Joe Kessler's Reviews > Doctor Who: Human Nature

Doctor Who by Paul Cornell
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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 beats, but it's still an enjoyable tale of the sci-fi hero losing his memories and falling in love.

There's a lot that I like in both renditions of this adventure, and some things I prefer in one over the other. I feel that the villains are better-drawn and more threatening on TV (despite producing less gore and a lower body count), and that Tennant's Tenth Doctor makes for a more convincing romantic figure. On the other hand, the Seventh incarnation of this character is a better fit for the manipulation at the heart of the narrative, which makes the eventual distinction between his human and Time Lord selves considerably more striking. I also appreciate that paperback companion Bernice Summerfield can disguise herself as the amnesiac Doctor's niece, whereas the episodes somewhat problematically force her replacement Martha Jones to take up work as a maid.

Still, I wouldn't say that either version of events is the superior, definitive take, even though it sort of strains credulity to accept both as having happened in the Doctor's personal chronology. But hey -- it wouldn't be Doctor Who if there was some simple way of determining what's canonical.

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Reading Progress

July 25, 2017 – Shelved
July 25, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
March 31, 2019 – Started Reading
April 9, 2019 – Finished Reading

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