Doctor Who: The Janus Conjunction [Book Review]

Doctor Who: The Janus Conjunction
By Trevor Baxendale / BBC Books / October 1998

“The planets Janus Prime and Meridia are diametrically opposed in orbit round a vast Red Giant star. But while Menda is rich and fertile in the light of the sun, Janus Prime endures everlasting night, its moon causing a permanent solar eclipse.

When the Doctor and Sam arrive on Janus Prime, they find themselves in the middle of a war between rival humans colonizing the area. The planet is littered with ancient ruins, and the Mendans are using a mysterious hyper-spatial link left behind by the planet’s former inhabitants. But what is its true purpose?

The Doctor and Sam must piece together a centures-old puzzle. How can Janus Prime’s moon weigh billions of tons more than it should? Why is the planet riddled with deadly radiation? As the violence escalates around them, will the time travelers survive to discover the answers?”

I really liked The Janus Conjunction because it doesn’t strive to be anything more than a straightforward Doctor Who adventure and succeeds.

The Doctor and Sam arrive on a planet, get separated, thrown in prison, get caught between two factions and have a puzzle to solve in the process. Nothing that hasn’t been done before, but it’s well executed. The guest characters don’t take over the story, but are well developed enough that their motivations are understandable, even the villains.

While the recent outing Seeing I had a lot to do about looking at the Doctor and Sam’s relationship in depth, here they are just Doctor and companion working together with really well-written dialogue. The Doctor is the Doctor I’ve always known in any regeneration: the hero that takes charge of the situation.

There’s nothing groundbreaking about The Janus Conjunction, but it’s very functional, entertaining and moves along briskly.

 

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