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THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
BIG FINISH AUDIO BOOKS
"THE BLUE TOOTH" AND
"THE SENTINELS OF THE
OFFICIAL VIRGIN 'MISSING
RELEASED IN JULY 1996.
A little boy goes
paintings; and the
employees at the
desperate to keep
everyone away – the
Doctor suspects it’s
all down to a group
of homo reptilia. His
assistant, Liz Shaw,
has ideas of her own
and has teamed up
with a journalist to
search for people
who don’t exist.
While the Brigadier
has to cope with UNIT
breakdown of his
Geneva’s threats to
replace him, the
Doctor must find the
And behind it all lies
a conspiracy to
achievements – a
deep into the heart of
Although strictly speaking it was not part of the Missing Adventures series, David Bishop’s conspiracy thriller “Who Killed Kennedy” has certainly been my favourite ‘past Doctor’ Virgin novel to date. Its only flaw – as a Doctor Who novel, that is – was that the Doctor had only
the most fleeting of roles. This book, however, is a bona fide Doctor Who adventure through and through; Gary Russell has taken the Brigadier’s emotional back story hinted at in “Downtime”, mixed it in with the whole “Who Killed Kennedy” C19 conspiracy, thrown in a whole bunch of Silurians and hybrid Sea Devils, written out Liz Shaw and voila – “The
Scales of Injustice." As modern, as captivating and as deep a Doctor Who adventure as you are ever likely to find.
Written at the same time as he was beavering away at his novelisation of the TV movie, Gary Russell’s novel has a very fashionable feel. It positively reeks of The X-Files, and that is certainly no bad thing. The monsters of “The Scales of Injustice” are not the Silurians but human beings – sinister and enigmatic figures who are not referred to by name, not even by the omniscient author. Just as The X-Files has the cigarette-smoking man, the crew cut
man and the like, “The Scales of Injustice” has the repugnant ‘blonde tanned man’ and the utterly evil ‘pale man in a suit.’ The latter is a particularly remarkable character – a young man who lost his right arm in an accident and is given the chance to be made whole again by C19. He takes this chance only to end up with an entirely cybernetic body, á la Tobias Vaughn in “The Invasion”. I found this ‘pale man’ especially interesting when measured against the character of Amelia in the preceding third Doctor Missing Adventure, “The Eye
of the Giant”. In that novel, young Amelia faced the exact same choice as the pale man yet made the opposite decision. And she achieved enlightenment, he achieved… something else. There is a moral there, I reckon.
“And what exactly, Doctor Shaw, do you think C19 does with the dead bodies of
plastic dummies, reptile men, primordial throwbacks and all their human victims?”
There is much more to the C19 story than just the pale man though; Russell weaves so many threads together from not only the television series but also from many of the Virgin novels. Sir John Sudbury, the Glasshouse, the Doctor’s first meeting with Icthar, Yates’ promotion to Captain – these are all dealt with here, and more to the point dealt with well. One criticism that I am sure will be levelled at this novel is that it is so replete with continuity that those who are not au fait with the finer aspects of the UNIT era and recent novels could get a bit lost,
but let us face it – just who are the intended audience for this book? Hardly Joe Public. This is a book written for Doctor Who fans by a Doctor Who fan.
Furthermore, despite the novel focusing so heavily on Liz Shaw and her leaving UNIT, I
found that the Brigadier came out this novel best of all. After “Downtime” my interest in his past was piqued – particularly in his failed marriage and his child that until recently we had heard nothing about. Reading about the painful breakdown of the Brigadier’s marriage is tragic in the true sense of the world – if only he could have explained to his wife how important his job was, she might just have forgiven his neglect. But he could not explain, and being the man that he is, he had to put the interests of the country – hell, the interests of the world – before the interests of his wife and daughter. And so he lost them. And for those like me who were wondering, we also learn all about Doris and that gifted watch…
“I realised not that long ago that I don’t know very much about you, Liz. As you say,
it’s been all work and no play. That’s my fault. And if you’re going back to Cambridge,
then the opportunities to mend that breach are going to be few and far between.
But for what it is worth, I value you. Your judgements, your ideas and your ethics.
You’ve been a calm in my storm. My white when I’ve been black.”
Turning to Liz, her departure is handled exceedingly well by Russell. He does not pull any punches about the lack of affection between her and the Doctor – in fact, that is half the charm. Their strained relationship over the course of season seven is paid off here with an understated and surprisingly emotive ending. By the end of “The Scales of Injustice”, mutual respect has finally given way to fondness.
The Doctor himself fares less well. Russell gives Pertwee’s Doctor the least exciting part of the plot to deal with – being stuck down a hole with the ‘Earth Reptiles’. The Earth Reptiles / Silurians / Eocenes / Sea Devil-hybrids or whatever you want to call them do not actually add all that much to the plot; at the end of the day any other race could have filled their shoes without altering the plot substantially. Thankfully, the author lifts the Silurians above just being mere ciphers for the larger ‘C19’ story by spending a lot of time wallowing in their history
and culture. In parts, this novel reads like a textbook – heck, it begins with a pseudo-scientific essay – something that I am sure will annoy many, but in all honesty I liked it.
There were so many other things that I liked too – Sergeant Benton’s comically articulate speech to the Brigadier; the Doctor not recognising the cream Imperial Dalek base from ‘the Shoreditch Incident’ (I know, I am sad); the ‘Irish Twins’ with Auton arms… Like I say, there is so much in here to like. In short, it is an entertaining and engrossing novel that barefacedly wallows in nostalgia, yet also tells a very modern story in a very modern way. What is more, “The Scales of Injustice” is one of just a handful of these Missing Adventures to truly live up to their mandate – this story plugs a gaping hole in the continuity of the television series, and for that alone it should be commended.
A triumphant return to form for this author. His best work yet.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
This story’s blurb places it between the television stories Inferno and Terror of the Autons. As this story sees Liz Shaw leave UNIT, we have placed it between the audio books The Blue Tooth (the events of which appear to contribute towards Liz’s decision to leave UNIT) and the novel The Sentinels of the New Dawn (which sees her reflect on that decision).
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