Multiverses collide
November 5, 2010 6:37 PM   Subscribe

Multiverses collide this week with the publication of "The Coming of the Terraphiles," the first canonical Doctor Who story written by the legendary Michael Moorcock.

The Doctor, and Moorcock, previously on the blue.
posted by jbickers (13 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I picked this up via my Kindle last night. Some of the reviews I've seen have savaged it for the characters reading, well, out of character, but I didn't get a strong sense of that; it's obvious that Moorcock either saw early screeners of the Matt Smith episodes or threw in a lot of little details after the book was written. That said, I'm only a chapter in, and I doubt that anyone who's looking for a novel that really explores the characters will be happy -- no real question that this is intended just as a romp. But that said, the writing is terrific, much better (frankly) than it really has to be, and, well, there you go.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:51 PM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

A friend of mine who's a huge old-school Whovian read it and was quite pleased with the story. I need to borrow it from her.
posted by immlass at 7:46 PM on November 5, 2010

Not a Dr. Who fan, but a huge Moorcock fan. I feel about him about the same way I do George Lucas. My deformative years wouldn't have been the same without him, but the long he sticks around the more he diminishes my childhood.

You killed Elric! That means you don't get to keep writing those stories, because if you do it lessens the impact of the fact that you killed Elric! Prequels, dream sequences, and alternate reality ending are just hand waving past the fact that you killed Elric!

This said, this is a perfect thing for me to read. I'll be a hell of a lot more forgiving not knowing the primary texts. It'll be like Hellboy. I know nothing going in, so can't be all The Tardis is totally not like that!
posted by cjorgensen at 8:09 PM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

I just have to say how delighted I am to see that there are so many Dr. Who fans, it makes me extra-happy every time I see a Dr. Who post on here :)
posted by 1000monkeys at 9:27 PM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

Sonic Attack.
posted by ovvl at 9:41 PM on November 5, 2010

For a start, Moorcock's handling of both the Doctor and Amy is, to put it mildly, a little different to their TV personas. As written by Moorcock, the Eleventh Doctor comes across as a slightly more in control and less clumsy version of the character we see on TV, which inevitably ends up robbing him of a lot of the quirkier and endearing aspects that Matt Smith has added to the character over time. In fact, it makes one wonder if this book was begun before Smith was cast, as the portrayal here seems to default to an archetypal version of the character that, like the story itself, seems to be very Tom Baker in tone.

Faring much worse under Moorcock's pen is Amy Pond. Aside from a few random mentions of meeting the Doctor as a child, the odd Leadworth reference and descriptions of her beautiful red hair, Amy is pretty unrecognisable from the woman we've watched over the course of series 5.

Well, shoot. That's the worst. The whole point of licensed novels, really, is to capture the spirit of the canon characters. Because that's what the audience wants, and also that's where both the joy and the challenge of it is. Like, I was reading through the Alien Nation novels about a year ago, and while some were good (the first one, set on the ship and in quarantine, is just damned good SF), by the time I got to one titled The Change by Barry Longyear, it was clear that they were being phoned in--the formerly strong female characters were shrill and painfully ill-handled.

I think it's easy for some serious genre writers to be lazy or dismissive about rendering TV characters correctly, but what gets to me is that they rarely bungle their own characters so thoroughly. The ideal licensed novel is able to capture the character while adding depth (Sarek is one of my old favorites).

But perhaps I'll take a look anyway; I never get very far in my quest to read some Doctor Who novels last July.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:42 PM on November 5, 2010

A Jerry Cornelius-ish Doctor fighting someone named Frank? Does he accidentally blow up a planet called Catherine or something along the way?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:02 PM on November 5, 2010 [3 favorites]

I do not wish to view a scene of Terraphiles coming.
posted by Scattercat at 10:17 PM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Tch, the real Who news this week is that the BBC quietly reset the number of the Doctor's regenerations from 13 to 507.

That said, I'll definitely be reading this when it's out in paperback. I wasn't quite a Moorcock fan before I was a Who fan, but it was close.
posted by permafrost at 3:32 AM on November 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

RTD says "it won't stick"
posted by warbaby at 7:03 AM on November 6, 2010

Yeah, I think that was clearly a joke, permafrost.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 7:14 AM on November 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

"....the real Who news this week is that the BBC quietly reset the number of the Doctor's regenerations from 13 to 507."

What's all the fuss about that? It's just SP2 upgrade, surely. ;-)
posted by JtJ at 7:34 AM on November 6, 2010

[...] the first canonical Doctor Who story written by the legendary Michael Moorcock.

That wording kind of implies that, at some point prior to this, Moorcock wrote Doctor Who *fan fiction.* Which, if true? Would be insanely awesome.
posted by webmutant at 9:02 AM on November 6, 2010

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