Saturday, 10 June 2017

Plague City,

Just finished the new Doctor Who book by Jonathan Morris Plague City. "Fear is contagious" so says the blurb on the cover and I quite agree. I have been in a crowd when some one began to panic and I have watched that impulse leap and spread through that crowd like an airborne virus. The Doctor, Bill and Nardol land in Edinburgh 1645 . The Doctor having promised to take Bill to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. So they are actually a bit off target, time-wise. Plague is sweeping through the Scottish City , victims and their families are barricading themselves in their homes, trying to avoid contact with their neighbors in the hope of skirting infection. Exactly the sort of subject matter that would sit comfortably after an episode of Pointless Although given their limited understanding of bacillus they are more scared of meeting the risen dead  (Not without cause in this book.) than germs. On top of this nightmare there also visits from a masked cloaked figure   who claims the dead thus also breaking the hearts of the bereaved. This being a Doctor Who story things are not just what they seem. In fact, despite how grim things seem they are actually about to get worse for all involved. Ancient aliens and grief Leeches, yes they are bad as they sound, are thrown into this heady mix.
              This novel is by Jonathan Morris who is no stranger to the worlds of Doctor Who past and present. He brings an assured hand to things and even a dynamic familiar to us now watching the new series. Which is remarkable given that he must have written this book way way before anyone really knew how things were going to play out. Even access to a script bible would only have given him a bare bones to the way characters would have interacted. There is so much alchemy which only comes out in the playing. The Doctor is just words until the actor does his magic thing.
              The new series has been a delightful series with a renewed joy and freshness. Maybe its the power of having an end in sight that motivates all involved to give it everything. The Tardis team are warm and endearing with Bill establishing herself as a worthy best friend to The Doctor quite quickly. There were some lovely moments in The Pilot. And I gasped with disapointment when I saw Nardol laying apparently dead on the floor of the Tardis in the second most recent episode and I found myself asking "When did I start caring so much about Nardol?". Matt Lucas has won me over as I feared goofy extremes which would distract from good storytelling.
                Plague City is one of three new Doctor Who titles released by BBC books.I went for this one first as it was set in a period which interested me, the time period and whatever. With an amazing city like Edinburgh in one of its darkest periods.
                One of my favorite moments is a sequence Jonathan Morris comes up with(SPOILER!) when the Doctor does a pied piper, using his guitar instead of a James Galway tube, playing a selection of some of the very best tunes written by a couple of the best British bands ever, to effect a rescue.
               Oh yes, the devil may have all the best tunes but The Doctor knows how to play them.