Magrs, Paul


4 out of 5

(1 book)

Doctor Who: Sick Building

An original adventure featuring the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and his companion Martha.  On Tiermann's World the vast monster known as the Voracious Craw has arrived and begun devouring the planet.  The Doctor and Martha arrive to evacuate the planet's only inhabitants, the Tiermann family, but are faced with unexpected resistance.  Professor Tiermann is an unstable genius struggling to accept the loss of all he has created and the family home, the Dreamhome, is controlled by an artificial intelligence whose brilliant and growing insanity matches the Professor's own.

Here Magrs uses some tried and true science fiction concepts to create an interesting and surprisingly fresh adventure for the Doctor.  On show we have an unstoppable alien beast, an isolated colony, a mad professor and robots running amok.  There's more than a hint of 'The Forbidden Planet' about this book and its something that the author acknowledges in the text.

For me the best element of this was the robots.  It's a classic and endlessly intriguing concept to see how artificially intelligent constructs react to being treated as a slave class or, worse, appliances.  This gives the book a fantastically unhinged villain in the form of the Domovoi but, more importantly, also gives us two of the book's best protagonists; Barbara the vending machine and Toaster the sun bed.  Their exploration of their newly realised individuality was my favourite thing about this story.

Every once in a while, however, something happens in the book which lets the rest of it down.  The most significant and damaging of these things is how, at the eleventh hour, the Doctor deals with the threat of the Voracious Craw.  It's too simple, too convenient and leaves you wondering both why he didn't do it earlier and why he's not travelling the galaxy doing it wherever these creatures are a threat.

4 out of 5

Collaborations & Anthologies:

Doctor Who: Tales Of Terror (here)

Doctor Who: The Missy Chronicles (here)

The Doctor Who Storybook 2009 (here)


Doctor Who (here)