So, if you've listened to Episode 32, in which Sean and I discuss Trevor Baxendale's Fear of the Dark, you may have heard me say that, as this story is set immediately following "Arc of Infinity," that it would be followed by "Mawdryn Undead." Of course, that was wrong--the next story would be "Snakedance." Now, the reason I really shouldn't have gotten this wrong, aside from the fact that I love "Snakedance," is that, in some ways, Fear of the Dark is a sort of inversion of "Snakedance." In each, one of the Doctor's companions is, via her dreams, contacted and eventually possessed by an ancient evil which seeks to re-establish a physical presence in this world. Except the one ends with death everywhere and the other ends with absolutely no death. There are even references to Tegan's snake dreams in the novel, further drawing attention to the connection between the two stories.
And that's where, as you'll also have heard if you listened to the episode, my biggest issue with the novel lies: it didn't feel very fresh. It felt like a story we'd read or seen before, either with The Pit or "Image of the Fendahl," or "Curse of Fenric," or "Snakedance"--it just felt predictable. Of course, Sean disagreed with me--as did several listeners who've kindly let me know how wrong I am. So, take everything I've written above with a grain of salt.
Anyway, I also forgot to include links about Downtime in the post announcing it, so here they are. Remember, as always--SPOILERS AHEAD!
Downtime at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
Buy it at Amazon.com!
Reviews at the Doctor Who Ratings Guide