Book Review – Doctor Who: Harvest of Time by Alastair Reynolds (4/5 Stars)

Before reviewing this, I must be honest and confess up front that I’m a bit of a Whovian, growing up with the mighty Tom Baker, and following every incarnation and companion since on screen. I’m also a great fan of Big Finish’s brilliant Doctor Who audiobooks, which I can’t recommend enough.

So what did I make of Harvest of Time? I didn’t come to it expecting it to be a piece of high class literature, rather fun escapism, also Who doesn’t shy from taking on moral and ethical issues. This was certainly the case here with questions of power, personal sacrifice, honesty, trust and interpersonal relationships examined. Contemporary concerns around the environment also hold a central place.

The plot was fun, a classic tussle between the Doctor and an alien invasion of earth with a bundle of twists and turns thrown in for good measure. It was the interplay between the two main protagonists (trying to avoid spoilers if I can) that made it more than just a Who versus the Alien of the Week story. Really well portrayed I thought other than one gripping scene where the Doctor faced a choice about how to respond to his opponents plea, which I felt although a great idea could have been played out a little deeper (as between The Doctor and Davros in the Genesis of the Daleks).

What particularly impressed me was the way this felt like a Classic Who episode rather than one of the modern new Who shows. These have a different pace to them, a sense of side rather than relentless action, which was carried off neatly here.
For fun Who action? Definitely recommended!

(Copied from my Goodreads account)

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3 Years Late

Just finished listening to Big Finish’s ‘Tom Baker at 80’, an interview conducted by Nick ‘voice of the daleks’ Briggs. Moving from being comic, to revealing as it explores his past and poinant as Baker talks about his experiences of old age. A thoroughly engaging listen (how could it be otherwise with his majestic voice!) 

Check out Tom Baker at 80 from Big Finish. https://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/tom-baker-at-80-1060

Big Finish – Doctor Who audiobooks

Over the last few years I’ve developed a love of the fantastic Big Finish audio books, especially their Doctor Who stories. A favourite range has been their Eighth Doctor stories featuring Paul McGann which are absolutely brilliant – despite his short screen time he’s now one of my favorites. I’ve also recently got hold of a couple of Fourth Doctor series. It’s terrific hearing Tim Baker again, just as it was seeing him in the 50th special. I’ve just finished the two parter featuring the Lawn, The Sands of Time (. ) and War Against the Laan.

Review: Doctor Who: The Wheel of Ice

Doctor Who: The Wheel of Ice
Doctor Who: The Wheel of Ice by Stephen Baxter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

On a bit of a Doctor Who binge this year courtesy of the 50th Anniversary, the new Doctor (Capaldi – brilliant!) and listening to loads of the audio books by Big Finish (www.bigfinish.com – definitely worth a look if you’re a fan). Read the Michael Moorcock Doctor Who novel earlier in the year, which I enjoyed, and then spotted this, another by a respected writer of sci-fi for adults. Had to pick it up. Despite mixed reviews I loved it. I haven’t been exposed to the second Doctor much, but got a real feel for his personality through this and enjoyed the two companions too, Zoe and Jamie. I found the pacing good – a gradual build up of tension and plot – and the setting thoughtful. The TARDIS materialises in the rings of Saturn and ends up on a space station around one of its moons from where a discovery that threatens the universe as we know it – what’s not to like?!

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Review: The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Time Traveller

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Time Traveller
The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Time Traveller by Joanne Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Two of my favourite things coming together, Doctor Who and Joanne Harris in this short story! As soon as I discovered this existed or was to exist, it was pre-ordered. Read on two legs of a train journey I absolutely adored it; inevitable really. Won’t say much about it as being a short story it is too easy to to accidentally drop in spoilers, but suffice to say if you like The Doctor and Joanne Harris, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this, then you’ll love this sweet and twisted 3rd Doctor tale!

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Time Travel is Good for You

Time Travel is Good For You!

Article for church newsletter, 15.05.11

By the time this is printed out on paper and passed around the congregation a TV event that I have been looking forward to with great anticipation will have passed; a coming together of two great delights Doctor Who and Neil Gaiman! I suspect that you all will know of Doctor Who, but maybe not Neil Gaiman; he’s the quirky ‘cult’ writer of modern urban fantasies such as Coraline, Neverwhere and American Gods. Every now and then Doctor Who has a guest script writer, and the episode ‘The Doctor’s Wife’ (now that’s a provocative title) is his.

Of course time travel is the stuff of stories. It isn’t really possible to move across time and space in a blue police box …or is it? According to the BBC news website, ‘The South Pacific island nation of Samoa is to jump forward in time by one day in order to boost its economy.’ No, they’ve not hitched a lift with some time travelling space ship like Arthur Dent in Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but are switching time zone so that whilst at present, Samoa is 21 hours behind Sydney from 29 December it will be three hours ahead.

Why are they undertaking this dramatic change which will undoubtedly cause some confusion and expense? Economic advantage; Samoa’s main trade partners are New Zealand and Australia, however, at present they lose out on two potential days of trade with them as their weekends don’t correspond.  Their Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi explains, ‘While it’s Friday here, it’s Saturday in New Zealand and when we’re at church Sunday, they’re already conducting business in Sydney and Brisbane.’

The Bible calls us as Christians to undertake a similar adjustment. This is what the book of Romans is all about. One day God will restore Creation as his kingdom comes upon the earth fully. This is the event that the whole of the Bible is working towards, the renewal of the spoilt creation of Genesis 1. The life of that time will be life as it’s meant to be, life to the full. The good news of the Gospel is that through faith in Jesus we can know that we shall be part of that future. This is our inheritance as God’s adopted children. The choice now is ours, which time zone do we live in, which lifestyle do we follow, that of our present or our future?