Doctor Who: The Taint by Michael Collier was a book published in the BBC Books Eighth Doctor Adventures range and in a way was a catalyst for a marked in improvement and consistency in the range, which had up to that point being a bit of a hit and miss affair, with no real focus and a bit of a shaky start with a number of books probably playing it safe with returning monsters and characters. This was a long way from the direction taken by the New Adventures range as it progressed, however a new range editor Steve Cole too the range on and began to steer it in a new direction starting with Option Lock by Justin Richards and eventually lead to The Taint. In itself the book wasn’t overly great with a basic plot line about alien parasites giving people dreams and then being question by a psychiatrist. That’s about all I can really remember of the plot save for a rather convenient ending which seemed purely there to fit a purpose.
The reason for the then marked change in quality I think was down to the introduction of new companion Fitz Kriener who was a twenty something from the 1960s and the son of a German father which would have made him something of a social outcast growing up in Post-War Britain. It’s hard to say what it was which made Fitz work so well for the range but I think it was because he was more a grounded real person which helped motivate the writers to do better and gave a new dynamic to the TARDIS team and more rough and ready contrast to the wide eyed wonder of the Eighth Doctor. The character survived to the end of Eighth Doctor Range, appearing in all but a handful of novels from then on, but I feel as the novels went on they kept him on for too long as it felt the writing for him had grown stale and ignored (or rather negated) a number of interesting developments for the character and the ideal time to give him a good send off.
But either way the range improved with his inclusion and it all started with a lacklustre novel called the Taint.
Word of the Day Challenge: Taint