Deep Time by Trevor Baxendale

9781849909907

The Doctor and Clara join The Alexandria, a spaceship on an expedition to travel the last of the Phaeron Roads, a wormhole created by ancient and legendary creatures.

Like so many great Doctor Who stories, Deep Time takes it’s inspiration from other science fiction sources. Where the ever-popular Hinchcliffe-era mined Hammer Horror for inspiration, the series still occasionally looks to it’s big-screen contemporaries. If Stephen Moffat took some inspiration from Inception for Last Christmas, here Trevor Baxendale has used another Christopher Nolan film, Interstellar, as the springboard for his latest novel. The set-up is similar in that we have a crew setting off into space to journey a wormhole left by some mysterious aliens. Trugg, the large robot who joins the voyage, brings to mind The Endurance‘s TARS.

Ones of the ways this book really triumphs is showing the dangers of space travel and the fragility of human astronauts. Whereas the vast majority of planets that the TARDIS travels to have breathable atmospheres, the destination of The Alexandria is a far more hostile environment. With no real monsters in this story, the deaths are memorable, gruesome and inventive. The theme of series nine so far seems to be survival, and so Deep Time fits well in this overarching narrative.

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The Doctor and Clara in this story are faithful to their onscreen portrayals. We see more of this incarnation’s sometimes ruthless pragmatism; with Clara performing damage-control when he upsets people. There are a couple of slightly jarring and confusing moments towards the end, such as when the Doctor ‘simply nodded sadly and shook his head,’ and when a rogue manages to point a weapon at a character who died three chapters earlier. I guess these are probably editing issues though.

Deep Time is one of the trilogy of stories under the umbrella title The Glamour Chronicles, alongside stablemates Royal Blood and Big Bang Generation. The books don’t tell you what order in which they should be read, but this seems to the middle one (Royal Blood is the first). The books can all be read independently anyway, as the Glamour is such a universal, timeless concept and each one a great standalone adventure.

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Order Deep Time in hardback:

Doctor Who: Deep Time (Dr Who)

Audiobook:

Doctor Who: Deep Time: A 12th Doctor Novel (Dr Who 12th Doctor)

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