Illegal Alien by Mike Tucker and Robert Perry

dw_illegal_alien

The Doctor and Ace arrive in in London during the blitz. A serial killer called the Limehouse Lurker is on the loose, and an old enemy is waiting to be revived.

Given how much the other Seventh Doctor re-release in this Monster Collection series, Terrance Dicks’ Shakedown, differs from the style of the rebooted television series, it is perhaps surprising how close this one is it to it. An alien artifact falling on London during the Blitz leads to a gag like the one we see in The Empty Child; and there is a scene of the Doctor restlessly looking for stuff to do during a lull in the action, like his older self while staying with the Ponds in The Power of Three, or while waiting for Clara to wake in The Bells of St John.

The authors have also realised, as Steven Moffat has, that the Cybermen are scarier when they are beaten up, damaged, almost zombie-like creatures. The Limehouse Lurker, a Jack The Ripper-style murderer, terrorising the East End of London is a damaged Cyberman. Along with the scenes of cybermats in the sewers, the aliens haven’t been used in such a horror movie way since the Troughton-era. The disturbing idea of partial cyber-conversion is also explored, and we see it again in another of this month’s releases, The Scales of Injustice.

London during the Blitz is an exciting backdrop for a Doctor Who story, adding a layer of tension and danger beyond just the alien threat. This is a visit to the period the year before both The Empty Child and Victory of the Daleks. The tale picks up on the Nazis interest in the Cybermen from Silver Nemesis, although wisely drops the chronic aversion to gold the aliens had developed by that story. In Silver Nemesis the Nazi interest was in using the might of the Cybermen; but here it is more specifically about eugenics. It makes sense that they would be interested in the cyber-conversion process and augmenting humans directly.

The Doctor also teams up with an American private eye, something the Seventh Doctor was wont to do in his Wilderness Years novels. Cody McBride joins the ranks of Bart Addison and Tom Dekker, and gives the writers the opportunity to start each chapter with film noir-style ‘voice- over.’

This is a pacey book, with a lot more going on than the standard alien invasion story-line.

Order Enemy Aliens from Amazon:

Doctor Who: Illegal Alien: The Monster Collection Edition

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