Apollo 23? Wait, weren’t there only 17 Apollo missions? Right off the bat, BBC Books Apollo 23 by Justin Richards starts the eleventh Doctor’s adventures off with an intriguing question right there in the title. How could there be an Apollo 23?

Apollo 23 CoverOkay, so the fact that the Apollo missions continued long after the public was informed the program was over isn’t enough to get your interest? How about an Astronaut in full moon gear suddenly appearing in a burger joint? That image peak your curiosity? I know I was hooked.

It seems NASA continued sending secret missions to the moon and eventually built a base up there. The Apollo Rockets were only retired when an early form of trans mat was created. The base continued to be supplied and staffed well into the present day. It doesn’t take long before the Doctor and Amy are up on the moon investigating he incident with the astronaut. What starts out as a trans mat malfunction, eventually turns into a full-fledged alien invasion, and we all know how good the Doctor is at defeating those.

So an alien invasion? What else is new? Sure it sounds like any other Doctor Who plot, but it’s all about the way that plot is dressed up. Putting the Doctor and Amy in a moon base is certainly an interesting twist. Eventually the Doctor is transported back to earth and Amy is left on her own on the moon facing the invaders alone. Plenty of action and danger keep this story exciting throughout.

Both the new Doctor and his companion Amy are portrayed here pretty accurately. The new Doctor has a very unique speech pattern, and that flavor follows through in the dialogue of this book. From references along the way, this story presumably takes place fairly early in their relationship and before Rory joins the TARDIS crew. They are still getting to know each other, and yet they still display some of the banter that can be seen in the show.

Another interesting thing about this story is that it primarily involves Americans. I’m not saying I mind the British Isles, but with all time and space to play with, it’s nice to see them somewhere else but Wales. Unfortunately, and maybe it’s just me, but the Americans seem to be portrayed even more arrogant and clueless than usual. There is definitely a bit of a jibe about Gitmo in there. Again, maybe it’s just me, and maybe I’m a little overly sensitive, but I don’t enjoy when writers use an entertainment medium to voice their political leanings.

One other tidbit about the Americans I found interesting was that the CIA appears to know all about the Doctor. It makes sense that they would be aware of his activities, but with how focused on Britain the show is, it can almost seem like their government is the only one the Doctor has come in contact with. It’s nice to see his domain expanded a bit here.

All things considered, I’ve enjoyed reading Apollo 23, I’d almost say it’s been my favorite of the new BBC books. Well at least the eleventh Doctor books. I would definitely recommend giving it a read.