(ISBN 0-426-20500-6)







 Swordplay, samurai,

 demons, magic, aliens,

 AND adventure... Who

 needs them?

 The Doctor and Chris

 travel to Japan IN THE


 gripped by civil war

 as feudal lords vie

 for control. Anything

 could tip the balance

 of power. So when a

 god falls out of the

 sky, everyone wants

 As SICK villagers are

 healed and FIELDS OF

 crops grow too fast,

 the Doctor and Chris

 try to DISCOVER the

 miracleS' BIG secret

 before two OPPOSING

 armies can start a

 war over who owns

 the god.

 Chris finds himself 


 alien slaver, a Time-

 travellING Victorian


 demons, an old friend

 with SOME suspicious

 motives, a village of

 innocent bystanders,

 and several thousand



 Without the Doctor,

 someone has to take

 up the challenge of

 adventure and stop

 the god from falling

 into the wrong hands.

 Someone has to be a

 hero - but Chris isn’t

 sure he wants to be a

 hero any more.


 PREVIOUS                                                             CONTEMPORANEOUS




The Room

with No Doors







With Virgin’s Doctor Who license nearing its end, the seventh Doctor’s final New Adventure but one, The Room with No Doors by Kate Orman, was a novel that had a clear job to do. The development of the Doctor’s last remaining companion, Chris Cwej, had to

be all but completed here, and even the titular Time Lord needed serious issues resolving before he could become the rather blithe Doctor that would saunter into a hale of bullets in 1999 San Francisco. Whilst the tweed TV Movie garb may have been in place prior to this novel, the Doctor that we meet at the start of The Room with No Doors is a deeply tortured soul; indeed, he couldn’t be any farther away from the quite contented lone traveller that we know he’s destined to become at some point prior to his death.


So that she may explore in great detail themes of crime and punishment, redemption, and especially regeneration, here Orman throws the Doctor and Chris into an adventure that is, by their standards, a rather bland and uncomplicated affair - a fact openly acknowledged by the Doctor in the text. And so whilst feudal Japan provides something of a majestic canvas for Orman to paint her picture, what many would consider to be the main story of The Room with No Doors is rather dull and uninspiring; nothing that hasn’t been done countless times before in pseudo-historical adventures of this kind.


We have an alien pod and a time-travelling Victorian, not to mention a race of big chickens with human hands. Fair dues, I concede that I don’t recall many big chickens running around in any earlier pseudo-historical adventures, though I can only assume that this has been for

a very good reason – namely that these ‘Kapteynians’ are as laughable as they sound. That said, Joel from Return of the Living Dad does make a mildly interesting reappearance as

a heel. He is, in a sense, trying to ‘do a Doctor’ in that he wants to muck about with history, but not on a massive scale. He just wants to lend a few computers to Samurai Warlords; that sort of thing. However, as daft as they sound, Joel’s antics do serve the novel well as they force the Doctor to look at why he’s done what he’s done in this incarnation; at why he has plotted and schemed and planned, as opposed to just having lived. Regrettably though, Joel’s inclusion does also serve as device for Orman to bludgeon the reader with too many in-jokes – take the May 1996 premiere of the Professor X Movie, for example, or even the Professor X New Adventures series of novels for which Joel wanted to write. There is even

a chapter called “Yes, but it is Kannon?” If you’re planning to read this one, then prepare to cringe.


Nonetheless, although it’s ultimately let down by its silly and lacklustre plot, The Room with No Doors is a resounding triumph at least in terms of how it handles both the Doctor and Chris. Over the course of the novel, both characters are forced to face up to the horrors of recent events and, in the case of the Doctor, the horrors of impending events too. An early passage really sets the scene for whats to come: its night in the TARDIS. Chris is making his way to the kitchen, when he passes the Doctor’s room and hears the screams. It’s that nightmare again…



Now I remember first reading

about the Doctor having his

nightmare in Bad Therapy,

but in truth it may have begun

some time before then. In the

same way that the first Doctor

could sense a regeneration

coming in Daniel O’Mahony’s

novel The Man in the Velvet

Mask, the seventh Doctor is

able to sense the same here.

It’s worse than that though; whereas the first Doctor was quite resigned about his fate – dignified, even – the seventh is terrified. Absolutely terrified. And with good reason, for the eponymous room with no doors is a prison that exists within his own head. It was created by his first six incarnations to house his seventh for the rest of eternity as a punishment for the manner in which he has lived his proportion of the Doctor’s life and all the questionable things that he’s done – Skaro, Heaven; even having actively terminated the sixth Doctors life so that he could come forth early and claim the mantle of Times Champion. It’s riveting stuff for a seasoned fan, to say the least. What I find most impressive of all though is that Orman not only manages to tie up all these psychological threads, but that she manages to do so clearly and cogently. The personal pronouns alone baffle me, but Orman is able to convey the Doctor’s (Doctors’?) divisions and his (their?) unity in a way that doesn’t make the readers brain combust. And more remarkably still, at the end of it all you feel like you understand the funny little thousand and three year-old man that much better; you understand why he wants to be punished and why he projects his need for punishment onto his former selves.


Turning to Chris, in the wake of Roz’s death the erstwhile Adjudicator has become a whole new character. He isn’t just the muscle anymore; there’s much more to him than that crude measure. And here, thanks to the Doctor and the TARDIS telepathic circuits, Chris is also plagued by his own nightmares about the room with no doors, and much like the Doctor, he too has to face up to how his actions and inactions have caused those like Roz, and more recently Liz Shaw, to perish. This all ties in beautifully with the Doctor’s struggle to preserve something of his seventh self through Chris in the way that a father might with his son. Chris is, for all intents and purposes, the seventh Doctor’s final master plan.


For me, Orman could have just had the Doctor and Chris both buried underground having nightmares for the whole 259 pages and this novel would have been just as good, if not a little better. An epic science-fiction masterpiece The Room with No Doors aint, but by its end you’ll know exactly who both Chris Cwej and the seventh Doctor are. And, certainly in

the case of the latter, that isn’t something to be taken lightly.


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.

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