THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
NOVELS "HERITAGE" AND
"ATOM BOMB BLUES."
OFFICIAL BBC 'PAST
RELEASED IN MAY 2003.
Ace is dead. Or at
least she will be -
soon... In a secret
room deep inside the
TARDIS the Doctor
has been examining
the body of Ace's
future self. He now
knows how she was
killed, where she was
killed and when she
was killed. What he
know is why...
the Doctor makes a
and takes Ace to
the very time and
place of her death,
hoping to cheat Time
and find her killer
before he can strike -
but Time has other
With Ace missing and
the clock ticking the
Doctor turns to old
friends for help and
finds THAT there is
for him to deal with...
Loving the Alien
If you’ve followed the adventures of the seventh Doctor and Ace through all
of Mike Tucker and Robert Perry’s post-Survival novels, then Loving the Alien is going to come as a real treat for you, just as it did for me. Conversely though, if you aren’t familiar
with at least Illegal Alien and, I suppose, bits of Prime Time, then this one is not going to make any sense whatsoever!
That said, even those who will scratch their heads over most of this one will still really be
able to soak in the ambience – Loving the Alien is a 1950s B-movie through and through, right down to the giant ants; the space race; the cold war; and even a certain murderous young actor by the name of Jimmy Dean.
“Across the other side of the room the body lay under a dark green surgical sheet.
Ace’s body. Not the body of an old woman, not a shrivelled corpse,
but young, as she was now, and if he [the Doctor] had any thoughts that she had
died of natural causes, the bullet hole in her forehead had put paid to them.”
And, steeped as it is in the series’ mythology, Loving the Alien has a real series finale feel about it. The subject matter is momentous, the story’s main hook having cumulated over several novels now, including one not written by Tucker and Perry, and several characters also return from previous Tucker / Perry stories.
First and foremost, we have ageing American detective Cody McBride (from Illegal Alien) who, despite toying with cliché throughout (in a very similar manner to another American detective friend of the seventh Doctor’s), carries large chunks of the narrative. McBride manages to add a much-needed dose of comic relief to the proceedings, whilst still somehow having the key events of the novel pivot on his actions or words. Brilliant stuff.
Secondly, we have the dastardly manipulator George Limb (another returnee from Illegal Alien). It’s Limb that’s responsible, albeit indirectly, for Ace’s death the ensuing problems with the web of time, as he used a Cyberman time ship to try and alter history for his own ends.
“You can try to break free from the clutches of time, but in the end there is no escape.
Whatever you do, however many alternatives you create, the end will always be the same. Destiny.”
As one would infer from the book’s blurb, much of Loving
the Alien dwells on the ramif-
ications of foreknowledge and
on predestination, making it a
really absorbing read. Tucker
and Perry do a tremendous job of portraying the emotion behind the Doctor’s dilemma – should he try and fight the future, save Ace, and risk who knows what happening to the timeline? Or should he accept the death of yet another companion? I love how it takes the rather dense McBride to give the Doctor the answer that he has been torturing himself over for so long – “you are her friend.” It just sums it everything up so fiercely.
However, the actual science fiction behind the Loving the Alien is solid, but very frustrating. Parallel universes are all well and good when it comes to exploring wacky possibilities, such as within the context of the Big Finish Unbound audio dramas, for example, but here I think that Tucker and Perry use the concept as something of a crutch. Fair dues, it gets them out of a tight spot with Ace and restores harmony with the chronologically-ensuing Big Finish audio dramas and Virgin New Adventures, but it really does feel like an almighty cop-out. Nevertheless, this complaint doesn’t really spoil what is an otherwise extraordinary read – just be prepared to curse at the ending!
And so, on the whole, Tucker and Perry have really done themselves proud with this climax. Had the seventh Doctor and Ace continued on together on television after Survival, then this would really have been the ideal swansong for them both. I can’t think of any higher praise than that. Highly recommended.
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 adventure resolves the inconsistency of Ace’s death by having an almost-identical Ace from a parallel quantum reality assume “our” Ace’s place, apparently none the wiser.
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