Wednesday 8 May 2013

Harvest of Time - first review

SFX are in with the first review of Harvest of Time, and they seem to like it:

"Reynolds nails both the family horror tone of the series and the characterisation of the regulars. The Doctor is all warmth and gentle pomposity, while the Master is charming, detached and amusingly ruthless. At one point he hypnotises a man into committing suicide – but lets him finish his cup of tea first. The secondary characters are also a well-drawn bunch: sympathetic, believable and often doomed."

Full review: 

The cover seems to be a source of some amusement, which I'll take in good humour, although I must admit on first viewing I saw only a bulbous grey spaceship rather than a phallic symbol. But I suppose all spaceships, on some level, run the risk of looking just a tiny bit phallic.

Getting back to the review, my main fear, when I went into this, was that I might not hit the right notes with the main characters. Doubtless there will be dissenting opinions but for now I'm well pleased that SFX feel my evocation of the Doctor, Jo, The Master, Brig and so on hit the mark. I was immediately attracted to the idea of doing Pertwee's Doctor because, apart from a basic affection for that era, I felt that his character was the one that I had the best handle on in terms of dialogue and mannerisms. I am just as fond of the Tom Baker era but I would have found his Doctor quite a bit harder to evoke on the page. For Harvest of Time, I rewatched almost all the Pertwee adventures that have been released on DVD and tried to pay particular attention to the interplay between the recurring leads. Oddly enough, as a child, I never had the faintest interest in who the UNIT soldiers were, and even now I had to keep reminding myself which one was Benton and which one Yates.


  1. Al,
    Nice positive review of the book, congratulations. I've pre-ordered a copy and can't wait for it to arrive.

  2. Could this be the very first Dr. Who I read? Will it make me want to watch an episode of it? I may just damn well buy it for the excellent cover!

  3. Al,

    Will you be doing any signings in London for this one

    Jim Braiden

  4. Hi Jim - yes, there will be one signing at Forbidden Planet - on the 7th I think but I'll put up a list of signing schedules shortly - and possibly a month later at Comic Con.

  5. Hi Al,

    Excellent- Josh and I will look forward to that.

  6. I just noticed the time of your blog postings. Were you really blogging at 05:33? Writer's hours or throwback from years of astronomy?

    In my youth I watched and loved just about every single Pertwee doctor who. And read all the Target novels. Much older now and habituated to the excellent works of Reynolds, Ian McDonald, Morgan, it'll be a change of pace to read a book that (I assume) is aimed at a younger audience.

    Did you need to alter your approach (more "spoon feeding", maybe) for a younger readership?


  7. James - me, blogging at 05:33? Not likely - must be the time screwed up somewhere.

    I hope you enjoy the book. I did very little in terms of adjusting my approach, preferring to just write the novel as I would have done and then sort out any content issues at the edit stage. We toned the language down to essentially what you'd get in a Doctor Who episode, which meant the elimination of a few "bloodies" and the odd "bollocking". But it's an adult novel as far as I'm concerned.