Only Human

Title: Only Human
Author: Gareth Roberts
Genre: SF, Tie-In
Series: Doctor Who BBC Books NW
Ranking: Poor
LibraryThing: Title:Only Human
Read: 2006-01-06

When the TARDIS crew find a displaced Neanderthal, they realize that someone is messing with time. As Jack stays to look after the stranded pre-human, the Doctor and Rose investigate the source of the disturbance.

I read this New Who novel because I wanted to keep in a 9th-Doctor mode while working on my finish-a-thon story. What I ended up with was the Curate's Egg: it was good in parts. Didn't help that (a) I'd just started watching "Guns, Germs, and Steel" on TV, and so wasn't really open to stupid clichés about primitive humanity (b) a recent post on LJ about the Doctor reminded me about how he actually loves humanity -- and yet what reason does this book give for his fascination with humans? It is apparently because they're "not boring".

The themes of this book were (a) feelings are good/what-makes-one-human (b) lying makes you successful. Bah! Bah! Bah! I spit on both of these assertions.

More irritations:

  • this was supposed to be a Doctor + Rose + Jack book, but Jack spends most of the book in a different time-period
  • the motivation of the villain was never explained, except perhaps with the cliché that if you lack emotions and are super-intelligent, you of course are going to want to destroy humanity. (eyeroll)

The good bits:

  • a quite amusing escape by the Doctor at one point
  • most of the fish-out-of-water bits from the point of view of the Neanderthal, Das.

(original version on my livejournal)