May Books 15) [Doctor Who] Goth Opera

15) [Doctor Who] Goth Opera, by Paul Cornell

This was the first of the Missing Adventures of Doctor Who, published 1994 at (I suppose) the same time as Terrance Dicks’ Blood Harvest. It features the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan, shortly after the death of Adric, and another brief appearance from Romana, and (of course) vampires; setting is between Manchester in England, Tasmania, and bits of Gallifrey. Paul Cornell’s vampires seem much more familiar, much more like Buffy’s than did those in the Terrance Dicks stories; I wondered for a brief moment if Joss Whedon might have read this, but then realised that of course he and Paul were both born in the mid-1960s and educated in southern England, so will have read the same vampire books, and seen the same vampire movies, as me, whereas Terrance Dicks is thirty years older.

All good stuff. Paul brings religion and a dodgy evangelist into the novel without sermonising; Tegan’s Balkan roots are explored (there are a couple of Balkan references which I found of interest). Tegan must be much easier to write than Nyssa, which might explain what happens to the latter during the course of the book. I was left largely satisfied, though feeling that the conclusion was perhaps a little implausible. (But then, it may not be completely fair to demand total plausibility in a book featuring vampires and Doctor Who.)

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