Review: Doctor Who: Books: Time Trips: Keeping up with the Joneses

Doctor-Who-Keeping-Up-with-the-Joneses-300By Nick Harkaway

BBC Ebooks, out now

An encounter with a relic of the Time War leads to a highly unusual reunion for the 10th Doctor…

Having noted how difficult it is to pull off writing from the Doctor’s point of view in my review of the first of these Time Trip short stories, I must start this by tipping my hat to Nick Harkaway for his excellent voyage inside the convoluted thought processes of the 10th Doctor. True, we did spend some time with that Doctor when he was travelling without a companion, and this tale is set in those last few months of his life, but to capture that particular mindset – with its tendencies to go off on tangents, and constant reminders to focus – isn’t easy, as some of the novels written for Tennant’s incarnation showed.

Once again, we have a familiar name given to an unfamiliar character. However, this is very much part of the plot, and given that the mystery surrounding this woman, who ends up acting as the Doctor’s companion is central to the story, it’s intriguing to  have scenes told from her point of view. There are some interesting insights into the role of the companion (it doesn’t matter what question is asked, as long as one is, struck a chord), and the gradual revelations of what’s going on are credible.

Readers with long memories may have flashbacks to the Big Finish story Zagreus in places which tackles some of the same concepts (as indeed did Marc Platt’s first contribution to the Virgin New Adventures line over two decades ago!) but Harkaway gives this a spin which could only work with one of the 21st century Doctors. A full length novel is hopefully on the cards?

Verdict: Some high-concept ideas in a well-told tale. Recommended. 9/10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order Doctor Who: Keeping Up with the Joneses (Time Trips) from Amazon.co.uk

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