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Escape velocity by Colin Brake

Escape velocity (edition 2001)

by Colin Brake

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123297,888 (2.66)None
Title:Escape velocity
Authors:Colin Brake
Info:London : BBC, c2001.
Collections:All the Ebooks, Calibre Import
Tags:Calibre import

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Escape Velocity by Colin Brake



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Quite good. ( )
  andystehr | Jul 6, 2013 |

Well, well: a Doctor Who book partly set in Belgium! Aliens, companions and the Doctor wandering round the Grand' Place, the Atomium, Waterloo and the European quarter (one character practically walks under the windows of my office). Of course, I did the inevtable thing of checking for mistakes (it's Boulevard Adolphe Max, not Rue Adolphe Max, and anyway I think he means the Boulevard Anspach; the EU district is described as southwest rather than east of the city centre, but otherwise the geography is right) but generally I liked being on familiar territory. The book was written in 2000 and is set in early 2001, so it is a time when we were already living here, and I imagined how I might have brushed past the characters on my lunch break (in those days I occasionally wandered down from CEPS in the Place du Congrès to the city centre for lunch).

The story: is a pretty standard alien invasion of Earth story, combined with introducing new companion Anji, which is always interesting, and a partial resolution of continuity I haven't read with the Doctor apparently recovering from amnesia after causing some major catastrophe (I shall eventually get to whatever novel that happens in, but am not rushing to it). But I quite enjoyed the scenery, with different factions of aliens squabbling over their human allies, and some nice character sketches; the French millionaire perhaps a little too one-dimensionally villainous. There is lots of horrible slaughter, but that is often the way with alien invasions.

There were also a couple of nice nods to other parts of Who. Anji's boyfriend is revealed as a big fan of the cancelled long-running TV show "Professor X", whose more civilised British fans are disturbed by the arrival of Americans in their fandom via the internet. I wonder what Brake could have had in mind? And at the end of the book, the Doctor, Fitz and Anji leave the present day to materialise on a prehistoric landscape, and a shadow falls across the sand. Nice.

Fails the Bechdel test, I'm afraid; every one of the few conversations between female characters ends up being about a man.

I quite liked this Eighth Doctor novel when I first read it in late 2008, and I liked it more this time round. In particular, Fitz's return after a five-book gap is very welcome, making the reader (or at least this reader) feel that we are getting back to a format we recognise; and new companion Anji has a far better start than the unfortunate Sam or the incomprehensible Compassion. I also appreciated the amnesiac Doctor's vague memories of his previous life - I find the Eighth Doctor's repeated vulnerability to amnesia a bit tedious, but this is now the sixth successive amnesiac!Doctor novel so the irritation is wearing off. The notion of orbital launching sites either on the Belgian coast or in Southern England, with or without alien technology, is a bit fanciful but I'll forgive it. A novel that makes a lot more sense as part of the sequence but is probably decent enough on its own. ( )
  nwhyte | Aug 30, 2008 |
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