(ISBN 0-426-20377-1)







 Many legends speak of

 SAKKRAT, home of the

 Highest Science, the

 pinnacle of discovery.



 on a large, green,

 unremarkable planet,


 any connection with

 the legend. But the

 connection is there,

 and it will lead HIM 

 into conflict with the 

 monstrous Chelonians

 AND Sheldukher, the

 most wanted criminal

 in the galaxy.


 PREVIOUS                                                                                  NEXT




The Highest Science







The Highest Science is Coronation Street scribe Gareth Roberts’ first Doctor

Who novel. Written with peerless style and wit, this debut effort offers an appealing mix of heart, humour, and horror, catering to all manner of different tastes.


To begin with, Roberts has a great handle on the regulars, particularly Bernice, who finds herself right in the thick of things here and – unlike in Transit – with all her eccentric foibles firmly in place. The Doctor certainly isn’t neglected though, proactively driving the narrative forward as he scours the planet Sakkrat for a rogue “Fortean Flicker.”


The author introduces us to some fascinating supporting characters too. The Chelonians

are an equally fearsome and humorous bunch - they’re a race of 57th century reptilians with a very confused sense of gender, hell-bent on wiping out humanity as they see humans as “parasites”. Perhaps the most interesting ‘character’ of all though (if indeed ‘character’ is

the apposite word) is the Cell, a free-floating genetically-enhanced brain forced to live in interminable agony, kept alive by the villainous Sheldukher in order to aid him in his quest

for the titular ‘Highest Science’.



Unfortunately, what exactly the Highest Science is supposed to be is nebulous at best, and remains so for the preponderance of the story. Rather than engender intrigue, this lack of information often made the story feel a little hollow for me, though in fairness this was amply made up for when I discovered that the “Fortean Flicker” that the Doctor had been tracking had left events hanging on the most delicate thread of coincidence, and thus the Highest Science was revealed as an elaborate hoax perpetrated by Earth authorities to finally trap Sheldukher. It’s almost cheeky in its cunning, though I can see how some might find it anti-climactic and maddening.


Sheldukher himself is the novel’s biggest disappointment, a generic baddie with absolutely

no redeeming features. Roberts offers us no explanation for the man’s obscene behaviour; nothing for us to sympathise with. He’s just a bad, bad man.


Ultimately, The Highest Science is well worth a fortean flick through if only to enjoy Roberts’ wry prose and decidedly skewed take on the Whoniverse. This novel is certainly not without its flaws, but these are quite easily outweighed by its overriding charm.


Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006


E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

Unless otherwise stated, all images on this site are copyrighted to the BBC and are used solely for promotional purposes.

Doctor Who is copyright © by the BBC. No copyright infringement is intended.