Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Monsters Inside - Stephen Cole

Stephen Cole's The Monsters Inside is another of the earliest New Doctor Who Adventures novels and features the Doctor and Rose as played by Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper. Once again, I didn't feel that the author had captured the "voice" of the Ninth Doctor; this is a criticism I also made in my review of Justin Richards' The Clockwise Man, and I'm now wondering if it's because the Ninth Doctor is relatively taciturn, at least compared to David Tennant's Tenth Doctor who, by his own admission in "The Christmas Invasion", has "got a gob" (which isn't to say he can't shut up, just that he does talk far more than the Ninth Doctor ever did!).

However, I did enjoy this story which sees the TARDIS take the Doctor and Rose to a brutal deep-space prison colony, Justicia, where they're told they've violated the law simply by landing there, so they're both imprisoned, without a trial. Whilst Rose finds herself locked up in a teenage borstal, the Doctor is trapped in a scientific labour camp. Each is determined to find the other, and soon both Rose and the Doctor are risking life and limb in order to escape and find the other. But their dangerous plans are complicated by some old enemies, the Slitheen. I have to confess, when I saw Season 1's "Aliens of London" and "World War Three", I hated the Slitheen - the big, green, farting aliens just seemed too childish. However, "Boom Town" changed my mind about them.

The question that the Doctor and Rose face is whether the Slitheen are fellow prisoners, as they claim to be, or staging a takeover for their own sinister purposes. Their ability to disguise themselves as human drives much of the suspense and drama of this novel, with Rose (in particular) never quite sure just who is human and who is a Slitheen. Adding to the complexity of the situation is the fact that there is another family of Raxacoricofallapatorians on the loose, and Stephen Cole manages to blur the line between the traditional roles of good guys and bad guys to such good effect that you're left guessing who's "good" and who's "bad" until the very end of the novel.

The Monsters Inside is also available from

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