Book Review: DOCTOR WHO – Revenge Of The Judoon (Terrance Dicks)

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revenge of the judoonTerrance Dicks
BBC Books
2008
The TARDIS brings the Doctor and Martha to Balmoral in 1902.  Here they meet Captain Harry Corruthers – friend of the new king, Edward VII.  Together they head for the castle to see the king – only to find that Balmoral Castle is gone, leaving just a hole in the ground.  The Doctor realizes it is the work of the Judoon – a race of ruthless space police.  While Martha and Carruthers seek answers in London, the Doctor finds himself in what should bee the most deserted place on Earth – and he is not alone.  With help from Arthur Conan Doyle, the Doctor and his friends discover a plot to take over the world.  With time running out, who will fall victim to the revenge of the Judoon?
The Quick Reads series of books were introduced in the U. K. in 2006 to help promote literacy for adults who don’t read often or find reading tough to do.  Involving bestselling authors and celebrities, these novellas are no more than 128 pages long and, from the one I’ve just read, has a relatively easy story structure. Very noble concept, one I can get fully behind as an avid reader myself.  Of course, being a Yank, I’m not in easy access to these things without either importing or some kind of local specialty shop…or pure serendipity.
Fortunately, I came across one of those mass-market paperback boxed set collection of four Doctor Who novels at the Half Price Books in Omaha, which featured one of the Doctor Who-centric Quick Reads book: Revenge Of The Judoon.
Written by Terrance Dicks – a name that should be familiar to many Whovians, as he’s penned many of the classic Target Books adaptations of the older Doctor Who serials, as well as script writer for the show itself – and taking place chronologically between the episodes “Family Of Blood” and “Utopia” from series 3, Revenge Of The Judoon finds the Doctor and Martha ending up in early Edwardian-era Brittan to find that the royal castle and its inhabitants -including King Edward VII himself – vanished, abducted by the intergalactic police rhinos known as the Judoon under the direction of a lizard race bent on conquest of the Earth.  Standard Doctor hijinks and wackiness ensues.
With the entire book weighing in at only 102 pages total, the story doesn’t waste any time getting to the action of your standard Doctor Who yarn.  Which is a rather good one, actually.  And true to the title of the series, Revenge Of The Judoon was, in fact, a quick read, taking me a bit over two hours to read (mostly due to time constraints and a rather limited lunch break), but then again I’m not exactly the intended audience the Quick Reads is targeted for.  Regardless, it was a nice little bite-sized Doctor Who yarn that helped to satiate my obsession until the 50th Anniversary special in November.

Book Review: DOCTOR WHO: The Pirate Loop

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doctor who - the pirate loopSimon Guerrier
BBC Books
2007

The Doctor’s been everwhere and everywhen in the whole of the universe and seems to know all the answers.  But ask him what happened to the Starship Brilliant and he hasn’t the first idea.  Did it fall into a sun or a black hole?  Was it shot down in the first moments of the galactic war?  And what’s this about a secret experimental drive?  The Doctor is skittish, but Martha is so keen to find out he’ll land the TARDIS on the Brilliant, a few days before it vanishes.  Then they can see for themselves.  Soon the Doctor learns the awful truth.  And Martha learns that you need to be careful what you wish for.  She certainly wasn’t hoping for mayhem, death, and badger-faced space pirates.
The fourth and final book included in the paperback boxed set of Doctor Who tales featuring the 10th Doctor and Martha Jones, and “The Pirate Loop” may just be my favorite one of the bunch.  Bit of a time displaced space faring jaunt involving a mystery of a legendary lost luxury cruise liner, genetically engineered human-badger hybrid pirates, put-upon robots, and multi-tentacled bourgeois folk being bored with little things, like regenerating appetizers and death.

I don’t know what it is about the Doctor and space-faring luxury cruisers, but their voyages don’t exactly turn out too well.  And that’s half the fun, really.  Thing is, in “The Pirate Loop”, nobody dies!  Well, technically speaking, of course.  You’ll have to red to find out what the heck I’m talking about.

What I do enjoy about “The Pirate Loop”, though, was that the ending had a touch of melancholia to it.  It didn’t go with the standard everything-is-tied-up-nicely, Jammy Dodgers-for-everyone happy ending.  Check out “The Pirate Loop” sometime for some Doctor Who-related wackiness.

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