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Blood Harvest

af Terrance Dicks

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Serier: Doctor Who: The New Adventures (28), Doctor Who {non-TV} (NA Novel)

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I made a start on this Doctor Who novel months ago, but it spent weeks untouched in places. I quite enjoyed the Doctor and Ace in 1930s prohibition Chicago plot, but it felt there was another whole novel's worth of plot going on with Bernice and Romana at the vampire planet that Fourth Doctor and Romana were supposed to have fixed already. ( )
  mari_reads | Oct 13, 2021 |
Terrance Dicks has a long association with Doctor Who, writing scripts for the 2nd to 5th Doctors, serving as script editor for 5 years, and writing 60 novelizations of TV stories as well as original New Adventures. He can always be counted on for a ripping yarn seeped in Doctor Who lore. This story sees the Doctor and Ace running a speakeasy in Chicago and rubbing shoulders with Al Capone. Meanwhile, Bernice is left on a planet with a medieval culture and an infestation of vampires, and ends up teaming up with Romana. On top of all of this, evil Time Lords are plotting against the Doctor.

The last two plots follow up on TV stories Dicks wrote, the 4th Doctor story "State of Decay" and "The Five Doctors" 20th anniversary special. With the multiple plots and heavy continuity, this book should be a mess, Dicks does a good job of alternating the first two plots while bringing them together with the third at the end.

That said the writing also reflects Dicks' old-fashioned mentality and casual sexism. This works well in the first-person portions written from the point of view of a Chicago detective, Dekker, less so in the third person omniscient parts. He also repeats the unsettling idea from Timewyrm: Exodus of alien influence causing human violence. In the earlier book it was the Nazis, here it is Capone and the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

Still, the Prohibition Chicago story is an entertaining read, and it's fun to have Benny and Romana teaming up. ( )
  Othemts | Nov 20, 2018 |
The first couple hundred pages of Blood Harvest are hugely enjoyable: Doctor Who does 1920s noir detective fiction. The "Doc" and Ace run a speakeasy in Chicago at the height of Capone's power. There are gunfights galore, Ace shoots people, and occasionally the book is narrated in the first-person by a macho private eye. Like some of the most fun Doctor Who stories, it's a delightful combination of our series and some other genre, and of course Terrance Dicks is always effortlessly readable. In the meanwhile, Bernice is on the vampire planet from State of Decay in E-Space, teaming up with Romana to fight vampires. This isn't terribly well done, but there's not enough of it to be annoying. (Except that Dicks makes it annoyingly easy to get in and out of E-Space.)

It all falls apart in the end, though. I had thought vampires were somehow involved in the Chicago plot: it seems perfect for Prohibition-era Chicago, with maybe a vampire gang running a blood-smuggling operation with vampire speakeasies. However, the plots don't really connect that well: it turns out that a yawnworthy evil from the dawn of time is at work in both Chicago and E-Space, and he's been dispatched by a cabal of evil Time Lords, so all of a sudden the book shifts gears and we're not doing a State of Decay retread, but a The Five Doctors one for some reason. The dull bits of The Five Doctors, that is, the ones that were just there to justify why Jon Pertwee might be arguing with Patrick Troughton. So Blood Harvest switches from complete pleasure to thundering bore and then just putters out. Meh.

Romana and Bernice are both ill-served by this book, but I guess that's what we might expect of the man whose ideal female companion was Jo Grant.
  Stevil2001 | Mar 2, 2018 |
This is not only a sequel to about three Doctor Who tele-stories (The Five Doctors, the E-Space trilogy) its also a prequel for a Missing Adventure (Goth Opera). Cameos galore with Romona(II) as well as every other Time lord we've ever seen (Flavia, Spindrill, Rassilon, Bourusa) and vampires to boot. A must read. ( )
  Humberto.Ferre | Sep 28, 2016 |
This is the sequel/prequel to Goth Opera, though the books are written by different authors. I do suspect, though, that there are some strict guidelines for the authors to follow, especially in a series such as the Doctor Who series. While the relationship to the TV show is open to interpretation, for those who like Doctor Who, and vampires, this book is a good waste of time. As well as Goth Opera, the book is also connected with the serial The Five Doctors, where the antagonist is trapped in the Tomb of Rassilon at the conclusion, and also The State of Decay, where one of the Doctor's companions travels to the planet and meets up with Romana II.
It has been a long time since I read this book, however it is good that a number of people on Goodreads have provided detailed reviews, which enables me to trigger my memories as to this book. Then again, since it is pretty much a cookie cutter novel, I generally do not retain detailed memories of the plot (though I tend to remember the TV series somewhat more, but then I suspect it is because of the visual medium, and also that I so loved the original series that I have watched them multiple times).
This story is split between 1920's Chicago, where the Doctor meets up with a private eye who is investigating some murders, and it turns out that the murderers are vampires, and the planet where the State of Decay is set. It is suggested by those who have read the book that this division was managed quite well, particularly since when the Doctor's companions split (and they do quite often) there usually is one story arc which enthrals the reader, while the second story arc is somewhat ho-hum. Apparently this is not the case in this book, though of the books that I have read, the story arcs tended not to be very ho-hum.
The antagonist isn't a vampire, but an elemental beast that feeds on misery and suffering. I am unsure of the connection between the two arcs (beyond that they both involve vampires) and as I have mentioned elsewhere, I do find vampires to be quite boring. However I did enjoy the State of Decay, namely because I found that the castle in which the story was set was actually a crashed spaceship and over the eons since they had arrived, a feudal society had arisen on the planets, though while the peasants were human, the overlords were vampires. Vampires and spaceships? Personally I am not really sure if that does work. ( )
  David.Alfred.Sarkies | Apr 17, 2014 |
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