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19 June 2012 @ 11:55 pm
Non-spoilery review for the Doctor Who (audio)book "The Silent Stars Go By"  


Still putting it under a spoiler-cut though, although I don't address plot points because I know most of you guys won't have read this - rather, I focus on what made this audiobook awesome -- the characterization! =)

[Spoiler (click to open)]
I listened to the audiobook, which takes place at an unidentified time after Amy and Rory's wedding. I have a long commute and it's ~5 hours long so why not!

What I really liked - no, LOVED - about this audiobook was the characterization of Amy's relationship with Eleven. I think the show has really wanted us to take it for a given that Amy and Eleven share some sort of a close friendship, based on little comments she makes about 'knowing him' - like in The Doctor's Wife, when she tells him to be careful, or in The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe when Eleven gets an inexplicably emotional tear when he sees her again. However, canonically, in the TV series, I honestly don't ~feel~ any indication of a close relationship at all. It should come as no surprise to you guys that I chock this up to Moffat's seeming disinterest with filling in characterization subtext with the same kinds of important little "applegrass moments" that RTD did with Ten. So the overall effect of Amy and Eleven to me comes off more like a weak association, rather than a strong bond.

But the audiobook does this beautifully!

Eleven and Amy banter!! They create inside jokes, and banter that really reinforces their friendship. They tease each other - Eleven teases Amy about her inability to remember the rather simple name of a certain alien species, and this turns into a running joke in the audiobook, with even the OCs joining in to poke a little fun at Amy. Amy in turn teases Eleven as well for his botched landings and other mishaps. The overall effect is that you have a pair of friends with an obvious long-standing camaraderie, where they can lightheartedly tease one another and share a common history. It's exactly the sort of thing I would have loved to see on the show! And when things invariably turn sour, these "applegrass moments" help to underscore Amy's anguish and worry about the Doctor - he's in trouble, she messes up the name of the alien species again ... but this time, he's not there to jokingly correct her. It's just a single, simple line, but the subtext is profound and as a result, it's actually quite moving. Would really like to see this under Moffat!***

Rory features in this audiobook as well, and all I'll really say about him is that it's nice to see the wheels turning in his head as you see him learn to be an independent problem solver on his own merits in this audiobook, as opposed to 'gee look how I've grown during 2000 years offscreen' =P This would have been awesome in canon as well! Again - wrltstum!!

All in all, great story, AWESOME characterization and a great plot - one that is more complex and far more nuanced than it might initially seem! As the reader/listener, you end up making some assumptions ... which may or may not be correct =) If you're anything like me, you'll pause it at the end and say "OOOOOHHH!! So that's why this happened the way it did!!"

Characterization + plot = profoundly impressed kilodalton!!


*** can I just abbreviate this as "wrltstum!!!" from now on? I have a feeling I'll be saying it a lot XD
 
 
Current Mood: chipperchipper
 
 
 
fogsbluefogsblue on June 20th, 2012 04:47 am (UTC)
I haven't listened to this, but I gotta say, you make it sound interesting...

And seriously, new abbreviation!! I'm gonna hijack it too I think :D
kilodaltonkilodalton on June 21st, 2012 02:22 am (UTC)
It really is very good!! =D ... and feel free to hijack the abbreviation!! =D
Katherine: TARDISspicandspan89 on June 20th, 2012 05:02 am (UTC)
Interesting! This seems like it would be worth checking out. ITA - IMO Moffat utterly failed at developing the friendship between Amy and Eleven. It was like he drew the dots, but expected the audience to be able to connect them and still come out with a coherent picture. Applegrass moments (love that term) do matter! Good writers can't expect the audience to fill them in on their own. (Deleted scenes are a cop-out too IMO.)
kilodaltonkilodalton on June 21st, 2012 02:24 am (UTC)
Totally agreed about the connect-the-dots approach. It's really left completely in the eye of the beholder if there isn't a backstory/context to it ... it almost comes out like a Rorschach test then, where everyone is seeing something different, because the show hasn't provided enough context, as you said!

Thanks re 'applegrass moments' - I adopted the phrase after someone used it in a confession over at whoniverseconfessions over on Tumblr - I thought it was perfect, too! =D
betawhobetawho on June 20th, 2012 05:02 am (UTC)
Thank You!

I've been needing a new book to read, and a good Doctor Who book is always welcome.

I read "Coming of the Terraphiles" and was really disappointed.

But this one has gotten consistently excellent reviews. Five different reviews all gave it five stars.

So I bought it immediately. Thank you for the recommend! (I hadn't even heard of it before you recommended it. So extra thank yous!)

Edited at 2012-06-20 05:03 am (UTC)
kilodaltonkilodalton on June 21st, 2012 02:25 am (UTC)
You're very welcome!! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!! =D I haven't read any other reviews, but I'm not surprised to hear it got good ones - it was a very solid work!! =D
Rosa | ¯\(ºдಠ)/¯rosaxx50 on June 20th, 2012 06:35 am (UTC)
Ironically, I just watched The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe with a friend for the first time. She loved it, I was unimpressed.

I was always dismayed with the scenes cut out from s5 and s6, to be honest. It would have given Eleven-Amy so much more development.
kilodaltonkilodalton on June 21st, 2012 02:26 am (UTC)
Totally agreed. As is, it just feels like she's-kinda-there and they just-sorta-travel-together. You could pinpoint the types of relationships that Nine and Ten had with their friends - and that's even true of Eight in the audios, as well as some of the Classic Doctors. But Eleven and Amy are like a big weird black box to me!
Annissaannissag on June 20th, 2012 02:16 pm (UTC)
Well, I think I know what I'll be spending my next Audible credit on. :)

I think I need stuff like this books because, like you, I just don't see the close relationship we're supposed to assume Amy and the Doctor have. But I want to.
kilodaltonkilodalton on June 21st, 2012 02:27 am (UTC)
Totally agreed - I want to see that kind of development as well! This book did an excellent job of filling in the gaps, while remaining true to TV canon and characterization =D
kelkat9 on June 20th, 2012 02:30 pm (UTC)
I love audiobooks! I started listening to them when I had a long commute and they made all the difference. Now I use them out walking. I've only listened to two DW audiobooks - The Stone Rose and Only Human. Only Human was soooo funny! I'd definitely try another DW audiobook. I admit you have me curious to listen to an Eleven book now. I may have to look this up. Thanks for the rec!
kilodaltonkilodalton on June 21st, 2012 02:28 am (UTC)
You're very welcome!! I have a lot of the Doctor Who audiobooks, but have only recently started listening to them (I'm more familiar with the Big Finish audioplays, but it's been a while and I need to re-listen to them).

I hear ya re the commute ... mine is 3 hours roundtrip for the summer >.< ....
anna_sg1: lots - kahlan - greenanna_sg1 on June 20th, 2012 03:11 pm (UTC)
oh, this sounds interesting. might check it out.


However, canonically, in the TV series, I honestly don't ~feel~ any indication of a close relationship at all. It should come as no surprise to you guys that I chock this up to Moffat's seeming disinterest with filling in characterization subtext with the same kinds of important little "applegrass moments" that RTD did with Ten.

Completely agreed.
kilodaltonkilodalton on June 21st, 2012 02:29 am (UTC)
If you do, I hope you enjoy it!! It was a nice compliment to canon =)
jedi_of_urth: foreverjedi_of_urth on June 20th, 2012 04:49 pm (UTC)
Hmm, I can see why that would be good. But at the same time, if it isn't in the show doesn't it seem like it's not "them" in the books?

Sure even just having seen s5 I do think we're supposed to think they have a deep and meaningful bond without it actually being written into the show (to the point where Amy's Choice seemed to be pointing that out because *Amy* thought they had a relationship where she knew and understood him but what did she actually know about him?). But you can't just start writing that they do in the books and have it fit with canon where they don't.
kilodaltonkilodalton on June 21st, 2012 02:32 am (UTC)
Hmm, I can see why that would be good. But at the same time, if it isn't in the show doesn't it seem like it's not "them" in the books?

Oddly enough, it totally seemed like them!! In part, I think this was because the narrator was excellent and was able to mimic both Amy and Eleven's voices to a T! But also, the interaction seemed to more slot-in and compliment the blank spots we have in canon rather than overwriting them, if that makes sense.

my's Choice seemed to be pointing that out because *Amy* thought they had a relationship where she knew and understood him but what did she actually know about him?

This is the big problem I have with The Beast Below!! She's only just met him and is doing meta on how both he and the whale are "very old, very kind"? She's known him like an hour, what does she know, lol >.< ...
giallarhorngiallarhorn on June 21st, 2012 03:12 am (UTC)
You're making this sound like the best thing to come out of S5+6 except for a few random episodes like The Doctor's Wife and such XD

NGL, I wanna give it a spin now.
kilodaltonkilodalton on June 25th, 2012 01:21 am (UTC)
Not that it's a particularly high bar when you put it that way ... XD ... but, in a lot of ways, it is, at least as far as characterization goes.
Eli-chan: One last daysilverlunarstar on June 26th, 2012 08:13 pm (UTC)
SM just doesn't do characterization, which is sad because it's the characters that make me fall in love with a show in the first place. Oh, the plots can be 'ohsobrilliant' and such, but if the characters don't do me... The only reason I've watched seasons 5 & 6 and will most likely watch 7 is because I've already been reeled into the Doctor Who world and find it hard to let go, no matter how bad it gets. *Sigh*

Anyway, the audiobook sounds brilliant. Will have to check it out!
kilodaltonkilodalton on July 4th, 2012 01:17 am (UTC)
Yeah SM's characterization is very splotchy and comes off as really only existing to serve the plot, imo =/ It's very hard for me to see Eleven, River or Amy as "people" - I have no idea who they are or what makes them tick on a level that I even felt I knew some of the one-off OCs in the RTD era =/