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Book Review

Book Cover

Doctor Who
The Eyeless


Author: Lance Parkin
BBC Books
RRP: £6.99, US $11.99, Cdn $14.99
ISBN: 978 1 84607 562 9
Available 26 December 2008

At the heart of the ruined city of Arcopolis is the Fortress, a brutal structure placed here by one of the sides in a devastating intergalactic war. Fifteen years ago, the entire population of the planet was killed in an instant by the weapon housed deep in the heart of the Fortress. Now only the ghosts remain. The Doctor arrives, and determines to fight his way past the Fortress’s automatic defences and put the weapon beyond use. But he soon discovers he’s not the only person in Arcopolis. What is the true nature of the weapon? Is the planet really haunted? Who are the Eyeless, and what will happen if they get to the weapon before the Doctor? The Doctor has a fight on his hands, and this time he’s all on his own...

This novel is the first to feature the Tenth Doctor travelling alone, presumably following the departure of Donna in Journey’s End. On numerous occasions, especially near the beginning of the book, the Doctor misses having someone around to act as a springboard for his scientific observations and humorous remarks.

Not that there’s as much humour as we usually get in this series. Echoing the Doctor’s lonely mood, and perhaps as a reaction against the increased comedy quotient of recent Donna Noble adventures, author Lance Parkin has penned a decidedly grown-up narrative. Densely written, with many long passages of description without dialogue, there are few concessions to younger readers here. Though there are plenty of juvenile characters, their circumstances, being survivors of a global massacre, are grim, and the main child character, a teenage girl called Alsa, is full of anger about her situation.

The title of the book is a curious choice, since no eyeless beings appear until almost halfway through the story. When the Eyeless do finally show up, however, they provide intriguing subject matter. Seemingly made of glass, these telepathic creatures share a group mind and a co-operative mentality, though they lack emotions. They offer a stark contrast to we humans, who, like most of the inhabitants of Arcopolis, value privacy, secrecy and self-determination.

While I appreciate Parkin’s efforts to turn in a more intellectual entry to the series, I found The Eyeless something of a chore at times, so I wonder what younger readers will make of it. It’s worth a look, though.


Richard McGinlay

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