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Reviews for Heritage

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Bad Day at Heritage

By:Stephen Carlin, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
Date:Sunday 26 September 2004
Rating:   8

The Doctor and Ace arrived on the dusty planet of Heritage. There's not much to the main town - a few dwellings and lots and lots of dust. Nothing that would attract anyone - although once, years before it had been a world or promise.

Those drawn by that promise are stranded on the planet, caught up in another promise.

The Doctor and Ace have come to Heritage to visit some friends. Except that their friends have gone. Or that's the story they are told. The Doctor seems ready to accept this, but more because he has become sick of getting involved in things. If there has been trouble he doesn't want to sort it out. Or rather he doesn't want to know if something happened as he may be drawn into sorting out the problem.

This is an amazing book - without giving away too much it made me care about a character I had not liked previously. It drew me in, intrigued as to what would happen next. Part of me wondered about the nature of the foe but also appreciated the all too human nature of the story.

This is a far superior form of storytelling that I am used to from the Doctor Who book range. None of the puerile pseudo-student stuff that is often perpetrated. No good ideas gone to waste.

If you like a good, human story then I recommend this book.If you like Auton spoons, snotty nosed children, zombies etc then go elsewhere.

I look forward to Dale Smith's next contribution.

A quiet little story done well.

By:Brian Smith, University Place, WA
Date:Monday 8 January 2007
Rating:   10

Not much happening in this one, but it's a spot on portrayal of the 7th Doctor and Ace. Lovely character piece.

As Dull As A Desert

By:Martin Smith, England
Date:Saturday 28 April 2007
Rating:   5

Heritage has some interesting ideas, but it never really manages to make them into a compelling narrative. Instead the reader becomes as clogged in the prevalent ennui as the characters are in the planet's red dust.
It doesn't help that The Doctor is completely unengaging here, continually wavering between depression and reluctant involvement, which in turn makes Ace continually comment about his mood and how he's not "the proper Doctor".
Smith's prose is competent yet rarely makes you sit back and feel impressed. It spends FAR too long continually describing every character's eyes in greatly detailed imagery.
Ultimately Heritage the novel manages to be as uninteresting and disappointing as the Heritage the planet is meant to be.

Counter Doctor Who

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Tuesday 21 December 2021
Rating:   7

With "Heritage," Dale Smith tries to write Doctor Who as Literature, with a capital L. The novel is counter Doctor Who, choosing "counter" over "anti" because the writer is clearly not against Doctor Who, but rather has chosen to write a narrative against type. Here we get Doctor 7 and Ace both running against type in a way. In a normal Doctor 7 and Ace story, if it runs according to the TV series, The Doctor and Ace would arrive somewhere with The Doctor already planning how to save the world, bringing an eager Ace along for the ride without telling her what the plan is. She will just have to find out on her own and thus grow up a little. In this novel, The Doctor has been dragging around Ace for a while, but has no plan greater than just to look around and visit old friends. He's depressed, silent, and morose. He constantly insists that he cannot and should not get involved, and if it looks like he's going to get involved, then he should just turn around and leave for the next scheduled visit. Ace in this one is still a sort of stereotypical teenager, except here, instead of pleading with the "parent" - "Pleeease tell me what's going on" and making a big, emotional scene, she is a bundle of internalized anger, constantly grumbling and second-guessing herself in the belief that maybe she is being pushed out and forced to learn to deal with problems on her own. Thus, she spends almost all the novel claiming that this Doctor is not the "real" Doctor, and that if he's not going to save the world, then she is, maybe, perhaps not, no, definitely she is. Smith writes the novel mostly as a sequence of internal monologues. We are looking in on the conversations characters have with themselves, in their own heads. The plot for the novel reminds me of the alternative westerns of the 1980s and 1990s, in which everyone hates everyone else, the landscape is all dust and heat, and buried secrets drive everyone to be scared and self-loathing. The plot, as such, has The Doctor bring Ace to the planet Heritage, where he wants to visit his friends the Heyworths. Heritage town is a former mining town, now barely getting along, with a strong "we don't like strangers" vibe. They keep getting told that the Heyworths moved. The Doctor wants to go, even though he strongly suspects the locals are not telling him the truth about the Heyworths, and Ace senses that there's something wrong, definitely a monster vibe going on, and she must set it right. Smith then sets out to undermine numerous Doctor Who tropes: the monsters are not what you think they are, the Doctor does not resolve conflicts through the force of his actions but through the force of his stare, the problem is limited to this one little town and threatens neither this world nor the universe, and so on. The one trope remaining is the mad scientist villain. Smith should get credit for trying something different, even if he does not quite pull it off.

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