Doctor Who Time Trips The Death Pit by A. L. Kennedy, Into the Nowhere by Jenny T. Colgan, and Keeping up with the Joneses by Nick Harkaway.

‘He made his way across the foyer towards her, half loping and half tiptoeing with a general air of being highly delighted to see everything around him including the dust on the broken grandfather clock. Bryony thought she’d never encountered anyone so remarkable in her life. She was right.’

The Death Pit by A. L. Kennedy

The Death Pit by A. L. Kennedy

A Fourth Doctor story! Which I thought was bonkers, bat-shit crazy. Parts of the narrative kept cutting up, so I had no idea what was happening until the pieces knitted together (I clearly have no patience for that sort of thing. I want to know what is happening now!) Reclusive widow, old-fashioned kids, a golf bunker that is eating people, and words in bold capital letters like LONELY and SAD.

Lines like this ‘the Doctor had managed to pass through the changing rooms without changing a bit – apart from having folded his hat into his jacket pocket and having donned a gift-bag shower cap instead. His hair was fighting the shower cap. And winning.’ made me snort with laughter.

It is a fitting story for Tom Baker’s character and comes right off of the page at you.

Into the Nowhere by Jenny T. Colgan

The Doctor, and Clara, land on what seems to be a dead planet. Clara almost gets swallowed by quicksand, Clara fortunately survives that particular obstacle, and that’s when they realise they are unable to get back to the TARDIS. So they head the only way they can, into a spooky woods. There is a fire, Clara is knocked unconscious by a tree and the Doctor has to be a hero here and carry Clara through the flames. Not before he does this first ‘he turned up the collar of his jacket and quickly smoothed down his eyebrows.’ And I can just imagine him doing that. There are more obstacles ahead. As well as walking skeletons, who are using knives to carve up their bones, so they can use the filings to write out letters and communicate with the Doctor, and Clara. The best part of Into the Nowhere is the realisation of who the skeletons are, and a moment where Clara tries to save her, and the Doctor’s life, by holding out her arms to one of the child skeletons, and offering it a hug. The other moment in this story is the reveal of who is behind the hellish landscape of this planet, although I do wish the writer had not written ‘grotesquely fat’ to describe that person. Etienne Boyce is a grotesque person, not because he’s fat, because his actions are unbelievable, to be honest. Absorbing what he had done, I was gobsmacked. It was a bizarre twist. More bizarre is to come, as then Into the Nowhere goes into Adam and Eve territory, which I didn’t enjoy reading as much.

Keeping up with the Joneses by Nick Harkaway

Keeping up with the Joneses starts very well. It begins with the Doctor brushing his teeth. ‘He didn’t actually need to brush his teeth – his body didn’t allow the sort of decay toothbrushes were supposed to prevent – but he liked to do it anyway because he enjoyed the mintiness frothing over his tongue and out of his mouth.’ Information that is good to know. He then reflects on travelling alone, name checking Donna and Martha. ‘He’d spent the last two weeks growing oak trees in a park the TARDIS had apparently generated at some point for reason of its own. He’d caught himself using the artificial sun to make the branches grow into the word ‘Rose’ and hurriedly decided it was time to move on.’ Yeah, isn’t that sweet. Christina de Souza makes a return, of sorts. Keeping up with the Joneses was a very enjoyable read, but in the last 3 pages I, honestly, could not tell you what happened. None of it was getting through. Gobbledegook.

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