The Fall of Yquatine by Nick Walters. Eighth Doctor (if you stick with this for long enough you will learn that 8th Dr = ALARM BELLS), Fitz and Compassion.

8th Dr books are the ones you need to look out for. As far as I gather they pretty much fall into the latter category that I mentioned yesterday, of the Who books with serious ARCS and STORYLINES and Capitalised First Letters of each word of Great Portent. They also jettison all comprehensibility for the casual reader, which means you’re either dragged kicking and screaming into reading the lot to find out what the chuff is going on or you throw the book away in disgust.

I of course, have the luck of being the former. CURSE YOU!

Anyway. This being the second in a quite large story arc called ‘the future war’, it’s slightly hard to explain. The Doctor’s original TARDIS has been destroyed. No joke, no gimmick. Gone. His new TARDIS is a half-TARDIS, half-woman called “Compassion”. The Doctor is being hunted down by the Time Lords. No idea why, and not sure if the previous book tells us. DO NOT ASK ME FURTHER, minions. WOTAN SAYS DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH or join me in my madness :)

Thus, the strongest theme I found in the book were the conflicts between Compassion – the being she was before block computational devices turned her into a TARDIS type 120 (yeah yeah I know), and the ‘machine/animal’? that is the Time And Relative Dimensions In Space deus ex machina… unfortunately the book tends to set up the fact there is this conflict, and leaves it at that. A device for the reader to try and draw their own conclusions? Just a very slow burning question? To be fair, if I were a new TARDIS I’d probably not cope utterly well.

Another Compassion theme starts when the Doctor fits a Randomiser to Compassion to try and hide from the Time Lords. Unfortunately, he doesn’t ask Compassion, who is still half human. The subsequent bloody forced extra component drives Compassion furious, and she runs away from the Doctor. To try and remove it, she gets driven mad by pain and ends up killing one of the surgeons she hires to try and extract the Randomiser, which by then had fully integrated itself into Compassion’s body. This has the bonus effect of now not letting her control where she materialises, and she becomes trapped in the Time Vortex.

MEANWHILE! The happy clappy woo and yay planet Yquatine is a very poor anagram of the word ANTIQUE plus an extra y – (do you SEE) – is bimbling away, being the centre of the Minerva System, and the President is keen on taxation routes. As an aside, can I just give a holla out to Dr Who writers – use new ideas please, your anagrams are boring and I’m not just saying that as a Scrabble player. However a Menace is going to Attack the System &c &c. To be fair, they’re quite a creepy menace and there’s a real sense of horror as the planet in it’s first timeline is totally destroyed and acid rain washes down on the devastated planet. But as Monsters remain Monsters and the Doctor remains the Hero, off they pop at the end and I won’t spoil it for you exactly how he does it…

Another split up adventure again! Not having read many books, I must ask if is this entirely normal? The Doctor tries to save the planet, Compassion gets stuck in the Time Vortex with an uncontrollable Randomiser, and Fitz is thrown back in time a month before the planet gets destroyed and works in a bar until the day he knows will arrive serving drinks and pies to all sorts of rather yawnsome aliengs.

One of the great things I always think about Who is happens to be the interaction between the Doctor and his assistants, but the books seem to be trying to take this apart as often as possible – in order to fit in as many different aspects as possible I think they’re actually reducing what makes Who great. The story suffers from being disjointed, a slightly redundant feeling ‘love story’ between the President and a surgically enhanced lady into which Fitz pointlessly gets involved and I’ve been left with the feeling that the book is acting as a sort of “placeholder” to realistically give Compassion some time to adjust to being an actual TARDIS.

On the whole, I judge it decidedly average, but with enough redeeming features for it not to fall down into baaad.