Reviewed By: newt5996
Review Date: 6/16/19 8:11 pm
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.
It perhaps would be an understatement to call Seeing I a necessary novel for the Eighth Doctor Adventures. Jonathan Blum and Kate Orman’s novel is responsible for wrapping up the Sam is Missing arc of the Eighth Doctor Adventures and serves to remedy something that has been severely lacking in this specific range. The character of Samantha Jones has suffered from inconsistent characterization ranging from a lovesick puppy to generic female from late 20th century Earth to activist. Seeing I instead of focusing on a heavily involved plot, sticks with a small cast of characters to give Sam a decent reintroduction as companion to the Doctor. Orman and Blum force Sam to grow up, setting a novel over the course of three or four years both the Doctor and Sam spend on Ha’olam. The technologically advanced planet has mysteriously gained access to Gallifreyan technology which only makes the Doctor stay once he’s tracked Sam’s location to the planet. Orman and Blum keep them separated throughout the novel, Sam spending three years moving from job to job, attempting to make a name for herself. Sam explores what it means to be Samantha Angeline Jones and spends much of her time in reflection as to why she ran away from the Doctor. It does amount to being unable to process the idea that she is in love with the Doctor and he would never reciprocate the feelings, so she attempts to act like he would. This is a book where she has to discover who she actually is and what she wants to be. Getting a desk job becomes far too boring for her, Blum and Orman emulating the soul crushing boredom these jobs often require of their workers. She saves her money, quits, and then finds a cause to fight for: a job building houses for a settlement outside the major city. This section of the novel plays out not to dissimilar to Colony in Space while INC, the central government, attempts to take away the settlement, but actually succeeds. She then gathers her friends to find the Doctor, who has been on the planet the entire time.
The Doctor’s half of the narrative is confined near exclusively to the Oliver Bainbridge Functional Stabilisation Centre, in other words a prison for the crime of espionage. This particular prison manages to be one of the few cells to keep the Doctor captured, paradoxically using what seems to be old tactics. The correctional officer, Dr. Akalu, who treats the Doctor, or Mr. Bowman as his papers say, with the upmost respect. Akalu serves as a psychologist, attempting to get the Doctor to settle in and live the rest of his life in the prison. The prison itself is almost a utopia, giving its nonviolent inmates a place to stay and a place to work with a purpose. There is a genuine thought process of making the prisoners wanting to stay to stop any sort of rebellion. Yet this is all a front to break the prisoners into living life, and slowly Seeing I breaks the Doctor. With each escape attempt, and each piece of knowledge about the prison, the Doctor is three steps back in his escape attempt. The Doctor seen two-thirds through the novel is truly a sight for sore eyes, spending the end of his imprisonment doodling over the walls. The doodles start out at the level of the Sistine Chapel and devolves into a child’s doodles. Orman in particular has a history of putting the Doctor in these types of situations and once again this type of torture is incredibly effective. You see the Doctor lose his will to keep moving, he doesn’t know why Sam would leave, and he cannot fathom why she wouldn’t come back. Their reunion at the climax of the novel is incredible with both characters coming to an understanding about their relationship. Unlike Deceit, Sam has not changed to become a darker character like Ace, but to become an established character.
Orman and Blum also expand on the Dark Sam idea last seen in Alien Bodies as living in King’s Cross as a heroin addict. The mystery is only seen in the background early on in the novel building intrigue to what possible relevance this version of the character. Sadly after the Doctor and Sam reuinite, the final showdown the DOCTOR and I, the two computer program villains of the novel doesn’t live up to the slow burn that Orman and Blum set up. The computer programs do serve as fun villains, DOCTOR being modelled off the Doctor, and I being made out of Gallifreyean technology gives both characters well rounded personalities. The finale just leaves the reader wanting more from the book, something that is rare from these authors. Despite this Seeing I is perhaps the best Eighth Doctor Adventure since Alien Bodies.