You’ll have noticed a few new series Target branded books coming out recently (2018) from Penguin books. They’ve been out in hardback a while, but thanks to an Amazon offer, I picked up a couple in paperback. First up, of course, is the Russell T Davies Ninth Doctor novelisation of Rose.
It’s a solid piece of writing, following the beats of the original script and amplifying here and there, as well as injecting some forward continuity, mostly from Russell’s own era as showrunner. It’s been a while since I watched Rose, and from memory this leaves nothing out, enhances some scenes and gives us better insight into the protagonists.
Rose herself is painted in more detail, has more insecurity, and sense of opportunities missed, while Mickey gets a rich backstory and detailed social life alongside his on-off relationship with Rose. As has been widely covered, one major tweak is the sequence where geek Clive Finch shows Rose photos of the Doctor; in the novel he covers past, future and as yet un-cast incarnations. It’s logical, even if at some odds with the TV version. Henrik’s store gets a larger, richer cast of characters as well, and there are numerous details scattered across the book, adding to the enjoyment.
In the end it’s a nice, is short-ish read (a shade under 200 pages and Target novels have never been epic works), and given the thirteen years between the episode and this book (how long?!), Russell has had plenty of time to reflect. yet resists the urge to tinker too far. As a fan, reviewer and occasional writer, my view is the original still stands up well, with the right number of beats in the right places. Mickey is still short-changed by the Doctor’s burgeoning relationship with Rose, and while we might not like that aspect of this Doctor, it is what happened.
All in all Rose is worth a read, in fact I’d go so far as to recommend it!