Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Doctor Who: Human Nature” as Want to Read:
Doctor Who: Human Nature
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book

Doctor Who: Human Nature

(Virgin New Adventures #38)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  649 ratings  ·  82 reviews
'Who’s going to save us this time?'

April, 1914. The inhabitants of the little Norfolk town of Farringham are enjoying an early summer, unaware that war is on the way. Amongst them is Dr John Smith, a short, middle-aged history teacher from Aberdeen. He’s having a hard time with his new post as house master at Hulton Academy for Boys, a school dedicated to producing mili
Paperback, 1st, 255 pages
Published July 1st 1995 by Virgin Publishing
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Doctor Who, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Doctor Who

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  649 ratings  ·  82 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Doctor Who: Human Nature
Honestly, if you're going to read a Doctor Who novel, this is the one.
Christopher Buchanan
So far I've read about 70 Doctor Who books over several ranges. Not only will I say that this is probably my absolute favorite so far, I'll say it is going to be a hard one to top for sure.

Like many, I saw the 10th Doctor TV version of this before delving into the novel and it is also one of my favorite episodes of the new series. It pales in comparison to the book. While the basics of the story are all there, the novel is sufficiently different from the TV version that you lose very little fro
Daniel Kukwa
Jan 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: doctor-who
One of the most magnificently written Doctor Who novels ever can enjoy it without conflicting with the equally powerful TV version. Paul Cornell has a knack (or should that for probing the most emotional corners of the Doctor Who universe, and this may well be his finest example on the printed page. Never has the Doctor come into sharper relief as a character, and never has his companion been more resourceful...and more needed in his life. An utter triumph on eve ...more
Oct 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Flipping amazing. And now I understand what the fuss is about Bernice Summerfield, and I want to read every book in which she appears. She may be my new favourite companion.
Paul Doody
Jun 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
One of the best pieces of original Doctor Who fiction yet published. A magnificent story full of humanity and wit.
Jul 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the book upon which the 10th Doctor episodes "Human Nature" and "Family of Blood" are based. The basic plot is somewhat similar, but the details are all quite different. This makes a certain amount of sense, because Benny and the Seventh Doctor are quite different from Martha and the Tenth Doctor. But some don't make sense: in the book, Joan Redford is a science teacher, in the TV show, she is demoted to a nurse. It would of course be much harder to pass Martha off as the Tenth Doctor's ...more
The Doctor Who novel that was recently adapted as 'Human Nature/Family of Blood.' It's available free online [ convenient. I was unfamiliar with both the Doctor (Seven) and the Companion (Bernice Summerfield) the novel is about, and to be honest I'm really mostly invested in Ten (although now also in Martha. Martha is amazingly awesome. *beams*) so this was really mostly intriguing in terms of wha ...more
John Kenneth Fisher
Nov 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
First read this in High School, oh, 15 years ago or so, and remembered quite enjoying it. After seeing it a bit back turned into a (fantastic) episode of the show, decided to revisit it, expecting it to not have aged well. On the contrary, it still holds up, especially if you are familiar with the Seventh Doc and Benny. While not flawless - the framing story is far better in the teleplay version, the villains are weak (but the story isn't about them, now is it), etc, it's a solid read that shoul ...more
Elizabeth Newton
Human Nature was an entertaining, exciting read. I was very interested just in the cover because it has Sylvester McCoy’s face on it, and it’s called Human Nature which was the name of the David Tennant two-parter and I wondered straight away whether there was a connection between the two. I saw on the back cover that those episodes were based on this book and became even more excited. Knowing it was Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor represented in this story, I was expecting Ace to be his companion, but instead, it ...more
Harry Williams
This was my second time reading Paul Cornell’s Human Nature and I wanted to see if my opinions will change. Well, have they? Let’s find out!

I can see why Human Nature is so highly regarded as an all time classic Who novel and one of the best Who books ever written. While there are probably some who consider this to be overrated, I honestly do not care because I absolutely love this book.

Despite this story being pretty much a “Doctor-Lite” tale, it’s still brilliant and that’s mainly
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reprinted as part of the ‘History Collection’, fans will know this from the TV adaptation with the Tenth Doctor.

Originally part of the Virgin Nee Adventures with the Seventh incarnation.

It’s a fascinating read, there’s numerous differences between the two versions - so makes for essential reading.

One of the best Doctor Who book ever written.
Shannon Appelcline
Aug 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful idea for a Doctor Who adventure, wonderfully carried out by Cornell. Somehow Cornell knew how to write for the new Doctor Who series before it existed!
Jason Wilson
Dec 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don’t normally review these but this was the novel that inspired the Tennant two parter . Similar plot but different emphasis - the doctor becomes human to empathise with a companion who suffered a bereavement . When he changes back the doctor has failed . The aliens are similar but not quite the same , Tim isa bit darker .
Alice Dillon
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Doctor Who fans
Human Nature has just overtaken Prisoner of the Daleks as my favourite Doctor Who book. It was really spectacular in every possible way and somehow it was even more beautiful and moving than the TV episodes.

For one thing, there was much more time to explore the characters in-depth and, in fact, one of my favourite scenes was the humanisation of the thus-far awful headmaster. There are also many more characters than we meet in the TV series, including Alexander, Hadleman and Constance
Nov 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: doctor-who-tw
The televised episodes Human Nature and Family of Blood, two of my favorites, are based on this novel. I can't help but compare the two. Briefly, however, it's an excellent novel on its own. The story is tense and exciting; companion Benny, whom I met here for the first time, is intelligent, self-possessed, solid; the Doctor, Seventh in this case, is very much himself, even when he isn't. Being a full-length novel, it has a bit more depth than the televised version, and a bit more darkness too.< ...more
Matthew Kresal
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is Human Nature: The basis for the revived TV's series two part story Human Nature / The Family of Blood. Written by Paul Cornell and published back in May 1995, this novel has earned a reputation as one of the best Doctor Who novels ever. Having read quite a few of them I'm willing to go one step further: Human Nature is the best Doctor Who novel ever written.

Human Nature is (to paraphrase a famous quote from the series) far more then just another Doctor Who story. It is a strong story ab
Dec 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Human Nature deserves its reputation as one of the finest Doctor Who novels ever written. Fans of the new show will be familiar with the plot as it was adapted into a two part episode during David Tennant's second season, but this novel stars Sylvester McCoy's Seventh Doctor and the story is much more interesting for it. As part of the New Adventures line, this book paints the Seventh Doctor as darker and more complex than his other incarnations, and his decision to become human is motivated by ...more
Jim Mann
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Human Nature/Family of Blood was one of the great episodes of the new Doctor Who. It had the Tenth Doctor turn human to hide from an alien family that wants to consume the power of a Time Lord. He became Mr. Smith, a teacher at a school/military academy just prior to World War I. As a human, without memories of his being a Time Lord, he falls in love and faces much of the chaos around him as that human.

The two-part episode was based on the novel Human Nature, a story of the Seventh Doctor, writ
Feb 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: new-read, kindle
There are many things that I would like to say to you [about this book], but I don't know how. So here's a list:

- The DW episodes that this book turns into are two of my very favorite episodes.

- I haven't seen any Seven episodes so I kept imagining the Doctor as Ten.

- Which ain't a bad thing. (<3 you Ten!)

- This was different enough that it was completely enjoyable as its own thing.

- Which it was. Completely enjoyable, that is.
Apr 15, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: doctor-who
Good story that got turned into a just as good TV episode.
The monsters were better in the TV show, they felt more menacing, but the Doctor being attracted to a human woman had more punch with Doctor #7, as David Tennant's Doctor was getting snogged every five minutes on the show, while there was never any hint of that with the seventh. It had more of an out of character feel and the emotional punch was stronger in the book.
One of the better of the New Adventures line books.
Jun 03, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, whoniverse
Wow. Much darker than the episodes, that's for sure. I had a hard time seeing the Seventh Doctor for most of the book - the Tenth fit the role of John Smith much better. And I never felt like I knew Benny at all.

I think the changes made for the episodes made me like the story a lot more. As heartbreaking and wonderful as the book's ending was, I had a better connection to the characters on TV.
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyable. Lisa Bowerman was great as the reader (I have the audiobook version). I was already familiar with the adaptation for the TV version, but this has a lot more in terms of detail, the family are much more fleshed out, and there's more humour than I remember from the TV version. Highly recommended.
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Really interesting to read this in comparison to the televised story that was eventually based on it. I'd have to say that I enjoyed the TV version more - I think the story benefited from the changes made, but this was still an enjoyable read.
Sep 11, 2007 rated it liked it
Read as an ebook. Human Nature just showed on the SciFi channel last weekend. I preferred the Doctor on TV, and the Companion in the book. Better than most tie-ins (which I usually stay away from)
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Human Nature

It was a good story, but the tenth doctor and Martha did a better job at portraying this story. I rather watch the tv show on BBC .
Jan 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who likes Doctor Who
Fantastic Doctor Who story, one of my favourites
Abby-Rose Margarida Sparrow
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joe Kessler
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This Doctor Who novel was first published in 1995, back during the wilderness years when the television show had been canceled and the franchise was only continuing through such works on paper. These days it's more famous for having been adapted into a pair of David Tennant episodes for the revived series in 2007, and like most modern fans, I'm discovering the original book after having already watched the story play out on screen. From that vantage point there are few surprises in the plot beat ...more
Sidney McKidney
Oct 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Huh. I thought I'd written a review for this ages ago. Better late than never, I suppose.

It's kinda impossible for me to not compare this to the two-part Tenth Doctor story adapted from this. Over all, I'd say the episodes are better–the book meanders a lot before it really gets going, and it's much less direct; whereas in the episodes the Doctor becomes a human as a reaction to the Family chasing him, here he just did it because he felt like it and the family just happened to be aro
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Doctor Who: Scratchman
  • Doctor Who: The Shadow in the Glass (Doctor Who: Past Doctor Adventures)
  • Doctor Who: Project: Twilight
  • Gallifrey: Time War
  • Doctor Who: Spare Parts
  • Doctor Who: The Chimes of Midnight
  • Doctor Who: Engines of War
  • Doctor Who: Illegal Alien
  • Doctor Who: The Stealers of Dreams
  • Doctor Who: Orbis (The New Eighth Doctor Adventures)
  • Doctor Who: The Defectors
  • Doctor Who: Last of the Cybermen
  • The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield  (Bernice Summerfield #60)
  • Doctor Who: Marco Polo
  • Doctor Who: Neverland
  • Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor
  • Doctor Who: The Witch Hunters
  • Gallifrey: Time War 2
See similar books…
Paul Cornell is a British writer of science fiction and fantasy prose, comics and television. He's been Hugo Award-nominated for all three media, and has won the BSFA Award for his short fiction, and the Eagle Award for his comics. He's the writer of Saucer Country for Vertigo, Demon Knights for DC, and has written for the Doctor Who TV series. His new urban fantasy novel is London Falling, out fr ...more

Other books in the series

Virgin New Adventures (1 - 10 of 61 books)
  • Doctor Who: Timewyrm-Genesys
  • Doctor Who: Timewyrm-Exodus
  • Doctor Who: Timewyrm-Apocalypse
  • Doctor Who: Timewyrm-Revelation
  • Doctor Who: Cat's Cradle-Time's Crucible
  • Doctor Who: Cat's Cradle-Warhead
  • Doctor Who: Cat's Cradle-Witch Mark
  • Doctor Who: Nightshade
  • Doctor Who: Love and War
  • Doctor Who: Transit
“In this place, upwards of 400,000
British men were going to be killed. They'd lost 20,000
just the other day. He sucked a grim smile. It was like
rich countries deliberately killing themselves, leaving
their battered remains ready for the revolution that would surely come, for who could return home without
wanting to face those who had wasted good men thus?”
“You see more undone buttons and exposed podge outside a beer tent than anywhere short of the Flaborama on Boojus 5.” 0 likes
More quotes…