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Dreamstone Moon

Doctor Who: The BBC Eighth Doctor Adventures #11
Nick Mellish

Paul Leonard has managed to pull of the same trick with ‘Dreamstone Moon’ as he did with his first EDA, ‘Genocide’; the trick is a simple one: create an engaging story, with enough twists and turns to keep you alert and yet have a plot simple enough to follow without too much difficulty.

Unlike the complex plotting of ‘Alien Bodies’ or the relative simplicity of ‘Legacy Of The Daleks’, ‘Dreamstone Moon’ falls somewhere in the middle. Whilst parts of it appear to be bordering on the complex, the majority of it is very easy to follow indeed, and because of this it is a very entertaining and quick read. The plot itself is an interesting one, and Leonard exploits it for all its worth, giving the reader little bursts of information, whetting the appetite so you want to know more, yet pacing it out just slowly enough to not get frustrating. In summary, ‘Dreamstone Moon’ is a very entertaining read, and one which I was sorry to finish.

The characterisation here is pretty good; Paul McGann’s Doctor is still looking like a crossbreed of Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker, but in many ways this is not too important in this story, since it very much belongs to Sam Jones. She has finally risen out of her moan-a-lot, adolescent state and into a well-defined character, and one who appears to not be as bland as I for one had been finding her thus far into the EDAs. Her reactions through the story are all very real, especially her doubts over the trustworthiness of the aliens, and for once you actually care about her relationship with the Doctor- full points to Leonard for that. Only some of the military characters suffer a bit, but this is nothing new.

In all, ‘Dreamstone Moon’ is pacey and fun; it is shallow compared to some EDAs, but superior to many. The plot is interesting, the main characters interact nicely and you get a vivid picture of the alien surroundings- the moon itself, the various bases, the spaceships- in your mind due to the very clear descriptions. If there are any complaints, it is that, as mentioned above, some of the supporting characters suffer from being not as defined as the main ones, but this alone does not stop ‘Dreamstone Moon’ from being what it is: an entertaining read.

Chad Knueppe

Thank the stars for Paul Leonard's "Dreamstone Moon". If read in chronological order, this novel follows the boring "Longest Day" and the amateurish/idiotic "Legacy of the Daleks". Thankfully, Leonard's book offers the magic and excitement one expects from an epic Doctor Who adventure.

The Eighth Doctor was separated from his companion, Sam Jones, during the exploits contained in "Longest Day". He has since been searching the galaxy for any evidence of her whereabouts. In "Dreamstone Moon" we find that Sam has continued on her own, joining a terrific new companion, Aloisse, a large, swamp-dwelling Krakenite. After Aloisse saves Sam's life on a doomed spaceship, the teenager finds herself opposing the Galactic Mining Corporation's ecological devastation on Mu Camelopides VI, the Dreamstone Moon.

Sam evolves considerably when she is forced to accept that she very well may never see the Doctor again. She learns to take care of herself and becomes active in protesting the ecological damage caused by the Mining Company. As people die and situations change, Sam begins to doubt Aloisse and wonders who the true enemies are. The relationship between Sam and the alien Krakenite changes many times as Sam learns to choose between her own ethics and her sense of loyalty.

The Doctor, meanwhile, has managed to track Sam down. Before he can get to her, he is captured by authorities who fear his alien nature. Isobella Cleomides, his oppressor, is one of those great Doctor Who characters who does what she thinks is best before learning all the facts the Doctor will reveal o her. She forces herself to believe his guilt simply due to his alien nature. The Doctor joins Daniel O'Rayn, a member of the DMMC mining corps, in uncovering the truth behind the Dreamstones; O'Ryan is the antithesis of Cleomides as he learns to trust the Doctor and fight for what is right. Both the Doctor and Sam are richly fleshed out and stand on their own (warning: they come close to rejoining another but are torn apart again, but you figure that when the book starts!)

This is one of those more classically Science Fiction themed novels, as it explores the potentials of dreams and imagination -- the Dreamstones can enhance and record dreams, see. The characters are compelling in the Doctor Who tradition, especially Anton LaSerre, an artist who makes a living by cataloguing and reproducing his own dreams. When th Dreamstones begin provoking nightmares, he becomes a man obsessed.

This novel is rich with outer space action and features decompression and loss of oxygen and failed space suits. Nonetheless, for all its bluster, its primary focus is questioning ideas of consciousness and the subconscious. The true nature of the mines will excite fans of the Star Trek episode "Devil in the Dark".

This is one of the novels to definitely read, and it leads up quite nicely to its worthy follow-up, "Seeing I". Definitely recommended.

Gary Rothkopf

In the four books of the arc where Sam is separated from the Doctor, we have a good half and a bad half. The first book is dull as peeling paint, and the second is continuity overload and simplistic drivel. However, once we get over those disappointments, we, the readers, are treated to two rather fantastic books. "Dreamstone Moon", by Paul Leonard, is nowhere as great as "Genocide". However, it still ranks far above "Kursaal" and "Legacy of the Daleks".

In "Dreamstone Moon", we find out what has actually happened to my least favorite ecocentric whiny liberal of all time, Sam. She's ended up being rescued by a spaceship belonging to the Dreamstone Mining Corporation, which as the name suggests, mines a mineral called dreamstone( rock that records and stores dreams) on the moon of Mu Camelopides VI. Sam predictably ends up falling in with a group of environmentalists, who are mainly aliens (including an octopus-like Krakenite named Aloisse), who believe the company are tearing the moon apart and possibly killing off any supposed indigineous lifeforms, as well as disturbing the ecology. When two of the protesters are killed, Sam and Aloisse go to investigate, only to find that some tentacled monster, similar to a Krakenite, seems to be responsible for the deaths. Meanwhile, the Doctor has made it to Dreamstone Moon, and is trying to locate Sam, as well as investigate some mining disasters. These investigations however, are thw! arted by the military and the company, with no one heeding the Doctor's warning of what is to come if they do not stop mining. Then, a rather confusing situation involving some dream artist and the moon and planet being alive whilst causing all the destruction occurs.

As I've noted before, Leonard tends to write rather complex novels. And one of the most complex things out there involves dreams and consciousness, so it's rather fitting that he'd write a book where that is one of the main focuses. The problem is that the whole plot involving the dreams, the planet and moon, and the artist ends up being more muddled than intriguing. Plus, none of the aliens have a well-developed culture with great characterization like the Tractites did. Still, Leonard pulls that off reasonably well.

The Doctor actually got an interesting thing to do in this novel, unlike "Longest Day". Plus, like before in "Genocide", he actually comes off as something than either a "congenital idiot" or a Baker/Pertwee clone. Sam, no matter how hard the authors try when they write, cannot come off as an appealing character. She belongs in the class of companions reserved for Peri, Mel, Nyssa, and others. They all had potential, and were reduced to blubbering, helpless people that no one can stand. Sam may not scream all the time, or say "I don't understand" every five minutes, but she is a truly annoying person who is too much of an idealist. I am so glad they got rid of her eventually. It took the BBC long enough.

As for the rest of the characters, they're all rather well written as well, with some interesting aliens and locales. A bit of continuity seeps through, but not a great deluge, so that's fine. I hate the "dream artist", but he doesn't ruin the book, so I just ignore him for the most part. Plus, there's some great action sequences that are actually entertaining and nowhere near plodding and dull. Mr. Leonard doesn't do a great job, but this book is still a good read. If I had more time, I'm sure I could do a closer reading, and discover that it's actually far greater than I thought. But, for now, I'm going to give "Dreamstone Moon" an 8/10. Rather good book that is probably better if I read the whole thing through undistracted. Also a great lead-in for the excellent "Seeing I", the wonderful end to this mediocre arc.