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Friday, 2 September 2011

Paradox Lost Doctor Who Magazine Review

A few months ago, Doctor Who Magazine did a few reviews on the three new Doctor Who books. Now they're back and with a much more in depth review...

Hello. Doctor Who Magazine has done it again and have reviewed the three newest Doctor Who books, Paradox Lost, Borrowed Time and Touched by an Angel. Over the next three days, I will post one of the reviews for you to read if you're not too sure on getting the books for yourself. The third review posted, written for the third time by Michael Cregan, is of Paradox Lost. So, let's begin:
The TARDIS is drawn to London in the year 2789, where the Doctor, Amy and Rory witness an android dredged frmo the Thames. The odd thing is, the android has been there for nearly 900 years and he has a warning for the time travellers. Leaving Amy and Rory to investigate the mysterious Professor Gradius, the Doctor pops back to 1910 to find out what he'll need to warn himself about...
As is common this month, time (or is it Time?) is at the heart of what is going on here. However, George Mann is content with just two distinct time zones and what ends up with being your common or garden time paradox. In fact, the simplicity of this plot is what's most refreshing about the book. It even applies to the characters. Beyond our TARDIS crew, there are three other speaking roles in the novel and one of them is little more than a cameo. This stands in good contrast to the Squall, the villains of the piece with their hive mind. At one point there are thousands of the nasty creatures, determined to fee on the physic energy of all time and space. The Squall don't entirely work as an enemy en masse, but they are quite horrific as a more individual threat in the early part of the story.
The most interesting character in Paradox Lost is Professor Archibald Angelchrist, a gentleman adventurer and sometime employee of secret government forces fighting against the otherworldly. Angelchrist is a great creation. With more than a hint of The Talons of Weng-Chiang's Jago and Litefoot, Angelchrist has had plenty of adventures of his own and proves the perfect foil for the Doctor  as he investigates. When Amy, Rory discover that the now-deceased Professor Gradius was working on a prototype time machine, they encounter the same android they know will end up in the Thames 900 years later. Amy calls him Arven and the three of them end up escaping the Squall in 2789 by taking the time machine back to 1910. A lot of the book is seen through Rory's eyes and it's nice to get his perspective on the gleaming future and grubby past of London. He's resourceful and determined to protect his wife whatever trouble she might land them in.
Of course, by the time Amy, Rory and Arven catch up with the Doctor, he has already worked out what's going on  because the two time periods are entwined like 'a noodley soup of causality' as he puts it. Presumably this soup comes in both timey-wimey and wiblly-wobbly flavours.
Mann is able to keep the adventure rollicking nicely, and the book seems more confident when it settles on 1910 for the majority of the story. Narrow escapes, a thrilling chase in an Edwardian car (alas, not a sprightly roadster) and a real feeling of events getting out of control lead to a satisfying climax. I'd recommend this if you like your Doctor Who fog-bound and spooky.

Paradox Lost is written by George Mann; features the Eleventh Doctor, Amy Pond and Rory Pond and you can buy it for £6.99. For the final time this month, thanks goes to Doctor Who Magazine and Michael Cregan for writing and posting the reviews.

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