Apollo 23 by Justin Richards: B

From the back cover:
An astronaut in full spacesuit appears out of thin air in a busy shopping centre. Maybe it’s a publicity stunt.

A photo shows a well-dressed woman in a red coat lying dead at the edge of a crater on the dark side of the moon—beside her beloved dog ‘Poochie.’ Maybe it’s a hoax.

But as the Doctor and Amy find out, these are just minor events in a sinister plan to take over every human being on Earth. The plot centres on a secret military base on the moon—that’s where Amy and the TARDIS are.

The Doctor is back on Earth, and without the TARDIS there’s no way he can get to the moon to save Amy and defeat the aliens.

Or is there? The Doctor discovers one last great secret that could save humanity: Apollo 23.

In the run of the Doctor Who: New Series Adventures books, this one comes in at number 37. At some point I’ll go back and read the earlier ones, but I’m really enjoying the new season with the eleventh doctor and couldn’t resist the temptation to check out the first book to feature him and his spunky Scottish companion, Amy.

I’m used to media tie-in books being fairly crappy, so Apollo 23 was a pleasant surprise. Oh, it’s not great literature or anything, but the characterization of Eleven and Amy is very solid, with dialogue that I can easily hear the actors delivering and several lines that elicit a grin. The basic plot is somewhat reminiscent of Dollhouse: there’s a secret base on the moon where experiments are being carried out on prisoners. The goal of the experiment is ostensibly to remove memories of bad experiences that led to criminal activity, but the technology winds up being used to create “Blanks” whose personalities are stored elsewhere while alien minds are imprinted upon them.

There’s more involving quantum links between Earth and the moon, but it’s really a sort of alien invasion/body snatchers story. The Doctor gets to zip around impressing people with his brilliance while Amy does a lot of snooping about. If this were an episode of the show, I’m sure it would be a disappointment, but in this format, it’s a quick and enjoyable read that might help ease the pain of the long wait ’til the Christmas special. I’ll be reading more!

Did you enjoy this article? Consider supporting us.


  1. Do they try to fit this in to the show timeline at all? Obviously Amy and Eleven have met, so it’s after -that- episode, but does it give any other hints as to when in the season it occurs?

    • Nope, it does not. There’s no reference to a crack, either. However, a second trio of books is due in September and those include Rory, so by extension, I reckon the first three take place before episode six, “The Vampires of Venice.”

Speak Your Mind