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The Roots of Evil by Philip Reeve
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Philip Reeve of Mortal Engines fame is the next children's author to tackle Doctor Who, in this tale of the fourth Doctor and Leela aboard a giant space tree, which the Doctor has been to before, but not yet. There are guards, corridors, oppressive religions, and all the usual Doctor Who things, plus the Doctor makes fun of bow ties and people who use the word "cool" to describe them. This is perhaps one of the more insubstantial installments of 12 Doctors, 12 Stories, but it's still fun enough.
  Stevil2001 | May 27, 2016 |
This book is so short that there's no point in reading this review if you haven't read the book. So, spoilers.

****

In this adventure the Fourth Doctor and Leela visit a planet that is basically a giant ball of tree. However, he is not particularly welcome on this planet, as evidenced by the fact that some of the inhabitants are named things like "Vengeance will be ours once the Doctor dies a thousand agonizing deaths" (or Ven, for short). But what did he do to deserve such a hostile reception?

I enjoyed this book very much, as I do most Fourth Doctor stories. And I love the wibbly wobbly timey wimey -- I laughed out loud when it was revealed that the Doctor they knew was actually Eleven. That might have been a bit of a wink to the 50th anniversary special, with Eleven and the Curator (played by Fourth Doctor Tom Baker). Very fun. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Apr 30, 2015 |
Having now read the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Doctor entries in this series, this remains the only one I've used for bedtime reading with my seven-year-old son. Not sure I'm going to bother with the other Doctors' stories until we get to the 9th because I'm not overly impressed with the series based on what I've read apart from this entry, and I really don't care enough for the 6th and 7th Doctors to read anybody's take on them. The 8th, while I liked McGann's portrayal, I'm loathe to allow as canonical, and the reviews for the first two don't inspire any confidence they'll be enjoyable.

So, this is the one I'd recommend to anyone inclined to give any of these 50th anniversary shorts for children a shot. ( )
  cdogzilla | Jun 9, 2013 |
Philip Reeve takes on The Fourth Doctor in this latest Eshort celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who. The Doctor takes Leela, who has been missing trees and nature, to the Heligan Structure, a genetically engineered tree that humans used to terraform uninhabited planets for their use. The Heligan Structures are basically the size of a small moon, so this is a fairly large tree.

Upon their arrival, they almost immediately encounter Ven (short for Vengeance-Will-Be-Ours-When-The-Doctor-Dies-A-Thousand-Agonizing-Deaths), a youth living in the Heligan Structure. It turns out that there is an entire colony living in the Heligan Structure and for some reason all the inhabitants of the Heligan want the Doctor dead...

Spoilers
The problem here of course, is that what they are upset with Four about hasn't happened for him, as he discovers a carving of Eleven in the Heligan Structure. So Eleven was around in their past, but this hasn't happened to Four yet, who is now visiting in their future and his present. Time travel is so tricksy. The bit I didn't really like about this is that I feel that we only got half a story. It's explained, but quickly, what happened with Eleven in the past, but I still only feel like I got half a story out of the whole thing, that Four worked it out much to quickly and hence I don't really feel there was much substance to this particular Eshort. Reeve handled his portrayal of Four fine enough, but as an overall story, I think this one has been the most disappointing of the lot so far for me.
End of Spoilers!

The Fourth Doctor was portrayed by Tom Baker from 1974-81, the longest tenure of an actor as the Doctor yet. Baker's Doctor may be one of the most recognizable of the Doctors, especially in the Classic Who set, what with his long scarf and fondness for jelly babies. After Three's exile on Earth, Four took well advantage of his ability to travel in space and time and had some really grand adventures. Four was my first experience with Doctor Who when I was a kid, so he has always had a special place in my heart. ( )
  tapestry100 | May 8, 2013 |
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2098277.html

we have the Fourth Doctor and Leela in an adventure on a giant spaceborne tree. The plot combines quite a lot of elements of Leela's first televised adventure with nods to New Who, and also a decent moral twist to the tale in the end. If this is typical of Reeve's writing, I may well seek out more. ( )
  nwhyte | Apr 27, 2013 |
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Above the dead surface of a nameless world, far out among the Autumn Stars, the Heligan Structure hangs alone in the hard, cold light of space.
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