STORY PLACEMENT

 THIS STORY TAKES

 PLACE BETWEEN THE

 NOVELS "BLOOD

 HARVEST" AND

 "FIRST FRONTIER."

 

 WRITTEN BY

 SIMON MESSINGHAM

 

 RECOMMENDED 

 PURCHASE

 OFFICIAL VIRGIN 'NEW 

 ADVENTURE' PAPERBACK

 (ISBN 0-426-20419-0)

 RELEASED IN AUGUST

 1994.

 

CLICK TO ENLARGE

  

 BLURB

 in the idyllic gardens

 of a country house,

 Ace KNOWS something

 terrible is bound to

 happen. SOON ACE AND
 HER FRIENDS ARE LOST

 IN A world in which

 the familiar is being

 twisted. A world

 ruled by the Quack,

 whose medicines are

 deadly poisons and

 whose aim is the

 total destruction

 of the Doctor...

 

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Strange England

AUGUST 1994

 

 

                                                       

 

 

As a fan of Doctor Who, Iím shamelessly biased towards it. Where an impartial reviewer might look at The Happiness Patrol and sees hammed-up, painted villains and liquorice allsort-inspired antagonists, I see cutting political satire and the stuff of nightmares. Similarly, when Iím reviewing the latest Virgin paperback, Iím not trying to carry out some high-brow literary critique Ė Iím just saying what I like about it as a fan, and, inevitably, what

I donít.

 

But until now, Iíve never had to give a wholly bad review. Even in the worst Doctor Who stories, I usually have one flicker of interest; find one great idea or enthralling character; perhaps even one delectable twist. But Iím afraid that a line has to be drawn here. There

is nothing even remotely pleasurable about Strange England.

 

This is the first Ė and I pray the last Ė Doctor Who novel that Iíve ever considered putting down. In fact, it was only pig-headed completism that forced me to dutifully plough through extraordinarily long chapter after extraordinarily long chapter, each chunk of prose taking

an eternity to digest as I desperately tried to stop myself from glancing absently around the room (a far more entertaining pastime than reading Strange England, Iím afraid).

 

 

Having only finished reading this book about ten minutes ago, the feeble plot and forgettable characters are already rapidly fading from memory. Yet another setting outside reality. Yet another Gallifreyan meddler to contend with. Yet another  ďoh no Doctor, you canít possibly do thatĒ moment. Itís all been done to death recently, and frankly with much more finesse. And donít even get me started on ĎThe QuackíÖ  

 

Even the regular characters lack their usual sparkle. Of the lot, only the Doctor is portrayed with anything like accuracy, and even he is often degenerated to the juggling, winking jester of his first televised season. What were Virgin thinking when they commissioned this?

 

I hate having to give an entirely negative and unconstructive review, particularly as itís a new writerís work that Iím dissing, but when a novel stands out as being so flagrantly below par

as this one is, what else can you do? Even the most avid Who fans should be wary of this one.

 

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.

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