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Heart of TARDIS

Series: Doctor Who: Past Doctor Adventures Novels #32
Author: Stone, Dave
Release Date: June, 2000
ISBN: 0563555963 / 9780563555964
Length:280 pages
User Summary: The Second Doctor, Jamie and Victoria get trapped in a bizarre parody of the Earth while the Fourth Doctor and Romana get entangled in strange events at UNIT.
Demian's Thoughts: Several years ago, I read and greatly enjoyed Burning Heart, Dave Stone's dark and satirical Doctor Who / Judge Dredd crossover. The author managed to take a seemingly stupid idea and turn it into an extremely entertaining read. I thus had fairly high expectations for this novel.

Unfortunately, I was somewhat disappointed. While I had fun reading this one, it never quite worked for me. In spite of some amusing tangents, the main line of the story is somehow unsatisfying. Perhaps the biggest problem is that it never really felt like Doctor Who -- the story's blending of magic and science is almost too big of an idea to cram into an isolated novel in a long-established series. Characterizations are also a little bit off, further alienating readers familiar with the Who canon. It also doesn't help that there a few too many attempts to describe the indescribable, a la Lovecraft. I understand that the novel format allows authors to do things that could never work in the scope of a television series... but too much is too much.

The novel also includes a few good ideas that don't quite work. Passages written from Victoria's perspective are written in a Victorian tone... but it seems a little forced. Parodies of fifties sci-fi movies and pulps are a welcome inclusion, but they're a bit too over-the-top and obvious. Cameos by near-replicas of characters from The Simpsons are amusing but also jarringly inexplicable.

Obviously not Dave Stone's greatest moment... but I still appreciate his unique style, blending Doctor Who with foreign elements and a touch of dark humor.

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