The novel “In The Blood” by Jenny T. Colgan was published for the first time in 2016.
The Tenth Doctor brings Donna Noble back to her time but things quickly start to go wrong. Donna wants to spend some time with her old friend Hettie but finds her grumpy even though her life is supposed to be perfect. She’s not the only person to engage in that type of behavior, and internet trolls increased significantly. However, trolls also began to die.
The Doctor thinks something abnormal is happening to people, stimulating their negative instincts. Unfortunately, someone opened a bar in front of the Tardis and is ready to use violence to prevent him from entering it. The Doctor and Donna must use conventional means to travel around the world in search of the cause of what is happening.
“In The Blood” is part of a series of novels connected to the new “Doctor Who” series. They’re targeted to a wide audience by being linear enough to be appreciated even by very young readers but sophisticated enough to interest more mature readers. With the adventures of the Eleventh Doctor, there was a small change in the size of the novels about “Doctor Who” new series adventures, which have become slightly larger.
The Internet has always had its share of trolls, and social networks seem to stimulate antagonism in certain people. What would happen if this negativity increased exponentially? What if what appears to be a disease turns out to be fatal? That’s the situation the Doctor and Donna find on Earth.
The central idea of the novel seemed weak to me. “Doctor Who” stories were never intended to be scientifically rigorous, and the concepts developed in an episode can sometimes be classified more as fantasy than science fiction. This may seem paradoxical in a story about the Internet, the technological heart of our society, but a couple of sentences spoken by the Doctor do not constitute a real explanation for the way in which that sort of infection strikes.
The impression is that the story is used to preach against trolls and in general against people who use the Internet to argue online with strangers. However, the inclusion of Donna in her present indicates that the story is supposed to be set before social networks were widespread, in a time when trolls were found on Usenet and forums. From a technical point of view, the narrative is also a little lacking in other ways such as the use of the term CPU to refer to a computer in its entirety: are there really people who use such terms haphazardly? In my case, this contributed to the impression of approximation regarding the plot.
As has also happened in various television episodes, “In The Blood” works at least in part thanks to the protagonists. I think Jenny T. Colgan managed to reproduce the Tenth Doctor and Donna well together with their relationship. Their journeys to find the cause of some sort of online rage epidemic occur using conventional means, and it seems they can never do it quietly. However, I feel like that was used just to expand the story to get a novel that is longer than the standard for this series since this is some sort of special.
In the end, “In The Blood” seemed to me to be an average novel within this series based heavily on the Tenth Doctor/Donna duo. In various cases, the plot seems like an excuse to develop the interactions between the two protagonists. For this reason, especially their fans might like it.