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Reviews for The Eight Doctors

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A Mixed Bag...

By:Rassilon, UK
Date:Monday 29 December 2003
Rating:   5

This book begins badly. It has some of the worst old-guy-writing-young-characters’-dialogue I think I've ever encountered. And the teachers at Sam's school explaining youth drug culture to the reader (who, it seems, would have to have been living in the Eye of Orion for any of it to feel authentic) is the lowest of low point - worth reading, in fact, if you want a good old belly laugh.
However, once the action leaves earth, things do actually pick up. This is basically a portmanteau, with the Eighth Doctor wandering through his own past, meeting previous incarnations, and having adventures along the way. This structure is both a strength and a weakness. A strength, because it’s nice to see this interaction, and to get reacquainted with the past Doctors. A weakness, because this could have been a very strong opening story arc, devoting a single novel to each tale. Most glaringly, the action involving the Sixth Doctor is longer than any of the others and, given a full book, could have shaped up to be a pretty good political thriller, exposing the dark underbelly of the Gallifreyan ruling class. At the other end of the scale, though, is the tale involving the Seventh Doctor, which comes across almost as an afterthought – though it is, perhaps, the biggest missed opportunity here. It would have been nice to see a novel devoted to the Seventh Doctor’s final adventure (though we do, at least, learn how the Master got those death-defying-worm-powers he displayed in the TV movie).
Over all, this book is simply a starter. It whets the appetite for what is to follow, without managing to satisfy in its own right. You only need this book if, like me, you plan to read all the Eighth Doctor novels in sequence.

Nostalgia personified

By:Spike, Gloucester
Date:Sunday 18 January 2004
Rating:   8

Nostalgic and at times predictable, however a well written introduction of Sam and a good starter for Mcgann's character.


By:John Wrigley (2nd Incarnation), Time Vortex
Date:Sunday 25 July 2004
Rating:   5

This book was an enjoyable romp for the Eighth Doctor i like books where the Doc meets various Incarnations of his.

Ace book

"Wonderful Book, all of them!"

By:Xantos, London
Date:Sunday 12 September 2004
Rating:   9

I enjoy Doctor Who books written by Terrance Dicks so when i heard that the first Eight Doctor book would be wrote by him i decided to read it striaght away!
When i first started reading the book i wasn't so sure but as the book (and the Doctor's) progressed i started to really enjoy it.
The story, is i admit not the best, but if you want a good read and a and an ever so basic multi-Doctor adventure then this is the book for you!

Promised so much but didn't deliver

By:Jonny Jupiter, Hertfordshire, UK
Date:Monday 18 July 2005
Rating:   7

After just discovering the 8th Doctors book series hopefully linking my childhood nostagic (maybe rose tinted view) of Doctor Who with the excellent 9th Doctor new series I was expecting great things. Years ago Terrance Dicks was the "don" when it came to Doctor Who but having re read many of his "Dalek" stories recently found that the 8 doctors followed a very simplistic plot line which as I read found it to be to brief and basic and was left feeling that far more could have been done to cover what is an excellent premise to start the book series.The book on the second hand market is hardly worth its sometimes high price tag and in my view is only worth buying if you intend reading them in sequence.

Doctor Who by numbers - but great fun!

By:simon, Bristol
Date:Sunday 7 August 2005
Rating:   7

I found this surprisingly good fun to read. Terrance Dicks has never been Booker material, but he does the job well, setting the 8th Doctor in the context of his seven previous lives. There's nostalgia aplenty as the 8th Doctor appears at moments remembered from the TV series. The size of the book and the number of previous incarnations that have to be met mean that this was never going to be a intricately plotted work, but it is great fun and nicely sets up the character of the 8th Doctor by distinguishing him from his previous selves. At times it becomes Doctor Who by numbers. But it is at least good fun Doctor Who by numbers!

A Dubious Start

By:Piers, Lancashire, UK
Date:Tuesday 10 January 2006
Rating:   7

Having finished reading all the EDAs from 'The City Of The Dead', I decided to go back to the beginning and catch up on those I missed (especially seeing as the book output is now somewhat diminished...). Well, this book hardly lives up to the standard that the range was maintaining a few years later. This is an overly simplistic tale, although it is quite fun if not taken too seriously. The best part of the book for me was working out which episodes of the show each segment was taken from, and in some parts loose ends are tied up from various stories.

My main gripe with book is the plot. If the Doctor has to go to his past selves to recover his memory, why doesn't he just go back and meet the Seventh Doctor who still retains all the memories of his previous incarnations? Or maybe he could have travelled back 10 minutes to encounter himself before the booby trap went off?! I guess any plot device to bring all the Doctors together is always going to be a bit hokey.

As mentioned in another review, the distribution between the Doctors is very uneven. The First Doctor's appearance is little more than a cameo, and the Seventh Doctor is only here for a chapter. Maybe Dicks left these characters alone as he was the least familiar with them as he wasn't involved with the show during those eras.

This book also serves another purpose: the introduction of the new companion Sam. She is suitably set-up in the earlier chapters, but the final part where she joins the Doctor and the TARDIS feels very forced and doesn't really ring true. Where's the sense of amazement at what the Doctor can offer her? She just acts as though she owns the place within a page and that just grates.

This book is ann enjoyable read, but doesn't really live up to its promise.

Explaining Away The Movie

By:ShatteredRoses, Wales, UK
Date:Sunday 13 August 2006
Rating:   5

Having already read ‘The Book of the Still’, ‘The Crooked World’ and ‘Casualties of War’, I decided it was about time that I went back and started at the beginning. I have to say that, while I didn’t really enjoy this book, I do have a lot of respect for it.

The reason I have a lot of respect for it is because the point of this book is pretty much to try and patch some kind of sense together out of the whole Doctor Who universe after the –ahem- movie. With that in mind, the plotlines that Dicks had open to him were pretty limited, and considering that, he did a good job. By the end of the book, all the ‘What the f*#$?!?’ factor that the movie left you with is pretty much sorted out, which is a good thing, and the stage is set for the later novels, which is even better.

Like a lot of other reviewers, however, I also had problems with the very forced scene with Sam at the end which seems to come pretty much out of the blue, and also the lack of balance between the various past incarnations. The focus on the Sixth Doctor for most of the book’s actual plot was unfortunate, given that being a newcomer to Doctor Who, I’m not well acquainted with all the ins and outs of the previous Doctors, and Colin Baker’s maybe least of all. So that one left me a little confused because where, say, the section with the Third Doctor was very well done and explained well, the section with the Sixth felt far too rushed for me. A more experienced fan may have been able to make a little more of it, but being a child of the generation that can only just remember the Seventh Doctor, and who is now looking back over the others all the characters and places and plotlines left me a little . . not really confused, because the plot of the book is so simple, but certainly without much of a founding in what was going on. That said, the very brief section with the Seventh Doctor was very good, I just wish there had been more of it.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I also had a problem with the sci-finess of this book. For me, one of the appeals of Doctor Who is the fact that it’s science fiction without really being the clean, high sci-fi that it could be, it’s different and refreshing, and this book was just a little too science fiction for me what with all the organisations, politics and blasters wedged into it, it just never really sat right with me.

That said, as I’ve already mentioned this book did a good job of both filling in the holes and setting the scene, so I can’t rue it too much.

Rushed, and disatisfying.

By:Ray, Merseyside
Date:Monday 16 October 2006
Rating:   5

This is the second Eighth Doctor novel I've read, (the other being Sometime Never...) My intention being to read through them in sequence, knowing of Terence Dicks reputation and and the high price this book currently fetches I was looking forward to a damn good read.
How disapointed I was. From the offset the book feels rushed, events take place in an astoundingly simplistic sequence, and where the Doctor-Sam partnership is finaly struck up my toes actually curled.
However, the novel does tie up a few confusing lose ends; the master/snake thing, and the Ravalox (Trial of a Time Lord) situation. Also, Dicks writes his characters very well, and leaves you with an impression of the Eighth Doctors personality as strong in your mind as all seven other Doctors.
My advice is to buy it, read it and sell it on.

What happened after......

By:C G Harwood, Dunedin, NZ, New Zealand
Date:Thursday 20 September 2007
Rating:   9

Ok bad things first, I throught the end with the Doctor and Sam was rushed. Also the revolt on Gallifrey was a little long.
Now the good stuff, It was nice to see Terrance Dicks be given a free licence to do what ever he wanted. I think if he had been given it a lot sooner a few of his Target novels would have been a lot better (eg Planet of the Giants.) It was a stroke of genius to get him to write the first book in the series. I'm hoping he is going to do something for the new series soon.
My fav 'What Happened After...' Moment was the 4th Doctor's because I was always scepticle that they were the only vampires on the whole planet. but nice to see that occasinaly he does stick around to do the mopping up.
I also liked the fact that Burosa was given a chance to redeam himself, as his turning bad never sat well with me.
But my fav pert of the whole book was the bit with the Raston Warrior Robot and the Sontarans (I actualy felt sorry for them).
This was a good book because it was fun to read and go back and remonice. Ok the plot was a little bit nonexcistant, but the long time fans of the show get to say "yes I remember that story" and now when we watch Unearthly Child and War Games we can say 'time froze and he spoke to the 8th Doctor right there.' Also because it explaned a few things about the TV movie
In conclution i took off a point because of Sam, it would have been a beter book if Dicks had left her out and introduced her in the next one. Great work Mr Dicks i look forward to reading more of your work and other BBC books.

This is totally brilliant...

By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Friday 18 April 2008
Rating:   10

So many of these eigth doctor novels suffer from being so over complicated that at the end you wonder what the hell it was all about. There have sadly only been a few decent and readable eighth doctor books from the bbc, which is a great shame. But here is one of the few that is genuinely brilliant.

Terrance Dicks wrote some of the most memorable stories on Doctor Who, what with The WAR Games and Horror Of Fang Rock and State of Decay all coming to mind as ringing brilliance and the easy to watch serials. He always writes great fiction, that isnt over complicated or stunted either.

The Eight Doctors pretty well sums up all that i love about Doctor Who these days. This is yet another multi doctor story that works so well for more in the fact that it never pauses for breath from start to finish. The eighth doctor is hijacked by the Master in one last trap, and is left amnesiac. But the TARDIS takes his on one of his best adventures yet. Sad that this actually couldnt have been put on screen in stead of the movie, but i cant complain. At least its in book form anyway. And Sam is introduced well here, already striking me as a strong companion who overall should have been given a better time in bbc books. But she is is brilliant in this debut.

We visit the tribe of gum, the war games, the damons, the vampires, the death zone, all very cool with great action bits amoungst constant and realistic character pieces. Every doctor is written very well indeed! This is a brilliant novel! Shame about most of the rest!

Hit and Miss

By:Thomas Dawson, Manchester
Date:Monday 23 June 2008
Rating:   7

I wonder how the pitch meeting for this novel went. Terrance, we want a book that covers the entire Doctor Who back-story. If you can tidy up a few loose ends from the TV Movie that would be fine. Oh and can you also introduce a brand new female companion, and keep it to a couple hundred pages.

Terrance has made a decent fist of a bad plan. The revisiting of pivotal moments from past doctor stories is a interesting plot device, and while a few of the encounters are poorly handled, generally they work as a short-hand way of covering the back-story.

The real weakness here is the decision to introduce the companion Sam Jones and then abandon her for the majority of the plot. She becomes little more than an afterthought and loses any impact she might have.

It's a decent read. But, if you are used to the more heavy weight New Adventures it is a bit frothy in comparison. Mind you, if you think the New Adventures are a bit too pretentious for there own good, this might comes as a pleasant surprise.

A Good Idea With A Mixed Result

By:Matthew Kresal, United States
Date:Sunday 7 September 2008
Rating:   7

Following on the release of the 1996 TV movie with Paul McGann as the eight Doctor, BBC Books decided to launch a new book series featuring the adventures of the Eighth Doctor. To start if off they brought Long-time Who script editor and writer Terrance Dicks. What Dicks produced is an enjoyable trip through the best moments of the original series.

Dicks was script editor of the series during the Jon Pertwee years and was the writer of most of the novelizations published by Target books during the 1970's and 1980's so he was a good choice to start off the adventures of the (then) new Doctor. How better to do that then have the new Doctor go back and meet his past selves?

But instead of having it done along the lines of his own story The Five Doctors, Dicks chooses to do a direct continuation of the TV movie. While that idea is a good one, the downside of it is that Dicks does tend to spend a lot of time on some Doctors (especially three and six) while devoting as few pages as possible to others (the seventh is really short changed). It's a good idea with a mixed result.

The charm of this novel is that it makes good use of the continuity of the series...for the most part. Dicks uses the concept of the Doctor visiting his past selves to fill in the occasional gap in the series like how the Master escaped after The Sea Devils or the downfall of the government on Gallifrey mentioned in The Trial of a Time Lord. There is also some good use of Sontarans, the Master, and even the return of his own Reston Fighting Robot. That said Dicks also creates a few continuity problems such as setting the seventh Doctor down on Metebelis Three. After doing so well with the continuity of the other Doctors, Dicks goes and messes up big time. I don't mean to sound like a raving fan boy but this was more for the third Doctor not the seventh. Its Dicks one bad use of continuity (if one can call it that) and like the novel's concept proves to be a good idea with a mixed result.

Another big problem of the novel is that the addition of introducing a new companion. Samantha Jones, who would go on to become a companion of the eighth Doctor, is given a rather poor introduction in The Eight Doctors. It's not that the character was badly written, but the fact that the introduction seems a bit forced and awkward in the midst of a trip down memory lane (or is Totters Lane?) which doesn't help the novel out at all.

While it does have its problems, The Eight Doctors is far from the worse Doctor Who novel. In fact it's one of the better ones I've read. Dicks' novel is not a piece of literature (far from it in fact) it is fast paced, fills in a few plot holes from the series (along with creating a few), and is above all enjoyable. And that's what Doctor Who is first and foremost: enjoyable.

A neat twist

By:Trevor Smith, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Date:Monday 20 April 2009
Rating:   7

I was not really enjoying this book very much but there is a fantastic twist at the end which clears up the beginning of the TV movie. Stick with it.


By:A person, hayfield
Date:Sunday 31 January 2010
Rating:   10


a great start point to the eighth doctor

By:Mondas, Edinburgh Scotland
Date:Sunday 4 April 2010
Rating:   8

a great little story, moves along at a steady pace. not Charles Dickens by any means but it is a great introduction to the eighth Doctors adventures. once i started reading found it hard to put down. a brilliant trip down memory lane. i always enjoy a Terrance Dicks story never to taxing to read. best part for me was when the eighth doctor meet up with the sixth can just see Colin Baker saying these lines. not to be underestimated.

When a longrunning series...

By:Wolfgang Bailey, Harrogate, United Kingdom
Date:Sunday 26 March 2023
Rating:   5

...Does a cheesy clip show

This was like having Doctor Who explained to me by Peter Kay.

"D'yuh 'member The Master? Duh Yuh? D'yer 'member? What aboowt the brigerdeeuh?! D'yer 'member the brigerdeeuh?!"

Sorry Terry.

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