Book Review: Past Doctor Adventures – The Hollow Men by Keith Topping & Martin Day
After having watched and totally fell in love with “Remembrance of the Daleks,” I had a burning desire to read a Seventh Doctor and Ace novel, and this one was on the top of the stack of used Past Doctor Adventures I acquired a while ago. I picked it because it was the earliest chronologically of the ones I owned, but unfortunately I chose incorrectly.
The Doctor and Axe find themselves in a small England town called Hexen Bridge, where the children are brilliant but people die pretty much spontaneously and mysteriously. If you took a look at the cover, you would also see that there are evil scarecrows about.
The book starts absolutely terribly. The dialogue in the prologue is painfully bad, so much so that I almost put the book down at about page 20 or so. Once the meat of the novel gets started, I actually found myself very interested in the story. The Doctor has a previous involvement in this little town during one his previous incarnations, and I found myself intrigued at the idea and anxious to find out more.
Unfortunately, by about the 100 page mark, the book essentially becomes a crossover between Days of Our Lives and Sleepy Hollow. It honestly ends up feeling about like what a season long arc of any soap opera would be. There are tons of characters, but practically none of them have any interesting qualities whatsoever. One-dimensional characters are hardly unheard of in Doctor Who, but they usually are characters only there to serve the purpose of moving the plot forward. Unfortunately, The Hollow Men is a very character heavy story with not a lot of plot, and yet still the characters are terribly uninteresting.
Despite minor moments of interest, in the end I was just completely disappointed by this novel. I’ve heard rather negative reviews of this pair’s Doctor Who writing previously, and I have to say that based on this I can see where they are coming from. It wasn’t so awful that I would avoid everything else they’ve ever written, but I’m not going to be diving into a Doctor Who story written by these two any time soon.