Original publish date: 17 September 2014
Let me first preface this by saying that I am a Whovian, so, yes, I may be a tad bit biased. Or, all right, extremely biased. Now, I won’t divulge which Doctor is my favorite–maybe I’ll claim that there’s an aspect of each of them that I find immensely fascinating–but I will tell you that Nine was the first one I journeyed with. And when I saw on Blogging for Books that they had some Doctor Who titles available for review, I was excited; but which to pick? After hours of deliberation (or 5 minutes that seemed to drag out into an eternity as I went back and forth), I chose The Crawling Terror by Mike Tucker.
So, that little preface said, like all books in the Doctor Who universe, The Crawling Terror relies upon prior knowledge of the series and characters but it does offer some standard explanation of the more science fiction aspects. Of course, when it comes to the TARDIS, the line “It’s bigger on the inside” will undoubtedly arise as it is a staple in the Who-verse and, believe me, this didn’t disappoint.
Bugs, World War II, stone circles, and scientists. If you like, or dislike in the case of bugs, any of these things, the book has all that, as well as time travel and aliens, of course. In Ringstone, there is a WWII bombed stone circle that is missing one of the rocks; now this stone circle serves as the centerpiece for some experiments and technology the Nazis and he British were working on during the war. But it’s the large, aggressive bugs that are the real nuisance today as they attack and essentially zombify anyone they sting. And with that strange energy spike attracting the TARDIS and thus the Doctor, so the stage is set for timey-wimey chaos to ensue.
Like the show, the narrative provided little snippets from numerous characters and their storylines to build the story and provide alternate points of view to allow for a more fully realized narrative. The various story lines ultimately converge with the Doctor and Clara as the nucleus of the action. With Twelve being a relatively new addition to the cannon, I appreciated how that was made known through little details such as him not knowing if he can drive a motorbike or not. And with Clara, I enjoyed how her cleverness was adapted for the page. I was also rather impressed at its inclusion of other characters, such as Danny Pink and Jenny, because it offers a sense of thoroughness for those, like me, who watch the religiously. And what wound up really sticking with me was how the narrative addressed the soldier or not aspect to the Doctor’s character through the inclusion of actual soldiers as a comparison as well as the Doctor’s, particularly Ten’s, iconic phrase “I’m sorry.” That was a jaw dropping moment for me of, “Wow, good tie in.”
Realizing that this was written in British English and not the American English that I read most of the time, I was aware of the different puncutation styles, particularly that of the quotation marks as single versus double. Keeping the potential differences between the two Englishes in mind, I did notice areas where some copyediting needed to occur, such as missing puncutation and a wrong word used within a sentence.
I enjoyed the story, even if I wasn’t too keen on the bugs, and because of my affinity for Doctor Who, I was easily able to envision this as an episode. And while I could discuss Doctor Who for all of time and space, I will end here with this: overall, I’d give this 4 out of 5 stars.