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Doctor Who: The Highest Science (Virgin New Adventures #11)

3.44  ·  Rating Details ·  226 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
          Many legends speak of this world, home of an ancient empire destroyed by its own greatest achievement: the Highest Science, the pinnacle of technological discovery.
          When the TARDIS alerts the Doctor and Bernice to the presence of an enormous temporal fluctuation on a large, green, unremarkable planet, they are not to know of any connection with
Paperback, 258 pages
Published February 18th 1993 by Virgin Publishing
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May 17, 2012 Jean-marcel rated it it was ok
Originally published on the Doctor Who Ratings Guide in 2010:

I'm not exactly a complete newcomer to Virgin's New Adventures, but I only managed to collect about fifteen of them in the 1990s and have only read a few others since then. Recently, I came by a rather large batch of the series as well as many of the BBC eighth Doctor books (I've read a mere single one of those since their inception!) and thus I have an exciting trove of hitherto untapped Doctor Who tales to lose myself in. Yes, it's v
James Barnard
Sep 09, 2014 James Barnard rated it really liked it
Hindsight gives us the chance to see patterns and connections that weren’t obvious at the time. So it proved here. ‘The Highest Science’ was first published in February 1993, and was written by the then unknown Gareth Roberts. The strength of this book led him to be commissioned to write another New Adventure and then, as the Missing Adventures progressed, carve a niche in new stories which recreated the Fourth Doctor – Romana mark 2 – K9 era so faithfully that part of me is still convinced I wa ...more
Chris Wing
Aug 22, 2014 Chris Wing rated it really liked it
Shelves: doctor-who
It's been quite interesting, reading Doctor Who books that I read almost (if not more than!) 20 years ago.
My only real memory of this book involved the image of the Chelonians and a drugged up/Possessed Benny (I admit that such a possession *could* be a memory from another book; time will tell!) wandering about in an underground cave.

So, to re-read this (in anticipation of listening to the Big Finish audio adaptation) has helped to give me refreshed mind's eye view of the tale.
This is (I believe
Palindrome Mordnilap
Feb 12, 2015 Palindrome Mordnilap rated it it was ok
Shelves: doctor-who-books
While this is not an awful New Adventures book (think Witchmark...) it is nevertheless pretty mediocre. It suffers from a number of problems, the biggest being the author's apparent inability to concentrate on any one plot thread for more than a couple of paragraphs. Like an attention deficit child, Roberts jumps from one set of characters to another so often that you end up not caring much about any of them. For reasons best known to himself, Roberts chooses to invest his story with a huge numb ...more
Nicholas Whyte
Apr 08, 2009 Nicholas Whyte rated it it was ok

This was Gareth Roberts' first Doctor Who book (in the Virgin New Adventures series), laying the groundwork for a subsequent career that has most recently produced The Lodger (though we have a couple more Sarah Jane Smith stories by him coming out towards the end of the year). A small plot element - London commuters whisked through a wormhole in space to encounter an alien menace - was re-used in Planet of the Dead, by Gareth Roberts and RTD. Fannish opi
Drew Perron
Jun 25, 2014 Drew Perron rated it liked it
Shelves: doctor-who
Gareth Roberts is not a serious writer. He's a Douglas Adams-esque writer, reveling in absurdity, ridiculous setups, and undercutting seriousness while still delivering an interesting message. It's why his adaptation of Adams's Shada worked (where other post-Adams efforts to do Adams, like And Another Thing, didn't).

Unfortunately, this book came out in the early stages of the Doctor Who New Adventures, where they were terribly concerned with being adult, dark, and above all, serious. The result
Nov 04, 2012 Don rated it it was ok
Shelves: doctor-who
This Doctor Who novel is largely praised, and it's certainly one designed to appeal to fans of "traditional" Who. Regrettably, that class doesn't include me. The story is decent enough, and Roberts' prose works well. Others have mentioned the story's heavy Douglas Adams influence (seen in the concept of the Fortean Flicker, and the eight twelves), and this can even be seen in the writing style, with sentence construction bearing the same subtly wry tone and cadence often found in the Hitchhikers ...more
James Lark
Apr 19, 2015 James Lark rated it really liked it
Shelves: doctor-who
Was a bit nervous coming back to this after such a long absence, as I have very fond memories of reading it as a teenager and worried that it might not live up to them - needn't have worried. It's a cracking story with a perfect balance of elements and an effortless control of comedy, horror and fantasy. The Chelonians are an inspired creation and taking on the role of dangerous-but-also-kinda-funny monsters they make room for Sheldukher to be the real villain of the piece, quietly sinister and ...more
Sean Homrig
Aug 31, 2014 Sean Homrig rated it really liked it
"The Highest Science" is a refreshing change from the angst-driven companions and manipulative Seventh Doctor that became the trademark of the New Adventures. There's not much character building here; the Doctor and Bernice are simply dropped into a caper involving the titular "highest science" which ends quite well without the commonly used incomprehensible omnipotent villain from the Dawn of the Age of Time. The problem is that the first half of the novel is filled with characters we really co ...more
April Mccaffrey
Nov 06, 2016 April Mccaffrey rated it liked it
I've finished reading the book and I re-listened to the big finish adaptation to it last night for comparison and I have to say, I much prefer the book. Gareth Roberts first novel.

The book itself was quite humorous and found it quite funny at times with all these small coincidences thrown in together and poor Benny getting amnesia and high on drugs. Over all situation, the highest science was quite camp at times and didn't take itself too seriously which I think it was all about.

Although one cri
Apr 12, 2014 M rated it liked it
Shelves: doctor-who
Despite being just as cheesy and ridiculous as all the other books in this series, it managed to be enjoyable--probably because it laughed at itself a little. While the plot dragged at times, there was still plenty of action and an actual interesting plot of sorts. That's a big deal for this series.
There was a cool villain, some crabby (snaily?) aliens, and the Doctor actually acted like the Doctor. Bernice starts off as a promising companion and I already like her a lot. That being said, there
Scott Haworth
I would rate this book more highly if it had ended differently. It feels as if the Doctor is doing something undoctorish, abandoning innocent people, after spending most of the book trying to help them. It feels like the author ran out of room or ran out of ideas. That said, there's a lot to enjoy here. The story is entertaining up until That Ending, with plenty of different monsters and villains and cool things to see, but it does feel like the author has thrown a ton of stuff in a blender just ...more
Aug 31, 2016 Alexandra rated it it was ok
It starts out really funny, but the humour fades in no time, giving way to repetitive dialogue between a bunch of cardboard cutouts and Bernice (the book's saving grace).

Then there's the squandered aliens. The aliens in this book had great potential--they were really alien, really DIFFERENT from humans--but they end up sounding about as real as the bubble wrap monsters in the classic series looked. It's hard to believe that these creatureswere able to reach their level of technological advanceme
Grant Howard
A solid entry in the series. Certainly a improvement of the dismal "Transit" which preceded it. Roberts has a great handle on the character of the 7th doctor and we get a bit of a better look at Bernice in this one, after her being a small part in "Love and War" and possessed throughout "Transit". That being said she's still drugged for around half of the novel, but I'm really getting to like her.
Some good new aliens in the Sontaran-esque "Chelonians" who I wouldn't mind seeing again.
Jul 07, 2015 Shane rated it really liked it
My only gripe was that at the beginning of the book I found it a little hard to get in to, but after I did I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm enjoying how Bernice is fitting in, she's space savvy and can hold her own in an adventure. Ace had been written to become too angst ridden and tiresomely petulant I found, here Bernice fits in to the New Adventures better. With so much going on in the book, there was a danger of too many sub-plots and not one to focus on, but I think Roberts handled it well.
Daniel Kukwa
Jan 22, 2011 Daniel Kukwa rated it really liked it
Shelves: doctor-who
Any man that can make turtles into an evil race of tiny soldiers is a hero in my book. Read "The Highest Science" for Gareth Roberts debut in the Doctor Who universe -- his wit, his humour, and his effortless command of the 7th Doctor's character.
Christopher Stilson
Jul 24, 2011 Christopher Stilson rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi, pulp
Incomprehensible and barely coherent. There's no clear idea of what is main plot and what is subplot and the disparate threads of action do not begin to come together until 2/3 of the way through the book.
Jul 10, 2011 Brad rated it really liked it
Sure, like many doctor who stories this book follows the format of a mystery story except there's almost no chance of working the details out for yourself, but overall it had one of the most engaging plots of the series so far and most of the characters actions made some sort of sense.
Jul 28, 2011 David rated it liked it
Shelves: doctor-who
Good story overall.
May 16, 2008 Travis rated it liked it
Shelves: doctor-who
Not a terribly memorable plot, but the characterization of the seventh Doctor and Benny was good and how can you not love a race of power hungry turtles?!

Shannon Appelcline
A fine adventure story, perhaps a bit loose toward the middle which drags on a bit.
Simon Curtis
Mar 11, 2010 Simon Curtis rated it liked it
Shelves: doctor-who
Good, but not as great as his Missing Adventures. But it did introduce the Chelonians, an excellent addition to the world of Doctor Who.
Feb 22, 2011 Abs007 rated it liked it
A nice, light enjoyable read with Roberts' usual humorous touch to the fore.
Nick Campbell
Sep 05, 2013 Nick Campbell rated it liked it
Good clean fun, bit rushed at the end.
Andy Stehr
Mar 02, 2014 Andy Stehr rated it it was ok
Just a little shy of okay.
Reuben Herfindahl
Apr 09, 2016 Reuben Herfindahl rated it really liked it
Entertaining and amusing.
David rated it really liked it
Feb 09, 2010
Donnie Springfield
Donnie Springfield rated it it was ok
Sep 27, 2014
Brandon Barrett
Brandon Barrett rated it it was ok
Feb 24, 2015
Gary Pryke
Gary Pryke rated it it was ok
Feb 14, 2015
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Gareth Roberts has written TV scripts for various soap operas (including Brookeside, Springhill, and Emmerdale), Randall & Hopkirk (deceased), the revival of Doctor Who, the Sarah Jane Adventures, and Wizards vs Aliens.

Also for the Doctor Who universe, he has written the interactive adventure Attack of the Graske, the mobile phone TARDISODEs accompanying the 2006 series, several Big Finish aud
More about Gareth Roberts...

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