At first glance, now seems an odd time to bring out an adaptation of the second story of The Ket to Time season, but that ignores just how good a job James did bring City of Death to a new generation of readers. Can he repeat that success with The Pirate Planet? You bet!
From before the first page, the astute reader will spot this is no simple adaptation of a TV script. As James warns on one of the title pages, this is based on the first draft scripts by Douglas Adams, so probably isn’t what you are expecting. Even warned, the reader is quickly swept away on a breathtaking swirl of imagination and rich prose, suitably informed by knowledge of The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy. Descriptions are vivid and bold, even the shortest scene gives a look behind the eyes of the main characters, and the book is a joy from start to finish.
Not only is there a quest, but this is early days for the fourth Doctor and Romana; the story dwells on the growing relationship of these two Time Lords in amongst the quest for the second segment of the Key to Time. The various inhabitants of this story read like Dickensian characters, from the Captain himself to the superbly realised Mr Fibuli. And of course, nobody can forget the robot parrot!
At just over 400 pages the story still manages to whizz by, and the book also includes details of how James did the adaptation, snips of early drafts and some insight into the creative brain that was Douglas Adams.
There are many, many Doctor Who products in a busy market, but we have no hesitation in recommending this be the first one any fan purchases in 2017. Until then there’s just time for a cup of tea!
DOCTOR WHO: THE PIRATE PLANET / AUTHOR: DOUGLAS ADAMS / JAMES GOSS / PUBLISHER: BBC BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 5TH