Hullo [community profile] foremansworld

May. 1st, 2009 10:35 am
skywaterblue: (dalek love)
[personal profile] skywaterblue posting in [community profile] foremansworld
The name of this comm is going to throw me off for a bit; I can't help but think of Beakman's World. (The Doctor probably prefers Beakman's to Bill Nye.)

I recently finished my first Doctor Who novel: Paul Cornell's "Human Nature". Sort of breaking my resolve not to read any of the books until I was out of actual TV to watch, but I needed something to read on the bus. I read the free PDF version on my iPod. All the free books posted by the BBC are available. I recommend Stanza, it's a great ebook reader.

As for the book itself: good. I wish the TV show had gotten to use some of the characters Cornell invents for Benny to be friends with - the feminist with the old dynamite sticks and her gay political landlord. It's hard not to compare the two finished products even though I think they ultimately have little to do with one another, but the TV show is sort of relentlessly depressing about the life the Doctor's been slotted into, and the novel at least makes it clear that the oft-mentioned issue of Martha's race could have been avoided, or made more positive for her.

Benny is no less strange to 19th century morals. Surely the very liberal gay landlord would have taken in a black woman as a lodger? Or the radical feminist - who has also become a maid in the TV version. More than focusing on Martha's skin color, I think I'm annoyed that the TV version is so relentlessly pointed about John Smith and surroundings, but never gives voice to the other side. There are no gay men working on labor issues, or feminists making a stand for the vote, or boys who become committed non-combatants. The TV show ends with us being so gratified that life isn't like that anymore, but unlike the book, doesn't care to show us how it happened. That sucks, because more than Benny, if any companion had just cause to start protesting being in the 19th c, surely it's Martha Jones.

Date: 2009-05-01 11:27 pm (UTC)
factioncat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] factioncat
Hi! Yes, Beakman is probably more the Doctor's style, though I'm sure he'd thoroughly approve of both (with perhaps the occasional dig at the ridiculous misconceptions of primitive human science, depending which incarnation 8)

"Family of Blood" (the TV version has two episode titles, so I prefer to use the unique one for the whole story) is easily one of the best of the RTD-era TV stories, but I think most of the changes from the book "Human Nature" make it weaker. And I kept expecting John Smith to be played by Sylvester McCoy, which was quite disconcerting! I agree with most of your comments, but I think avoiding the race issue would have been a cop-out; most black women in early 20th century England would have had a less-than-positive time.

I was really annoyed by the TV version changing the ending from white poppies to red poppies.


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Foreman's World

October 2009


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