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Damaged Goods

By Russell T Davies

Reviewed by Paul Scoones

[Cover]

For the most part, this book deals with real things happening to real people in the squalor of a run-down council estate in 1980s London. It is an unusual, yet compellingly effective, scenario for a Doctor Who story.

Davies skillfully acquaints the reader with the mundanity and real-life horrors for a small group of residents of the Quadrant council estate over the course of the first half of the book, touching on issues such as poverty, homosexuality, crime, prostitution and particularly drug dealing. These characters are then subjected to the alien horror of a creature reborn from a genetic code. An ancient and deadly powerful Gallifreyan weapon unleashed on modern day Earth and proceeding to decimate the population is an utterly chilling concept, explored by Davies to its fullest potential.

The role played by Chris Cwej in this novel may prove highly controversial and will certainly challenge some readers' perceptions of the character, yet it is not inconsistent with his reactions to the situations in which he finds himself in other novels.

Although new to the Doctor Who stable of authors, Russell T Davies is both an accomplished writer, and obviously very familiar with the series. His characterisation of the Seventh Doctor is very accurate, even down to the body language that McCoy used on-screen.

Damaged Goods is full of raw human emotion and tragedy. It explores the rifts that can develop between family members and the long-term emotional consequences of individuals' actions. It is an impressively powerful novel and one of the most adult of the New Adventures. If, as advance reports suggest, the BBC Books will be aimed at a slightly younger audience, there will be no place for novels of this calibre, and that's a great shame.

This item appeared in TSV 49 (November 1996).

Index nodes: Damaged Goods