Thursday, April 28, 2016

Original Sin by: Andy Lane: Stop With This Good Cop/Bad Cop Routine and Get On With It

Isn’t it odd that Doctor Who has never really done crime drama before?  I mean they’ve done mysteries with stories like All-Consuming Fire, but never really anything with a crime drama formula that has worked well.  I mean The Twin Dilemma may have thought it was crime drama but other than that nothing really present in Doctor Who.  That makes it all the more odd that Andy Lane’s third novel, Original Sin, decides to go down this route for its story which makes it become another in the streak of great novels that has been flowing from story to story.  The plot sees the Doctor and Benny go to thirtieth century Earth after failing to save a dying Hith, a giant slug species subjugated by humanity that have been using passive resistance by changing their names to reflect the species’ situation.  It’s a really clever idea and I credit Lane with making it work well.  Anyway the story has two main plots with the prologue with the Hith’s passive resistance leading to riots while the second plot is several characters investigating a Hith’s death which is just the opening to a large conspiracy with the twist that the Doctor and Benny are incriminated as murderers as someone has messed with a mind probe record of the death to see they were the murderers by Adjudicator Roz Forrester and her squire Chris Cwej who will eventually become the new companions as someone has to replace Ace.  The end of the conspiracy reveals our villain who I won’t spoil if you do not know who the villain is already as the twist is well set up.


Most of the novel focuses on Roz and Chris as they are to become the new companions which is a good idea and allows Lane to have fun with the whole good cop, bad cop dynamic.  Roz is an Adjudicator whose partner was murdered by an alien making her slightly xenophobic.  She is a logical and experienced Adjudicator who is almost your stereotypical cop as she has a sense of justice but knows that people can be bribed.  Roz gets the better dynamic with Benny of the two as they both have dark paths and have good senses of humor.  Chris Cwej on the other hand is the opposite of her as Chris is the new cop on the block who is all wide eyed and ready to get to work.  He is amazed by the technology of the world, will frequently use that technology in the fads like body bepples which basically makes him look like a teddy bear for most of the novel and is a skilled pilot.  He also has a strong sense of justice and what I like about the relationship between the two is that they are purely business partners here and have nothing going for them.  Roz begrudgingly respects Chris as she sees a bit of herself in him and doesn’t want to see him go through the same loss she went through when she was starting out.


Benny here is filling the usual companion role with all the charm of Benny.  Even though it hasn’t really happened the stuff Benny does in the novel feels like things that Benny would do as  character as the thirtieth century is actually in her future so she doesn’t know what to expect.  She isn’t xenophobic which just shows how times can change with the times and events happening around the galaxy.  The Doctor is also great here as he gets himself arrested and has to find a way to convince Chris and Roz that he and Benny are both innocent of murder and shouldn’t be put to death even though he ends up breaking several other laws which is great as they are silly laws.  The villain is also great as it is a return from the Classic Series with the reveal that he has been the one funding basically every plot that has involved some sort of robot in the shows history which I find fascinating and extremely plausible.  Once you know who the villain is you will probably agree with me about this fact as well.  The other characters are also great with the Hith being a great alien race miles above the gastropods seen in The Twin Dilemma and Beltempest is another character who is the head of another agency who is being paid off by the villain.  Beltempest is our comedic relief as he has gotten himself a body bepple so he can look like an elephant which is hilarious to imagine.


To summarize, Original Sin is not what I had expected as I wanted to see a Cyberman story and even though there are no Cybermen involved this story is just as good as All-Consuming Fire making this come second in my rankings of the Virgin New Adventures.  100/100

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