The Highest Science Gareth Roberts
#11 February 1993 ISBN 0-426-20377-1 258 pages
cover art © byPeter Elson

Another fine cover by Elson, notwithstanding his usual appallingly bad rendition of Sylvester McCoy. (As I mentioned earlier, depicting people isn't Elson's strongpoint, but he always makes a noble attempt. And it certainly doesn't help that McCoy's face is very distinct, and difficult for artists to reproduce!) The Chelonians are well realized, and their gigantic tank is imaginative and impressive in scale. And the rocky, windswept surface of Sakkrat lends a paradoxically claustrophobic feel to the scene.

The Doctor is drawn to the legendary planet Sakkrat, where infamous criminal Sheldukher seeks to exploit the world's cache of advanced technology. But there's more to Sakkrat than meets the eye...

worthwhile

A more enjoyable and light-hearted tale than its predecessors, The Highest Science features many of the classic Doctor Who ingredients: exciting alien worlds (which nonetheless manage to resemble rock quarries), exotic alien baddies (that resemble some kind of animal), and an over-the-top cast of quirky and crazy characters. Despite its good points, though, the novel is rather badly padded, making for a tedious read in places. And, for the second novel in a row, the new companion Benny is again sidelined, this time as her mind is adversely affected by the addictive drink Bubbleshake.

  • Prelude — from Doctor Who Magazine #196

illustrations © by Phil Bevan

  • Gareth Roberts wrote numerous novels for Virgin, all of them humorous and well-received by fans. He's also contributed to the new Doctor Who series, starting with The Shakespeare Code (2007).
  • Bubbleshake, which features in this novel, was later retooled as Bubble Shock for the first episode of the Sarah Jane Adventures television series, Invasion of the Bane (2007), which was written by Roberts with Russell T. Davies.