Cover image for Human Nature

Reviews for Human Nature

There are 2 reviews so far. To add a review of your own for this item, visit the voting page.

Dry, Underdeveloped Drivel.

By:Mike McGovern , Edmonton, Alberta
Date:Tuesday 31 January 2006
Rating:   1

This book is very well-loved by Doctor Who fans, although I can't imagine why. When Paul Cornell isn't being weird, depressing, or confusing (his specialties,) he is dreadfully dull and unoriginal.

This novel suffers from a terrible lack of charm, character developement, and is slow, plodding and confusing. Fans say this is a "traditional" novel for Cornell, but this is nothing *like* the traditional stories of the Target range. At least those were exciting and fun, and we knew who was who.

Human Nature is flat, confusing, filled with cardboard characters and too many seperate, badly-defined plotlines. Multiple plotlines can be interesting, but only if handled with the cleverness and depth of say, Who author Terrence Dicks. *His* books are what make the series great. And though Cornell seems to be trying to write like Terrence, he just can't pull it off. Some authors have the ability to make even dull scenes sparkle, and Cornell can't (or won't) do that.

Toward the start of the book are quite a few dull parts with assassins (badly written,) who are flatter in substance than a piece of paper. We never really get to know them, nor do we really care.

When we at last get to Earth, and *finally*
see what the Doctor has become, we are treated to long, tedious pages of people existing in a really boring English countrside, where nothing ever happens and, for most of the book, nothing really does.

Eventually the assassins show up, making for one of the most extended, tedious HUNT THE DOCTOR sections I've ever seen. And the final pursuit of the Doctor is so long and drawn out, with so many extra character points of view, that one wonders when the story will ever be over.

Cornell often makes up for his lack of substance with overly-witty dialog, designed, as one reviewer put it, to show just how terribly clever the author is. I am frankly unimpressed. Snappy comebacks and dark humor do not move me in the the least. I simply want a good story, well told.

Human Nature had the potential to be very intriguing and insightful, but given who the author is, I didn't expect much, and I was right. It not only clunks, it clanks.

Let This Be One Of The Novels You Read

By:Matthew Kresal, United States
Date:Tuesday 2 September 2008
Rating:   10

This is Human Nature: The basis for the revived TV’s series two part story Human Nature / The Family of Blood. Written by Paul Cornell and published back in May 1995, this novel has earned a reputation as one of the best Doctor Who novels ever. Having read quite a few of them I’m willing to go one step further: Human Nature is the best Doctor Who novel ever written.

Human Nature is (to paraphrase a famous quote from the series) far more then just another Doctor Who story. It is a strong story about love, war, and what makes us human. One of the reasons for this is because it’s a novel full of real characters, not just one or two dimensional cut outs. This is especially true of the malevolent seventh Doctor, who becomes a human being and leaves his companion Professor Summerfield having to save him.

While the novel features a fair amount of action and typical science fiction material, the story has a love story running through it. That is the love between the humanized seventh Doctor (Dr. John Smith) and Joan Redfern that while it might initially seem out of place, Cornell makes it fit. Cornell creates a realistic relationship between the two and whenever they’re together the pages really do light up. In fact, Smith and Joan are the literal heart and soul of Human Nature. It is there relationship, and its climax that really make this novel standout.

The novel’s only real flaw is it’s villains who are a bit of a joke for the most part. The Aubertide shape shifters are clumsy to say the least and very rarely (if at all) to they have menace. That said they have a great moment in chapter six, but for the most part Cornell drops the ball in terms of the villains and in turn creates the novel’s only real problem.

Don’t let that flaw deter you though. This novel is what science fiction is at its best: a morality tale in a very different dressing. To put it another way: If you read only one Doctor Who novel let this be the one you read.

Go back