Simon's Bookcase

Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe

Doctor Who: Only Human

Only Human: Gareth Roberts, January 17—February 15, 2015
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊

OnlyHumanThe Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack explore what it is to be human in the latest Doctor Who novel. A Neanderthal shows up in present-day London, while futuristic humans travel back in time 28,000 years, by now emotionless due to an endless array of injections which preclude any fear or negativity.

As Captain Jack babysits the Neanderthal, the Doctor and Rose discover the future humans living in the past are genetically engineering Humanity 2.0, devoid of unhelpful traits in a Cyberman-esque design, all the while early-day humans and Neanderthal tribes fight for dominance.

The themes are not new to Doctor Who; the Ninth Doctor had a particular bee in his bonnet about the depravity of the species. But it is explored in significant detail, and the juxtaposition of the various versions of ‘humanity’ work very well.

The writing is good, and the patter is brilliant. The Doctor, in particular, is captured extremely well by Roberts. Although most of the guest characters are bland and forgettable, this was probably intentional given the comatose state most of them had elected to be in.

With the continuity of Doctor Who novels historically disputed, the Nu-Who series seems to be much more credible. Every book until now has featured the “Bad Wolf” phrase that was key to the concurrently running Series 1 (2005), and the events of The Monsters Inside were referenced in the TV episode Boom Town (2005). While there is no Bad Wolf reference in Only Human, Rose does allude to the events of the TV episode The Unquiet Dead (2005), and the TV episode Gridlock (2007) was partially inspired by Only Human. Although these references are fleeting, they’re appreciated.

While some aspects of Only Human seem a little too madcap even for Doctor Who, in general there is a very interesting question at the heart of this outing. Jack is underused, but the Doctor is on form and overall, this is a hugely entertaining, if not entirely memorable, jaunt.

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This entry was posted on February 15, 2015 by in 4 star, Doctor Who and tagged .

Author Cloud

@Queen_UK Adolf Hitler agatha christie Alan Clements Alastair Campbell Aldous Huxley Aleksandr Orlov Alex Shaffer Andrew Neiderman Anthony Burgess Arthur Miller Bateman Ben Brooks Ben Elton Bram Stoker Bret Easton Ellis C.J. Cherryh Carolyn Jess-Cooke Charles Dickens Chuck Palahniuk Dan Brown Dante Alighieri dashiell hammett david baldacci David Brin David Glattauer David Kirkpatrick David Line David Tennant David Wolstencroft Dylan Jones E.L. James Edgar Allen Poe Emilia Fox Eoin Colfer Erica Spindler Frank Peretti Gabrielle Lord Gareth Roberts Geoff Ryman George Orwell George R. R. Martin George W. Bush Gillian Flynn Gillian Slovo Graham Greene Guy Piran Harper Lee Harriet Lane Herman Koch Ian Rankin J.K. Rowling Jack Thorne Jacqueline Rayner James Herbert James Patterson Jasper Fforde Jeff Green Jeff Kinney Jeffrey Archer Jem Lester Jenny Robson Jeremy Clarkson Jerry B. Jenkins Jim Thompson John Crowther John Green John Grisham John Tiffany John Verdon Jonas Jonasson Judith Kerr Juliana Foster Justin Richards Kaci Hill Karen Levine Keeley Bolger Louis Walsh malorie blackman Marissa Meyer Mark Haddon Mark Z. Danielewski Martin Sixsmith Mary Higgins Clark Mary McNamara Matt Haig Matthew Ravden Michael Berry Michael Connelly Michael Morpurgo Michael Quirke Miguel de Cervantes Mike Lancaster Morris Gleitzman Morton Rhue Neil Sinclair Nick Hornby Nick Page Patricia Cornwell Patricia Stotley Patrick Ness Paula Hawkins Paul Johnston Peter James Phil Allcock R.J. Palacio Rachelle Dekker Raymond Chandler Richard Bachman Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Ludlum Robin Cook Robin Kirkpatrick sandra brown Sebastian Beaumont Sharon Osbourne Stella Rimmington Stephen Cole Stephen King Steve Lookner Steve Lyons Stuart MacBride Sue Townsend Suzanne Collins ted dekker Terry Pratchett Tim LaHaye Tim Randall Todd Strasser Tom Avery Tom Bower Tom Cain Tom Hoyle tony blair William Golding William P. Young William Shakespeare