on 28 April 2000
My first piece of advice about The Space Age is to pay absolutely no attention to the back cover blurb, it doesn't hold any relevant meaning as to the plot of the book. Once you've got over the shock (and possible disappointment) of that, Space Age turns out to be an excellent read, and a vast improvement on the last few novels.
Setting an escalating war between Mods and Rockers in a pseudo-futuristic city certainly takes some diverse thinking, and Lyons pulls it off well. One of the few criticisms of this book is that the regulars don't actually DO much, with the exception of Fitz. I found myself thinking how perfect this kind of scenario would have perfectly fitted the original vision of the Fourth Doctor and Harry Sullivan. The Doctor has relatively little to do, and Compassion is redundant for at least two-thirds, but it has to be said that when these two characters are used, they are used a great deal better than many preceding authors have used them. Infact I think this is the best Compassion has been since The Taking of Planet 5, used sparingly.
As with all of Steve's previous books, his characterisation is spot-on. Even some of those characters which you see very little of are beatifully crafted and moulded. If there is a real criticism to be levelled at this book, the plot does seem a little plodding in places, but the conclusion is a real humdinger.
If this is the shape of things to come, well then I'm all for it. Roll on the next!
on 21 April 2003
At the first time, I was bit confused about what the back cover said and what I had read some few first chapters.. Just tell any would-be reader to ignore the back cover plot at the first. The major story can be surmarized into the British-Doctor Who Style "West Side Story".. I guess most of would-be readers may can predict the major plot.
However, the story itself is well written. I kept reading it to the end. Lyon created the excellent charcterizatsion of each non-regular characters of mods and rockers. The real West Side Story the movie has a real sad ending based on a Shakespean Tradgety. On the other hand, Lyon has created the story of two young lovers, Alec and Sandra as the West Side Story Lovers.. if they may have survived in the future and transported into the futuristic city which the Time-Alien, Maker had offered to them as a gift..
I do not want to disclose any storyline no more though... I believe that Lyon has represented his own psycho-social interplay of each mods and rockers.. The story is waven with their psycho-social interactions of two groups. Their 19-year war between them showed the major tradgic human drama when they kept maintaining their human aggressive patterns. I feel so sad that they have had some chances to evolve into the better. They brew them so big, and so humanly.
At the backgrond of the futuristic City, their so-human aggressive emotions and so-humane stupidity have caused ironically thier own distruction of the City which had taken a care of them very duitefully.
Three regular characters, Doctor, Fitz and Compassion, were wonderful ones. The Silent Presence of Compassion was really the impressive one through the novel.
If any reader wants to read this Lyon's West Side Story in the Doctor Who Style, I recommend this book as a great study of character social-cultural interplay and interplot of those who have failed for their better social evolution and choices.
on 4 May 2009
Steve Lyons' latest original BBC Doctor Who novel features The Eighth Doctor, Fitz and Compassion. One of the simpler and more accessible of the range, the story revolves around the displacement of two groups - mods and rockers - from 1960s England to a future city.
On the whole though, this is a distinctly pedestrian original Doctor Who novel. It starts off well with a decent premise but sags in the middle and becomes tedious by the end. The TARDIS crew doesn't really have all that much to do and the novel just didn't grip me in the same way as say `The Hollow Men', or `Mad Dogs and Englishmen'. I'm working my way through the series, but unless you are too then I recommend giving this a miss.
A nice idea for a doctor who story - mods and rockers taken out of time and put into a strange future city - but there's not much more to it than that. The book quickly becomes a traditional who runaround story. The characters are not that appealing. The writer is good at crafting this kind of material, but this is one of his lesser efforts. It's not a bad book, it just won't stay long in the memory once you've finished it.
on 25 June 2000
I bought this book because of the excellent back-cover blurb. It sounded like a fascinating chance to explore the radical difference between the way the year 2000 is and the way we thought it would be (flying cars and trade links with Venus).
What we get is a weird, futurist remix of Quadrophenia, with mods and rockers fighting it out in a ruined city of the future.
It's a book about ideas, and is an interesting, experimental notion. But it's just dull, dull, dull.
The characters are all ciphers, unexciting versions of unexciting real people. We don't care about them, we don't even care much about the series' regulars. None of them really get to do anything much, and the amazing promise of the back cover never comes about. It's just yet another embarrassing example of how badly the series tackles social angst.