Mike Tucker, Doctor Who: Diamond Dogs. Book Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

There are those who will stare into the eyes of a soul who craves excitement and adventure from a young age and believe that they are looking into the heart of the demented and troubled soul. That to have a map on the wall when the heart has barely started to beat in time, the mouth that openly suggests that to go on holiday is not to stare at a beach or order the same food as you would get in a crumbling old chip shop somewhere in the Midlands, is the words of fools.

Adventure, moving on from place to place is surely what pushes onwards, makes us grow and fall in love, makes us appreciate just how small we are in the Universe and how we can fit in. It isn’t until we see the one dazzling waterfall, the one uncluttered and secretive beach or the shining example of nature at her most glorious that we realise we must put down our bags and live within walking distance of this act of beauty forever.

To lay your eyes on beauty on Earth is one thing, to see it in another planet, that must be something truly incredible but devastatingly dangerous to witness, it is not something we can ever believe we will see up close in our life time but in the rings of Saturn there is surely more spectral splendour than what we can see on our own planet and in Mike Tucker’s Doctor Who novel, Diamond Dogs, the reader is left short of breath as they are given a glimpse of what The Doctor and his companion Bill are given the chance to see.

At the heart of the story is always the adventure, in this case a heist, a war and sabotage but there is also a sense of the dichotomy between the riches of the Universe, the diamonds formed in Saturn’s highly pressurised atmosphere, and the way that humanity undergoes the rigours of mining for the resources that power that feeds the stagnating economy. It is to the past that we are urged to think when reading the story, the twin pleasure of a story dealing with the future and the chaos surrounding it but entwined with the resonance of how we got that far in the first place.

For diamonds in space, read coal, underground, men’s lives at risk on an hourly basis, chocking back harmful dust, danger from collapse and disease, the human need for fuel; Old King Coal, the power source behind rapid expansion of the British Empire. The parallels are there to be seen and it takes a very good writer such as Mike Tucker to deliver it without romanticising either, whilst at the same time urging the reader to believe that adventure is just round the corner of each page.

A wonderfully described Doctor Who novel, one in which sees a more prickly Doctor at work, one that asks us to understand that vital belief, adventure is always good but not at the cost of another’s life.

Ian D. Hall