Review: Doctor Who: Big Bang Generation by Gary Russell

Doctor Who: Big Bang Generation

When a pyramid from another world appears in Sydney Harbor, the Doctor begins to investigate how it got there and what can and should be done about. Also hot on the trail is a familiar time-travelling archaeologist, though as the cover warns you, it’s not necessarily the one you were expecting.

In his afterward, Gary Russell says that the reason he decided to use Benny Summerfield instead of River was because series runner Steven Moffat nixed the idea. Russsell goes on to say that Moffat suggested bringing Benny back because he’d always liked the character and that then novel turned out to be better because of it.

I’m glad Gary thinks the novel turned out better than he originally imagined. Because this reader found the novel a pretty big disappointment.

Russell does a fine job of capturing the Peter Capaldi Doctor on the printed page and I have to admit that I was really looking forward to seeing the new Doctor and Benny interact. Unfortunately, those interactions fizzle rather than sizzle. A lot of this can be put at the feet of an abundance of continuity surrounding Benny that this reader wasn’t aware of. I will admit I haven’t followed every twist and turn in Benny’s story once the New Adventures ceased publication. So the various characters in her entourage who presumably come from her Big Finish audio line were all mystery to me. Having no investment in any of them, I found myself rapidly wanting to skip the sections that involved these unfamiliar characters and get more into what I’d hoped to get when I picked up the novel.

And that was a good story from Russell. In the past, I’ve been impressed with many of Russell’s Doctor Who offerings — probably more so than many of my fellow Whovians. But Big Bang Generation is a misstep by Russell and a dud.

In the interest of full disclosure, I received a digital ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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