(ISBN 0-563-53848-1)







 The early decades of

 the 21ST century. All

 the wars have been

 won. There are no

 rogue states. The

 secret services of

 the world keep it

 monitored, safe from

 all threat. There is

 no one left for the

 USA and the Eurozone

 to fight. Except each


 A mysterious time

 traveller offers a

 better future - he has

 a time machine, and

 with it, humanity

 could reach the next

 stage of evolution,

 they could share its

 secrets and become

 the new Lords of

 ... either that, or

 someone could keep

 IT for themselves,

 and use it to fight

 the ultimate war.


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Trading Futures

APRIL 2002






With heavyweight tomes the like of Just War and Father Time to his name, it’s easy to forget that Lance Parkin has also authored one of the Whoniverse’s most rollicking yarns – Trading Futures. Abounding with high-octane action, mordant humour and even a few self-referential jibes, this lighthearted James Bond parody stands out as being one of the most extraordinary eighth Doctor novels.


Set in “the early decades of the 21st century” - circa 2020, if I’ve done my sums right – this tale reeks of stories as sundry as The Enemy of the World, Warriors of the Deep and The Time of the Daleks. The author lovingly weaves the whopping red buttons and retro-futura fonts of such stories with the sleek iPod present, whimsically bridging the gap between the two whilst also squeezing in as much shameless fan service as his editor would allow (no doubt referencing that editor’s contemporaneous audio drama helped) and even making delicate political comment. It’s the perfect backdrop for the thrilling tale of spies and bikinis that is to follow.


Packed to bursting with dramatic set pieces, Parkin’s dynamic prose reads like a feature film, playing out before the reader in glorious widescreen and surround sound. The plot is tremendous fun - a man called Baskerville has a time machine to sell to the highest bidder. Of course, both the major power blocks want it, as does an orbiting crash of cantankerous humanoid rhinoceroses, and it’s up to the Doctor, his companions, and Josiah Cosgrove (shamelessly Sean Connery’s Bond by another name!) to stop it falling into their hands.



The Doctor, Fitz and Anji are separated early, with the Doctor cast as the dashing Bond-like hero, Anji his bikini lovely, and Fitz stuck up in the sky with the rhinoceroses. The Doctor and Anji are the most fun to read about, particularly the latter who has electric chemistry with the story’s scheming villain. I love how the author has Anji overcome the sexist trappings of the genre, but in doing so leads her down a path that shows how little distance there is between her economic doctrines and those of Baskerville. Profit is profit, at the end of the day. Fitz’s adventure with the Ohnir is less insightful, but equally entertaining. Modern viewers will be quick to spot the Ohnir’s similarity to the Judoon, who were still five years or so away when this book was published, but with all their little quirks – their scent-based technology and the like – I think that theyre just as fascinating as their televised cousins, if not a little more so.


What I like most about

this book though is its

mischievous effrontery.

Throughout Parkin has

the reader wondering

how Baskerville’s time

machine is linked to

Sabbath, the ructions

in the Vortex, and the

torrent of time travellers

that seem to have sprung up since the Time Lords were erased from the universe, only to pay off his plot with the cheekiest of conclusions.


Like any book though, Trading Futures is not without its flaws, although when dealing with Parkin one can never quite be sure whether plot holes and continuity cock-ups are what they appear to be. His handling of the Doctor’s amnesia, for instance, and even his statement as to how long Anji has been travelling in the TARDIS are both ostensibly well wide of the mark, but when combined with a TARDIS thats now only slighter bigger on the inside and a future that seems to encompass the events of Death Comes to Time, it’s hard to be sure whether Parkin’s not done his homework (which seems astonishingly unlikely, given his meticulous reference works) or is simply toying with his readers as his playful plot does its protagonists.


Overall though, Trading Futures is a typical Parkin nugget. From its epic pre-title sequence to its debunking of popular Captain Pugwash innuendo, this is a book that has something to offer every reader and simply has to be read.


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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