The Tree of Life, by Mark Michalowski

Second paragraph of third chapter:

She pulled a pained face at Piotr, standing to her right. He gave a tiny shrug, used to the heat, Benny imagined. She wasn't quite sure how he'd wangled being out here with her on her first 'walkabout', but it was (only vaguely) reassuring to have a familiar face there.

I rather dropped off my blogging of Who-related books last year, but I intend to fix that this year. As I work through them, this is the next in publication order of the Bernice Summerfield books by Big Finish, in this case a novel by Mark Michalowski. The setup is the rather usual framing narrative of Benny getting summoned to a planet on which there are funny things going on, ending up with everyone trapped in a base under siege, but I thought there were a couple of very good wrinkles to it, in particular the biological cycle of the alien tree/giant hamster symbiotes which are responsible for the trouble, and the internal politics of both aliens and humans which make a bad situation worse. Also mercifully short. Worth a look.

Next in this sequence is Parallel Lives, a collection of three novellas, the first by my old friend Rebecca Levene, and the other two by Stewart Sheargold and Dave Stone.

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