Doc­tor Who: City Of Death

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Books -

Adams adventure adapted

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

315 pages | Hard­back/ ebook/ au­dio­book Au­thor: James Goss Pub­lisher: BBC Books

Bashed out by Dou­glas

Adams over a week­end, Fourth Doc­tor adventure “City Of Death” is re­garded by many as the clas­sic se­ries’ best; fans have waited since 1979 for a book ver­sion; and TV writer Gareth Roberts was ini­tially lined up to pen it. No pres­sure, then…

Set prin­ci­pally in Paris, its sto­ry­line in­volves an alien, “frac­tured in time” when his space­ship ex­ploded, steal­ing the Mona Lisa to fi­nance time- travel ex­per­i­ments which will undo his de­struc­tion.

Goss faith­fully re­tains the sparkling wit for which the story is renowned but adds plenty of his own. He also pro­vides patches for some of the story’s ba­sic ab­sur­di­ties – like how the one- eyed, spaghet­ti­faced Scaroth pro­duced con­vinc­ing hu­man face masks cen­turies ago – and fleshes out the sup­port­ing char­ac­ters with back­story. Oc­ca­sion­ally this feels like pad­ding, but mostly it works.

The book is most in­ter­est­ing, though, when it draws on orig­i­nal scripts to in­sert lit­tle frag­ments of ex­tra Adams ( like the im­age of a glam­orous Countess pack­ing a Gatling gun) or pro­vide a fresh per­spec­tive – viewed through the prism of Adams’s orig­i­nal in­ten­tions, the episode one cliffhanger looks very dif­fer­ent, and makes more sense.

Worth the wait? Per­haps not, but this is a damn sight bet­ter than the nov­el­i­sa­tion we’d have got in the ’ 70s, and cer­tainly does the story jus­tice. Ian Ber­ri­man Goss is nov­el­is­ing “The Pirate Planet” next. That’ll leave only “Res­ur­rec­tion Of The Daleks” and “Rev­e­la­tion Of The Daleks”.

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