Lurky McLurklurk (ionlylurkhere) wrote,
Lurky McLurklurk

I will stop posting about ten'n'martha spinoffery when it stops being awesome, k?

I just finished this after only cracking it open yesterday morning and despite the fact that I've been really quite busy. It is just joyous and compulsively fun to read. Badger space pirates, people! That alone is perfection on toast, but it has many other factors to recommend it. It has a timey-wimey plot{*} that uses its plot device rather more originally than you might expect, though in a rather Sapphire-and-Steel-y way as it requires there to be some sort of underlying intelligence to the timey-wimey-ness. (I think there are a few holes in terms of the order of events not quite matching up, but as it's a loop you can handwave past them quite easily as going to the next go along.) It has good aliens apart from the badger-space-pirate. It has a very Tennish Ten without emphasising his more annoying traits. It has new series sonic+TARDIS=unbeatable plot devices plotting which also succeeds in not being annoying (mainly because it's a big timey wimey problem that's been set up, so they feel appropriate). It has a clever thing about everyone in the future being shiny and good-looking in the same way Martha is compared to Shakespeare (the descriptions of them always mention "handsome", "pretty" etc.; it's flagged explicitly at the beginning and then subtly maintained throughout). And it has more than a few good jokes (the badger pirate ship is fractal-shaped and called the Mandelbrot Sett, yes indeed).

{*} There is one and only one moment where you can see the plotting cogs whirring: the Doctor thinks Martha's dead and spends a while determining that he will find her body and take it home to Francine and listen as she shouts at him (!) but then remembers he has to get back to the plot. Which is all fair enough and not out of character but it was a bit signposted when it could have been elided. But that's pretty much the only thing that was less than perfect.

The book is also wonderfully optimistic about human nature, positing that the end result of a situation where no one can be permanently killed and party snacks are infinitely available is everyone learning to get along, really rather quickly in fact. The ending is brilliant, with the characters we've met and grown to love (Archibald the junior badger pirate who falls under Martha's influence is my favourite, but Mrs Wingsworth, the pseudocompanion for the second half of the book, comes a very close second) faced with a choice between staying in the loop at the infinite party and coming with the Doctor and Martha to face the harshness of reality with everything they've learned. And that's it. As the Doctor and Martha dance (to Grace Kelly by Mika, which won me over as I like it lots), we're completely left to make up our own minds what everyone decided to do next. It's lovely, and absolutely the perfect way to do it, and something the TV series should be less afraid of (yes, I'm looking at you, Family of Fifteen Endings).

Guerrier's Martha characterisation is very close to my favoured fanonical one, with a strong emphasis on her dorky side, to the extent that I was oscillating all the way through between feeling validated that a Proper Who Writer was agreeing and wondering what Guerrier's secret LJ that he's on LoM with is.

And did I mention it ends with the Doctor and Martha dancing? (It is only after typing that sentence that I remembered what the Moff has done to fandom's perceptions of the word "dance". I have no problem with this.) The book as a whole is quite lovely and shippy so it is. It's some time after Human Nature (references to scrubbing floors in a school) and Martha has (supposedly) come to accept that the Doctor doesn't share her feelings, but that doesn't mean those feelings magically go away, and sometimes the way the Doctor looks at her ... Basically, it's a book that basically goes with the bit on the telly where Tennant and Agyeman didn't get the "unrequited" memo, so it is. Fantastic stuff.
Tags: doctor who

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