STORY PLACEMENT

 THIS STORY TAKES

 PLACE BETWEEN THE

 NOVELS "PLACEBO
 EFFECT" AND "THE
 SCARLET EMPRESS."

 

 WRITTEN BY

 CHRISTOPHER BULIS

 

 RECOMMENDED 

 PURCHASE

 OFFICIAL BBC 'EIGHTH

 DOCTOR' PAPERBACK 

 (ISBN 0-563-40590-2)

 RELEASED IN AUGUST

 1998.

 

CLICK TO ENLARGE

 

 BLURB

 A disturbance in the

 vortex causes the

 Doctor and Sam to

 materialise the

 TARDIS in deep space.

 Here they find that a

 huge derelict alien

 craft has become the

 subject of a confron-

 tation between star

 ships from the rival

 systems of Nimos and

 Emindar.

 

 While the Doctor and 

 Sam find themselves

 accompanying an

 expedition into the

 heart of the alien

 vessel, strange and

 frightening incidents

 spread terror. But

 exploring deeper into

 the derelict disturbs

 a sinister presence

 and takes the DOOMED

 expedition TOWARDS

 ITS FATE AND PERHAPS

 EVEN beyond THE EDGE

 OF life itself...

 

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Vanderdeken's Children

AUGUST 1998

 

 

                                                       

 

 

Vanderdekenís Children is a novel that starts ever so beautifully. In all the sto-ries that Iíve read featuring Paul McGannís Doctor, I have never encountered such vivid and dramatic descriptions of either the TARDIS interior or of the Doctor himself. I think itís fair to say that by page three of this book, I was suitably engrossed within Christopher Bulisí world. Unfortunately, from there things went downhill in a very big way.

 

The authorís space liner setting is evocative of television serials like Nightmare of Eden

and Terror of the Vervoids, which is hardly desirable. And his two antagonistic races - the Nimosians and the Emindians Ė came across as being so impenitently generic that already

I canít recall a single feature of either species.

 

  

Only the science-fiction driving

the plot forward promised any

sort of redemption for this novel

but, at least in my case, I just

wound up getting utterly lost. The

Doctor does explain it all to Sam

right at the end of the book, but

by then I had lost the will. That

said, other readers might Ďgetí the plot and thus enjoy Vanderdekenís Children far more than I did, but I think that Bulis might lose even those readers with some of the stunts that he pulls here.

 

Indeed, what really gets me about this novel is that at times it feels like Bulis is deliberately trying to provoke the reader. Thereís even one inexcusable sequence where the Doctor uses his real name to try and make himself sound more officious. Obviously the name is not cited in the dialogue (unpronounceable, thankfully), but even so it destroys the aura surrounding it. Worse still is the implication that Sam actually knew the Doctorís name before he starting flashing it about!

 

To be fair to Bulis though, Vanderdekenís Children is not without its good points. Sam has her moments, including regressing in age (and memory) a decade or so, yet still being able to put her trust in the Doctor. There is also an interesting (albeit soapy) subplot involving a submissive husband who enjoys a mild flirtation with a woman named Ingrid, who his wife then murders, prompting him to beat the crap out of her. Eventually theyíre both put paid to by the alien menace, naturally, which is where this bizarre little thread links back in with the larger story.

 

Ultimately though, Vanderdekenís Children is without a doubt one of Bulisí poorest offerings, and so my firm advice would be to avoid this one.

 

Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2010

 

E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

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