“Doctor Who: Human Nature” is a science fiction novel written by Paul Cornell, originally published in 1995 as part of the Virgin New Adventures series, which featured original stories based on the long-running British television series “Doctor Who.” The book is known for its complex and character-driven narrative, exploring themes of identity, sacrifice, and the nature of humanity.
The story revolves around the Doctor, a Time Lord with the ability to regenerate and change appearance, who has taken on a human identity to hide from a race of alien hunters called the Family of Blood. To do this, he uses a device called the Chameleon Arch, which transforms his Time Lord essence into that of a human named John Smith. In this new identity, he becomes a teacher at a boys’ school in England just before the outbreak of World War I.
As John Smith, the Doctor lives an ordinary life, unaware of his true identity or his alien past. He falls in love with a fellow teacher, Joan Redfern, and forms a deep emotional connection with her. However, as the Family of Blood closes in on him, he is faced with a moral dilemma. Should he remain as John Smith and lead a human life, or should he embrace his Time Lord nature to confront the Family and save the world?
The novel delves into the complexities of the Doctor’s character, exploring the contrast between his alien existence and his brief, passionate experience as a human. It raises questions about the value of humanity and the sacrifices that come with it, as well as the Doctor’s eternal struggle to balance his duty to protect the universe with his desire for a simpler, more human life.
“Doctor Who: Human Nature” is praised for its thought-provoking narrative, well-drawn characters, and its ability to capture the essence of the television series while adding depth and complexity to the Doctor’s character. It’s a story that transcends the typical boundaries of science fiction, offering readers a rich and emotionally resonant exploration of what it means to be human, even when you’re a Time Lord from another world.