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Book Review

Book Cover

Doctor Who
Code of the Krillitanes


Author: Justin Richards
BBC Books
RRP: £1.99
ISBN: 978 1 84607 928 3
Available 04 March 2010

I blame those new Brainy Crisps. Since he started eating them, he’s been too clever by half.” Can eating a bag of crisps really make you more clever? The company that makes the crisps says so, and they seem to be right. But the Doctor is worried. Who would want to make people more brainy, and why? With just his sonic screwdriver and a supermarket trolley full of crisps, the Doctor sets out to find the truth. The answer is scary - the Krillitanes are back on Earth, and everyone is at risk! Last time they took over a school. This time they’ve hijacked the internet. Whatever they’re up to, it’s big and it’s nasty. Only the Doctor can stop them - if he isn’t already too late...

Another year, another Doctor Who Quick Reads novella, designed to tie in with World Book Day (this year on 04 March) and encourage potential readers who aren’t usually in the habit of picking up a book.

Once again there’s an old enemy, this time the Krillitanes, who previously featured in the 2006 episode School Reunion and the 2009 novel The Krillitane Storm. Conscious of the fact that this book’s readers may or may not have read The Krillitane Storm, author Justin Richards doesn’t directly reference the events of that book, though he is careful not to rule them out, referring instead to the events of School Reunion as the last time the Doctor met the Krillitanes “in this time period”. Though their scheme is similar to the one in School Reunion (boosting human intelligence by using Krillitane oil to fry potatoes), their goal this time makes more sense. It also plays upon a couple of common modern-day fears: artificial additives in food and the hacking of personal computers.

The writing style and characterisation are basic, even given the fact that this book is intended as a “short, sharp shot of adventure”. However, the stand-in companion, an overweight, balding IT manager called Henry, makes a nice change from the usual run of feisty young women.

Code of the Krillitanes isn’t fine literature, but if it sets you on the path to reading more, then it could pave the way to expanding your mind. It’s certainly more likely to do that than eating a bag of crisps will.


Richard McGinlay

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