THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
NOVELS "SKY PIRATES!"
AND "TOY SOLDIERS."
OFFICIAL VIRGIN 'NEW
RELEASED IN AUGUST
On the far side of a
break in the fabric of
space is the planet
Zamper, home of aN
sells the mightiest
warships in the
It is to Zamper that
the last warriors of
the fallen Chelonian
Empire have come in
a final attempt to
restore their race’s
Zamper completes Gareth Roberts’ trilogy of wacky New Adventures. I could explore what I perceive to be the failings of this book in great detail, but I would merely be
revisiting my criticisms of both The Highest Science and Tragedy Day, almost verbatim. Suffice it to say that much like his two previous New Adventures, Zamper is populated with unremarkable, one-dimensional characters; a dull and predictable plot; and it is rounded off with yet another unpardonable ending.
As I trawled through this mercifully short novel, I found myself looking for something to set it apart from its predecessors. Roberts certainly writes with unparalleled wit and distinction, but unlike his Missing Adventures that do a splendid job of evoking the very sights, smells and sounds of classic television stories, his New Adventures each seem to be little more than elegantly-phrased nonsense. The only saving grace that I can see here comes in the form of a few well thought-out character moments for the regulars.
Chris and Roz certainly have quite an adventure. Roberts quite interestingly puts Roz in certain situations where we witness a side to her that we haven’t really seen in previous novels - she even screams at one point! Benny has a more traditional adventure, rather predictably befriending and even winning over one of the “parasite”-hating Chelonians. Formulaic, but well done nonetheless. She also has a very nice line that I liked too, about how she “can’t” fancy Chris – very Benny.
“That was where people got the Doctor wrong. He wasn’t heartless. He was efficient.”
Most importantly of all though, in the last few chapters Roberts really gets a good handle on the seventh Doctor. It’s a mark of good writing when you can actually hear the character – or in this case, Sylvester McCoy – mumbling away inside your head.
“ ‘Old, new, yesterday, tomorrow… Lost their meaning to me many…’
[The Doctor] trailed off and smiled broadly. ‘Many years ago.’ ”
Unfortunately, these graces aren’t enough redeem this novel in my eyes. Even at 250 pages Zamper feels padded to the hilt, and so to anyone other than the long-suffering completists I have to say avoid.
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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