Something Borrowed by Richelle Mead

The Doctor takes Peri to the planet Koturia for a visit with his old friend Evris, and are soon invited to a family wedding. But all is not as it seems…

One of the most evocative elements of Something Borrowed is the Doctor visiting an old friend from an untelevised adventure. This is something that I particularly associate with the Sixth Doctor’s era of Doctor Who. Prior to his fifth regeneration the only incident of this I can think of is Drax in The Armageddon Factor. In The Twin Dilemma he bumps into old friend Azmael, and then goes on to re-acquaint himself Dastari, Commodore Travers, the Rani, the Borad and attempts to visit the grave of Professor Arthur Stengos. All of whom he knows from adventures we’ve not seen. As this happens in five of his first seven stories, it must be a conscious decision to help establish a new Doctor. There’s no longer a UNIT family that the audience are familiar with, and Peri is a recent addition to the cast, she sees the Doctor regenerate in her second story.

In a departure from the format of this series so far, this story is written in the first person, from Peri’s point of view. Mead uses the medium to good effect, leaving the reader the first few pages of the story wondering whether we’re seeing events happen to Peri or Mel. Or even Frobisher!

6thdocperi

The world of Koturia is modelled on Las Vegas, which feels like something the new series might do to represent an alien or future society. It’s a clever way of avoiding the very dated ‘futuristic’ look some of twentieth-century Doctor Who suffers, often with an excess of perspex. It’s also one of the few places gaudy enough that the Sixth Doctor would not look too conspicuous. I’ve always thought there’s a good story still to be told where the Doctor visits a planet where this costume is the normal mode of dress; after all he must have got it from somewhere for it to be in the TARDIS wardrobe in the first place.

The citizens of Koturia are suffering pterodactyl attacks, something which has become a familiar image in recent years, swooping in to both The Wedding of River Song and Dinosaurs on a Spaceship. This is only the beginning of their problems though. Interestingly a major plot point is the randomness of Time Lord regeneration, which is certainly one way of reading the chaotic, contradictory continuity of the series. In Castrovalva the Doctor laments, “That’s the trouble with regeneration… you never quite know what you’re going to get.” But a little over two years before this Romana demonstrated perfect control over the process, even sampling various bodies before choosing her final form (Destiny of the Daleks).

An entertaining story, faithful to the characters and era it represents, with a couple of surprises.

 

Order Doctor Who: Something Borrowed from Amazon:

Doctor Who: Something Borrowed: Sixth Doctor: 50th Anniversary (Doctor Who Digital)

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