Time and Relative

March 2, 2017 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

timeTime and Relative by Kim Newman


So, I haven’t watched much of the original Doctor Who series. I watched a handful of episodes when I was younger, and I’ve seen enough of the new series to have an understanding of the original one, but I’ve never seen any of the episodes with William Hartnell as the Doctor. I wouldn’t have thought this would be a problem reading this novella, but it turns out that Newman wrote a prequel to the very first episode of the show with Time and Relative.

The story is written from the perspective of Susan, the Doctor’s granddaughter. In this novella, she’s on Earth, attending a school while her grandfather repairs the TARDIS. While there, she makes a few friends, and suffers through a bitter winter that ends in the kind of disaster that only an episode of Doctor Who can conjure. That means that, in any other setting, the enemies would be ridiculous, but here they fit the feel of the story perfectly. One of the later episodes in the new series even adopts the killer snowmen we find in this story.

The real reason I wanted to read this is because of Kim Newman. I rediscovered him a few years ago, and went on a buying spree to pick up all of his novels. Newman captures the feel of the show (as mentioned above), even referencing other events that would pop up later in the show. We’re not presented with the Master, or the Daleks, or the Cybermen, but we do get introduced to our main characters. The Doctor himself doesn’t make an appearance until the end, making Susan our hero for this particular tale.

I was surprised that the story turned out to be as dark as it was. There’s a lot of killing that takes place in the story, some of it rather gruesome, enough so that I was expecting the Doctor to fix that at the end of the story, but no, the dead stayed dead here. Newman is well known as a horror author, so I shouldn’t have been surprised, but the body count seemed pretty high for a Doctor Who story.

The story is probably best meant for the more hardcore Doctor Who fans, but I did enjoy the story. The characters were charming, the plot engaging, and the story itself was compelling, once it got going. For me, it was more a curiosity than anything else.

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