DOCTOR WHO: AutonomyDaniel Blythe
BBC Books
2009

Hyperville is 2013’s top hi-tech 24-hour entertainment complex–a sprawling palace of fun under one massive roof. You can go shopping, or experience the excitement of Doom Castle, Winter Zone, or Wild West World. But things are about to get a lot more exciting–and dangerous… What unspeakable horror is lurking on Level Zero of Hyperville? And what will happen when the entire complex goes over to Central Computer Control? For years, the Nestene Consciousness has been waiting and planning, recovering from its wounds. But now it’s ready, and it’s deadly plastic Autons are already in place around the complex. Now more than ever, visiting Hyperville will be an unforgettable experience…

As Doctor Who villains go, I’d have to say that the Autons would fall under the “mildly interesting” category for me. Extraterrestrial living plastic that take the form mostly of store-front dummies (“mannequins” if you want to argue the point) and are animated by something called the Nestene Consciousness, which may or may not be an offshoot of Shub-Niggurath from the Cthulhu mythos. Sure, their hands pop open to reveal guns built in, and their creepy factor is straight out of the Uncanny Valley, but a favorite of mine these are not.

That said, that is probably one of the reasons I didn’t really get into this particular Tenth Doctor novel. Set in kind of a Super-Mall that was opened in 2013 (I can’t recall that ever being in the news, you’d think I would have heard about it by now…*cough*) and features, not only every conceivable place to shop for stuff, but also a vast array of entertainment rides and amusements, which you can access any time of day, as it is also open 24 hours. All sorts of high-tech gadgetry and security…which makes it the perfect setting for an Auton outbreak, really. Confined space, everyone panicking, the tech shorting out and all. Of course, the Doctor shows up–sans companion–and stumbles upon the wackiness that is about to be set into motion on the unsuspecting shoppers. And there’s the one-shot “companion” in the form of a bright young intern learning the inner workings of the business side of the biggest mall in the world…who may or may not be investigating something else.

Overall, Autonomy was a decent enough distraction from reality for a few hours. It’s your standard mass-market Doctor Who yarn, a stand-alone that doesn’t really further much of the mythos beyond being action-packed sci-fi mystery with a few timey-wimey twists and turns thrown in for flavoring. You probably won’t miss much by skipping this one, but in my OCD-fueled never-ending quest to READ THEM ALL!, if I find it I must read it. And then review it.

I really have no proper way to end this review, it looks. Overall, then, it wasn’t dull, but not very memorable.

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