ROBERTS, Gareth. Only Human. London: BBC Books, 2005.
`Somebody’s interfering with time. The Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack arrive on modern-day Earth to […] discover a Neanderthal Man, twenty-eight thousand years after his race became extinct. […] Who are the mysterious humans from the distant future now living in the distant past? What hideous monsters are trying to escape from behind the Grey Door?’
This is the first Doctor Who novel I’ve ever read. If you are to love a show with five or six episodes a year and hunger for more content on it, Doctor Who is the right choice. Firstly, it’s easy to love. Secondly, you never get enough. And last but not least—and especially relevant for the occasion—it’s a 50-year-old cult show. There are lots of episodes you need to catch up with and scores of books. Since the first Doctor TV series are soporifically slow, I decided to get my dose on prose.
I didn’t expect Doctor Who books to be to literature what the show is to TV series; and I was right. Only devoted fans will picture the actors in their minds and hear their voices. A never-filmed episode will be delivered straight to their brains. No one else is going to enjoy these books—ever.
There are, nevertheless, two obstacles to the fans’ enjoyment: continuity and canon. You can’t help wondering when the story takes place or judging the statements about past or future Earth that are not supported by any TV episode. It’s also hard not to think ‘this character wouldn’t do or say that’ at some point. And Russell T Davis, Steven Moffat or Mark Gatiss being in the acknowledgements is not as reassuring as it might seem.
Will I read any other Doctor Who books? Probably. Will I do it often? Unlikely.