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Not Nearly As Interesting As It Thinks

By:Martin Smith, England
Date:Wednesday 18 July 2007
Rating:   3

As often happens with Dr Who novels, Transit has a piece of technology as it's set-piece, around which all the characters, events and action occurs. In this case it's an interplanetary train system that bears many allusions to the London Underground.
We follow the Doctor, Benny, Kadiatu Lethbridge-Stewart and a variety of the maintenance workers for the system (the latter of whom have more than a passing resemblence to the sort of working class, left-wing characters often written as miners in the 70s) as they stop a parasite from abusing and destroying the system as it prepares to expand to other star systems.
Did I say we follow Benny? Well, that's stretching the truth somewhat. You see, Benny is barely in the book, which wouldn't be so bad if this wasn't her first book as a travelling companion. Instead the Doctor spends most of his time with (and thus the focus of the book is placed onto) Kadiatu Lethbridge-Stewart, a sort of (perhaps illegitimate) descendant of the Brigadier. She's not a terribly interesting character and all the time she's focused on is time spent not expanding upon the somewhat scant character of Benny, which is quite annoying as she's meant to be a main character. The "origin" of Kadiatu's lineage sullies the character of the Brig somewhat as well. It certainly doesn't fit with the character used in the Pertwee era and smacks of trying to retroactively make him controversial and more "interesting" to fit with the tone of the Virgin novels just because they can.
The "Stunnel" system itself is also amazingly uninteresting, lightened only by some mildly entertaining characters amongst the "floozies" (maintenance workers) such as Old Sam, and allusions to a war with the Ice Warriors a few years previous (which the Doctor actually fights in in Fear Itself).
Ultimately though, the nice touches here and there aren't enough to make Transit particularly interesting.



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