Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Independence Day by Peter Darvill-Evans

Plot: When the Doctor realises that a previous visit to the Mendeb system has left one of its colony worlds starved of technology development, he intends to return to the system and undo his interference. However he soon realises no matter how hard you try and make things right, sometimes fate has a way of cheating your plans…

Master Manipulator: Oh dear. This is the moody, manipulative, tedious Doctor that drove me away from the New Adventures. He is described as insufferably smug. He feels because he took away a communications system he must return to the Mendeb system and restore peaceful contact between the planets. Arrogant ****e. Who is to say that the two worlds wouldn’t have fought anyway? Or that Mendeb Two isn’t better off without technology? He is looked upon by Bep-Wor as the man who can save them all. In a sequence that is rather hilarious in its melodrama the Doctor tries to speak to a farmer whose entirely family is killed despite his protestations to the baying mob. Honestly the company he keeps. When he cannot rectify the situation at the end the Doctor considers the whole situation his fault. Why oh why does this incarnation think that the whole universe is his responsibility. People are responsible for their own actions…removing one piece of equipment might have left the planet in a bit of a pickle but the Doctor is NOT responsible for other peoples cruelty.

He is forced to eat a toxic worm but manages to heal his own organs once it is removed. Like the eighth Doctor in the TV Movie, he displays incredible strength (which would be hilarious to watch on the telly!).

Oh Wicked: It’s something of a problem when both of your regulars achieve little in the book they are supposed to be the main stars in. Gosh this really is taking me back to the NAs! This is the all shagging, all fighting Ace we knew in the New Adventures and has little chemistry with the Doctor (not that she spends that much time with him). Ace seems to exist to lusted after which is hardly plausible, unless you like ‘em young and explosive. Oddly for an innocent girl from Perivale she is a technology expert and can really hold up her end in a fight. When exactly were these skills learnt?

Twists: Ace discovers Kedin, the man she has shacked up with, is selling slaves to fund his uprising. She gets drugged just like the other slaves and is bought as a servant and protector. The book seems to shy away from its violence, implying torture and murder but not daring to go ahead and describe it in any detail. The biggest twist comes when the Doctor realises that the brain damage to the slaves is irreversible and his friend Bep-Wor guns himself and his wife down. It seriously disturbs me that beyond this there is little to shock, amuse, thrill or even care about.

Embarrassing Bits: The second Doctor tells Jamie to take something as a souvenir to remind him to return someday! Hahaha! And he takes the one thing that enslaves an entire population! There must be a better plot device than this to kick off the plot!

The Doctor discovers the ruined village and the one sole survivor! Just one left to tell him what has happened. That’s fortunate isn’t it?

Ace’s love life leads to some truly embarrassing scenes featuring dialogue to the standard of: “I have no desire to compromise you, lady.” And great prose like: He was even more kissable when he looked confused. And: “I think you better say a prayer to your deity, lady. You’re about to sin.”

Results: Possibly one of the most inept books I have ever struggled through. I’m going to be totally honest, I didn’t read all of this. I skimmed most of it and hardly took notice of what I DID concentrate on. Why should I care about a book set on a planet called Mendeb with characters called Bep-Wor, Tevan Roslod, Credig, Balon Ferud and Gonfalon? Does this sound like literature? It commits all of the sins I loathed with the early New Adventures; an unsympathetic and useless Doctor, a shagmeister Ace, bland prose, rubbish plots and nothing to suggest there is anything worth living for. What a shock that this was written by the editor of that range. Im not sure what editor Justin Richards was up to commissioning such a tedious novel so early in his editorship, perhaps repaying a debt for getting him a gig on the New Adventures and thus starting his Doctor Who career. Peter Darvill-Evans should be ashamed, this is pure and utter bollocks of the sort even Gary Russell would find hard to top: 1/10

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