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25 August 2007 @ 02:03 am
Human Nature Book/TV Comparison, Part One  
Well, I just watched the first part of Human Nature. Figured I'd give you a rundown on similarities and differences (SPOILERS!):


Similarities:
- The Doctor poses as a human history teacher named John Smith.
- It's mentioned in both the book and the show that the Doctor has three weeks left as John Smith, and that he has to be human for three months.
- He writes stories based on vague recollections and dreams of being a Time Lord.
- There's a precognitive first year student named Timothy.
- Timothy finds the object with the Doctor's essence in it.
- Due to this fact, the fact that Timothy is precognitive really has no impact whatsoever on the plot, since everything that happens after finding the object is implied to to be thanks to the object.
- Smith seems to slightly favor Timothy.
- Smith falls in love with Joan Redfern.
- The actress they cast to play Joan looks remarkably like the original illustrations of her in the book, actually.
- Joan's husband died in the Battle of Spion Kop.
- Timothy's main tormentor is a boy named Hutchinson.
- Timothy has a vision of Hutchinson's death in WWI.
- The boys are required to attend OTC, which Hutchinson thoroughly enjoys.
- The school has borrowed a machine gun (Vickers gun, specifically) from the Army.
- Joan expresses a distaste for the military and mild disappointment that John is involved with the OTC.
- John Smith shows himself to have great talent with a cricket ball.
- Passing mention of Gallifrey, which leads to to assertion that Gallifrey is in Ireland.
- Joan and the companion don't like one another initially. (Joan and Martha's interaction is actually quite similar to Joan and Benny's in the book, minus Joan reminding Martha that she's a servant.)
- The Doctor is being hunted by aliens who want Time Lord essence.
- The aliens hunting him are a family.
- One of the aliens resembles a young girl with a red balloon.
- One of the aliens disguises itself as someone the companion knows to try to get information about the whereabouts of the Doctor's essence from her.
- The alien is outed by their ignorance of food preferences.
- Mention is made of the bursar being out at the pub. In the book, the bursar regularly sneaks to the pub via a secret tunnel in the library that leads to the pub's basement.
- The companion tries unsuccessfully to convince John Smith that he's the Doctor in the absence of the object holding his essence.
- The aliens take Joan hostage.

Differences:
- The book is about the Seventh Doctor and his companion, Bernice "Benny" Summerfield (who I must be in the minority of absolutely hating). The show is about the Tenth Doctor and his companion, Martha Jones.
- In the book, the Doctor wanted to become human...pretty much because he felt like it. In the show, he did it to hide from the aliens hunting him.
- In the book, the aliens, called the Aubertides (they're the Family of Blood on the show), made him human in the first place, since they only needed the essence of a Time Lord and had no interest in the man. They didn't start hunting him until he outsmarted them and took his essence with him.
- The show is set on 11 November, 1913 (at the start). The book is set in spring of 1914.
- John Smith's actually Dr. John Smith in the book. He's called "Mr. Smith" repeatedly in the show. When called "the Doctor" by Benny in the book, he isn't initially phased because it's his title, although he's surprised that Benny started calling him by something so formal suddenly.
- The Aubertides come to Earth disguised as humans and choose their own default appearance, including Aphasia being disguised as a young girl with a balloon (the balloon is actually a part of her and is sentient. When Benny pops it, it severely injures her). They do kill and eat a couple of people to assume their appearances, but then return to their defaults once they're done with the disguise.
- There are six Aubertides, although only five come to Earth (the one that made the Doctor human stayed behind). There are five males and one female. Although they tend to refer to each other as "father", "mother", "son", et cetera, they don't do the "father of mine" et cetera thing they do in the show. None are siblings: they reproduced by budding, so each is one is the child of another except for the first and last (Aphasia is second youngest, which lead to a rather disturbing scene where they describe what sounds like a very young girl giving birth). They all refer to anyone younger as their child and anyone older as their parent, regardless of who actually birthed who.
- The Aubertides' reason for wanting Time Lord essence? They're bored. Oh, sure, they plan to eventually use it to regenerate and spawn an army of Aubertides, take over Gallifrey, and eventually take over the universe. But they admit they only want to do that because they're bored. In the show, they're dying and need Time Lord essence to extend their lifespans indefinitely.
- Benny posed as John Smith's niece visiting from college. She got to live in a little cottage, paint all day, and become much beloved by the townsfolk. Martha is a servant subject to 1913 racism.
- Joan Redfern is a nurse on the show, a science teacher in the book. Not sure why they changed her job description, since she does more nursing in the book than she does on the show.
- I kinda miss Joan's cat from the book. He was cool.
- The Doctor's essence is kept in a fob watch on the show. In the book, it's kept in a "Biodatapod" (just called the "Pod" usually) that looks like a cricket ball.
- Timothy has a vision of himself and Hutchinson being killed by a bomb in the war. In the book, he sees Hutchinson being killed in an unnamed attack and says "his death is the worst".
- Martha keeps practically stalking John Smith. Benny gives him a lot of space, and then kicks herself when she realizes how much he's gotten himself into while she left him alone (keep in mind she didn't think they were going to be hunted. Or that he'd fall in love).
- The Doctor makes a series of recordings for Martha in the TARDIS. In the book, he wrote a long letter by hand to Benny. Also, the Doctor's list of things for Martha not to let him do in the show is at least 23 items long. The list of things for Benny not to let him do in the book is only nine items long.
- The aliens chase the Doctor and Martha using a stolen Time Agency Vortex Manipulator. In the book, they just happen to have a cabinet that opens to the Time Vortex, which they jump into. It takes two months and once week for them to come to Earth.
- The alien base is an invisible ship in the show. In the book, they had a portable invisible dome that was still mostly made up of earth inside.
- In the show, the alien poses as Jenny, Martha's friend and fellow servant, and is outed when Martha tests her by offering her tea with gravy, jam, and sardines in it. In the book, the Aubertide Greeneyes first poses as the Tenth Doctor (in his default disguise as a young man), starts to give himself away by being what Benny deems "too touchy-feely" (it's a pretty amusing scene to read, knowing what we do about the real Tenth Doctor), and finally outs himself by accepting a meat dish (steak and kidney pie, I believe). In the continuity of the books, the Doctor is a vegetarian. The second time, Greeneyes disguises himself as Constance, Benny's friend, a sufragette and Socialist, and gives himself away by hitting on Benny too aggressively (although Constance was hitting on Benny a lot herself).
- The aliens do a hell of a lot more damage while on Earth in the book: Aphasia eats half of the residents at a hospital trying to recover after Benny pops her balloon, then releases poison gas to kill the rest of the people inside. The Aubertide Serif does similar damage to a jail when he is arrested.
- Before the aliens out themselves to the population at large, Serif attacks John Smith at his home and bites off his pinky finger.
- In the show, John Smith says his father was named Sydney and was a watchmaker from Nottingham, and his mother, Verity, was a nurse. In the book, John's unnamed father was a sailor (as his brother is) who is missing in action and his mother's occupation is never given, just that they lived in poverty in Aberdeen. Verity is the name of John's first love.
- They toned down Hutchinson. A lot. In the book, Hutchinson accidentally hung Timothy and killed him (he was saved by having possession of the Pod, which had started to make him a Time Lord) while trying to scare him, and then locked Timothy's best friend in a trunk for 24 hours to keep him from telling.
- In the book, when Hutchinson asks to beat Timothy for daydreaming, Smith at first says it's all right, but then comes up with a clever excuse to get him out of it, which earns him Hutchinson's disdain. In the show, when Hutchinson asks to beat Timothy, Smith just tells him to go for it.
- Timothy refused to go to OTC in the book. He's loading the machine gun in the show. Also, Hutchinson never got to handle the machine gun in book, which upset him.
- They cut out all the stuff where Timothy becomes a really, really stupid and annoying psuedo-Time Lord because he has the Doctor's essence. Feel fortunate.
- In the book, Joan isn't taken hostage in public. The aliens carry her off and give the Doctor until dawn to produce the Pod or Greeneyes will rape and kill her (Greeneyes had a strong attraction to human women). In the show, they just take her hostage at a dance.
- Smith and Joan are concerned with the appearance of impropriety and work politics, and thus, never date in public, so no, no dance for them in the book.
- Benny is aided by her landlord and another gay Socialist, Alexander, in most of her endeavors to fight the aliens and help the Doctor. Martha goes it largely alone, although events happen so fast in the show, there's not much she has to do alone. Still, Martha: 4637, Benny: 0.
- In the book, John Smith's stories are more clearly children's story-like and actually read like fiction loosely based on real events in his life. In the show, his journal is a mishmash of his memories, dreams, and illustrations.
- Really feeling the absence of the gay Socialists.

Seriously, the book is largely crap. I have to say the show boils it down to its best aspects, throws out the worse, and replaces them with better details. I'll make another summary of the rest next week, when I watch "Family of Blood".


Also, I really, really like Martha in this arc. I don't recall having strong feelings toward her either way when I first saw it, and although she's still mooning after the Doctor and her saying "he fell in love with a human...and it's not me" made me roll my eyes, she really came into her own in this arc and had to take charge and do a lot on her own. On fanficrants today, people were claiming that Martha is about a billion times more awesome and capable than Rose is, but honestly? From a purely objective standpoint (and I may have to make charts eventually. To scientifically prove that Rose is more awesome than Martha. I'm pathetic), Martha took a lot longer to come into her own and take charge than Rose did. Most every episode prior to this arc was Martha either searching for the Doctor, screaming for him to help her, or following his orders. It wasn't until the Doctor wasn't there that Martha had to really show her strength as an individual, and I'll admit she rose to the challenge well (and that's why I want to see more of her, now that she's realized she can do this), but it took her a long time to get there. Rose, from the very first episode she was introduced, was coming up with her own ideas and helping out the Doctor before he even wanted her around. The second episode she was in, she spent 90% of it on her own, away from the Doctor.

Okay, done with my rant. I will say this: I got a Martha bunny from watching this. It's going on the backburner until I finish, at least, my Anywhere But Cardiff story, but I may write it as a gift for lizzybees, my beta.
 
 
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Maeve: Boomtownmarble_rose on August 25th, 2007 10:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks for taking the time to break down the differences between the episodes and the book. I was really curious about how much had to be changed to work for Ten's character arc.

Human Nature was the first episode I actually liked Martha. She had her moments in previous episodes, but she still didn't leave much of an impression on me. But in this one, I really felt for her. Though I'm not sure how smart it was for her to start talking about the Doctor in the middle of a very public place when they were supposed to be in hiding. But eh.
dracschick: AIdracschick on August 25th, 2007 11:11 pm (UTC)
good luck with your writing!
jedi_of_urth: foreverjedi_of_urth on August 28th, 2007 06:30 am (UTC)
Thanks for writing this up, though you have made me less curious about reading the book and therefore even less likely to read it. And it doesn't sound as good as HN/FoB, or even really that similar beyond the plot outline. I'll be really interested to see how the rest of the story contrasts, because I'd almost be willing to bet Seven era John Smith wasn't nearly so messed up by the idea of becoming the Doctor again as Ten era John, because being the Doctor didn't seem nearly so craptacular back then.

Though I find the bit about touchy-feely Ten spectacularly amusing. You're right, knowing the real Ten it's wonderfully ironic. Benny'd probably never believe real-Ten even if he did show up, all full of angst and sadness yet hugging everything that'll stand still long enough.
A Guy Named Goo: Rose Watchaguynamedgoo on August 28th, 2007 01:20 pm (UTC)
Oh, it's a lousy book. I don't recommend it to anyone. The basis is interesting, but the execution is terrible. It's looking like Sci-Fi isn't showing Who this week (how lame is that? In the middle of a two part arc!) so I'll probably rewatch Family of Blood on my own to finish my summary.

In the book, John Smith doesn't reject the Doctor as violently as he does in the show, he just doesn't want to be him. He likes being himself, he likes the life he has with Joan (they're engaged in the book by this point), and if the Aubertides get the Pod, he doesn't see how it's his problem. How things end for John are actually a bit sadder in the book, too. I have to say Ten handled the conclusion of the Joan situation better than Seven did, too.
jedi_of_urth: kittyjedi_of_urth on August 28th, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC)
I have to say Ten handled the conclusion of the Joan situation better than Seven did, too.

Wait, the end of the book is *worse* than the end of FoB? I'm still not over the Doctor's treatment of the Family. I understand Seven could be called the the callous-manipulative Doctor, but still; worse than the end of FoB? (flails)

I'd believe the end for John is a bit sadder in the book, for one thing it's probably a bit more moving to read (it just seems that way to me) and in some ways I imagine it was more like John died where Ten-John was a lot of Ten so it was more change less death. But I'll be interested to see what of my thoughts on the matter are even close to correct.

Oh, it's a lousy book. I don't recommend it to anyone. The basis is interesting, but the execution is terrible.

From your description it sounds pretty not good, like if I had tried to read it I would have either not made it very far or skipped through a lot. So this is accomplishing exactly what I was likely to read the book for, comparing/contrasting it with HN/FoB. Thanks for that.