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This is the official blog of Phoenix Roleplaying, a multi-genre simming site, created in August 2010.

Run by the players, we hope to achieve great things.

Where our journey takes us, who knows.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Single and not Single (Review: 'Doctor Who: Keeping Up With The Joneses' by Nick Harkaway, 2014)


I'm getting near to concluding the Eleven Faces series and to be honest, I don't want to spend a massive amount of money wrapping this up. Fortunately, the BBC have come to my assistance, with the Time Trips series. These novellas are coming out at one a month, each with a different Doctor; I've got the second and third. Each are stand alone and self-contained.

In this case, very self-contained.


Towards the end of his life, the Tenth Doctor is piloting his TARDIS when it hits a temporal mine left over from the Time War. As the Doctor tries to repair it, he finds himself in a Welsh town, with a strangely familiar looking barmaid and a dangerous alien intelligence.

The plot

This is basically a bottle episode, only the bottle is very ornate and facility-filled, rather like "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS" from last year. The town of Jonestown, which has been subject to some serious temporal anomalies, is an interesting one, but lacks any huge depth to it in what is a pretty short book.

The prose is rather zany - on occasion, too much so. The style invokes that of the late Douglas Adams, the not-late-yet Sir Terry Pratchett and other fantasy authors of that ilk; sentences go on for multiple clauses, metaphors get a major work out and there is a general air of whimsy about the piece. It's pacy and doesn't waste time, so that's a good thing, although one might argue it doesn't develop things enough. I tend to prefer brevity in my wit.

The main 'monster' a relic from the Time War that has completely forgotten what side of the thing it was on is an innovative one, but I again was not hugely impressed. The author manages to use the altered-ish canon of the show post "The Day of the Doctor" to good advantage in his story. I was also non-plussed about the 'companion' here; she's not bad, but she's not brilliant either. This might have worked better with someone like Donna.

The regular

The Doctor is the only regular character in this, apart from the TARDIS, who acts in a very TARDIS-like way, especially when you consider how she has acted in recent years. Ten's dialogue is extremely convincing; he is known for going on long unplanned detours in his sentences and is a very different sounding guy to either Doctor before or after him.


An enjoyable read and the novella format means that it doesn't go on for too long. It's good, but lacks a strong enough plot to be great.


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