A mysterious unidentified planet, bones rattling in the dark, messages in the sand; all the perfect set up for a classic spooky Doctor Who adventure, that’s what awaits in Into the Nowhere, the latest short story offering in the Time Trips series.
The story takes place in the space between The Day of the Doctor and The Time of the Doctor, and sees The Doctor and Clara crop upon a planet, but in typical Who style, it’s not just any planet. The ensuing adventure that the duo are pulled into feels very episodic, to the point that you could almost imagine the story to be an adaptation of an episode itself.
Right from the very start the characters are thrust into exactly the sort of peril we have come to expect, and it’s a peril that gives very little breathing room for much else as the narrative thrusts from one thing to the next. It’s unfortunate, perhaps, that this does leave the reader with little chance to digest what’s actually happening before the story twists and turns to yet another encounter. This is perhaps most true of the height of the story, where the narrative could benefit from a little room to move, and to paint a clearer picture to the reader of what is happening. It’s descriptive, but not in the broader sense of the world, leaving this reader in particular a little confused as to the path the story takes.
That aside, there is some rather lovely dialogue that captures, in particular, The Eleventh Doctor beautifully, showcasing him from his most ridiculous (naming a planet Anthony?), to his darker and more tortured side. It also manages to display the companion relationship between The Doctor and Clara in a pleasing way, that even fits in some rather poignant moments that might be unexpected in such a short story.
Overall, I feel that Into the Nowhere fell a little short of the story it could have been; with a lot of good ideas that never quite manage to hit the mark. It’s the sort of story I’d love to see expanded to a full novel, but alas as it is? It left me wanting.