THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
OFFICIAL BBC 'EIGHTH
RELEASED IN AUGUST
A disturbance in the
vortex causes the
Doctor and Sam to
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
While the Doctor and
Sam find themselves
expedition into the
heart of the alien
vessel, strange and
spread terror. But
exploring deeper into
the derelict disturbs
a sinister presence
and takes the DOOMED
ITS FATE AND PERHAPS
EVEN beyond THE EDGE
OF life itself...
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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