Book Review – Doctor Who: Timewyrm: Revelation

  • Title: Timewyrm: Revelation
  • Series: Virgin Publishing New Doctor Who Adventures
  • Author: Paul Cornell
  • Characters: Seventh Doctor, Ace
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 11/20/2017

**Spoiler Alert** Timewyrm: Revelation is the fourth and final volume in the opening “Timewyrm” series to Virgin Publishing’s Doctor Who New Adventures. Unfortunately, the story spends most of it’s time in a strange dreamscape where both anything can happen and there are no consequences. So the story doesn’t really work – it’s unrelatable, and there’s no sense of jeopardy – if nothing is real in the characters world, it doesn’t matter. This is sad, as this is the final volume of the series, and it’s written by one of my more favorite Doctor Who authors.

The story opens in 1922, in the small village of Cheldon Bonniface, a village the Doctor has visited many times and in many of his regenerations. The local church is inhabited by Saul, a friendly spirit. And yes, Saul really is a friendly spirit. Older than the church itself, Saul’s presence means the area has been sacred to everyone, going back to the ancient Celts and beyond. The Doctor and Ace arrive, only for things to immediately get weird. It should be Christmas Eve, but the people in the village pub are constructs created by the Timewyrm. The local village church blasts off to the moon, and the explosion destroys the entire village and quite a lot of the surrounding area. Once arriving on the moon, a young couple, the vicar, and Saul are charged with protecting the barely alive, comatose bodies of Ace and the Doctor. At one point the Doctor arrives, thrusts a female baby into the young woman’s hands, then leaves with no explanation. Saul and in-universe magic keep a bubble of breathable air inside the church (not to mention normal gravity).

Meanwhile, the Doctor and Ace have been drawn into a dreamscape similar to the Time Lords’ Matrix as seen in the aired episodes, “The Deadly Assassin” and “Trial of a Time Lord”. Also present is a bully from Ace’s past, who, in an alternate reality made possible by the Timewyrm, killed Ace with a brick, and the British Nazi soldier from the alternate future in Timewyrm: Exodus. The Doctor and Ace literally must confront their demons in the dream world.

Unfortunately, in a very similar manner to previous aired episodes featuring the Time Lord Matrix, the vast majority of the book is spent in the dreamspace. Some chapters or sections of chapters flash back to the church, which is on the moon – and those chapters are more interesting taking place in the “real” world. Though at the same time, there’s two issues – first, it doesn’t make a whole lot of logical sense that a church would be successfully transplanted to the moon and the people inside survive, and second, everyone is literally stuck inside a relatively small building. There isn’t much they can do but talk. Saul and company, however, are, eventually instrumental in helping the Doctor and Ace to escape their dream prison.

In the dreamscape, the Doctor and Ace, separately, and together literally confront their demons. Ace shows just how much she has grown-up, especially by the end of the book. The Doctor doesn’t fair so well, especially when confronting his guilt over the deaths of his previous companions. But in the end, one of the people in the church, the young woman, has some latent psychic ability, between that and a medallion hidden by the Doctor in a previous incarnation, she and her mathematician husband, are able to enter the dreamscape to pull the Doctor and Ace out. At first, they seem successful in rescuing the Doctor at least – but without Ace, the Timewyrm, now possessing the Doctor, will win. The Doctor re-enters the dreamscape. Ace finds the Fifth Doctor, tied to the Doctor’s Knowledge Tree, where he has been since the Time War – when he objected to fighting at all. Freeing the Fifth Doctor allows the Seventh Doctor to confront and overcome the Timewyrm, who it turns out, is a natural part of the universe. The Timewyrm is more-or-less, as best as I could figure out, the goddess of cosmic karma, encircling the universe, eating her tail, and responsible for beginnings and endings. The Doctor takes her out of his head where she was hiding and moved her into the body of a clone baby (with no mind of it’s own) to be raised by the childless couple in the church who had desperately wanted a child in the first place.

The church is returned to where it came from. The destruction of the village is reversed. The Timewyrm’s time travel to urge the bully to kill Ace is also undone. The guy from the alternate future does not exist because Ace and the Doctor reversed it previously. In other words, pretty much everything is returned to status quo.

Overall, the first two books in the Timewyrm series were better than I remembered. Well, okay, technically, I think I only read one of them before when the series was published, not sure which one, but still – at the time I hated it. I disliked the third book, intensely. The last book seems to be obviously checking off items on an outline that “must be handled” as this is an on-going series of tie-in novels. So the author was probably constrained in what he could do (I’ve read a lot of other stuff by Cornell – he’s usually much better than this), but at the same time, having the vast majority of the book taking place in the Doctor’s head (literally) but in a dreamspace controlled by the Timewyrm, the enemy and “Big Bad” of the four books didn’t really work – I like having the Doctor in charge.

In terms of recommendations, if you’re going to read any of the Timewyrm series, read all four books, but overall, it’s a bit disappointing.

Read My Review of Doctor Who Timewyrm Genesys.

Read My Review of Doctor Who Timewyrm Exodus.

Read My Review of Doctor Who Timewyrm Apocalypse.

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Book Review – Doctor Who: Timewyrm: Apocalypse

  • Title: Timewyrm: Apocalypse
  • Series: Virgin Publishing New Doctor Who Adventures
  • Author: Nigel Robinson
  • Characters: Seventh Doctor, Ace
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 11/02/2017

Timewyrm: Apocalypse is the third volume of the Virgin Publishing Doctor Who New Adventures opening “Timewyrm” mini-series. The story features the Seventh Doctor and Ace. The TARDIS lands on a planet that seems to be perfect, which Ace, of course, immediately dislikes. The Doctor, however, surprisingly also dislikes the planet – finding the peace and harmony, and content people to be artificial. He and Ace decide they must figure out what’s going on after rescuing a young man who falls off a cliff, into the ocean and is quite beat-up by the rocks. Yet the next day, he’s fine without so much as a scratch or a bruise.

The main society on the planet is the Kirith, who live their days having all their needs from shelter to food taken care of by the Panjistri. The Panjistri are aliens who landed on the planet generations ago and saved the Kirith from war, destruction, and death. The Kirith can study or do whatever they like. Even leaving their city isn’t forbidden, it’s just considered a bad idea because of the dangers outside it.

The most talented of the Kirith are invited to study with the Panjistri, but instead of returning to teach in ten years, they never return. However, no one objects because as soon as a great artist, or musician, or dancer goes to the Panjistri – everyone forgets that person. This is a bit suspicious, but because of the wide-spread amnesia, it’s not something Ace and the Doctor learn about right away.

Ace convinces Raphael, the boy they had rescued, to go exploring with her outside the city. They discover in the Harbours, the embarkation point for the ships to the island of the Panjistri, a underground lab devoted to grotesque genetic experiments. They escape and meet the Unlike, the mutated survivors of the experiments. One of the Unlike reveals the food the Kirith eat every day is Soylent Green, opps, I mean, it’s made from people, specifically the left over genetic experiments and the dead of the city.

Ace, Raphael, and the Unlike return to the city. Meeting up with Miríl, a scholar, they start a revolution by cutting off the food supplies and electric power. This results in both unrest and a lot of death and destruction. But the Doctor has already left or been taken to the Harbours. The return there, and Raphael is forced to kill one of the worst genetic experiments. He’s devastated by this.

They steal a hovercraft and head to the Island to rescue the Doctor.

There they discover the Matriarch of the Panjistri is the Timewyrm. In defeating her, Raphael dies, taking over the “God Engine”, Miríl had died on the hovercraft trip to the Island. The society is broken and must discover for themselves how to survive without help, and Ace and the Doctor escape.

Timewyrm: Apocalypse is one case where everyone is actually much worse off after the Doctor and Ace interfere than they were before. Although the people of Kirith are described as a “stagnant” civilization, as they are also genetic constructs, one wonders if they are even capable of caring for themselves and creating their own civilization, now that their protectors are gone. In many ways, and not to be mean, the Kirith are like sheep or cattle – and the Doctor and Ace have just destroyed the farmers and the farm – then left, expecting the sheep (or cattle) to care for themselves. If the people of Kirith were being exploited the interference might have made sense, but these are happy, contented people. The Doctor’s argument that they need to be hungry to be alive sounds, well, like an argument made by someone’s who’s never been hungry and therefore romanticizes poverty. And there’s nothing “romantic” about being poor and starving.

The Panjistri are culling the “best of the best” to feed the Timewyrm’s GodEngine as the Doctor calls it, and the Panjistri’s genetic experiments are pretty horrible – but the novel doesn’t really portray those as being “bad”, but more of as side effects. That was disturbing.

Also, Timewyrm: Apocalypse feels very derivative, which doesn’t help.

Overall, this book was only OK. I didn’t care for it. It is one of the middle volumes of a four-book series, though, so hopefully the finale will make it worth the time spent reading it. Not really recommended, but because of it’s place in the series, it must be read, I guess.

Book Review – Doctor Who: Timewyrm: Exodus

  • Title: Timewyrm: Exodus
  • Series: Virgin Publishing New Doctor Who Adventures
  • Author: Terrance Dicks
  • Characters: Seventh Doctor, Ace
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 10/28/2017

**Spoiler Alert** Virgin Publishing’s The New Adventures follow on immediately after Doctor Who was put on hiatus, and feature the Seventh Doctor as portrayed by Sylvester McCoy, and in this story his companion Ace. Timewyrm: Exodus is the second volume in the four-volume Timewyrm series. Timewyrm: Exodus opens with the TARDIS landing in London in 1951, but upon leaving the TARDIS the Doctor and Ace realize something is very, very wrong. They’ve landed in an UK where the Nazis won World War II. It’s a bleak, war-torn, depressed London, with no freedom. The Doctor and Ace stay just long enough to try and figure out where history went wrong, discovering that the Miracle of Dunkirk never happened, the German airstrikes on civilian British cities destroyed those cities (London and others in the Industrial North), and the Lightening War included a quick strike at England that the British were unable to combat.

Following some complications, the Doctor and Ace are able to return to the TARDIS and head back in time to correct the aberration.

The TARDIS lands in Munich where Hitler’s led a completely unsuccessful attack by the Nazis. As the defeated Hitler runs away, he remarks that he considers suicide an answer. The Doctor aids Hitler in his escape and talks him out of it. Ace is flabbergasted. But the Doctor insists that history must follow it’s course and if it doesn’t it could lead to the disaster they just left.

The next section makes up the bulk of the novel, as the Doctor and Ace arrive in Nazi Germany, just before the Germans invade Poland. Hitler welcomes the Doctor with open arms as the man who saved him in Munich. Ace is appalled by everything – the “No Jews” signs in parks; the atmosphere of fear on the streets, the Nazi-controlled newspapers that report that Poland is rattling the sabre at Germany and threatening the Germans (the exact opposite of the truth) and the other daily horrors of life under a racist dictatorship.

The Doctor and Ace attend a Nazi Rally in Nuremberg, and as Hitler finishes speaking the Doctor asks Ace what she just heard. Ace can only report vague thoughts: blame on everyone else, the idea to make Germany Great Again, etc. But mostly Ace only experienced emotions. The Doctor tells her that her emotions were played like a violin, manipulated, that it was a form of psycho-conditioning, and something that shouldn’t even exist yet. He suspects something alien is aiding Hitler. After the rally, the two are caught, Hitler welcomes the Doctor, and the Doctor meets with him alone. Hitler has a fit – a storm of psychic activity. Items fly off walls, swirl around the room, crash on the floor. The Doctor sees the Timewyrm in Hitler. Then Hitler collapses. Only Hitler’s private secretary (by instinct) and the Doctor (by knowledge and by his own telepathic abilities) can calm Hitler’s fits. The Doctor obtains a medical history.

But there are also rumors of the Black Coven, a secret SS group that is helping Hitler and the Nazis to gain power and control. An invitation is sent to the Doctor, but Ace receives it, and as she’s bored (she keeps getting left behind in hotel rooms with nothing to do) she goes to investigate. She’s captured, and a threatening message is left for the Doctor. Ace is taken to Drachenberg Castle, a secret SS stronghold and home to the Black Coven. In due course, the Doctor follows to rescue Ace.

At Drachenberg Castle, the Doctor and Ace discover the War Lords and the War Chief are out to manipulate time. These are characters from the aired Doctor Who episode, “The War Games”, and I must admit it was fascinating to read a story that bought them back, though their plans were horrifying (bringing about a Nazi Earth, then a Nazi Galaxy, and an Nazi universe – horrifying). Among other things, the War Lords have set up a nuclear reactor in the basement of the castle, have used conditioning on SS stormtroopers to not only make them totally loyal but to make them unafraid of death, and have found a way to bring dead soldiers back to life as zombies. The War Lords remark that it’s easy to finish conditioning the solders because they were half there already. Ace and the Doctor discover what’s going on. The SS plan to sacrifice Ace in a occult ceremony to the Teutonic gods (mostly to appease the superstitious Nazis). During the ceremony, the Doctor frees Ace and uses one of her Nitro-9 capsules he’d confiscated earlier to bring down the roof – and killing most of the War Lords and their SS hoards. The Doctor had also called in the “cavalry” so to speak, and the German regular army attack the castle and SS, and Hitler arrives in a plane. The Doctor explains he uncovered a plot to overthrow Hitler himself and replace him with someone more reliable. But the SS zombies attack. In the end, the Doctor overloads the reactor, and he and Ace escape in the TARDIS.

But the Doctor realizes he’s made one mistake – he taught Hitler how to control the Timewyrm trapped within him. He and Ace take the TARDIS to Felsennest, where the Doctor goads the Timewyrm to leave Hitler and be dispersed. The Doctor also gives Hitler a lot of bad military advice, which assures that World War II will follow it’s historical path – Dunkirk, the failure of bombing the UK, Germany’s attack on Russia, etc.

Back in the TARDIS, the Doctor is extremely depressed. He can only think of all the death the six-year war will bring. He feels guilty and responsible. And he’s not even sure if history is on the correct path. Ace talks him into returning to 1951 London. They do and it’s the London they know. They attend a fun fair festival.

Although it was very hard reading a novel set for the most part in Nazi Germany, this was a good story. I can’t say I enjoyed it because who enjoys reading about Nazis slaughtering people because they are different or simply for kicks? But the story did flow well, and wasn’t predictable. I was not expecting the War Lords and War Chief to show-up, even though in the story the Doctor tells Ace they are dealing with multiple forms of manipulation of the time lines. The Timewyrm really isn’t in the story that much, much to my surprise. She’s basically trapped – and in the end, the Doctor must free her. No doubt she will be back as there are two more books in the mini-series.

Terrance Dicks does treat Ace terribly though – he keeps having her faint. This is completely out of character for Ace – this is the woman who attacked a Dalek with a baseball bat after all. But every time he wants to get Ace out of the way – Dicks has her faint. It’s pretty sexist writing. But aside from that, I can honestly recommend the book.

Book Review – Doctor Who: The Prisoner’s Dilemma

  • Title: The Prisoner’s Dilemma
  • Series: Doctor Who Companion Chronicles
  • Author: Simon Guerrier
  • Director: Lisa Bowerman
  • Characters: Ace, Zara (guest), Seventh Doctor
  • Cast: Sophie Aldred, Laura Doddington (Zara)
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 10/19/2017

The Prisoner’s Dilemma is a Big Finish audio play in the Doctor Who Companion Chronicles series. It’s also a companion piece to the Peter Davison (Fifth Doctor) Key2Time mini-series of three audio plays. I haven’t listened to the other volumes of the Key2Time series, though I’m now thinking that I should order them. But anyway, this is meant to be a stand alone story, and I found that it did work that way. If anything it seemed to me to be a sequel to the Tom Baker (Fourth Doctor) Key to Time season.

This story is a bit confusing, and I did have to listen to it in my car twice, but at the same time I found it to be a good story, if a bit unusual. The story has two episodes, and the first episode is told by Zara and in her point of view. The second episode is told by Ace and is in her point of view, though most of it takes place earlier than Zara’s section (the two sections overlap). Zara is from outside of time, a place she refers to as “The Grace” and she is an Elemental. The Grace also has two Guardians, equal and opposite. These Guardians will be familiar to Doctor Who television audiences, with both of them turning up in the Key to Time season with the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) and Romana I (Mary Tamm). The Black Guardian was also a major player during Peter Davison’s tenure as the Doctor. So, Zara’s introduction makes perfect sense, she is working for the Guardians – along with her sister. Both are brand-new to our universe. Both have an assignment – to each find three segments to the Key to Time to bring back to the Guardians so the Key can be assembled and the off-kilter balance of the universe put right.

The story starts with Zara and Ace each stuck in a jail cell someplace. Will they trust each other? Or, will they betray each other? Zara fills us in on her story – after literally appearing from nothing, she takes her first breath of air on a planet. And she’s immediately kidnapped by Zinc, who, along with his wife Magda, is investigating a strange new cult that’s taking over the galaxy. But that is a detail we learn later. All we know now is what Zara knows, she’s picked up from this rainy planet, and she’s suddenly somewhere else with Zinc.

Zara, not knowing any better, tells Zinc everything: about the key to time, the Guardians, her job, etc. Zinc probably doesn’t believe her and tries to figure out where his teleport bracelet has brought him, because he is way off course. They go to the telescope room at the local museum. And Zinc abandons Zara. Zara, though miffed, thinks she’s learned a lesson about not trusting anyone. And she realizes the strange tickling in her nose is actually how she perceives being near a segment of the Key to Time. She follows the sensation to a huge lake on the surface of the planet Erratoon, which is a former prison planet and covered with a Geodestic Dome. She talks someone into taking her out on the lake in a boat, touches the surface of the water – and the entire lake disappears as it takes the form of a segment of the Key, which Zara puts in her satchel. Unfortunately, when the lake suddenly disappears, everyone on the lake dies. Anyone in a boat suddenly crashes down to the rock-hard surface of the lake bed, and dies from the impact. Zara is arrested for “stealing” the lake.

Ace, meanwhile finds herself in a jail cell with Zara. Zara doesn’t even tell her, her name. Ace, being Ace, decides immediately to escape. Zara warns her it’s not a good idea because if you try to escape you forfit your right to a trial and your memories are stolen. Ace gets them out of the cell anyway, and they are both captured and mind-wiped.

Ace awakes, her memories scrambled, but tells us what she remembers. She’d been with the Doctor, whom she now barely remembers, looking into a “Bonnie and Clyde” couple, Zinc and Magda, who had stolen a time ring and were now running all over space and time – pulling heists, setting up “nest eggs”, but also, at times, helping people and being heroes. She and the Doctor are investigating Zinc and Magda to see if they need to be stopped (their current investigation into the cult is trouble, a mystery that isn’t meant to be solved yet). But when Zinc goes off to grab an cultist to interview he simply disappears with no word. We, the audience, know he grabbed Zara and disappeared to Erratoon rather than back to his camp with Magda. Ace takes care of Magda, finding a shelter, making a fire, even preparing food from their supplies. Zinc returns and tells Magda that his trip wasn’t in vain – the planet he accidentally traveled to is rich in an ore needed for intergalactic travel than makes hyperspace much safer. The three end up on Erratoon and Ace is meant to fire a rocket at the geodestic dome, killing everyone on the planet and leaving it free for mining. Ace tries to find her way out of this, even telling a robot constable what will happen. But the robots only prosecute actual crimes. They don’t do any crime prevention. The rocket is set off, and the dome destroyed, but Ace finds herself in a hospital, under the care of The Doctor, but still with a rocky memory. It turns out that all the buildings on the planet were actually ships. When the dome breaks and everyone is expelled into space, they are scooped up by the buildings which are now spaceships. No one died. And now that the secret is out (all the meaningless tasks given to the prisoners weren’t so meaningless) a space dock will be built, people can come and go as they please, once the ore is found, everyone on the planet will be rich, and a new colony built. The Doctor even promises he has something called “a TARDIS” which can restore her memories.

This was an excellent story, well told and performed. I liked it, even though at times it was hard to tell what was going on because of the non-chronological nature of the telling of the story.

Recommended.

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Note: No promotional consideration was paid for this review. I review because I enjoy it!

Book Review – Doctor Who: Timewyrm: Genesys

  • Title: Timewyrm: Genesys
  • Series: Virgin Publishing New Doctor Who Adventures
  • Author: John Peel
  • Characters: Seventh Doctor, Ace
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 10/12/2017

I originally read this book when it came out in 1991, and I remember that I didn’t like it much. TV Tie-Ins should feel like an episode of the show they come from, and, at the time, I thought this story didn’t. I also didn’t like the characterization of Ace. However, since I’ve decided to read my entire collection of original Doctor Who novels, I decided I really needed to start reading the entire Virgin Publishing Doctor Who The New Adventures series of original novels from the very beginning. So I started with Timewyrm: Genesys.

I actually really enjoyed Timewyrm: Genesys this time around. I read it in about a week. I realise it’s been a lot longer than that since I’ve posted a book review here on GoodReads but I started another novel that I just couldn’t get into, plus I hit one of those rare instances when I just didn’t really feel like reading a book. Anyway, I read this pretty quickly and I actually, honestly, enjoyed it.

The Virgin Publishing Doctor Who The New Adventures series takes place immediately after the aired episode, “Survival”, and follows the Seventh Doctor (as played on the BBC Series by Sylvester McCoy) and Ace, and later in the series, new companions, like Dr. Bernice Summerfield (an archaeologist). This novel begins with a prologue of an alien in a spaceship firefight with her people. Her ship is destroyed and she crash lands on Earth in an escape pod. However, one isn’t to feel sorry for her – she’s an evil megalomaniac who had destroyed her own planet. The alien first meets Gilgamesh, who refuses to help her – seeing her evil, but she becomes the goddess Ishtar and is taken to a temple in Kish by it’s King Agga.

It’s ancient Mesopotamia and Urak and Kish are posed for war. Ishtar (the Timewyrm though that doesn’t become clear until the end of the book) encourages this, and anything else that will help her gain complete control. She uses advanced technology to Touch soldiers and others in Kish, using them as her spies, slaves, and solders. Meanwhile, Ace wakes in the TARDIS with no memory of who she is. She wanders to the TARDIS control room and meets the Doctor. The Doctor had been deleting his memories – and moving them into the TARDIS data banks, when he overdid it a bit and hit Ace as well while she slept. He reverses the process and gives her, her memories back. This is an admittedly weird and strange scene, and it resembles nothing we’ve seen in Classic Doctor Who, though it did remind me of Sherlock Holmes deleting his memories and searching his “mind palace” in Sherlock but that’s besides the point.

The TARDIS lands in ancient Mesopotamia. Ace and the Doctor meet Gilgamesh and become involved in events. Before long, Gilgamesh, his Neanderthal servant, a fallen priestess of Ishtar, the Princess of Kish, and a wandering musician and songsmith, are working together to defeat Ishtar without Mesopotamia being destroyed.

It’s a fast-moving back and forth battle, with small victories being overcome by defeats. In the end, the Doctor saves Kish, but although at first he thought he had destroyed the Timewyrm (as she is by then known) by drop-kicking her from the TARDIS to the Time and Space Vortex, she returns to tell him she’s survived, escaped, and can now, with help from some Chronovores, travel to any place in space and time. And since there are three more books in the series, this provides a set-up to make her a stronger villain.

Overall, I honestly enjoyed Timewyrm: Genesys. It was a fast read, and full of high adventure. Ace did get to do things, beyond simply blowing things up with Nitro-9, though there’s plenty of that. The Doctor sends her, Gilgamesh, and the songsmith to the mountains to find the other aliens who, chasing the alien who had destroyed their planet had also crash-landed on Earth. Later, it’s revealed that the Doctor had done that simply to get the group out of the way and keep them safe. However, Ace learns to be a leader, to work with people, to deal with setbacks, and to use innovative thinking to solve problems. Plus she saved the Doctor, the princess, and the priestess – so there’s that. It seems obvious that we will see growth in Ace’s character in this new series.

Overall, I can honestly say that I recommend Timewyrm: Genesys both as a Doctor Who original novel and as historical science fiction adventure.

Book Review – Doctor Who: Bang-Bang-a-Boom

  • Title: Bang-Bang-a-Boom!
  • Series: Doctor Who Main Range
  • Authors: Gareth Roberts and Clayton Hickman
  • Director: Nicholas Pegg
  • Characters: Seventh Doctor, Mel
  • Cast: Sylvester McCoy, Bonnie Langford, Sabina Franklyn, Nickolas Grace
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 05/27/2017

**Spoiler Alert** Bang-Bang-a-Boom is one of my very favorite Big Finish audio plays – because it is relentlessly funny. This is a full-cast audio play, with music, sound effects and an excellent cast. It features the Seventh Doctor, played by Sylvester McCoy and his companion, Mel. The story starts with a bang, as the TARDIS arrives on an in-bound shuttle to a space station. The Doctor and Mel no sooner arrive than they realize the people on the shuttle are dead and it is about to explode. Before they can get to the TARDIS, they are beamed to the space station.

The station, Dark Space 8, is expecting a replacement commander, the previous one having died in a space flu. The staff of the Station welcome the Doctor as the new Commander, and Mel as his pilot. The Station is about to host the Intergalactic Song Contest.

The Doctor and Mel meet the contestants of the contest, including representatives of two Galactic Empires posed on the brink of war. They also meet the Arbiter, a galaxy-wide famous diplomat. Before long, people on the station start getting murdered, the Doctor investigates, and Dr. Eleanor Harcourt feels so … helpless.

The story is great fun, and the parodies of ST:TNG and ST:DS9 are rampant. The Doctor gets to play detective with Mel as his reluctant assistant. They eventually realize that the Intergalactic Peace Conference that is taking place at the same time, supposedly on another planet, is actually taking place on the station – and the Song Contest is a convenient cover. The Doctor also uncovers a number of secrets about the crew of Dark Space 8. The story has a light tone and is laugh-out-loud funny. It truly is one of my very favorite Big Finish stories and I highly recommend it.

Find out more about Big Finish audios at their website: www.bigfinish.com

Click this link to order Bang-Bang-a-Boom! on Download only. Note: currently for the discounted price of $2.99. Get it while you can!

Note: No promotional consideration was paid for this review. I review because I enjoy it!

Book Review – Doctor Who: The Ripple Effect

  • Title: The Ripple Effect
  • Series: Doctor Who Novelette Collection
  • Author: Malorie Blackman
  • Characters: Seventh Doctor, Ace
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 07/02/2016

Doctor Who – The Ripple Effect is part the of Doctor Who 50th Anniversary 12 Doctors 12 Books series of mini-books. The Ripple Effect features the Seventh Doctor as played on the BBC television series by Sylvester McCoy and his companion Ace (aka Dorothy McShane). The mini-book opens with the Doctor and Ace in the TARDIS and they are stuck. They are in the space/time equivalent of the Sargasso Sea – becalmed and utterly unable to move. Other ships are also stranded. While the Doctor works on the TARDIS console trying to fix it so they can get out of the time/space trap, Ace watches out the viewing screen at the greyish exterior. Then she suddenly sees the TARDIS. But the Doctor dismisses this as an illusion.

The Doctor makes a desperate move, and the TARDIS is kicked free of the trap. They “auto-land” on a planet, which they soon discover to be Skaro. But rather the home of the militaristic, xenophobic, racist, bullies we know as Daleks – Skaro is home to a race of Daleks who are the center of teaching, medicine, and research for the entire galaxy. People of all races and of all ages come to the Academy on Skaro to learn, study, and do research. Even the Time Lords have come to Skaro to say thanks for the Dalek medical team that saved the life of the Lord President of Gallifrey.

The Doctor, of course, knows this to be wrong. Ace also remembers her own fights against vicious Daleks, but over time she comes to accept the new world she’s on, and the new universe.

The Doctor, however, continues to investigate – and although the Daleks are as good as they seem, this alternate universe isn’t stable – and in the end, he and Ace must do something about that.

The Ripple Effect is an excellent story, in that it’s really about prejudice – the Doctor’s previous experiences with evil Daleks make it difficult for him to accept that these Daleks are good. Ace at first agrees with him, but she gradually accepts what she sees with her own eyes, despite her memories, these Daleks are good. Ace even becomes friends with one of the other students – which makes the end even more tragic.

This is an excellent and very short story, as all the other stories in this series are short. Recommended.