BooksDoctor Who

Doctor Who: Kerblam! (Target Collection) by Pete McTighe (book review)

The memorable title of ‘Kerblam!’ brings us to a rather depressing future where everyone orders their goods from a central location and all you ever see are delivery robots. Oh wait. The 13th Doctor gets a message directly into the TARDIS, brought by a robo-postman. The parcel it hands over contains a fez. Yes, another late delivery and a note inside requesting help. She immediately rushes to the biggest distribution centre in the galaxy so the travellers can pose as workers.

Ryan is immediately at home, showing dextrous skills previously unseen, as working in one of these centres was his own immediate future before the Doctor whisked him off to other places and times. The Doctor wants to be in packing, so swaps with Graeme who is sent off to the maintenance department. Yaz goes to fulfilment so gets up close to the creepy robots. They uncover a deep plot and it’s not just putting up the free delivery to £25.

The novel gives us a little more background on the planet and the people who make up part of the distribution centres. It’s something the customers tend not to think about as they order some necessity for next day delivery.

I liked this and not just for the violence and crazy postmen. It sets up the plot well and its dialogue heavy in most part which makes you think about the actors in the episode. There’s a little bit of history of the companions, too, which we don’t get much of on the TV series. The concept of evil of robots has been well used and this doesn’t address the issues of lunatic over-consumption that the business is ultimately part of. At its heart, this is an old-fashioned grudge against technology with not a massive amount of substance to it but all is forgiven when you finish with a giant Kerblam!

Sue Davies

November 2023

(pub: Target/BBC books, 2023. 176 page paperback. Price: £ 9.99 (UK). ISBN:‎ 978-1-78594-823-7)

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