Thursday, 14 April 2016

The Harvest Of Time.

Years ago, when I was a boy, I remember sitting in Dundalk Railway Station rereading Doctor Who And The Sea-Devils and thought it was just about the best book I had ever read.(Until the next book I read; Doctor Who And The Deamons which I also thought was the best book I had ever read. Then I read Doctor Who And The Green Death and thought..well, you get the picture..) and that place has always exerted a familiar feeling of deep nostalgia. I associate that open railway platform with its MR James decor with a sense of holidays ending and holidays beginning. I think it has won awards for best kept small station or station most likely to be haunted by a phantom signal man.Just last week I felt that wave of emotion in a particularly strong fashion as I sat on the platform waiting for the Belfast train rereading Doctor Who And The Harvest Of Time by Alastair Reynolds. It is not a novelization of a transmitted story. It is a story set during the same era of the novelizations I just mentioned. And what a rich addition it is to that era.
              The Third Doctor and his friend Jo Grant square off against The Sild as well as wrestling with the bonkers machinations of The Doctor's old pal and arch nemesis The Master. UNIT are tasked with investigating a series of bizarre incidents involving attacks on oil rigs. A situation not unfamiliar in Doctor Who Scenarios but one that provides for some very exciting base under siege moments. I thought this book nailed all the aspects of what makes this era such a fondly remembered one .(Cripes, are'nt they all.) with all the main characters given opportunities to shine with the complex relationship between The Doctor and The Master given a right kick up the arse; In that the stakes are raised in a fantastic way but one that does not feel anachronistic for this era of Who. Secrets are revealed. Ones we did not even know about and heroes are given the chance to do what they do so well. The author is not just ticking fanboy boxes either he is playing with the notes of a song we used to know so well. like a cool remix.
                When I was a boy reading those stories and watching the stories as they aired I had no way of knowing this would come to be regarded as a classic period. All the stories were new to me and I had no reason to think it would not always be this good. I did not suspect that in a few years it was going to get even better as Tom Bakers first couple of seasons would prove to do so. I suppose what I am trying to say is that those were not in truth simpler days I was just a simpler person.