Friday, January 11, 2019

Doctor Who - The Good Doctor

Doctor Who - the 13th Doctor
The Good Doctor
Publisher: BBC (Penguin Group UK)
Publication Date (November 2018)
ISBN 10 - 1785943847
ISBN 13 - 978-1785943843
230 Pages of Story

I have been very selective about the Doctor Who books that I buy. Initially, I bought only those books that featured Donna Noble as the companion (as she is, and always will be, my favorite!). Then I bought the books with Rory Williams as a companion (even though I disliked Amy, I liked Rory's character enough to buy them). Then along came the 12th Doctor, who I enjoyed immensely, so I picked up his books (even though I found his first companion, Clara, to be very boring - did like his second companion, Bill, but she only lasted one season, sadly). Now, enter the 13th Doctor and her three companions.

That's right - HER! BBC decided to go with the times, and when Peter Capaldi's Doctor regenerated, for the first time, Doctor Who became a female Doctor! Joining her in this new era are three new companions - police officer Yasmin, young Ryan, and his step-grandfather, Graham. An odd mix of characters, to be sure; however, from the first episode that introduced all four of them, I've been hooked. So, when I discovered new books with these characters at Barnes and Noble, I snatched them up right away.

This first book, The Good Doctor, is written by Juno Dawson, who is a new author to me in the Doctor Who universe. It seems a number of the previous books were written by many of the same authors, so it is nice to see a new author (at least, new to me) step in and breathe some new life into the Doctor and her companions. And Dawson doesn't fail the Doctor Who fans, as she manages to nicely capture the voice of the characters, despite how new they all are.

In this adventure, the Doctor and her companions help broker a peace treaty between a race of humans and a race of canine-type aliens who are sharing the same planet. Everything seems to have turned out nicely as the Doctor, Yasmin, Ryan, and Graham leave in the TARDIS - only for Ryan to discover that he left his cell phone behind on the planet. Not wanting such Earth-technology to be left in a place and time where it could greatly affect the people, the Doctor goes back to the planet Lobos. The plan is to sneak back to the tower where he left his cell, grab it, and leave before they make any further impact on the planet.

But they soon discover it's too late for that...

The Good Doctor answers the question to what happens to a planet and its inhabitants after the Doctor does some good there, thus changing the course of their lives? What happens if the Doctor's actions are, perhaps, misinterpreted, or even changed in the course of translation? And how will generations down the road look back and view the Doctor, her companions, and what they have done to their society? In this case - they worship the Doctor. The only problem is, it is now hundreds of years later, and the current generation of humans worship the Good Doctor - or rather, the man who they think is the Good Doctor - Graham! Talk about a case of mistaken identity!

This book also addresses some of the unique factors that the Doctor must face, now that she (he?) is a woman - how people and aliens view the female of a species, how a hero is automatically viewed as male, and what it takes to change that point of view.  The television episodes have briefly been touching on this, but this book faces the issue head-on, with a society that now worships the Doctor - but the Graham "Doctor," not the actual Doctor, as this race cannot possibly conceive of a woman being their Good Doctor. On top of that, the book also looks at organized religion, how it begins, and how it can be abused and misinterpreted over the years. Dawson handles the story nicely, and even manages to equal out the time for the three companions, so that no one hogs all the spotlight in the adventure.

A great start to a new era of Doctor Who, and I'm looking forward to seeing what future stories of the 13th Doctor hold in store!

RATING:  10 teddy bears with only one eye out of 10 for taking the newest Doctor on a fantastic, most brilliant adventure on her first outing in prose form!

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