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Human Nature by Paul Cornell is the book which the Tenth Doctor TV episodes 'Human Nature' & 'Family of Blood' are based on, but the book is way better! For me this is one of the best Doctor Who novels ever published, and the audiobook version read by Lisa Bowerman is magnificently good, bringing Paul Cornell's novel of humanity to life.
This is a Seventh Doctor story with Bernice Summerfield as his companion, and was originally published as part of the New Adventures range in 1995 when there was no Doctor Who on the TV. The plot of this book is similar to the TV adaptations of course, but the details are quite different, so this book can be enjoyed separately from the TV episodes without any real conflict... unless you are a person who wonders how the same story can fit in to Doctor Who continuity twice, with two different Doctors!
Human Nature is a Doctor Who story about love, war and the emotions that make people tick, which features real characters not cardboard cut-outs. I thought the alien villains were a bit weak when it comes to being fearsome, but that is only a small minus to an otherwise excellent story.
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Yes, Human Nature would later become the episodes Human Nature / The Family of Blood on television featuring the 10th Doctor and Martha. This was the original novel. Which was better? By leaps and bounds, the greatly re-worked TV episodes. Not that the novel isn't good, but the later version took the bare bones idea and made it great. Here we have sort of the same plot, just with Benny and the 7th Doctor. Some of the characters are the same, and the story is similar. It just worked better with 10 and Martha. That said, Lisa Bowerman provided top notch narration, and her impersonation of Sylvester McCoy is charming.
What did you like most about Doctor Who: Human Nature?
Human Nature is an excellent story. You can easily see why it was dramatised in 2007 with David Tennant's 10th Doctor. <br/><br/>One of the elements I enjoyed most of all - SPOILERS! - was the scene in which the companion Bernice Summerfield accidentally informs a friend of a friend in the village of the forthcoming First World War. This friend's reaction to the news that someone for whom they care deeply will die in the first charge at the Somme was an excellent dramatisation of the different stages of grief in microcosm and yet you could see despite the fear that he was willing to do what he could to help her. <br/><br/>This also explained one of the novel's main themes which I enjoyed: Even when people are faced with tough choices which may hurt them as individuals or be the easy way out they should do the right thing whatever that may be.
Have you listened to any of Lisa Bowerman’s other performances? How does this one compare?
I have listened to several of Lisa Bowerman's audio performances for the company Big Finish. In those performances she does not play all the parts but I still feel that in comparison to some of her work this shows her versatility with parts and voices and tone - be it the emotionally charged sequences with Smith and Joan Redfern, the desperation of Benny to have her Doctor return and Tim to have the bullies ignore him and lastly the anger of McCoy's Doctor once he returns. On a related note I must congratulate Bowerman for doing a far more true to life and intense 7th Doctor than I was expecting.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Aside from the previously mentioned accidental revelation, one other moment which tugged at my heart strings was the sequence during the climax where Benny - and later on Tim - try to convince Smith to become The Doctor again with all the carnage around them. It moved me to see that in an attempt to discover what makes us human, all that occurred was devastation and bloodshed, with love in the centre of it all.
Any additional comments?
This book is excellent. Some may prefer the modern television version but it is a great piece by itself and it is always good to see both the original and the reinterpretation. 10/10.
Read really well.
Would recommend it to anyone.
Kept you gripped to the end.