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The Devil Goblins from Neptune

By Keith Topping & Martin Day

Book review by Paul Scoones

Don't be put off by the ghastly title or the lurid cover - this is a great read. With one book, the rumours that BBC Books would sanitise their new Doctor Who range by removing references to sex, violence and drugs has been effectively quashed, because this book has all three. It is as 'adult' as any of the Missing Adventures, and just as sophisticated, particularly in its portrayal of the Earth of the very early 1970s still in the grip of the Cold War.

More so than perhaps any other novel to date, Devil Goblins from Neptune portrays UNIT as a believable United Nations operation, working in conjunction with its Soviet and American counterparts, and at the same time struggling to counter wide-spread high-level corruption from within its own ranks.

Against this fraught political background, the Third Doctor and Liz, working for the most part away from each other - which helps to accentuate Liz's strengths as a resourceful individual - must deal with an invasion which is already well advanced by the time it comes to their attention.

The last part of the novel, which in apparent homage to Season Seven is split into seven distinct 'episodes', is a flagrant steal from Independence Day, with a dogfight between aliens and humans in the sky above Area 51. Whilst this admittedly aids tremendously in providing a visual point of reference for imagining the scene, it somehow seems rather too unoriginal, and is for me the one downside of an otherwise excellent novel.

This item appeared in TSV 51 (June 1997).

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