Monday, March 18, 2013

Book #13

Doctor Who: Paradise Towers. Novelization by Stephen Wyatt, who also wrote the original TV script.

After an exhausting series of adventures, the 7th Doctor and his companion Mel Bush decide to take a vacation. As any fan of Doctor Who in particular or science fiction in general knows, this will not turn out well. All Mel really wants is to spend a few days lounging by a swimming pool, and they fly to the 22nd century's leading luxury apartment complex, Paradise Towers.
They find a building fallen into disrepair, and a divided population. The Doctor and Mel  are split amidst a confusing situation, but they agree to meet back up at the rooftop pool. There are roaming gangs of color-coordinated girls, with names like "Bin Liner" and "Fire Escape." There are caretakers and female residents, and robotic cleaners gone awry. The only free male in the complex is Pex, the other men having fled to fight in a war. He appoints himself Mel's protector, but is less than capable in the role.
In what is a pretty cliché plot at this point, the artificial intelligence that runs the building has decided that the "filthy human parasites" must be destroyed, as they have been the cause for the building's fall into shabbiness. They discover that Kroagnon, the original architect of the building never liked the idea of humans actually living in any of his designs. Having killed the Chief Caretaker and animated his corpse, Kroagnon uses booby traps in the building to declare war on its human occupants.
But the divided people are brought together by the Doctor to fight back against their less-than-human enemies. A sacrifice is made and victory is achieved, ending the building's reign of terror. The outcome is predictable, and none of the major guest characters are terribly memorable. Only Pex and Bin Liner rise above the rest as individualized characters. Overall, there is very little about this story that is other than ordinary.
The unabridged audio performance of this novelization was narrated by Bonnie Langford, who played Mel in the TV series. She does a fine job bringing energy to the story.

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