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What if the Doctor was real?

By:J. D. Means, Spokane, WA
Date:Tuesday 21 March 2006
Rating:   10

What would it be like to live in the world of the Doctor? How would the average person cope with Daleks, Autons or the Master?

This book is a different kind of Doctor Who novel, in which the Doctor is more of a supporting character. The main character, David Bishop, is a New Zealand native reporter working for the London Times, until his controvertial report on UNIT leads to his losing his job and reputation. Unperterbed, Bishop continues his investigations as a freelance journalist, hoping to uncover the truth about this military unit and the so-called "Doctor".

Taking its cue from the Kurt Busiek/Alex Ross graphic novel Marvels, this book takes key moments from the series(notably the Jon Pertwee years) and shows them from a different point of view. The end result, with its conspiracy theory twists and turns, its numerous guest stars from various points of Dr. Who history, and its ratcheting suspence, is one wild and entertaining ride, leading(as the title suggests) to the book depository in Dallas in 1964.

One of the best Dr Who books

By:Mark1963, UK
Date:Monday 26 February 2007
Rating:   10

A wonderful novel; one of the best! Takes an outsiders look at UNIT and the Doctor from the mid-60s on. A fan's delight full of detail and asides. Quite apart from that, it's a very, very good read. Highly recommended.

An Amazing Look At The UNIT Stories

By:Matthew Kresal, United States
Date:Saturday 30 August 2008
Rating:   9

The assassination of JFK remains one of the greatest unsolved murders of all time. Doctor Who is the longest running science fiction series of all time and arguably the most popular. They seem like two separate things that couldn't possibly be connected. But to believe that is to be proved wrong. For author David Bishop has brought the assassination of JFK and the Doctor Who UNIT stories together to present: Who Killed Kennedy.

What separates Who Killed Kennedy from the other Doctor Who novels is the fact that the Doctor is not the main character. In fact the Doctor barely features at all. Instead the novel features on fictional reporter James Stevens who serves as the narrator. Stevens is a believable character who starts out as an innocent reporter investigating the appearance of a strange man at a country hospital (Spearhead From Space) and soon finds himself crossing the path of the mysterious group called UNIT.

The story itself has very little to do with the JFK assassination. Instead the majority of the novel is spent covering the several years Stevens spending investigating UNIT. Little details from the UNIT stories pop up here and there including the cover stories given to hide each alien invasion. But the tension of the book comes from how much Stevens knows...or thinks he knows. There is a mysterious man helping him who seems to know all about UNIT and what it's really up to. In the end it all leads to the Doctor, his arch-enemy the Master, a brainwashed UNIT private, and to a tragic day in Dallas.

But what makes Who Killed Kennedy interesting is how it seeks to bring authenticity to the Doctor Who universe. While the UNIT stories were always grounded in some sort of reality, the novel brings focus to that by making the book feel not like a novel but like a conspiracy theorists book. It is also a novel full of personal details and ideas that give it an air of authenticity that helps to bring some much needed reality to the story. Even in the finale set in Dealy Plaza, Bishop brings details of the assassination to life in new and exciting ways.

But the novel isn't perfect. It does have issues with the UNIT time line which as always been controversial. It does very little to back up its dating scheme though and this hurts when trying to make it fit into the series. Also while Bishop seems to have a good grasp of his own creations, he does have problems with bring familiar UNIT characters to life. I also have issues with Stevens' relationship with Dodo. It didn't seem to work well in my opinion and seemed like an unnecessary add on and its resolution isn't very well handled.

Yet despite these faults, Who Killed Kennedy makes for an interesting Doctor Who based read. More spin-off then anything, this novel brings an outsider into the UNIT stores and shows it from the point of view of an ordinary person. That and an interesting answer to the crime of the century make this a must-read for Doctor Who fans. It’s a shame this book is now out of print and hard to find for it is an amazing look into the Doctor Who universe.


By:Matt Saunders, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom
Date:Monday 1 April 2013
Rating:   10

I really, really enjoyed this book. It's a wonderful story which is set during the early years of the Third Doctor and UNIT, and is from the perspective of James Stevens (no relation to Stevens in the Green Death) who is a journalist. He's a journalist that happens to keep bumping into UNIT and the various events of the first/second season of Jon Pertwee - and gets the complete wrong end of the stick. It's a fascinating take on everything and the Third Doctor is very much a secondary character. It's also a lovely book for fans, as the story is littered with connections and old characters. A free copy can now be downloaded - go do it, you won't be disappointed. 10/10

Interesting Idea

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Thursday 11 July 2013
Rating:   8

David Bishop has concocted a good alternate look at the first two seasons of Pertwee-era Who. The novel is written as a memoir-exposé by a journalist, James Stevens, who was involved on the periphery of various adventures from the 1970-1 period of Doctor Who. From these vague contacts, he develops an obsession with UNIT as a top-secret organization of nefarious intent that uses another top-secret organization, C19, as its enforcer. His investigations ruin his life, but lead him closer to the answer to a secret, not the nature and purpose of UNIT, but unbeknownst to him to the answer to another of his obsessions, the question of who killed JFK.

The book reads partly as reportage, partly as political thriller of the John Buchan variety (innocent man caught up in deadly secret plots), and partly as apologetic autobiography. The plot holds together well. Bishop has cleverly used actual dialogue from the broadcast series. Though the regular Who characters make mostly small, even cameo appearances, with two notable exceptions, the book is still a Who novel because UNIT and the Doctor are so central to Stevens' motivation.

The two characters from Who that are more critical to the story are the Master and Dodo. The Master is the Master and never strays from the Delgado portrayal. The inclusion of Dodo is far more problematic. Given her role in the novel, this character need not have been Dodo. Also, Bishop proceeds on the tired premise that anyone who has the slightest contact with the Doctor lives a horrible life because of it. I do not see this as a logical consequence of spending time with the Doctor. The inclusion of Dodo, plus a few other little bits, seem to me to be throwing in too many nods and winks to the fans that detract from an otherwise well plotted story.

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