Book Review: New Series Adventures – Apollo 23 by Justin Richards
Although I was nervous about how well the Doctor Who novelists would be able to capture the personality of the Eleventh Doctor in the new series of novels, I am happy to report that Justin Richards knows his Doctor Who, and some how knows the Eleventh Doctor. It is really easy to read Apollo 23 because it feels like an episode of the show, with strong characterization of the main character. Amy comes across as pretty generic, but that doesn’t seem so much a fault of Richards as a compliment to Ms. Gillan’s portrayal on screen. Its hard to pinpoint a character after so short a time, and its remarkable he manages to do it for the Doctor.
The story is pretty simple, and is pretty close to a previous Doctor Who serial from the Second Doctor’s run, “The Seeds of Death.” The majority of the story takes place on a moon base operated by the United States government. A two-way portal from the Texan desert to the moon base is something like T-mat, but not quite, and it has been sabotaged. Everyone knows something is wrong when an astronaut appears in a shopping mall, and the bodies of a woman and her dog appear on the surface of the moon. Conveniently, The Doctor and Amy are there to step in and figure things out.
Apollo 23 starts out very strong, and manages to maintain interest throughout although it does get a little slow towards the middle. It is an overall fun story, though it could have used a few more “character” moments for the Doctor and Amy. These are new characters and for many of us, the books are here for us to get a better view of their personality. Perhaps both the greatest strength and the greatest weakness of Apollo 23 is that it is just like an episode of the show. It won’t blow any minds but it is certainly fun, and a very quick read.
Note: I originally wrote this review about a week after its release, so most of Series Five was yet to air.