Tuesday, November 27, 2007

NEWBIE REVIEW #1: The Indestructible Man

Going back through old posts in my younger and cuddlier OG alter-ego known only as 'Jared', I uncovered the DW book reviews I once posted. I was young and nauseating at the time, so they aren't much chop, but in the interests of archiving every aspect of my sordid existence on the internet for all to see, they now have a home here.

Reviews were posted under the suitable umbrella title of Adventures of a Books Newbie, due to my complete lack of knowledge/understanding of the books when I first saw a DW one in Dymocks. To my partial bewilderment, the first one I selected was the mildly notorious slab of Thunderbirds fanwank The Indestructible Man. This is what I had to say a couple of years ago:

What did I think... 'interesting' would be the operative word.

This certainly isn't a book to go into expecting the charm of Season 6. Coming fresh from the Classic Series, this book actually made me feel a bit like Mary Whitehouse with the sheer amount of blood and gore on offer. "Ooh, my!" I'd say, reading about Jamie slicing an innocent psychiatrist's hand apart with a homemade knife, and reading about civvies getting mowed down by machine-gun fire for unclear reasons, and worse things.

But, once I got used to the idea that these novels were free to do what they pleased it was quite good. The characterisation of the Doctor and Zoe was particularly good. The only thing that kept me disturbed was Jamie's psychosis, which didn't make for easy reading.

Unfortunately, I found this a bit of a slog. The plot suffers greatly from several elements: the Myloki are never really a tangible threat, the 'war' between the humans and Myloki is even more abstract, and most severely that there is a lack of sympathetic characters in the story. Bishop and Storm, in fact, who serve as the main guest cast are at times quite loathesome. And as a great many people have pointed out the Thunderbirds tributes don't sit well with the dark tone of the rest of the novel.

In spite of all this, there is a lot to enjoy in the novel. Great action sequences, well-drawn characters, clever ideas, and an inventive climax. Not the best DW novel I've read by a long-shot, but a good start to the range. 6/10

What do I have to say now?

What the hell was Simon Messingham ON?!? Nevermind myself, who accepted this crap in the blase nature of a valium addicted life coach, but the author who thought that a novel that spent nearly its entire length torturing The Doctor and his companions both mentally and physically, while characters that are blatantly ripped off from Gerry Nameicantremember's various series fly around in big, stupid, jets trying to kill aliens THEY CAN'T EVEN SEE!?? It's like he wanted to do a Saward tribute. In a Season 6 story with the most cuddly TARDIS crew ever...

Well, I must confess that I had a similar idea - I was thinking of a fic where the Sixth and Third Doctors bump into one another when they land on a junk planet at the same time, are attacked and accidentally run into one another's TARDIS... and then find themselves in the others' narrative universe. So Colin gets to rule the roost back in UNIT HQ, whereas Perters gets locked up in a cell for several chapters while posh mercenaries take over his role in the story. The difference being that with my idea the agenda is incredibly obvious - I have no idea what Messingham is trying to achieve. Or, even if he's aware that he's meant to be doing anything. It's possible that he just finds himself torturing the TARDIS crew endlessly without even realising it...

I honestly can't recall too much about the plot - I did read it about five years ago and haven't looked at it since, after all. I remember an awful lot of people dying a chapter after being introduced, though, and Jamie killing some guy who was meant to be 'an indestructible man' but clearly wasn't. I'm going to assume that it wasn't earth shattering.

Bearing in mind all its faults, though, the book is actually quite well-written. It's one of those books, though, that deliberately tries to not be Doctor Who for some pretentious reason, which works well because it doesn't fit into continuity at all so we can just assume it was an acid trip of the Doctor's. 4/10

1 comment:

Youth of Australia said...

I like that idea.

I can see the Doctor sitting in his chair, staring at nothing, twitching violently, while 'Captain Scarlet' plays on the time scanner...