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Doctor Who Novellas: Fallen Gods

by Jonathon Blum and Kate Orman

(Telos Publishing, www.telos.co.uk, £25.00, 147 pages, signed, limited edition deluxe hardback, also available in standard edition, priced £10.00, published 25 September 2003.)

With the end of the Telos Dr Who range in sight, all the stops have been pulled out by issuing a novella over 140 pages long. Densely written and taking no prisoners, Kate Orman and Jonathan Blum weave a complex story exploring many ideas. At times this can leave the reader a little confused as to what is going on. One really has to concentrate, turning page after page to follow the story of Alcestis as told by her, and her relationship with The Doctor, that elusive eighth incarnation of the character returns ...

Kate Orman has built up a formidable reputation over the past ten years as author of some highly acclaimed Dr Who novels both for the Virgin Range and the BBC run of novels. She has co-authored a couple with Jonathan Blum, and they have been quite rightly praised with re-defining The Doctor's character and taking him into uncharted territory, especially in The Virgin New Adventures range.

This time however, it is taken just a little too far, as the reader becomes involved in the stuff of Greek Legend, with myth and magic thrown in for good measure. The problem is simple, the character of The Doctor is made to appear just too elusive and at times almost unrecognisable. Sometimes this 'hey, look at me, I am a God like figure' can be taken a little too far. It bores the readers as pages are turned, and the interest starts to wane.

There are interesting plot points along the way, and one cannot get away from the magnificent prose style and the at times, stunning imagery. David Lynch would have a wonderful time turning this into an unapproachable movie in the style of Mulholland Drive. Captivating, but confusing.

However is it possible to stretch the format of Dr Who a little too far? A story that takes itself too seriously, with no room for humour or light hearted banter. A little humour would have helped, as this story dearly needs an escape route to bring it back on track.


Review by Russell Cook.

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