December Books 7) Sting of the Zygons

7) Sting of the Zygons, by Stephen Cole

Like most Who fans of roughly my age, I have fond memories of both the early Fourth Doctor story Terror of the Zygons (I remember discussing it years later with an Australian friend, who shrieked with excited nostalgia, “Yeah, the Zygons! They were two-cushion monsters!”) and also the novelisation, Doctor Who and the Loch Ness Monster, which may have been one of Terrance Dicks’ better products. I must re-watch/re-read respectively and see what I think now.

I tried several of the BBC Ninth Doctor novels last year and wasn’t overwhelmed, though the best was also by Cole. Sting of the Zygons is good. Cole has picked up and further developed the concept of the shape-shifting aliens (interesting that his other novel featured the shape-shifting Slitheen) and introduces a certain depth of motivation to them which makes their struggle with the Doctor all the more credible. He catches Martha particularly well; as for the Doctor, there are moments when I think we are reading David Tennant doing an impression of Tom Baker, but mostly it works. The setting is the English Lake District in the Edwardian era, and again mostly works, though Lord Haleston is not a duke and therefore would not be addressed as “your grace”, and generally it suffers a bit by comparison with this year’s broadcast story Human Nature/The Family of Blood, which is set only a few years later. However, such technical details aside, the descriptive writing is compelling.

Anyway, I shall give the other Tenth Doctor novels a try, and will certainly look out for anything else by Stephen Cole.

Now to have another go at Proust…

One thought on “December Books 7) Sting of the Zygons

  1. The whole “scientists are faking it for the funding” thing, in whichever arena it turns up, is complete and utter nonsense – even extremely senior academic scientists are paid *way* less than than newspaper columnists and the industry lobbyists they shill for.

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