Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

I don't know whether Terrance Dicks penned this book before or after his other tenth Doctor & Martha outing Revenge Of The Judoon, but he sure sounds like he's enjoying writing Doctor Who again. Here are the two leads in the TARDIS:

'What's so fascinating about those dials anyway?'

The Doctor straightened up. 'Oh, goodness knows. Do you know? I don't know. Though I started picking up some strange readings as soon as we reached your sector of space-time.'

'What kind of readings?'

'All sorts of stuff. Energy spikes, transmit signatures, Radio 5 Live. Maybe someone's using a teleportation device.'

'A how much?'

'Or a digital radio.'

'At last – something I do understand.'

'Or cellular dissemination.'

Martha shook her head. 'Nope, gone again.'

It’s another sequel to a recent TV story, this time set in the present day, and Dicks seems quite keen to tie-up some of the many loose ends left hanging in this era. The aftermath of the battle of Canary Wharf. The procedures in place for government cover-ups. The subtle reframing of Martha's identical twin cousin Adeola, via her simple description 'She looked a bit like me.'

Even the villains of the piece – the diet-Cybermen – are a book-long attempt to tie-up what became of their remaining new converts after the episode Doomsday had finished.

That said, there are a couple of plot-anomalies thrown-up by this book too, but they are much less weighty than that. The main issue seems to be that the Diet-Cybermen in the new TV series, are not the same race of Cybermen as in the classic series. So when the Doctor claims to be such an expert on them, he's quite mistaken.

Even so, that doesn't stop these new Cybermen from quoting bits of dialogue from yesteryear anyway, such as 'We will survive' and the one about 'Promises made to inferior species.' Not that there's anything actually impossible about either of those two points.

If anything, the biggest problem here is that, thanks to later events on television, this book now features the Doctor taking Martha a little way into her own future. Again, nothing actually wrong, just something that he's usually dead-set against doing these days.

Made Of Steel is a great fun book that doesn't tax you at all to read, and I'm considering getting further ones in the series. Given that I'm so little of a book-reader, that's quite an achievement.

The Quick Reads series really seems to have worked on me.

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