|I'm pretty certain none of the vampires in this book can turn into bats, so this cover should've been false advertising, but Orman got around that by giving personalities to some bad CGI.|
|Author||Kate Orman & Jonathan Blum|
|The Eight Doctors||The Bodysnatchers|
Vampire Science is the second book in the ridiculously long series of Eighth Doctor Adventures (the ones for your eyes, not your ears) and, as the title implies, it involves both vampires, and science. It's written by Kate "Wants To Fuck Eight" Orman, who has a lot of relatable motivations in life. We're also led to believe that her personal man slave was at least somewhat involved, but I think they just put his name on the cover to let him pretend that he actually matters. Nobody's had the heart to tell him otherwise.
This book is GOAT, and anyone who disagrees is fundamentally wrong. It basically just takes the main points of the only good chapter in the previous novel, and drops them in a domestic setting. It's also the only canon story currently in existence. When I last turned up at the BBC headquarters to take my usual shit in their kettle, I overheard plans sent down from the führer to turn this book into a moving motion picture for the television box, but the last time they made a movie with the Eighth Doctor, it was so good that the entirety of Hollywood almost gave up entirely for feelings of inadequacy in the face of a masterpiece, so that idea was dropped. Also, everything I just said was a lie. Except for the bit about this book being GOAT—that part's true.
I have to be honest here, TARDIS Data Snore doesn't have a good plot description for this book (yet found it necessary to remind me that people think the Doctor is totally fuckable now, actually) and I can't remember it in enough detail to recount it accurately, so consider this page an exciting new game wherein you have to figure out which parts are true or not. Which is okay, because unlike its predecessor, this book is actually worth a read.
Remember those ancient enemies of the Time Lords that were all powerful and that, until they got properly btfo'd by a man in a really stupidly impractical scarf and then again by an amnesiac who's just stumbled out of Party City? Well, they're back to pull off the ruse of the century. Also, this story takes place in the worst country in the world, because guns are legal there, and maybe fans are a little sick of the Doctor's usual beating-people-to-death shtick, and they'd like to see something a bit different. Unfortunately, instead of his usual hands-on approach, he defeats the bad guys with an intelligent plan, but he still manages to end the book with plenty of victims, so at least it's not all bad.
This book's a little bit like a certain two-parter in which some of the monsters-of-the-week just want to live peacefully and coexist with humanity, and the others think that's just not good enough. The Doctor may totally relate to their unending thirst for blood, but the latter group end up being a bunch of cunts, and so begins a collection of really bad decisions that ultimately results in what most of Eight's stories usually do, but we already knew that the Doctor is stupid, so no surprises there.
UNIT gets involved in the form of Adrienne Kramer, and I'm not gonna lie, she was pretty cool, and she gave the Doctor some stellar dating advice. Other characters include Carolyn McConnell, who spent most of the book crying, wanting to fuck the Doctor and doing science (see? told you it was in here somewhere), and there was also her useless husband, James, who was useless. Oh, and not to forget the depressed doctor (no, not that one) called Shackle, who makes a lot of bad decisions. The generic antihero archetype was fulfilled by Joanna Harris, who gave the aforementioned doctor helpful suggestions as to what to do with his life, and was definitely not a suspicious individual at all. I don't remember the names of the bad guys, but they're not important, because nobody reads these books for the plot.
Also, Samantha "Not Ace" Jones stars, but she gets absolutely shredded pretty early on by the most unimportant of the unimportant bad guys, and she spends the rest of the book kinda grumpy (teenagers, right?) because for some reason the drug-fuelled prison riot the Doctor caused in the last book wasn't enough to clue her in on the fact that he's a fucking madman.
Even if the rest of it was shit—which it wasn't—this is also the book that introduced the butterfly room, and seeing as absolutely nothing in the entirety of Doctor Who going forward ever quite lived up to that, it's automatically the only story worth paying attention to, effectively rendering all other broadcasts and publications non-canon. In other words: all other TARDIS rooms btfo'd, neck urself thompson
The story starts out in San Francisco (although surprisingly we don't see Eight crippled by PTSD at any point, which is unrealistic), in a gay bar. They don't explicitly say it's a gay bar, but it's actually pretty obvious and you're not subtle at all, Orman. This part of the story is in Carolyn's point-of-view, and she ends up chatting up Samuel Jonestown, but before they can excitedly enthuse about their shared interests in the broom cupboard, there is a vampire. For some reason, I think it was a sexy vampire and she probably had her legs out or whatever. Anyway, something something, they end up in an alley facing sexy vampire lady down, and I think the Doctor tries to intimidate her by pulling his shirt off or whatever, but if he's trying to scare her off, that's the worst possible way. When that fails, because I knew it would, we all knew it would, he tries to run her over with his stupid car (no, not that one, the ugly purple beetle), because he foolishly assumes the laws of SPLINK don't apply across the ocean. You'd think he'd know things like this, but again: he is stupid. After his failed murder attempt, which may have involved the sexy vampire getting into a car of her own, they track down her house and prepare to finish the hit. There's actually a really wholesome little conversation between the Doctor and Carolyn at this point, which lets you forget that they're there to commit a murder. But it's okay, you're about to be brutally reminded in a second. Fanny McFangs arrives back at her house, having let her guard down because who the fuck expects a raging fucking psychopath to be chilling on their beanbag chair? She gets stabbed in the heart. Blood goes everywhere. I'm not even making this one up. Anyway, after traumatising Carolyn for life, the Doctor fucks off in the TARDIS because facing the consequences of one's actions is for lesser people. He begrudgingly lets Sam come too.
The main crux of the story happens after this, years later. It's not important. What is important is this scene:
Carolyn stood in the kitchen doorway and watched the Doctor cook breakfast. He was in his shirtsleeves, wearing her apron. With one hand he scrambled eggs in one skillet, while with the other he deftly folded mushrooms and green peppers into an omelette. Every so often a hand flew over to flip a few of the pancakes browning on the griddle beside the stove, or leapt over to the cabinets to dig out a few more spices or jams for the collection he was amassing on the counter. He moved with the grandiose energy of an orchestra conductor who was just getting to one of his favourite bits. Throughout it all he was singing, a long spiralling melody which jumped between scraps of Italian, snatches of what sounded like a bebop trumpet solo, and tongue-tripping percussion fills.
"What's that?" she asked.
"The rebirth aria from Paletti's The Fourth Sister. Don't worry if you don't recognise it: it won't be written for another few decades. Ya-te-de-dum..."
Carolyn smiled, bending to rub Mina between the ears. He'd even remembered to feed her, and now she was curled in her cardboard box, the kittens nuzzling her belly. Somehow the sheer casualness with which he talked about future opera was incredibly reassuring. Nonsense like that was part of the Doctor's everyday world – if he could take that in his stride, he could handle anything San Francisco could throw at him.
Right on a cymbal-crash from the Doctor, two slices of cinnamon toast popped out of the toaster. He was already swinging around to scoop them up, and without missing a note he fed in two more slices of bread. Forget the conductor metaphor, Carolyn thought, he was playing every instrument in the orchestra at once single-handed, and getting away with it.
Anyways, Carolyn's husband (who is useless) gets kidnapped so she dedicates her life to fucking the Doctor instead, because he isn't useless even if he gets kidnapped sometimes. Speaking of which, the man himself makes a blood pact with a vampire (because he is stupid) who also inexplicably gives him a haircut? They just break into a hairdressing salon and the vampire washes and cuts his hair and that's just a thing that happens? It's never mentioned again, ever, but I swear I didn't fucking dream it? Whatever, it was kino.
Really, the main appeal of this book is all the comfy domestic stuff, and frankly the vampires can piss right off. Except in the final confrontation, because that was based as fuck. Eight just straight-up injects a bunch of poison into his veins and lets the entire vampire coven feed on him, the madman. Who let him come up with this shit? Anyway, it works, and all the vampires die, except for the one that he made a blood pact with, because if she died then he would die too (I did say he was stupid for doing it), but thankfully she ends up turning into a human, doomed to a life of mediocrity and not eating people.
Everyone likes this book, except the people who don't like this book, but those people don't exist. If they did, they'd be wrong. Some folks might recommend you read Vampire Science as your first introduction to the Eighth Doctor Adventures series, but seeing as great men are forged in fire, you ought to endure the suffering of the previous novel so that you gain a full understanding of just how deep this rabbit hole goes. This book series is a rollercoaster and a fucking half of quality, so you might as well sample the scrapings from the bottom of the barrel before you go forward.
But enough about that. Vampire Science is a 10/10 book, comfy as hell and worth your precious time. It establishes a good basis for the EDAs going forward, and begins to lay some groundwork for future character developments, or some shit. It's genuinely fun, genuinely enjoyable and it's an excellent exploration of Eight's characterisation in the novels. Kate Foreman writes peak cute Doctor, and if you want to fall in love with him, this'll be the book to do it.