of its publication meant that June was made to fit the gap left by someone else.
The setting for the story was an interesting one and, as far as I've encountered, the first time the Doctor has gone to ancient Greece. There's plent of scope for historical shenanigans with this backdrop and Guerrier even manages to link the story into a geological event of the bronze age which would've literally changed the landscape of the Mediterranean at the time.
The Slitheen have never been my favourite Who villains (although the episode 'Boom Town' from Series 1 has a lot going for it) but here they actually serve as interesting antagonists. What makes them a bit different is that they're not conquerors but grifters. They're not trying to rule the Earth like most baddies but are instead just ruthlessly exploiting humanity to make money. It's a nice twist on the usual Who fare. I have to say that there is altogether too much of them unsubtly looking menacing and waving their claws around for my tastes, but at least the author wisely chose to dispose of the farting-with-a-zip-in-the-forehead stuff that made them so ridiculous onscreen.
Overall a far more enjoyable book than I was expecting from one with a throwaway companion and bottom-tier villains.
4 out of 5