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Doctor Who: The Crimson Horror (Target…
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Doctor Who: The Crimson Horror (Target Collection) (edição 2021)

por Mark Gatiss (Autor)

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Título:Doctor Who: The Crimson Horror (Target Collection)
Autores:Mark Gatiss (Autor)
Informação:BBC Books (2021), 192 pages
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Doctor Who: The Crimson Horror por Mark Gatiss

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Minus one star for the drawn-out and dull Simon Cowell parody, but this is otherwise a fun (and major) expansion of Gatiss's 2013 TV episode. The blend of imagined Victoriana and 1960s spy-fi will be a familiar delight to fans of his Lucifer Box books. He builds a whole world around the Paternoster Gang and I hope he gets the chance to follow up on some the threads he lays here. ( )
  m_k_m | Sep 3, 2021 |
Before reading Gatiss' novelization, I'd only seen The Crimson Horror once or twice, right around the time of its initial airing. And very little of it stuck with me over the years. So, I went into this with no expectations, simply hoping for something enjoyable. And, at first, it seemed promising. The idea of telling a Doctor Who story in an epistolary format is a neat one. It's just a shame that Gatiss doesn't really stick with it. Jenny narrates most of the book, with a few sections from Ada Gillyflower, the Doctor, Strax, and Jonas Thursday. The problem is that all of these segments are mixed together with more traditional prose. The book tries to handwave this away by suggesting Jenny is filling in the gaps all "authory," but it proves very distracting. Those segments never sound like they're written in her voice, so it breaks the illusion of this being a collection of documents and audio recordings explaining the tale of "The Crimson Horror." And that's really a shame as the epistolary stuff works remarkably well, adding a new twist on a familiar story. Strax's stuff is a bit uneven (but often funny), it's nice getting to hear directly from the Doctor, and Gatiss has such a strong grasp on Jenny's voice that you can easily imagine it in your head as you're reading it. Overall, I just wish the book had fully committed to the epistolary style. I think it would've been far more engaging that way.

The Crimson Horror is one of those Doctor Who stories that are kind of light on plot and heavy on atmosphere. And that creates a sizable problem for a novelization of the episode. How do you stretch a plot that already felt pretty thin into a 200-page novel? Gatiss's answer is to not stretch it much and add a (mostly unconnected) prequel instead. In fact, The Crimson Horror doesn't start until 40% of the way into the novel. Now, to be fair, the prequel adventure is rather fun, and it ends up being more interesting than the portion of the book that actually adapts its namesake's episode. But it is weird that you have to read nearly half the book to reach the beginning of the story you've set out to read. I don't want to go into any real detail about the prequel story, since it is totally new to the novelization, but I do think it's worth a read. As for The Crimson Horror, itself, I'm not sure there's enough there to please anyone who's not a hardcore fan. While the various points of view do beef up the characters some, the book speeds through its plot so quickly that the actual mystery itself feels like an afterthought. A lot of the emotional beats land much better, particularly those involving Ada, but I can't help feeling like the actual mystery is just as middling here as it is in the episode. Sure, this book was never gonna rock the boat, or anything, but I would've liked to spend more time beefing up the central mystery of The Crimson Horror some. Maybe it could've leaned harder into the Sherlock Holmes aspect of the mystery or something, I don't know. As it is, it's just kind of perfunctory—which is rather disappointing given how fun the prequel story is.

Overall, Mark Gatiss's novelization of The Crimson Horror ends up being about as average as the episode, itself, is. The added prequel is reason enough to give the book a read, but it does come at the cost of properly expanding the main story's narrative. The epistolary angle is neat, but it's not executed as consistently as I'd like. And, ultimately, it's still the same story as the TV version, with all the pros and cons that come with that. While it does provide a noticeably different experience when compared to the episode, I'm not sure the novelization is really any better. It's just a different version of the same thing. And, sure, it's not the job of a novelization to radically change the story, but the best ones can often enrich the experience. I don't think The Crimson Horror really does that outside of the added character moments. It's just a fun, extended prequel followed by a pretty average, though creative, retelling of the TV episode. The novelization won't suddenly make you a fan of the episode, but the added character moments and genuinely enjoyable prequel make it worth a read. ( )
  thoroughlyme | Apr 23, 2021 |
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