THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
BIG FINISH AUDIO BOOK
AND THE CRIMINAL
CODE" AND THE NOVEL
OFFICIAL VIRGIN 'NEW
RELEASED IN JUNE 1995.
The last words of a
dying alien send the
Doctor and Bernice to
30TH-century Earth in
an attempt to avert
a disaster. Before
they can even unpack
they’ve been arrested
by the Adjudicators.
attempts to prove
their innocence take
them from the mosaic
planet Purgatory to
a prison FOUND inside
BUT Adjudicators Roz
Forrester and Chris
Cwej have their own
problems. THEY ARE
Investigating a series
of murders, AND have
upon a conspiracy.
On the run and out of
luck, the only people
they can turn to are
their chief suspects:
the Doctor and HIS
And as they run,
someone is watching
them. Someone who
knows the Doctor of
After the charming and reflective Human Nature, the New Adventures crank the speed right back up again with a good old-fashioned planet-hopping space opera. Whereas the previous novel felt like the end of an era in many ways, Original Sin kick-starts the next run of novels in style. It looks to the future, introducing us to two new companions, as well as to the past, bringing back a memorable villain that we haven’t seen since the monochrome era of Doctor Who. More than that, Andy Lane brings the world of the 30th century to life in a level of detail that most other authors simply couldn’t match – at least, not without neglecting character or plot, which Lane is thankfully innocent of in both cases.
Immediately I found myself sucked into the world of the 30th century. The oppressive Earth Empire. The Wars of Acquisition. The Hith. Inevitably this novel has been heavily criticised for having a hell of a lot of ‘continuity’ in it. Obviously, the main protagonist is from an old television story so there is ‘continuity’ in that sense, but a lot of the things that are whinged about are no more than fleeting references - alien cameos and that sort of thing. I certainly don’t think that Lane has been over indulgent; it’s simply world-building. If you were writing a Star Trek novel, for example, you certainly wouldn’t be lambasted if you decided to populate a bar with a few Klingons or Romulans. Lane is guilty of no more than that; a Foamasi here, an Adjudicator there. It makes sense.
The Adjudicators really steal the
show in this book. Chris and Roz
are Doctor Who’s answer to the
classic cop-duo: Roz is Starsky,
Chris is Hutch! We have Rosyln
Forrester, the ident-eating, tough-
as-nails Adjudicator whose world
is falling apart due to a memory
that she can’t quite touch and a
superior officer who’s completely
bent. We have Chris Cwej, the
young rookie and reckless risk-taker; the man who put himself through a “body-bepple” to grow fur for the sake of fashion. The most unlikely duo on the planet… yet it works. They gel. They just about steal every scene they are in, so it’s no surprise that editor Rebecca Levene decided to keep the pair of them on.
I also enjoyed reading about the Hith. I’d thought The Twin Dilemma had put me off gastro-pods for life, but the Hith are actually quite congenial slugs. Invaded by those bloody Empire-building humans, the Hith took the line of passive resistance: they all changed their names to reflect their refugee status. Homeless Forsaken, Powerless Friendless, Hater of Humans… They are certainly a unique people. It isn’t just the Hith, though. This novel is populated with
a plethora of other interesting races and characters – far too many too mention in a short review – but Provost-Major Beltempest on Purgatory is well worth a mention, as is Zebulon Price – the madman who actually makes the Doctor think…
In fact, one of the strongest aspects of this novel is Lane’s characterisation of the seventh Doctor. He’s every bit the dark Doctor of the last two televised seasons and the novels, but there’s also a lot of the playful clown from Season 24 thrown in. It’s as if after the events of Human Nature, this Doctor has finally found balance. Now I’m certainly not advocating a return to the metaphor-mixing, spoon-playing jester, but the New Adventures have been in danger of making the Doctor’s character too dark. This novel brings back a Doctor that I could really imagine Sylvester McCoy bringing to life on television. In his scenes with the villain towards the end, I could just imagine McCoy spitting out every line with that Scots venom.
“Nothing gives me the right, but having got it,
I will not relinquish it. I am Time’s Champion.”
Moreover, the novel also probes some of the Doctor’s innermost insecurities, which I found very interesting indeed. In his philosophical discussions with the crazed Price, the Doctor is forced to look at who he is and how he lives his lives, and also face up to some of the issues that have been plaguing him for several lifetimes. Is murder ever justified? Does he always do good? Is he afraid of dying? The answers to some of these genuinely questions shocked me, especially the Doctor’s admission that he does fear death. Somehow, I didn’t expect that...
In short then, this one is a terrific powerhouse of a novel, and comes highly recommended indeed.
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.