Doctor Who: Escape Velocity [Book Review]

DOCTOR WHO: ESCAPE VELOCITY
By Colin Brake/BBC Books/February 2001

Escape Velocity is a combination of the new and the old. New because it takes place after the pivotal Ancestor Cell, and old, because despite being part of the new arc of Doctor Who novels, it’s basically a traditional Who story.

The Doctor has spent the last hundred years on Earth while his TARDIS heals. He’s not exactly himself either. His memory is full of holes, but he does have a note to meet Fitz, his companion, at a certain bar in London. For Fitz, it hasn’t been all that long, and he’s looking forward to seeing the Doctor again. Unfortunately, he gets sidetracked by a TV news story that hints of the Doctor’s presence in Brussels, and off he goes.

This serves to introduce Anji Kapoor, destined to be the Doctor’s new traveling companion. She’s on vacation with her boyfriend Dave in Brussels, and witnesses the death of a two-hearted alien. It isn’t the Doctor, but it is an alien. The trio’s investigation into the odd occurrences puts Dave at risk, and sends Anji and Fitz back to London to enlist the Doctor’s help.

The ensuing story involves two rival rich men vying to be the first private venture into space, while an alien fleet lies in wait to invade the earth. Aside from the changes the Doctor has undergone, this is a traditional Doctor Who story in every sense, with few surprises. Everything is tied up very nicely and predictably. It’s not badly written, considering it’s Brake’s first novel – he is an experienced TV writer (he was a script editor on the British series “Bugs”) – but there’s nothing new here.

The Doctor and Fitz are handled quite well, and to his credit, Anji Kapoor is a very likeable companion. Unfortunately, the rest of the characters are rather two-dimensional and follow paths that are contrived and all too familiar.

Not a great book, but a reasonably enjoyable light read.

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