About the Author:
As well as novels, Gareth Roberts has written scripts for television shows such as Emmerdale, Brookside, Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased), Swiss Toni and Swinging.
AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
2.5 out of 5
Roberts has publicly expressed transphobic views which I completely disagree with. My reviews of his work have been based on the books themselves, not on the real-world nature of the author but I feel that his objectionable views should be highlighted and taken into account in a wider sense. I fully support trans people's rights and I applaud BBC Books for dropping Roberts' story from 'Doctor Who: The Target Storybook' (reviewed here) after he made his transphobic comments.
Doctor Who: I Am A Dalek
An original story featuring the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and his companion Rose Tyler. When an archaeological dig in Kent uncovers the remains of a Dalek, a local woman finds herself possessed by a strange force. En route to a holiday on the moon, the Doctor and Rose are forced to confront the Time Lord's worst enemy once more in the hopes of saving the young woman from being overcome by the Dalek factor.
Released as part of World Book Day's Quick Reads, the first thing you need to know about this book is that it is short. Very short. As a result, the book never gets the chance to develop any real depth or complexity, feeling pretty shallow and rushed.
The other major downside to this book is that the time in which it was written is very telling. Aside from the fact that there are numerous now-very-outdated pop-culture references, there is the fact that so-called 'new Who' was very new when this book was published. As a result, this book lacks the complex background that later series would develop regarding the Time War and the surviving Daleks. That doesn't sound so bad, but when the book starts talking about this being the very last of the Daleks and how Rose, as the Bad Wolf, wiped the rest of them out forever, it left me shaking my head at the author's naievete.
Overall, something of a disappointment for me since I love the Daleks as baddies and I loved Tennant's Doctor, but here neither is really done justice.
2 out of 5
Doctor Who: Only Human
An adventure starring the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Ecclestone) and his companions Rose and Captain Jack. When a Neanderthal turns up in 21st Century Britain, the Doctor backtracks to find a community of humans from the future living in prehistoric times. When it becomes clear that someone is trying to meddle with human evolution, the TARDIS travellers naturally step in to put a stop to it.
Immediately before reading this, I read 'The Deviant Strain' by Justin Richards, which throws us into the perfect setting of an abandoned Soviet submarine base, isolated and frozen. By comparison this book, which instead throws us into a nightclub in Bromley in 2005, does not have the best of starts. And it never quite manages to pull itself out of being one of those silly Who stories that don't quite fit and which you never go back an re-watch on the DVDs.
Don't get me wrong, the book does become much more interesting, particularly where it begins to explore the prehistoric relationship between early humans and their Neanderthal neighbours, but it then loses much of that momentum and depth when it introduces the 'silly monster of the week'; the Hy-Bractors. It wouldn't have been so bad if there'd been a satisfying conclusion to that storyline, but the Doctor's solution is bizarre and totally strips your willing suspension of disbelief.
The less said about the storyline in which Captain Jack has to live with a Neanderthal and teach him about modern life, the better.
3 out of 5