Ali was having a picnic with her family in the little water park on the edge of town when she first saw the Doctor. He was striding across the grass, glancing around, eyes a bit wild, as if he was searching for something.
Republished by Puffin in October 2014
Pages – 592
To celebrate the arrival of Peter Capaldi as the newly regenerated twelfth Doctor Who, Puffin have reissued this collection of short stories each written by a different author and now with an added brand new story from Holly Black.
I was very pleased to be asked to take part in the 12 Doctors - 12 Stories blog tour to celebrate the rerelease of this fantastic short story anthology that features 12 stories – one for each of the 12 Doctors there have been, written by 12 very different YA authors.
I was asked to review Doctor Who 9 – The Beast of Babylon, which is written about the 9th Doctor, Christopher Eccleston and was penned by Charlie Higson. Surprisingly, this was my first Doctor Who story and my first Charlie Higson story. To be honest, I was impressed by how much I enjoyed it. I’m not sure if this was helped by the fact that I could visually picture the Doctor and Rose Tyler, but it made it easier to imagine the story playing out in front of me and it wasn’t long before I was lost in it.
This story got off to a fast pace which really didn’t stop until the end. There wasn’t time to take a breather as the Doctor swayed from a pretty big disastrous situation to an even bigger one. This written version of the Doctor came across as slightly insane and just tittering on the edge of madness, which I felt easily fitted with all the Doctors I had witnessed on TV in the past.
In this story, the Doctor has yet to convince Rose to join him on his travels, yet her name comes up repeatedly. He finds himself on Karkinos as he tries to destroy the Starman and briefly acquires Ali, as his companion. The battle to kill the Starman hurtles them both to Earth, but not to the Earth we presently know; because as we all know, the Doctor is a Time Lord and can travel in any direction through time, so following the Starman back to Babylon buried deep in the Earth’s past, is merely a flick of a switch to him.
Ali is a kick ass character who stops at nothing when battle rage takes over, however, she doesn’t last long as the Doctor’s companion as she is far too volatile and considered a liability. The Doctor requires an assistant that can show compassion at all times, which basically describes his reasons for practically always picking a human and his yearning to return to Rose Tyler. I felt this was a real shame, because Ali came across as a brilliant character who deserved a bigger part than just a few chapters in a short story, especially as she never actually featured as a companion on the TV series.
I think Charlie Higson managed to capture the real Doctor, with the slightly off the wall perspective he seems to have and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this fast paced story. Enough to make me want to read the rest of the book.
This book is a must for all Doctor Who fans and an excellent introduction to readers yet to be converted to all things Doctor Who.