Elisabeth's Reviews > Doctor Who: Human Nature

Doctor Who by Paul Cornell
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really liked it
bookshelves: doctor-who-tw
Read 2 times. Last read August 18, 2014.

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.


Possible spoilers below.


I like the Seventh Doctor in this role; as much as I adore Ten, it's wonderful to have a love story between older, less beautiful people for a change. The novel length also allows their love a bit more depth, a stronger foundation than it gets on TV. I like Bernice a lot; she's a bit less 'badass' than Martha - she doesn't cleverly figure out what happened to her friend, and she doesn't face down an alien with a gun - but she is brave and smart as a companion must be, and much more down to earth than any other companion I can think of. She doesn't have her own heart set on the Doctor, but she doesn't have any patience for his romance either; she believes people should be themselves, and anyway she doesn't want to be stuck in 1914. Joan is somewhat different, older, a science teacher rather than nurse, though she still manages to do more nursing than teaching. I'm torn over her; I like and dislike the TV and novel versions of her in more or less equal measure. Tim is very different, and I think I like the TV version better. The aliens' story is almost entirely different and I definitely like the novel version better, though as a result the Doctor doesn't get his lesson in consequences. (Not that Seven needs it - he's much more self-aware I think than Ten.) Verity makes her appearance, as does a certain Mr. Moffat - I'm dying to know whether in fact the character is based on the now-much-more-famous Moffat, as it is likely that he and Cornell knew each other at the time.

Overall, a great television story, a great novel, a great writer. I recommend all three.
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Reading Progress

November 11, 2013 – Shelved
November 11, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
August 18, 2014 – Started Reading
August 18, 2014 – Finished Reading
August 27, 2014 – Shelved as: doctor-who-tw
December 18, 2018 – Started Reading (Other Paperback Edition)
December 18, 2018 – Shelved (Other Paperback Edition)
December 19, 2018 – Finished Reading (Other Paperback Edition)

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