- Series: Doctor Who
- Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Bbc Pubns; paperback / softback edition (May 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0563538090
- ISBN-13: 978-0563538097
- Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,958,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Ancestor Cell (Doctor Who) Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 2001
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
The Doctor's not the man he was. But what has he become? An old enemy -- Faction Paradox, a cult of time-travelling voodoo terrorists -- is finally making him one of its own. These rebels have a mission for him, one that will deliver him into the hands of his own people, who have decreed that he must die. Except now, it seems, the Time Lords have a mission for him too...
A gargantuan structure, hewn from solid bone, has appeared in the skies over Gallifrey. Its origins and purpose are unknown, but its powers threaten to tear apart the web of time and the universe with it. Only the doctor can get inside... but soon he will learn that nothing is safe and nothing is sacred.
Shot by both sides, confronted by past sins and future crimes, the Doctor finds himself a prisoner of his own actions.
Showing 1-2 of 6 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I can't imagine the BBC was really thrilled when Lawrence Miles dumped the elements of the long running thread that has taken up the last handful of novels into their laps, simply because his ideas were fairly out there. He introduced an organization called Faction Paradox, whose job was to gleefully create paradoxes and act like a really creepy cult in the process. He started the thread that eventually turned new character Compassion into a living TARDIS. He threw out the idea that Gallifrey was going to be stuck in a war with a Enemy so dangerous that they might tear apart time and alter themselves into hideous creatures of war in order to fight it properly.
And worst of all, he messed with the Doctor. In a masterstroke, the Faction was able to create a paradox at the end of his third incarnation, causing him to regenerate early and in the wrong place. During that time they introduced a virus into his system that several regenerations down the line would activate and change him into a Faction Paradox agent.
Got all that? Now, having thrown all that out, Miles proceeded to get the heck out of the way and make it someone else's problem.
In all honesty, it doesn't seem like the BBC knew what to do with his plotting machinations. The only one they dealt with directly, Compassion as TARDIS, was mostly handled by finding reasons to keep her out of the action in every single novel. Other than that, most of the rest was ignored, except for Orman and Blum's "Unnatural History". You got the impression that they were stalling for time in the hopes that someone would come up with a good idea on how to wrap it up.
And lo, here comes this novel.
It should be subtitled "We Just Want It to Go Away", because you can almost hear the steam coming out of the authors' ears as they try to figure out ways to resolve the situation they've been dealt with and put things fairly close to how they were without having to really touch the ramifications of it. Basically, the Doctor and Fitz wind up on Gallifrey just in time for a giant object to materialize in the sky. Weird things are happening and the Faction is getting ready to make its final move. And the question remains whose side the Doctor will on when it's all over.
As a novel, it's actually fairly entertaining and the authors don't really make any missteps. Unfortunately, as the conclusion to what we saw started in "Interference", it falls somewhat short. Part of the problem is that they don't seem to have Miles' stylistic flair or intensity, the sense of a writer with mad ideas and a slightly literary bent is lost and instead you have a very straightforward take on things. As originally written, Faction Paradox was almost a metaphorical and intellectual villain, they were creepy because they wanted to unravel the very idea of what the Doctor stood for, the notion of changing history just because you felt like it. There was an otherworldly quality to their bone palaces and philosophies, not at all unlike the Scissormen of Grant Morrison's opening Doom Patrol storyline years ago. That's mostly lost here as they become generic "bwah-ha-ha" villains whose goal is to take over Gallifrey and rule the universe, or something. Even worse, their big victory, the virus that will turn the Doctor into one of them, is dealt with so handily that you get the idea the authors didn't really know what to do with it.
So the moral and political slant that Miles originally brought to the storyline becomes people running up and down corridors and shooting at each other. Grandfather Paradox winds up being (yawn) yet another evil version of the Doctor, although I don't know who to blame that one on. Lacking his intensity and not introducing any real new ideas of its own (the idea of TARDISes becoming their true size is interesting), the book mostly goes through its paces, not gaining any real urgency in the process. Miles made the Faction seem dangerous because they could cause strike at the Doctor's heart and cause real change. They had a real plan and always seemed one step ahead. Here you have no doubt the Doctor is going to win and that's a problem.
In the meantime, it feels like a checklist is taking place, where the authors are just putting things back in order. Even the climax, when the Time Lords are basically sent away, seems only extreme on the surface. The Doctor existed for years without Gallifrey and those stories were always the most boring anyway. But this way he doesn't have to worry about being chased by them again. Compassion is dealt with, the war is dealt with, at the end the book gives the Doctor a new and somewhat traumatized status quo that could be promising, but the book merely putts along when it should crackle.
As I said, it's readable and entertaining on its own merits but they needed to be bold here and went for the merely mundane. Nothing sparks of real imagination, just scenes we've all seen before. You have to go through here to get to where we're going next, but those people expecting "Interference" to lead to a huge, rattling payoff may be slightly disappointed.
But saying that, this is one of the most important of the new eighth Doctor adventures in the series of Doctor Who novels. It is important for the very reasons that make it inaccessible to the casual reader. It is important because of the pivotal position it has in the continuity of the eighth Doctor series of novels.
It comes at the end of an arc of stories beginning with Lawrence Miles controversial Interference. Interference is a wonderfully written complex two part novel. It deals with big questions of memory and death. It develops Miles' creation the Faction Paradox, a race bent on meddling with established history. But, for the Doctor Who fan Interference is important because in this book Miles interfered with Doctor Who orthodoxy, overturning established myhology from the original television series.
However, Interference caused the editorial team for the series a problem. While Miles was bursting with ideas, writing his novels as part of an established series caused problems for those that followed. Miles had tampered with the Doctor's character, making him an agent for a villainous race; he had killed off an established character (although reintorudcing them in a subtly different form); he had introduced a new companion, Compassion, that in the Miles mythology was to become a walking talking living time machine.
At some point, though, somebody had to deal with the implications of Miles' approach. And editorially, it was decided that the interference Miles had caused should be ditched. However, rather than doing this casually in a series of novels, it was decided that one novel would address all of the continuity issues. The Ancestor Cell (co-written by the then editorial adviser) was that novel. Abrief summary of the plot illustrates the complexity.
It is set on Galifrey, the Doctor's home planet. This is a Galifrey awash with fear, where the Faction Paradox has become increasingly influential. The Doctor's companion Romana is President of the Time Lords of Galifrey and is attempting to get the Doctor's new time machine in order to protect Galifrey. Also a mysterious edifice has appeared in the skies above Galifrey, inhabited by a series of bone spiders, and seemingly the prison for one aspect of the Doctor's past selves. Also cast into the mix are an impossibly elderly version of a past companion of the Doctor, and the Grandfather of the Faction Paradox cult. The Doctor has to deal with these various aspects.
So many different plot and continuity strands do not make for a happy story, and this novel is confused and convoluted. The conflation of two different writing styles does not help either, the approach reminiscent of the story told of an old Doctor Who story, The Dalek Masterplan, where the script writers each week attempted to conjure a more outrageous cliffhanger to see how thier colleague would get out of it.
Too many subsidiary characters fight for limelight. And while there are some wonderful cameos, the past Lord President of the Time Lords is a wonderful memorable character, the principals - especially the ill used Compassion, a companion of the Doctor, are badly used, as if the wirters are embarrassed about having to deal with the character.
Perhaps its problem is that it is too ambitious, but as the end of an era in the stories - the influence of Miles' mythology; and Cole's editorship; as well as ... (well, that would be telling) - it is ultimately a huge disappointment.
So, one for completists, not for fans. And if you want to read how this sort of ambitious work should be written within a long running series then you should try Lawrence Miles' Interference or Dead Romance. Both have ambitious scope, but handled by a thoughtful, and careful writer.