Doctor Who: The Eyeless by Lance Parkin

15 years ago the Fortress appeared from nowhere in the city of Arcopolis, wiping out the entire population in an instant. Now the Doctor has arrived, determined to destroy the devastating weapon house at the heart of the Fortress. But he discovers the remnants of the civilisation, a generation raised with curiosity in their minds and wanting to know what secrets the city holds.
doctor-who-the-eyelessNow the Eyeless arrive and discover the Fortress, wanting its secrets for themselves. Can the Doctor reach the weapon before the Eyeless and avoid a catastrophe or will they prevail and wipe out everything?

I came to this book through a comment on the blog at the start of December – a comment was left in the monthly releases post saying that they had heard this could be one of the best Doctor Who novels for a while and the best that Lance Parkin had written. I was very intrigued by this and really wanted to see what the Doctor Who novels had to offer compared to the TV series (of which I’m a viewer, but not the biggest of fans). So what did I think? Read on…

I did enjoy The Eyeless for various reasons, but equally I had some issues with it. The story is a decent sci-fi one and offers some good looks and descriptions of a ruined and abandoned city and remaining population. The motivations of the characters are believable (as are the characters themselves) and the generation gap between the surviving adults and their children born since the disaster is looked at and explored nicely. The Eyeless and the Fortress are both mysterious, we know about them and, to an extent, what they can do, but it isn’t until later on in the novel when we really find out more about either of them. I won’t go into spoilers, but suffice to say that it is all very much Doctor Who, and that’s where my problem lies.

Although good, The Eyeless read very much like a Doctor Who episode, from the arrival of the Doctor, the inevitable issues with the culture and the endless infinite knowledge of the Doctor. As this Doctor is the David Tennant incarnation he is always in my mind when the Doctor is on the page. Lance Parkin has written the Doctor very well in this sense – all the mannerisms are there and he does an excellent job of portraying many of the elements of a complex story very effectively.

The Eyeless was a good, quick read, but perhaps one suited for fans of the Doctor Who universe rather than just general sci-fi fans. All in all this is a very worthy addition to the universe, just not entirely my cup of tea.

2 thoughts on “Doctor Who: The Eyeless by Lance Parkin”

  1. Hi … I’m the guy who recommended the book, and I’m sorry you didn’t like it.

    Not read it, yet, being US-based. But your objection seems to be that it’s too like Doctor Who. It’s a Doctor Who book, and the main audience is Doctor Who viewers.

    I suppose my question is ‘what do you think is the problem with Doctor Who and do you think that the book could have addressed it?’

  2. Thanks for posting, much appreciated – and thanks for the recommendation in the first place :)

    I enjoy the Doctor Who shows in a general, fun way and don’t really take them too seriously. I guess I was expecting a little more from a novel, perhaps a longer, more involved plot and development than the usual Doctor Who-ness. I know this is completely contradictory in the sense that this is a Doctor Who novel, and therefore aimed at the fans and designed to be like the shows. I was just hoping for a little more.

    I wouldn’t say that I didn’t enjoy it though, more that I was disappointed that it didn’t offer more. If I were to read another Doctor Who book I would most certainly approach it for what it is and enjoy it for that very reason.

    And re: your question about the problems with Doctor Who – it’s the same as many TV Shows, they find a formula and stick to it rather than push the boundaries more (and this coming from a huge Stargate fan who has seen the shows take on an almost routine formula). I think Doctor Who could do with forgetting enemies like the Cybermen and Daleks and look to new, frightening foes. The episodes where this has happened are far better for me :)

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