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It has all the pieces; it just doesn't add up
on 11 March 2012
Hmm, not sure what to make of this book - written for the thirty-fifth anniversary of Doctor Who, so published in 1998, I know that's quite a few years ago - so pre-the 1996 Paul McGann ninth Doctor movie, but pre-any of the current TV series. So, bearing that in mind, what does a reader who is familiar with Doctor Who make of it?
To start with, precisely WHICH Doctor is being written about in this book (or is there more than one in the various timeframes?) is never made clear. While a clever writing strategy, it actually backfires (in my opinion) because there is never room for the Doctor to be characterised - his particular personality, which in each incarnation really is quite unique, is never allowed to break through into the characterisation in this novel. And that's a shame.
Secondly, although much of the book is set on Gallifrey (which is a great plus for any Doctor Who fan), it seems the author never really took the opportunity to make the most of this setting. The characters, the places, the culture of Gallifrey never really gets out into the open. Again, that's a shame.
And the story? Well, to be honest, I found it all a bit confusing. I get the premise; I get the threads with the "ancient enemies", the time travel, the cunning plans of Rassilon, the ancient Timelord plots - but does it all hang together? Not really. It's not really a good Doctor Who story; and it's not really a good science fiction story. Great premise; unfortunate delivery.