Sunday, February 09, 2014

The Clown Before the Dandy

February is the month of the Second Doctor. As I said last month, I have no great experience with the Second Doctor - I've seen both "The Five Doctors" and "The Two Doctors", but neither of these was really a story about that that Doctor. (The "The Two Doctors", in particular, was rather poor, in part because Patrick Troughton wasn't really up to the demands of the role at the time.)

So, it was with some trepidation that I approached this month's story, "The Nameless City", and novel, "Dreams of Empire".

But I needn't have worried. Where the First Doctor is a significant shift away from what I was used to, it seems the Second was much more familiar - he fits pretty much perfectly alongside the Third and Fourth that I barely remember, and alongside the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh that I watched far more regularly. So, it really did read like a new incarnation of the well-known character.

That said, the short story was, it must be said, a little odd - the combination of the fundamentally optimistic Doctor Who and the fundamentally nihilistic Cthulhu mythos doesn't really work, for obvious reasons.

But the novel is far more satisfying, to the extent that I actually read it across three days instead of the planned week. This one was a sort-of-Julius Caesar story set in space with lots of chess metaphors. And I must admit, it managed to surprise me: I had figured out all but one of the plot twists some way in advance, but I missed a big one. Which was good, really.

So, that's that. March is the month of the Third Doctor, although I've already read the novel, "Last of the Gaderene", so there won't be too much to do. Fortunately, I'm much more familiar with the Dandy, so that should be a good one...

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