Monday, 11 August 2014

'Doctor Who And The Leisure Hive' - David Fisher (Target)

The Doctor and Romana arrive on Argolis in search of a peaceful holiday at the famed Leisure Hive. Instead they become embroiled in both a takeover scheme by the Argolins' historic enemy the Foamasi and the machinations of Pangol,the child of the Generator. If the Doctor can overcome a murder charge and a lethal encounter with the Tachyon Recreation Generator, him and Romana might just make it back to the TARDIS in one piece…

'The Leisure Hive' was one of those Doctor Who shows that I first saw as a kid and missed large chunks of due to being four (almost five!) and possibly being scared of the Foamasi. Or having to go to bed early, could have been either one really.

The DVD has been on my shelf for a little while, might get round to watching it over the weekend, and it was always far more likely that I would get round to reading the book first (even though I've had the DVD far longer), especially now I'm commuting a lot and am in need of some
seriously easy reading that doesn't tax me too much. What? The style of most Doctor Who books (well, the old Target novelizations) is to recount exactly what happened in the show, with minimal padding, and that is what I'm after at the moment.

It was kind of a pleasant/unpleasant surprise then to find that 'The Leisure Hive' delivered a little bit more than the regular 'run of the mill' Doctor Who novelisation. 'Pleasant' because I ended up with a little more to chew on but 'unpleasant' in that anything that means some kind of independent thought gives me a splitting headache. I suffer for my reading sometimes :o)

On the whole though, it's always nice to read a Doctor Who novelisation where the author steps out of the comfort zone and tries to add a little something new to the setting. Here, David Fisher gives us a little extra history of the Argolin, the Foamasi and how cultural similarities can lead to conflict. This is all done with a refreshing comedic tone that's reminiscent of Douglas Adams ('The Leisure Hive' was published four years after the 'Hitchhikers' radio series, roughly the same time as the book itself so I don't think there's any coincidence in the tone). I like it when a Doctor Who writer fleshes out background detail and even more so when the writer injects a little of their own tone into it.

The plot itself… Well, I've still to watch the DVD so can't really comment on how well the book compares to the source material. The plot does hold up well though; it's a little more linear than it at first appears but raises enough interesting questions to keep the readers interest (it did for me
anyway). I'm still not 100% sure how the Doctor got out of that final spot but sometimes you have to suspend a little disbelief when he's concerned and just accept that stuff can happen. I'm not blaming this on woolly writing; no, not at all…

I picked up my copy for a pound in town and the most likely way of coming across a copy of 'The Leisure Hive' is getting it second hand somewhere. Probably only worth the hunt then if you are a fan but a surprisingly enjoyable read if you do get yourself a copy.

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