(ISBN 0-563-48635-X)







 New Mexico, 1945. The

 Second World War is

 coming to its bloody

 conclusion, and in the

 American desert the

 race is on to build an

 atomic bomb. The fate

 of the world is at 

 stake in more ways

 than one.


 Someone or something

 is trying to alter the

 course of history at

 this delicate point.

 Posing as a nuclear

 scientist with Ace as

 his assistant, the

 Doctor MUST play

 detective among the 

 Manhattan Project

 scientists, while

 desperately trying

 to avoid suspicion



 As the minutes tick

 away to the world's

 first NUCLEAR blast,

 the Doctor and Ace

 find themselves up to

 their necks in spies,

 aliens of the flying

 saucer variety, and

 some very nasty

 saboteurs from

 another dimension.


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Atom Bomb Blues







And so BBC Books’ eight-year run of Doctor Who Adventures draws to a close

much in the same way that the classic television series did. No official cancellation; no big last story - just the seventh Doctor and Ace doing their thing.


Sadly though, Atom Bomb Blues lacks both the weight and the substance of Survival, and indeed of most of the seventh Doctor’s adventures since across the spin-off media. This frivolous romp is probably more analogous in tone to this year’s television tie-in novels than

it is any recent seventh Doctor offering. Now this is quite shocking given that this novel has come from the pen of Andrew Cartmel – script editor of the series during Sylvester McCoy’s tenure, and architect of the ‘Dark Doctor’ that would flourish in Virgin’s New Adventures as well as other spin-off media.


“Ace had seen a documentary about Hiroshima once at school

and she hadn’t been able to eat kebabs for nearly a year afterwards.”


For what it is though, Atom Bomb

Blues does its job fairly well. Los

Alamos and the Manhattan Pro-

ject make a great setting for a

Doctor Who story, and the odd

character – take, private eye

cum author Major Butcher, for

instance – are, in point of fact,

disproportionately compelling

when compared to the plot which

is, regrettably, where it all falls



For starters, the onus really has shifted 360° since the New Adventures, and unfortunately it is not for the better. The Doctor of this novel may be the same master manipulator that we saw in Cartmel’s New Adventures trilogy, but whereas in those wonderful books he pulled the strings from afar, here he is right in the middle of every scene, driving the plot forward. Consequently, much of the drama is lost – the Doctor has pretty much everything sussed right from the start, and none of his opponents can touch him. Now whilst there is certainly nothing wrong with portraying the Doctor in this way, it just doesn’t work dramatically when

he is right in the thick of things, casually brushing aside the opposition.


Worse still though, following one big twist in the tale (which, to be fair, I didn’t see coming

at all) the whole logic of the story falls apart. That old parallel universes chestnut – again – opens up a real can of worms here - why do the inhabitants of 1945 New Mexico have their counterparts living in the 21st century? How will the complete destruction of one universe alter history in another? And what was all that about with the Native Americans and the crab creature?


“Excellent. Vivid. Sharp. Hilarious! Wickedly subversive!

Concise and beautiful. Verging on the profound.”


And so, as much as I would like to be, I can’t be as kind in this review as the Doctor was in his assessment of Major Butcher’s work. Neither concise nor beautiful, and certainly not profound, Atom Bomb Blues is a bottom-drawer knockdown run-around that does what it says on the tin and nothing more. If you want something more substantial, my advice would be to get yourself logged on to eBay with a view to hunting down copies of this author’s infinitely superior New Adventures trilogy.


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.



This novel’s blurb offers no guidance as to its placement. We have therefore placed it at the end of the cluster of BBC Books featuring the seventh Doctor and Ace, simply because it was the last to be released.


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