doctor who - snowglob 7Mike Tucker
BBC Books

Earth, 2099. Global warming is devastating the climate. The polar ice caps are melting. In a desperate attempt at preservation, the governments of the world have removed vast sections of the Arctic and Antarctic and set them inside huge domes across the world. The Doctor and Martha arrive in Snowglobe 7 in the Middle East, hoping for peace and relaxation. But they soon discover that it’s not only ice and snow that has been preserved beneath the Dome. While Martha struggles to help with an infection sweeping through the Dome, the Doctor discovers an alien threat that has lain hidden since the last ice age. A threat that is starting to thaw.

Sometimes, when it comes to mass market science fiction yarns, you just want to get past the whole “making a statement” and just be entertained with a story involving a giant monster of some sort. No underlying symbolism, no thinly-veiled moralizing, just a nice, big abomination of the natural order of things wreaking havoc with the populous at large until the human spirit prevails. Or, if you’re into the bummer endings, the monster prevails and we’re all doomed. Whichever flavor you like (try and guess which way I would go…I think you won’t be surprised in the least), at least you got entertained.

With the Doctor Who novel Snowglobe 7, there may have been some kind of underlying socio-political message about…something, but all of that gets shunted aside when the giant carnivorous alien spiders show up and begin using whatever humans they could get their multi-legged appendages on as both a food source and incubation chambers for their young. Ooooo, the Revolting Horror type of sci-fi tale, my favorite.

Anyway, in Snowglobe 7, the Doctor and Martha Jones arrive inside a Snowglobe—one of a couple of handfuls of bio-domes containing what is left of the subarctic ecostructures on Earth in the future year of 2099. Sadly, not the Marvel Universe 2099…which suddenly gives me an idea for a fanfic crossover. These Snowglobes were originally designed for scientific research to combat the effects of global something-or-other, but they’re slowly being bought out and converted to tourist resorts due to lack of funding. Snowglobe 7 was one of the last holdouts, until just recently when it was taken over by a corporate mogul to be turned into another tourist-y place, and the resulting construction awakens a giant alien spider abomination that’s described as having the face of a bat and covered with black fur, is completely blind and has mad mental abilities and a very primal instinct to eat and survive. And she’s spawning. Lovely.

After the Doctor and Martha nearly get snagged by the alien nightmare fuel, they manage to get caught by the security team assigned to Snowglobe 7, discovers a plague of sorts that has affected those who have worked on Snowglobe 7 and the chilling implications therein, tries to take out the alien spider monsters with the help of a big ol’ robot before said alien spider monster telepathically makes the science director of Snowglobe 7 take the alien spider monster spores outside to infect the human population of Earth…and then fails miserably.

You want a good, heavy visceral reaction out of me? Base the monster on spiders. Gah, those things freak me out. I don’t care how much information I have about them, they’re unholy abominations that were crated mainly as a prank on humans. Small, mostly harmless but can freak me out at 10 paces. Sometimes, I think they know this, and try and mess with me accordingly, dropping right in front of my face as if to say, “BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA!” to amuse his little spider buddies, laughing and hi-fiveing with all of their legs…um, where was I? Oh, right. The review. Due to the usage of the Giant Spider Monster, Snowglobe 7 ranks as one of the more tense Doctor Who yarns I’ve read thus far. It also helps that the story was fairly decent, if not a bit derivative in the story department. But, that’s what makes me go through these like Gummy Bears…or in this case, Jelly Babies, if you want to argue the point. Spiders are off-putting, ergo Snowglobe 7 was deliciously off-putting.