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Down (New Adventures) [Mass Market Paperback]

Lawrence Miles
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: The New Adventures; UK First Paperback Edition edition (18 Sep 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 042620512X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0426205128
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 10.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 578,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Synopsis

Tyler's Folly: a colony full of off-world bodysnatchers. When Benny is pulled out of the ocean in the forbidden quake zone she is convinced a bizarre ruler called X and his cavemen inhabit the centre of the planet. What could have stolen her reason, or does Tyler's Folly defy the laws of physics?

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Benny book so far 23 Aug 2004
By Jane Aland VINE VOICE
Format:Mass Market Paperback
For a fair while Down seems to be a fluffy-adventure story, a satire of all those old adventure serials, with Benny journeying into the centre of the world to face Nazis, Dinosaurs, Cavemen and a Mad God-Like Computer. Had it continued in this vein alone it would have been an enjoyable adventure story, but nothing more - as it is Miles throws everything up n the air by throwing doubt on the main narrative as Benny is recounting it. How much of her story is true? Which bits is she making up, and why? Benny has long been shown to favour revising her diary entries with post-it note revisions - here Miles throws the character into such an extreme situation that she ends up trying to revise her own history. A fun adventure story that heads down into a very tense finale, with plenty of interesting concepts to chew over - if you've ever been unsure about any of these 'Doctor-less' New Adventures, this is the one to try. Essential.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Weird and Wonderful 27 Jan 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A wonderfully bizarre book, which tells of the adventures of Bernice Summerfield from the Doctor Who New Adventure series, on a world where works of fiction are very real indeed. This is the only 'Benny' book I've read, but I'm now in no doubt that the character can continue to evolve without the aid of the Doctor. I won't spoil too much about this book for you except tell you that it feature a character from a planet of madmen (or as they like to be known, "The Truly Crazed") called !X, a pulp character from the twenty-fourth century called Mr Misnomer, a group of disillusioned Nazi U-boaters who are struggling to maintain their accents and a being called MEPHISTO (alas, not in a South Park crossover). Just get this book and find out how great it is. You'll thank me for it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Left me feeling a little... 29 April 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Lawrence Miles comments in his introduction how he struggled to edit this novel down; well all I can say is 'thank goodness he did', as the whole thing is enough of a sprawling mess already.
Miles' prose style is perfunctory and uninspired; characters with names incorporating exclamation marks abound, and if this weren't irritating enough, the writer attempts to provide cheap laughs (or possibly some kind of knowing wink to fellow atheists) by incorporating a faux deity originally named 'God'.
Benny Summerfield may as well not be in the story for all the relevance she has here, and Miles seems oblivious to previous approaches to writing her character, making her a bog-standard heroine rather than the subversive 'anti-heroine' Paul Cornell designed her to be.
Unless you're a deluded completist like me, I'd let this one alone - even Dave Stone can do better, and that's saying something!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clever and yet disappointing 28 Dec 2008
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Lawrence Miles is a very clever writer, an author with more brains and originality than most so-called Doctor Who writers and he has frequently shown this in books such as 'Interference' and 'The Adventuress of Henrietta Street'. It's his big ideas that shine out best. He is a good writer, a reasonable storyteller, but it's his invention, wit and conceptual thinking that make his books such good and thought-provoking reading. Sometimes, however, other elements suffer because they can't match up with the strength of his ideas and the boldness of his concepts.

It's these strengths and weaknesses that are both apparent in 'Down', a Bernice Summerfield New Adventure that lacks The Doctor (for legal reasons) but still makes frequent (though usually obscure) references to the Whoniverse (great if you spot them but they're not essential to understanding the plot).

It's a real mixed bag of a novel, full of Douglas Adams/Robert Rankin style humour rather ill-advisedly mixed with dark reflections on the nature of personal narratives, archetypes and the universe. These two extremes work reasonably well in isolation but when they clash (and they frequently do) the whole thing just feels uncomfortable, perhaps reflecting the post-modern take on traditional old-school science fiction romps that Miles is clearly going for. Miles would later do something similar within the Doctor Who two-parter 'Interference' but in my opinion would do so much more successfully than here. In 'Down' this approach feels a little clumsy, like a first draft at the style but with too many incongruencies and brutal edges.

It certainly has its moments and contains more ideas within a few chapters than most Doctor Who spin-offs do in their entirety.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Down To Earth 22 Sep 2003
By Andrew McCaffrey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm going to do my best to review DOWN without making it sound much more pretentious than it is. This is made complicated by the fact that the book is indeed pretentious -- at least a little. But any description (and I can feel mine heading in that direction despite my best efforts) is bound to emphasize the high concepts being thrown around here. But it should be noted that despite everything else that is present, DOWN also contains a lot of fun adventure stuff.
I think the best way to describe DOWN is to say that it is very much a reaction to (and against) the events of THE ALSO PEOPLE, in the same way that Lawrence Miles has reacted against other Doctor Who creations (of course, you don't need to have read THE ALSO PEOPLE to enjoy this one, as everything you need to know is included). I find that I generally prefer Lawrence Miles' writing when he's playing with and subverting other people's ideas rather than trying to create something truly original. He usually seems to come up with angles and viewpoints that are skewed, stunningly creative but perfectly in keeping with the original. He does not disappoint here.
THE ALSO PEOPLE gave us a highly advanced People (they were referred to as "people" in the original, but become "People" here) who live on the inside of a massive Dyson's Sphere/Shell. They are a peaceful people, existing in an idyllic paradise, and ruled by a stupendously advanced computer that is jokingly referred to as "God". In DOWN, Professor Bernice Summerfield and two students are investigating a planet called Tyler's Folly. The back cover tells us that the planet is hollow, with some sort of creatures living on the inside. While God kept the Worldsphere in a state of serenity, the apparent controller in Tyler's Folly does not have the same benevolent motivation. Also included in the story are two representatives from the People: a student of psychotics, and a psychotic Person.
The story is told as flashbacks. The inhabitants of the outside surface of Tyler's Folly find Benny in a prohibited area; they throw her in jail, suspected of attempted looting. The story is told as part of her questioning by the authorities. Sharp-eyed readers may note some apparent inconsistencies, but these are brilliantly covered by the end. In fact, parts of the narrative are an intriguing look at parts of Benny's character, the ramifications of which I never really quite thought of before.

The book does have a few flaws. As a reaction against the Worldsphere, Tyler's Folly falls strangely flat. Miles tells us about the comparison, but what we see doesn't really go far enough to drive this home. This has the effect of making the middle of the book drag a bit.

And as I look up at what I have already written, I see that I have done exactly what I was trying not to do. Yes, DOWN is a book concealing huge ideas, but those ideas occupy a surprisingly small portion of the page-count. Most of the pages are involved in a good old-fashioned adventure story, where Benny and her two students (What's this? Original and interesting characters in a Lawrence Miles novel?) descend into the Tyler's Folly underworld on the trail of a long-missing archeologist. All the adventure stuff is merely setting up a lot of the revelations at the end. Fortunately, the adventure is an engaging one, although it does sputter a little and could have been a bit more exciting.
DOWN isn't perfect, and it doesn't do all the stuff that Miles is attempting; it still makes for fascinating reading. It takes some pieces of the Benny/Doctor Who universe (from the major to the minor) and cleverly rearranges them and adds to them in unexpected ways. But beyond that, the adventure is still a fun one, and most of the comedy pieces work.
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