Smith, Andrew


2 out of 5

(1 book)

Doctor Who: Full Circle

The novelisation of Smith's own television script, starring the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) and his companions Romana and K9.  A mysterious malfunction whilst en route of Gallifrey leads the TARDIS to Alzarius where an embattle group of survivors attempt to repair the wreck of a crashed starliner before the arrival of the Mistfall and the horrors that follow it.

As I understand it, and correct me if you know otherwise, but Smith was only eighteen when he wrote the original script for this story and, to be honest, it shows.  It feels a little bit like ticking the boxes here; besieged humans, check, shambling alien monsters, check, mystery at the heart of the human society, check.  It is the latter part where this book particularly falls down, with the 'twist' being derivative and very predictable, meaning that you'll really just be passing time, waiting for the Doctor to catch up with what you figured out fifty pages ago (perhaps earlier, if you remember the book's title).

The other significant thing I noticed about this book is more odd than bad.  It would seem that, when actually making the TV show, the filmmakers and/or actors reinterpreted elements of Smith's script and went in a different direction with it than he originally intended.  What the author then does here is preserve the onscreen version of events but have the narrative contradict it, seemingly in an attempt to wrest scenes back to how he originally imagined it.  What this means for us as readers is that we get scenes where characters will act a certain way but then have private thoughts that are jarringly different.  So if someone was to scream and recoil in fear, the narrator then reassures us that the character isn't really afraid though.  It's bizarre and quite jarring to read.

It's worth noting too that this book features the first appearance of new companion Adric, who would continue on into the Fifth Doctor's tenure.

2 out of 5


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