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This review is from: Doctor Who: Paradox Lost (Hardcover)
Paradox Lost is another one of those timey wimey narratives that have proliferated in Doctor Who novels of late. Having landed in the late 28th Century, the Doctor and his companions are confronted by the mangled body of an android, which has been in the Thames for a thousand years. The android warns the Doctor that he must stop Professor Gradius' time experiments, or else a malevolent alien race called the Squall will consume the world. So, the Doctor decides that he must travel back to the early 20th Century to confront the Squall, while entrusting Amy and Rory to stop Gradius' time experiments.
Although the Doctor receives help from a Professor `Angelchrist', I don't think that the plot of Paradox Lost has otherwise much to do with John Milton's epic poem, Paradise Lost, from which George Mann has evidently derived his title. I suppose the demonic Squall could be regarded as being akin to rebel angels. However, since the Doctor is their main adversary, if George Mann was attempting a pastiche of Paradise Lost, then this would mean that the Doctor is a kind of messianic figure in this narrative. Indeed, it's no doubt a truism that the Doctor is a kind of stand-in messiah in our secular age, a distinction that he shares with many other fantastic heroes (although I'd argue that the Doctor is by far the best role model). So although there is a bit of sacred imagery and metaphor employed here, Paradox Lost is by no means a religious narrative, despite the resurrection of one of the characters at the end.
George Mann, appropriately enough, is well versed in Doctor Who. For instance, there is the suggestion, at the end, that the Doctor has gone off on a short jaunt to Totter's Lane to dump off some rubbish, which is a nice subtle reference to the very beginning of the Doctor's televised adventures. In addition to this, there is a gentle hint to the devastation that will be caused by solar flares in the 29th Century, which has featured in several of the Doctor's adventures. George Mann also does a nice line in speculation, as his theory as to why the TARDIS console is made up of bric-a-brac is due to the Doctor having to replace worn out parts with whatever junk he has to hand. Professor Angelchrist would appear to be an early prototype of the Doctor with regards to his UNIT role, albeit he is very much human. The Doctor soon appropriates his motor car however, in another reference to the Pertwee era, since this vehicle is quite akin to that incarnation's favourite roadster, Bessie.
Paradox Lost starts off at a nice even pace, before the middle section really ramps up the action to a pleasing scale. However, I thought that the resolution was a bit uneven in places. The Squall are hell-bent on consuming the Doctor's mind, much like at least one other alien entity in recent Doctor Who novels, so there is a bit of repetition from this point of view which the editor of the book could perhaps have pointed out, although this element is quite integral to the resolution of the plot. George Mann's representation of the Doctor and his companions is mostly excellent and spot on. I very much liked the fact that this wasn't a Star Trek style of temporal paradox narrative, as the great majority of the `people' who die in the book do indeed stay dead (with one sentimental exception). Indeed, it was good to read Rory's anguish at the devastation that he and Amy unwittingly wrought in the book. The paradox itself is of sufficient timey wimieness to satisfy even the most ardent Doctor Who fan.