THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
NOVEL "THE HOLLOW
MEN" AND THE TV
OFFICIAL BBC 'PAST
RELEASED IN JANUARY
Collecting his post in
the London of 2012,
the Doctor and Ace
are called through
time to south-east
Scotland to help out
an old friend who’s
vanished. They find
themselves at an
where the patients
seem to be gaining a
new lease of life. But
whose life is it?
Why is the Doctor so
reluctant to reveal
what happened in the
TARDIS before their
arrival? Why are
cats and dogs - not
to mention people -
disappearing? Who is
the shadowy figure
stalking the Doctor
and Ace? And what
is the secret of Miss
Chambers, whom no-
Soon, the Doctor and
Ace find out the hard
way that actions
have consequences -
and that there’s
more than one kind
Relative Dementias is a novel that made an impact on me well before I’d started
to read it. A truly inspired title (albeit one stumbled upon, as opposed to fashioned, by the author); a lovely, understated cover illustration; and an well-crafted blurb had me hooked
long before the Doctor and Ace arrived in 2012 to check their mail. And the novel itself is
by no means disappointing: in fact, Mark Michalowski’s first full-length Doctor Who story
has left me hungering for more of the same.
“ ‘Do Time Lords get Alzheimer’s disease?’ asked Ace.
‘Oh, we get far worse things than that, Ace. The dementias that plague us are much,
much darker.’ ”
Dementia is a degenerative brain disease that I’m all too familiar with – one of my uncles died from Alzheimer’s disease, and my fiancée is presently researching how people can remain hopeful whilst suffering with dementia for her doctoral thesis. As such I’m acutely aware of what a real life horror story dementia can be for so many, and accordingly just
how much scope there is for an author to play upon the associated psychological terror within this genre.
Furthermore, as well as the patients of Graystairs losing themselves in the truest sense, Michalowski also focuses heavily upon the ramifications of time travel, one of the aspects
of Doctor Who that interests me the most. There are some gloriously complex temporal shenanigans involving notes and crossing time streams that do not make sense until right
at the end of the book and that I will not spoil here. Suffice it to say that those who enjoyed stories like The Fires of Vulcan will really love this element of the story.
I enjoyed reading about
characters too. I like the
idea that the Doctor has
old UNIT friends like Dr Brunner that we haven’t met before, and the sub-
plot featuring her AWOL son Michael (who holds a grudge against the Doctor) is particularly well-executed.
Best of all though, Michalowski writes for the seventh Doctor and Ace with as much zeal as Mike Tucker and Robert Perry, yet without the same continuity trappings. Presumably set between Battlefield and Ghost Light (after Ace has encountered UNIT but before she has learned the hard way what the Doctor is really like!), Relative Dementias presents us with the definitive Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred versions of the characters. Someone who watched the last couple of years of the television show but with no further knowledge of the Whoniverse could pick this one straight off the shelf and instantly recognise the characters and be sucked into Michalowski’s world.
All told, Relative Dementias has to be regarded as a success in every respect, and it’s a novel that I would highly recommend to any fan of the seventh Doctor and Ace.
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 novel’s blurb offers no guidance as to its placement. However, Ace’s inner monologue suggests that
it takes place after Ghost Light and The Curse of Fenric - on page 269 Ace is thinking about the Doctor’s promise “...to stop using people, pushing them about like pawns on a chessboard...”
We therefore take the view that this story takes place between The Curse of Fenric and Survival. Within
this gap we have placed it after both The Algebra of Ice (as The Algebra of Ice takes place almost two
years prior to Timewyrm: Revelation, and therefore needs to be placed as soon after The Curse of Fenric
as possible) and The Hollow Men (simply as The Hollow Men was published first).
Thanks to Jason Robbins
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