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Doctor Who: Crooked World Paperback – 3 Jun 2002

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Books (3 Jun. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0563538562
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563538561
  • Product Dimensions: 17.9 x 10.9 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 800,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
In the land of cartoons, everything stays the same. Sylvester will never catch Tweety. Wile E. Coyote will never catch the roadrunner. Elmer will never catch Bugs. It's comfortable, and we like it that way. But what do they think? Is Sylvester happy chasing Tweety all the time? Does Daffy like constantly being blown up, only to come back as good as new? Do we ever think to ask? Of course not. These are cartoons. They don't have feelings. Right?
The Crooked World, by Steve Lyons, takes us to a world where cartoons are real. Not only real, but stuck in the same motions again and again. Nothing ever changes here, and the inhabitants don't know any better. Cats chase birds and mice because that's just the way it is. Everything works like it does in the cartoons that you and I grew up with. Until the Doctor and his companions show up. Streaky Bacon, a hunter after the Whatchamacallit (a fast-running bird) to protect his crops, accidentally ends up shooting the Doctor in the chest. As the Doctor lies bleeding, Streaky realizes that he's not going to just get up again and run away like has always happened before. This sparks a virus that spreads like wildfire throughout the Crooked World. This isn't a medical virus. Instead, it's a free will virus. All of a sudden, toons are starting to actually think about their circumstances. Why should the cat never get the mouse? Why should the villains always fail but get away to scheme another day?
Having introduced these thoughts to the residents, the Doctor, Fitz & Anji decide they should stay to help the toons through the transition. Once the toons start to think, there is no going back. The only question is: how much bloodshed and real violence will occur while they come to terms with what's happened to them?
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Format: Paperback
A great idea for a Doctor Who book or any book for that matter. A world that is populated by cartoon characters, not unlike the cartoon universes of Hanna-Barbera and Warner Brothers in their heyday....and what happens to that world when aliens arrive and introduce very human concepts and ideas to the population.
What works here, and works well, is how the characters who live in Zanytown begin to question their own reality and choose to break out of the 'storylines' that make up their day to day lives. For instance, what would happen if Sylvester tired of chasing Tweety? Or if characters started to feel very human emotions as a consequence of their destructive actions? Author Steve Lyons does an excellent job of making this concept interesting and exciting. He excels at making the residents of The Crooked World evolve into more than the stock cartoon characters we have seen in hundreds of cartoons. He makes the reader care.
I do have a couple of problems with this book though. The Eighth Doctor comes across as a very bland character here, and is very much in the background. This was quite a disappointment as I was looking forward to how the McGann Doctor would interact with the inhabitants of this world. This is a Doctor who is usually enthusiastic and inquisitive, but not in this book.
Anji is still evolving as a character, and is handled well here. However, Fitz is beginning to grate on me. Here he is again, chasing skirt and being flippant. The problem is that this is all Fitz ever seems to do, and it's becoming stale. I'd like an author to shake up Fitz's cosy world and make him grow up...if only a bit. Anything would be better than the 'laddish' stereotype we keep getting over and over again.
Buy this book if you want to read an imaginative tale well told. It's the kind of book that you'll find difficult to put down until you've finished it.
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Format: Paperback
The Doctor has had a difficult time of it in recent books in this original adventures series. He's blown up his home planet, lost one of his hearts, spent a hundred years in exile in England, made a new mortal enemy, and, very unsuccessfully, run a brothel. In the middle of all this, the TARDIS materializes in a world populated entirely by cartoon characters from the Warner Brothers and Hanna-Barbera universes. Author Steve Lyons hits all the obvious targets, and a few not-so-obvious ones, in his exploration of what would happen if our most famous British Sci-fi character came into contact with some of the iconic US cartoon characters, such as Porky Pig and Wily Coyote.

More serious than you'd think from the cover showing a cartoon Eighth Doctor alongside Road Runner, Steve Lyons' novel is one of the shorter ones in the series, and whilst accessible and light it's not slapstick or silly. Granted, Scooby-Doo appears in it (although due to copyright reasons the cowardly canine detective goes under another name here). Ultimately this is lightweight fun but with a dark undercurrent; perhaps a sign of where this series is heading over the next year or so.
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