Tie-in Fiction Friday: Only Human (Doctor Who)

Doing a little better than a year and a half between posts, eh?

For Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary back in 2013, they put out a collection of books, one for each Doctor, that were special 50th anniversary re-releases. It was all very shiny but expensive, so I decided I would buy one book, though at this point I don’t remember my selection criteria. Did I buy this one because it was the one for Nine, who was my favorite Doctor at the time? (I now am also fond of Twelve. And Two.) Did I like the plot write-up the best? I’m not sure.

Anyway, I ended up with Only Human, written by Gareth Roberts, and initially published in 2005. The shiny 2013 re-release cover looks like this, in case you’re interested:

Only Human Cover

The basic premise is that the Doctor and Co. (in this case, Rose and Captain Jack, ♥) pick up a time distortion and trace to a Neanderthal being about 28,000 years out of place (in this case, modern day England, 2005). The distortion is caused by a primitive and dangerous time machine called a rip engine, which makes it so people who use it can’t go back to their original time. So the Doctor and Rose bop back in time to see if they can’t find this rip engine back 28,000 years ago while Jack is left to teach the Neanderthal how to adapt to modern life (not like Jack is terribly familiar with 2005 either, great planning).

The story is mostly Rose and the Doctor doing their thing back in the day, interspersed with diary entries from Das (the Neanderthal) and Jack. Das’s entries are hilarious and easily one of my favorite parts. While I would not call this high writing in any form, the interactions between Das/modern life, Rose/past humans, etc., are all very well done and also funny. The characters are also mostly spot on though a little thin in places.

This was a quick, fun read–only 253 pages. It reads like a Nine-era episode and has about the same depth as one. If you are familiar with Doctor Who/the Ninth Doctor, I’d recommend it. I’m not actually sure that someone who wasn’t relatively familiar with the show would have any idea what was going on. But maybe I’m not giving people enough credit. Aside from the characters and the TARDIS, there’s not a lot of mythology included.

Read Only Human, Squiders? Read any other Doctor Who books that you really enjoyed?

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