|PDF eBook, 360 pages|
Published 2008 (originally 2000)
Read July 2012
by Jim Mortimore
This was not the book it was meant to be, which was already a kind of weird adventure for the original and best TARDIS team (the first Doctor, Ian, Barbara, and Susan) featuring Alexander the Great. Rather's it's a meditation on that TARDIS team... and the universe. Time is coming unraveled after a trip to Alexander's era, and who the Doctor's companions are keeps on shifting. Barbara is dead... or is Ian?
Big Finish's Companion Chronicles have reignited my love for the first few seasons of Doctor Who, when the show really could go anywhere and do anything. If they had done original tie-in novels back then, and allowed them to be as inventive as the parent show, one would imagine they'd come out something like this: it's like a literary version of The Edge of Destruction mashed with The Aztecs. And about as amazing as that sounds. The ideas are inventive, the prose is clever, and even though it takes place in a multitude of alternate realities, Mortimore gets the voices and personalities of the original TARDIS team completely perfect. You feel them as real people (an approach I'm not convinced a lot of post-1964 TARDIS teams could even support); the only other work to handle them with such deftness being, I suspect, Daniel O'Mahony's "Nothing at the End of the Lane" in Short Trips and Side Steps.
The ending's a bit nonsensical, and the essays at the end are far too long, but I suppose you can't have everything. Is this the best Doctor Who novel ever? Probably not, but it's the best one I've read in a long time.