Doctor Who: City Of Death
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”.