The Wheel of Ice
By Stephen Baxter
The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe find themselves on a space station that is orbiting a moon that belongs to the planet Saturn. The main purpose of the station is to mine a rare mineral for Earth who is starved for minerals. Something seems to have gone amiss. Equipment has been sabotaged. Supplies have gone missing and strange blue creatures seem to have been seen on the moon. To make matters worse there is a member of the crew who is bent on getting the precious mineral at no cost and that includes blowing the moon up killing everyone in the vicinity.
The Wheel of Ice is the first past Doctor book in quite a long time. In fact it is the first one since around 2005 when the Past Doctor range ended and the New Series Books took flight. They chose to do a Second Doctor adventure which for me was a good selling point as I liked the Second Doctor stories in print in the past so was really looking forward to reading this one. With so few stories existing at this time from Patrick Troughton’s era it is always good to have more adventures even if it is in print.
For me The Wheel of Ice misses the mark for me. For one it is a tad too long and seems to be filled with a lot of filler. Sort of like the way the classic series was back in the day. For TV that is fine as you have something to visualize but for the book it just gives it a dragged on feel to it as I found myself skimming over paragraphs that just did not seem to fit the story or if a scene was dragged on too long. The pace was ok but jumping around with tons of different plot lines made it a tad bit difficult to follow.
With the problems I had with The Wheel of Ice I did find the story to be entertaining and it did for the most part kept my interest when it wasn’t bogged down with filler. Of all the plotlines going on The Doctor and Zoe exploring together was my favorite and the most interesting. I liked how The Doctor was trying to figure everything out with the Blue Dolls and the machine that controlled them. But what would have been better and was a staple of the Troughton era was that it would have been better with a menacing monster. Yes it turned out that the real monster and villain of the story turned out to be a human but the resolution was pretty good and stuck with the main Doctor Who moment you come to expect.
Despite the problems I had with this book like not really feeling like a Second Doctor story and the way it dragged it was for the most part an enjoyable book. There were some good moments in it and for the most part a good story. But I would buy the paperback as it was not worth the price of a hardcover.
Grade C +