When the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who was imminent, the BBC reissued eleven novels in honor of each incarnation of the famous Time Lord. In The Silent Stars Go By, by Dan Abnett, the eleventh Doctor endeavors to take his traveling companions, Amy and Rory, to their home – meaning Earth – for Christmas. However, when the TARDIS lands on a planet covered with snow, the Doctor thinks it is “Christmas-y” enough, at least until they get separated and attacked by humans as well as hostile green giants with glowing red eyes and ray guns. Then they must reunite with each other and save themselves – as well as the other inhabitants of the planet.
This is a fairly easy read for anyone already familiar with the BBC phenomenon and its trappings. The Doctor’s time-traveling ship, the TARDIS, takes them to a destination other than their intended one, with sufficient peril and excitement to keep the pages turning. The companions, Rory and Amy, stay true to form, and Doctor number eleven is his usual, snarky self, complete with catchphrases and ramblings about the nature of their predicament. The banter between the characters remains on par with what fans of Doctor Who have come to expect.
The Ice Warriors make incredibly intimidating villains, yet remain someone that the Doctor feels he can possibly reason with. The description of the villains is bone-chilling, especially when seen through the eyes of the world’s human population – the Morphans. However, the peaceful Morphans’ strange blend of space- and rural-technology belies their seeming ignorance of worlds beyond their own, and the individual Morphans are almost completely sympathetic. Do they stand a chance against such an advanced foe?
As a re-release, the novel came with an abundance of material before the story even began. This might deter some readers – who can simply skip ahead about a dozen pages, but for others it might provide useful insight into the creation of the book. Fellow Whovians should find this story an enjoyable read, with lots of twists and turns, classic Who-villains, beloved companions, and plenty of wit to go around.