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Doctor Who: To The Slaughter, is a book which continues the adventures of the Eighth Doctor. The setting is the outer planets of the solar system, the long abandoned, slightly worn, seat of Earth's empire. The Doctor and his two friends, Fitz and Trix, soon find that the moons and planets are either being moved or destroyed so improve its Feng Shui. No, I'm not kidding. But as the Doctor, and gang, digs deeper they found out that somebody, is in fact, trying to hide the development of a deadly weapon. Then they find out that somebody is trying hard to hide the fact that no weapon was developed. Then they find out...you get the picture. Giant industries, corrupt officials, hidden subsidiaries, terrorists, aliens and artists are just some of the players within the twisted knot called a plot. Or should I say plots. Dune or The Fellowship of the Ring was less complex. Which is good - I hate guessing within the first five pages what's going to happen in the next 200 and so pages. I also had fun guessing two out of the three alien bidders. One was a Kroton and one was a Sontaren. Now for the bad. I never saw the made for TV movie that launched the Eighth Doctor into the world and, even after reading a few of the books starring him, I don't know if I like him or not. His character is hard to pin down and seems to be all over the place. Now for the Ugly. The whole book feels like the author was making a script for the Doctors of the 60's and 70's. As if he was working with the idea that he had a low budget. So not a lot of special effects, no costly aliens and not too many scenes outside the bland cockpitsof the ships, sterile science labs and carpeted business offices of the space stations and so on.Read more ›
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Most of the time when writers concoct entire plots around explanations for things that maybe like six people would have noticed or remembered, they tend to ram their explanations down our throat at the expense of things like, say, the plot because all that matters is that reconciling the fact that someone was left handed in one scene and right handed in another.
It's to Cole's credit then that I didn't realize he was trying to explain anything until the book was over and he told us so in the afterword. You see, apparently in the Fourth Doctor story "Revenge of the Cybermen" the topic of the number of Jupiter's moons came up and the number that was cited in the story was out-of-date about five minutes after the episode was broadcast and way off by the present day, where Jupiter has at least count something like sixty-something moons. Now chances are you aren't going to rely on a story called "Revenge of the Cybermen" as your primary source for scientific fact (I wouldn't take its word on gold's effect on the respiratory systems of cybernetically enhanced organisms as gospel either, but that's just me) but Cole decided that he was going to try and explain how the Doctor could have possibly been right about the number of moons in the context of that story. And with that as our dubious foundational premise, off we go.
But you know, it's not half-bad.
Judging by other reviews I've seen of this, it seems to have not been well-received and as I kept reading I kept bracing myself for the moment when a so-far decent story was going to completely devolve into something utterly awful and make me believe I had wasted the time spent wading through it.Read more ›
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