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Human Nature was the thirty-eighth novel in the Virgin New Adventures series. It was released as an ebook on the BBC's website in November 2002. One of the most highly regarded New Adventures, it formed the basis of Paul Cornell's two part story Human Nature / The Family of Blood for the third series of BBC Wales' Doctor Who.
Publisher's summary Edit
1995 Virgin Books Edition Edit
"Who's going to save us this time?"
April, 1914. The inhabitants of the little Norfolk town of Farringham are enjoying an early summer, unaware that war is on the way. Amongst them is Dr John Smith, a short, middle-aged history teacher from Aberdeen. He's having a hard time with his new post as house master at Hulton College, a school dedicated to producing military officers.
Bernice Summerfield is enjoying her holiday in the town, getting over the terrible events that befell her in France. But then she meets a future Doctor, and things start to get dangerous very quickly. With the Doctor she knows gone, and only a suffragette and an elderly rake for company, can Benny fight off a vicious alien attack? And will Dr Smith be able to save the day?
2015 BBC Books Edition Edit
Hulton College in Norfolk is a school dedicated to producing military officers. With the First World War about to start, the boys of the school will soon be on the front line. But no one expects a war – not even Dr John Smith, the college's new house master...
The Doctor's friend Benny is enjoying her holiday in the same town. But then she meets a future version of the Doctor, and things start to get dangerous very quickly. With the Doctor she knows gone, and only a suffragette and an elderly rake for company, can Benny fight off a vicious alien attack? And will Dr Smith be able to save the day?
An adventure set in Britain on the eve of the First World War, featuring the Seventh Doctor as played by Sylvester McCoy and his companion Bernice Summerfield. This book was the basis for the Tenth Doctor television story Human Nature / The Family of Blood starring David Tennant.
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Main characters Edit
Other characters Edit
In the beer tent
The boys at Hulton Academy
- Timothy Dean
- Andrew Abbott
- Clive Alton (a Time Lord)
- Captain Merryweather
People of Farringham
- Jill and Jenny
- Mrs Windrush
- Mr Hodges
- Constance Harding
- Mr Sangster
- Sergeant Abeland
- Constable Bickerston
- Nathan Bottomley
- Richard Hadleman
Soldiers outside the time barrier
Time Lords in a possible future of Gallifrey
Seen orbiting the planet
Astronomical objects Edit
- The Aubertides state that Earth is in the arm of Mutter's Spiral in the Stellarian Galaxy, whilst Gallifrey is at the core.
- Timothy Dean becomes infected with the Doctor's Time Lord DNA and gains a second heart and a respiratory bypass system. He is hanged by his classmates, but is saved by his respiratory bypass system.
Foods and beverages Edit
- Benny drinks six pints on the planet Crex.
- The Doctor hates pears.
- Bernice refers to Mr Kipling pies. Bottomly thinks she is referring to Rudyard Kipling.
- Herbert Asquith is the prime minister.
- Bernice Summerfield is thirty-two years old. She pretends to be Smith's niece.
- John Smith claims to be forty eight years old.
- Joan Redfern gives Wolsey to the Seventh Doctor so that he will never be alone on his travels.
- John's faked credentials claim he is from the Flavian Academy of Aberdeen.
- John plays cricket.
- Joan compares John to Walt Whitman.
- Joan's husband, Arthur, died in a war.
- Alexander Shuttleworth is Benny's landlord. His uncle fought in the Second Boer War.
- Greeneye pretends to be the tenth incarnation of the Doctor.
- Richard enlisted in the army in 1914 and earned the rank of Captain. He fought in the Battle of the Somme in July 1916.
- Timothy Dean worked in the Red Cross during World War I and died in 1995 with many children and grandchildren.
- Clive Alton is a Time Lord, undercover as a student to ensure the situation remains under control.
- John and Joan often play whist.
- Cruk is a profanity which Greeneye and Benny often use.
- A boy reads the magazine Boy's Own.
- Bernice finds copies of Le Morte D'Arthur and A Study in Scarlet in a bookshop.
- When speaking to Timothy about the morality of war, John quotes from Henry V.
- John writes children's stories, including The Old Man and the Police Box, about a lonely elderly man who invented a police box that was bigger on the inside. The man travelled to the planet Gallifrey and there encountered a primitive tribe and showed them many secrets of the universe.
- John Smith and Joan Redfern work at Hulton College.
- John Smith is a history teacher.
- Joan Redfern is a science teacher. She doesn't like teaching at the school.
- Constance is a suffragette and a member of the WSPU. She is modelling herself on Emily Davison.
- Richard Hadleman attends the local Labour group. He intends to become a local MP.
- Greeneye refers to Interventionists, members of the Celestial Intervention Agency.
- The Doctor takes the pod to the Monks of Felsecar.
Personifications of concepts Edit
- Death collects Smith as a life owed by the Doctor.
- The Aubertides are from the planet Aubris. They are shape shifters, and reproduce asexually via buds on their backs.
- The Doctor has created a clay model of a Zygon.
Time Lords Edit
- The Doctor claims that Time Lords dream of what it is to be able to fly, be a different sex or to have a child.
- Bernice describes herself as the current occupier of the Proxima University Chair Of Archaeology and holder of the Martian Gallantry Medal.
- A television adaptation of this story appeared in the 2007 series of Doctor Who, entitled Human Nature/The Family of Blood, with several changes in the story.
- A prelude to this novel was published in DWM 226.
- The novel features a sequence where Greeneye meets Bernice whilst pretending to be the tenth incarnation of the Doctor. Coincidentally, the television adaptation featured the Tenth Doctor as portrayed by David Tennant.
- This novel was the second to be re-released by BBCi on the official Doctor Who website in ebook form, in November 2002. It was accompanied by extensive notes and commentary from author Paul Cornell and new illustrations from artist Daryl Joyce. The ebook featured minor differences from the original text, most notably the censorship of Joan's use of the N-word. It became inaccessible in 2010.
- The novel was reprinted as part of The History Collection in February 2015, with a new cover and introduction by Cornell. An audiobook of the story was released in August 2015, read by Lisa Bowerman.
- Death takes Smith as the life the Doctor promised her, rather than for Ace's. (PROSE: Love and War)
- In TV: Doctor Who, the Eighth Doctor kisses Grace twice; in Human Nature the Seventh kisses Joan six times. This makes the Seventh Doctor the first to be shown to kiss, despite being someone else at the time.
- Benny is still thinking of Guy de Carnac's death. (PROSE: Sanctuary)
- Bernice recalls Ace's departure. (PROSE: Love and War)
- Whilst discussing Benny's device, the Doctor claims he threw away the manual, just as he did when he first took control of the TARDIS. (AUDIO: The Beginning)
- Benny isn't convinced she'll ever have children. She later had a son, Peter. (PROSE: The Squire's Crystal)
- John Smith tells his students about Boudica's failed revolt against the Roman Empire in Roman Britain in 60. The Fourth Doctor and his companion Leela encountered the Iceni Queen shortly before her army's attack on the Roman capital city of Camulodunum in the midst of the rebellion. (AUDIO: The Wrath of the Iceni)
- Bernice claims John's brother Jonathan has returned to Gallifrey in Ireland. (TV: The Hand of Fear)
- John recalls knowing a Barbara in Rome. (TV: The Romans)
- John recalls a man with a beard who always upset his experiments. (TV: Terror of the Autons et al)
- In the story The Old Man and the Police Box, John writes of how the people of Gallifrey can no longer have children. (PROSE: Lungbarrow)
- The Doctor claims that Time Lords dream of what it would be like to become the opposite sex. The Eleventh Doctor would later state he knew the Corsair in both male and female incarnations, indicating they could change sex during regeneration. (TV: The Doctor's Wife) This was later confirmed when the Master regenerated into a woman. (TV: Dark Water) The Doctor himself eventually regenerated into a female body. (TV: Twice Upon a Time)
- Alexander is surprised to learn that Bernice received military training. (PROSE: Love and War)
- John says that he is Merlin. (TV: Battlefield et al.)
- Wrightson briefly communicates with Nemesis as she passes by the Earth. (TV: Silver Nemesis)
- John says that Newton was a very bad-tempered man. He met him in his fifth incarnation. (AUDIO: Summer)
- The Doctor says he could assume the identity of John Smith again. (TV: Human Nature/The Family of Blood)
- John mentions living seaweed to Joan, much to her amusement. (TV: Fury from the Deep)
- The Doctor tells Bernice about Oolians and Oolis. (PROSE: Original Sin)
- Includes seventeen illustrations from the e-book by Daryl Joyce, originally published on the BBC's website.
Additional cover images Edit
- The Discontinuity Guide to: Human Nature at The Whoniverse
- The Cloister Library: Human Nature
- Prelude to Human Nature as published in DWM #226