Review: Doctor Who: Books: The Beast of Babylon (Puffin 9th Doctor)

Beast of BabylonBy Charlie Higson

Puffin Books, out 23rd September

The ninth Doctor acquires a new travelling companion who has a few impulse control issues…

Charlie Higson’s love letter to the early Russell T Davies version of the Doctor is another reminder – like the AudioGO/Big Finish Night of the Whisper – what an intriguing incarnation this short-lived ninth was. Higson captures his mixed reactions to people, and the almost curt way which he can treat them – afraid to let anyone get too close to him, after all that he has been through in recent times.

Higson also gives us a new companion who works perfectly in this format – not because she would have been difficult to cast on screen, but because there are elements of her that can be emphasised (or the reverse) in prose in a way that is harder visually. She seems to be the sort of person who would gain much from her travels with the Doctor, but there are inherent problems as well.

Whereas some of these stories fit generically within Who continuity – or in the case of Eoin Colfer’s Hartnell tale, before the series began – this is set at a very specific time, and like some of the best of the Missing Adventures/Past Doctor stories from the hiatus years, it serves to explain what could be seen as a switch in attitude by the Time Lord on screen. With more Past Doctor stories finally appearing, it would be great to see Higson tackle a full length tale for this most overlooked incarnation.

Verdict: A strong character piece which slots neatly into the show. 8/10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order Doctor Who: The Beast of Babylon from Amazon.co.uk

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