THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
FICTION" AND THE TV
STORY "THE TALONS OF
PAPERBACK (ISBN 0-
IN FEBRUARY 2005.
TheRE were contracts,
which made murder
When Leela is
challenged to a duel
to the death, the
Doctor realises that
there is more to the
situation than simple
murder and mayhem.
But How long can
LEELA survive on a
planet where not to
kill is an offence
punishable by death?
Match of the Day
Match of the Day has to be regarded as something of a triumph for the authorís
sheer tenacity, if nothing else. If one includes the television serials that his novels follow on from, Chris Boucher has now penned six consecutive full-length Doctor Who stories. I donít think that any author anywhere in the canon can match that stretch.
The trouble is that, with the possible exception of Psi-ence Fiction, Boucherís novels have each spectacularly failed to capture the lustre of his television scripts, and sadly Match of
the Day is no exception. It explores a worn-out idea in a predominantly pedestrian fashion and failed to grab my attention throughout, save for in its most extreme moments of violence.
Oh yes - and itís not about football.
The story sees the Doctor and Leela land on a planet where mortal combat is a way of life, and if, perchance, you end up embroiled in such a contest, and you donít ďfinish itĒ, then you may face capital punishment. And guess what? The Doctorís teachings finally sinking in, Leela refuses to kill a man, and is subsequently arrested and sentenced to death.
From there, Boucherís story doesnít really go anywhere, and even when it does, it doesnít make much sense. One would think that in a book that allows us access to the Doctorís long and anguished internal monologues Ė which to me is a crime in itself, having grown up on
the New Adventures Ė we would at least be privy to why he sets up a duelling school, for ins-tance. But alas, no. Rather than use this wanton access to the Doctorís thoughts to explain the plot, Boucher reflects the Doctorís ennui. Suffice it to say that it hardly makes for the
most gripping read.
That said, Match of the Day is punctuated with some genuinely tense and horrifying scenes, though these are few and far between. Most notably, the scene where the Doctor and Ronick are desperately trying to prevent Sitaís hand and ankle cuffs from cutting her extremities off is particularly well-written and suspenseful.
Leela is also portrayed wonderfully by her creator, Boucherís plot no doubt created to fit his beloved Sevateem warrior rather than the other way around. Beyond Leela though, the cast of characters are a remarkably dreary and unsympathetic bunch. Even Keefer, who I under-stand proved relatively popular with other readers, failed to make any sort of impact on me.
And just like Psi-ence Fiction before it, Match of the Day loses its momentum well before
its 277th and final page, though this time around the former Blakeís 7 script editor at least manages to avoid pressing the reset button. If only he had...
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 novelís blurb offers no clues as to its placement, however the presence of Leela but absence of K-9 suggests that these events take must place at some point between The Face of Evil and The Invisible Enemy. We have arbitrarily placed them after those depicted in the novel Psi-ence Fiction, written by the same author, which we suspect Match of the Day was intended to follow.
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