Doctor Who Novellas: Frayed
With the latest Telos novella, we go back to an adventure for the first
Doctor in his pre-television days, and it appears this encounter with
the human race, is his first. The alien nature of the character is really
brought to the fore, he is hesitant, unsure and arrogant in his dealings
with humans, in many ways harking back to the TV pilot version of The
Doctor. The character is written so well that one can hear the late
William Hartnell delivering the lines. Susan, The Doctor's granddaughter,
accompanies him; she is less well defined, and appears lost, as if educationally
kept on a very tight leash by her "grandfather".
Lead characters aside, what of Frayed itself: is it a good read?
Well, yes and no. The violence is quite graphic, and I found myself
wincing at some of the descriptive passages which are found in the vivid
dream sections. The imagery is very powerful, bodies falling apart all
over the place. The following example is fairly typical of the, at times,
"...her mouth is as frayed as mine and her jaws black with rot. She
opens it too wide, and her chin falls right off..."
If you find this a little too strong, perhaps best avoid.
Despite this there is a good story here. The idea of an isolated clinic
for children who have been pinpointed genetically towards a life of
crime, is intriguing, also the attacks by the foxes themselves are very
well realised, as is the reason for the attacks. The human characters
come across well and the little in joke about Webber, didn't go unnoticed.
This novella is definitely worth a look, thought-provoking and eerie,
not one to be read by candlelight.