'There are dark tides runing through the universe...'
Miggea - a star on the very edge of reality. The cusp between this universe and the next. A point where space-time has worn thin, and is in danger of collapsing... And the venue for the grand finals of the competition to win the fabled Arrow of Law.
The Doctor and Amy have joined the Terraphiles - a group obsessed with all aspects of Earth's history, and dedicated to re-enacting ancient sporting events. They are determined to win the Arrow. But just getting to Miggea proves tricky. Reality is collapsing, ships are disappearing, and Captain Cornelius and his pirates are looking for easy pickings.
Even when they arrive, the Doctor and Amy's troubles won't be over. They have to find out who is so desperate to get the Arrow of Law that they will kill for it. And uncover the traitor on their own team. And win the contest fair and square.
And, of course, they need to save the universe from total destruction.
Michael John Moorcock is an English writer primarily of science fiction and fantasy who has also published a number of literary novels.
Moorcock has mentioned The Gods of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Apple Cart by George Bernard Shaw and The Constable of St. Nicholas by Edward Lester Arnold as the first three books which captured his imagination. He became editor of Tarzan Adventures in 1956, at the age of sixteen, and later moved on to edit Sexton Blake Library. As editor of the controversial British science fiction magazine New Worlds, from May 1964 until March 1971 and then again from 1976 to 1996, Moorcock fostered the development of the science fiction "New Wave" in the UK and indirectly in the United States. His serialization of Norman Spinrad's Bug Jack Barron was notorious for causing British MPs to condemn in Parliament the Arts Council's funding of the magazine.
During this time, he occasionally wrote under the pseudonym of "James Colvin," a "house pseudonym" used by other critics on New Worlds. A spoof obituary of Colvin appeared in New Worlds #197 (January 1970), written by "William Barclay" (another Moorcock pseudonym). Moorcock, indeed, makes much use of the initials "JC", and not entirely coincidentally these are also the initials of Jesus Christ, the subject of his 1967 Nebula award-winning novella Behold the Man, which tells the story of Karl Glogauer, a time-traveller who takes on the role of Christ. They are also the initials of various "Eternal Champion" Moorcock characters such as Jerry Cornelius, Jerry Cornell and Jherek Carnelian. In more recent years, Moorcock has taken to using "Warwick Colvin, Jr." as yet another pseudonym, particularly in his Second Ether fiction.
In the far future, The Doctor and Amy fall in with a group of historical reenacters, the Terraphiles, and join them in their competition to win the Arrow of Law, an artifact that may be the key to saving the multiverse. But what does the Arrow of Law have to do with the notorious space pirate Captain Cornelius or the theft of Mrs. Banning-Cannon's hideous new gargantuan hat?
The ingredients are all there. At the core, this feels like a P.G. Wodehouse book set in space. Bingo Lockesley is a lot like Bertie Wooster and Mr. Banning Cannon could easily be someone that puts Bertie up to a hare-brained scheme. Moorcock even writes this more like a Wodehouse book than his normal style. It's very remniscent of Dancers at the End of Time in that respect.
The Arrow of Law is a lot like the maguffin in many of Moorcock's Eternal Champion books and the Cosmic Balance winds up playing a big part. Captain Cornelius is likely an aspect of the Eternal Champion and one of the more interesting characters in the book. I like what Moorcock's done with the 500th century and its denizens. However...
My main reason for 2-ing the hell out of this is the lack of The Doctor and Amy Pond. The Doctor and Amy are barely in it and don't do a whole lot. It reads like Moorcock had a Wodehousian novel set in the future already written and just crossed out two of the character's names and changed them to The Doctor and Amy Pond. As a Michael Moorcock book, I'd give this a high three. As Doctor Who book, it's barely a two. When I read a Doctor Who book, I want to see the TARDIS in action and the Doctor using his sonic screwdriver in every chapter, not playing some nutcracker game and looking for a missing hat. The humorous parts were suitably humorous but not Who-ish.
To sum up, it's a case of the ingredients not coming together properly, like stirring the missing eggs and vanilla into the rest of the cake batter after it's already baked for ten minutes. I will think hard before I pick up another Doctor Who tie-in. Unless Neil Gaiman or John Scalzi should happen to write one.
I was really excited by the idea of an established Sci-Fi author writing for Doctor Who. I like the NSA’s but they can be quite quick and easy, so a novel aimed at older readers akin to the PDAs and EDAs sounded perfect...
Admittedly I’d not read anything by Moorcock before and unfortunately found this to be the exact opposite to what I’d hoped for, I’m not used to he’s style of storytelling but a plot involving multiverses really didn’t seemed to fit with this series.
It felt more like The Doctor and Amy transported into one of Moorcock’s worlds instead!
It’s been a while since I’ve read this so might be worth a revisit (after reading some more of his work), but think it’s quite telling that this was the only time that the BBC used a ‘headline’ writer.
Issue #1: Not the book's fault, but the Doctor Who Reference Guide places the story before 'The Time of Angels,' when it actually takes place after 'Cold Blood' (Amy has forgotten that she's engaged, and therefore the story must happen after Rory has been erased from time).
Issue #2: This is the book's fault - it makes very little narrative sense. The threat the TARDIS crew faces is very vague and indistinct, and the nominal villains are laughably inept. It's the kind of danger that the Doctor could defeat in his sleep, which makes it slightly irritating that the story is dragged out to full novel length. It belongs in a Short Trips anthology, where its plot holes are less likely to be noticed.
Issue #3: It has almost nothing to do with Doctor Who. The Doctor and Amy are relegated to minor character status through most of the book, the TARDIS is concealed for no readily apparent reason, the only other Whoniverse elements to make an appearance are the Judoon (also for no apparent reason), and the rest of the plot hinges on concepts originated in some of Moorcock's other works, without giving a novitiate reader any indication of what those works are.
Apart from those things, the book is entertaining enough, a sci-fi P.G. Wodehouse-style romp through a distorted future vision of Edwardian England. It reads more like a work by Pip and Jane Baker than by Michael Moorcock, with copious overuse of language that occasionally puts even 'the catharsis of spurious morality' to shame. This is part of what makes the book too long, especially when the Doctor settles down to lengthy expository speeches that don't actually do anything to further, or even explain, the plot. The most involving element is not so much discovering what the threat is or how the Doctor is going to stop it, but rather what the rules to the game of 'whackit' are supposed to be. It is, nevertheless, a charming and potentially fun read, as long as one does not expect something of too much substance. What it absolutely isn't is an 'event' book, which unfortunately the BBC seem to be marketing it as, what with Moorcock's name being significantly larger on the cover than the book's title.
Clearly, this book isn’t going to be for everybody. Not everybody is a Doctor Who fan, for a start. And even among the millions of people who watch the TV series, very few want or need to buy a book based on it. Equally, although Moorcock is a fairly big name – I hope I won’t cause offence by saying he’s massive by the standards of the regular authors of DW books – he isn’t the most mainstream writer in the world. That said, the announcement that Moorcock was going to write a full-length Doctor Who novel provoked some serious excitement out in the small Venn-diagram intersection of people who like DW and also think he’s a brilliant writer. That includes me – I used to follow all of the DW novels, although I stopped some point just before the new series started, and I have read almost everything that Moorcock has written. And believe me, that’s quite a lot of books – his output is prolific, and they range from the throwaway fantasy books for which he is, perhaps, most famous to the astounding Mother London. I’ve got them all (well I don’t have some of his very early work and juvenilia, mostly published under pseudonyms), so there was never any doubt that I was going to be picking this book up. I managed to get hold of a proof just before I went away on holiday, and it jumped straight to the top of the ‘to read’ pile.
The first point to make, I think, is that this is a Moorcock book with some Doctor Who trappings, rather than a straight-forward Who story. That isn’t a problem for me, and Moorcock is such a skilful writer that anyone who started the book knowing nothing about his work would, I’m sure, know that they were in good hands. It was fun for me to spot the links to his other creations – some obvious, some more subtle – but they wouldn’t get in the way of the story. This does have the added bonus of meaning that the Who and Moorcock continuity obsessives will now have whole new worlds to explore – all of Moorcock’s work is linked, and therefore now part of the Who world, and vice versa.
That’s me a being a bit silly, really, but one of the things I’ve always loved about Moorcock’s work is the way in which everything tie together. Cameos, quotations, actual cross-overs, echoes and hints – there’s always a connection somewhere. That this book is business as normal, and that the editors have allowed their star author free reign, seems like a good sign. I would have hated a book that had been written under constraints, that had taken Moorcock’s talent and energy and dissipated it with rules and strictures. What would be the point? I’m sure some Who readers would have preferred a less idiosyncratic book, and I do understand that point of view – the characterisation of the Doctor and (especially) Amy Pond is simplistic at best – but somehow it all hangs together. It feels like a Doctor Who book, and it feels like a Moorcock book, which means that it works.
Plot-wise, I don’t want to give too much away. In the far future the Doctor and Amy hook up with the Terraphiles, a group of Old Earth re-enactment types who have a very dubious understanding of what they’re trying to re-create, leading to some very funny misunderstandings. For various reasons it turns out that the Doctor has to ensure that a certain team wins the upcoming grand tournament of Old Earth games – confused iterations of Cricket, Archery and other Olde-Englishe pastimes – and recover the trophy. How and why the book gets to this final game is, plot-wise, almost irrelevant although everyone, especially the reader, has fun on the way, and everything is deeply Moorcockian. Having said that, the first half of the book (at least) feels like an insane version of a Wodehouse novel, and this is clearly intentional on the author’s part. A hat stolen from a hotel room, angry matriarchs, old buffers who only want the quiet life, a blustering hero called Bingo who has to steal the aforementioned hat, falls in love with Amy and tends to give “his by now celebrated performance of a space-beacon on full traffic duty, blushing red and blanching white in a matter of seconds”, and so on. I didn’t realise that what I needed in my life was a science-fiction version of Wodehouse, with added Doctor-ness, but it turns out that I did. I can’t bang on for too long about how entertaining and fun this all is, because this review is too long already, but clearly I loved it.
As I said at the beginning, this book won’t be to everyone’s tastes. If you’re a Moorcock fan, you’ll love it, and I can say that with no hesitation whatsoever. Doctor Who fans might, I worry, be a bit split – it isn’t hugely Who-ey, although I think there’s enough here to keep most fans happy. People who just like really good, fun, energetic, well-written escapist literature will also approve, although I fear that it might be hard to convince them to buy it. You might even be able to convince a Wodehouse fan, as long as they were prepared to see things refracted through a Moorcock point of view. For what it’s worth, I loved it, and recommend it hugely. But then I sit in all four of the above camps, so I was always likely to be pleased. The sales sheet says that this is the first in a series of Doctor Who book specials, and if the calibre of the authors – and the writing – is as high in the future, I’ll be along for all of them.
I read a proof on holiday in Wales, from the fifteenth to the twentieth of August (well, I had other things to do). The book is out in October, ISBN: 9781846079832.
Author: I've written this amazing fantasy novel set in a beautiful forest with all kinds of interesting creatures. Editor: Well, actually I'm looking for a sci-fi novel. Author: Oh, well I can move it to space, no problem. Editor: Oh good. Who are the characters? Author: I have this amazing set of sisters ... Editor: Ehm - I need a guy as the main character with a girl sidekick. Author: I can fix that as well. Editor: Good. Author: And then the guy and girl fall in love at the end. Editor: No ... they are actually more like travelling mates. Author: Oh - well, I can do that. And then they travel through space on an enormous spaceship. Editor: More like they travel in an old blue policebox - it's called a Tardis. Author: A Tardis? Never heard of it. But don't worry - I can make it work. Editor: Just ditch the Tardis and use the spaceship - it's easier that way. But the guy has to have something called a sonic screwdriver. Author: Sonic screwdriver? Well, he dosn't have to use it much does he, 'cause I don't really know what that is. Editor: No problem. Just mention it a couple of times. Author: Sure thing. Does this character have a name. Editor: Yeah, Doctor Who. Author: Wasn't that like cancelled many years ago? Editor: Yeah, but it's back. Author: Oh.
Seriously, this is what this book felt like. Like it was just some generic book and then the author made some minor adjustments and voila - it became a Doctor Who novel. Now, I really liked shared universes - but I hate them so much too and this book is the reason why. At no point does it feel like a Doctor Who novel. It takes more than just calling the main character the Doctor and then naming his companion the right name. This did not feel like Eleven and Amy. The story itself is some weird story involving reenactment of old Robin Hood type games, a stolen hat, a big tournament with only three teams (the Visitors, the Turists and the Gentlemen) and for the first big part of the book, it really didn't make any sense at all. I had no clue as to what was going on. Villains cruised in and out of the book with no time to get to know - or dislike - them. None of the characters really stepped out of the book, neither the good or the bad buys. And the plot ... well, it didn't make much sense and you just kind of tried to read on, read on, desperately trying to get to the end in the hope that something would stand out towards the end. And when you finally arrive at the end, it's rather obvious - and not at all worth the time you spent getting there. It all just tied together so neatly - too neatly: 'We're stranded here - maybe forever. But oh - see, the notorious villain comes to our rescue even though the odds against him finding us is staggering. But luckily he had something to guide him to us because someone else had foreseen this whole thing so tada - everything ties together in a neat little bow.' Looking back, there were about two things I really liked about the book. I liked the idea of the part of the tournament where the contestants had to crack nuts with huge hammers without damaging the nut and there was a nice scene towards the end where we loose one of the main characters. This scene was the only one in the entire book where I felt an emotional contact to any of the characters and that's just not enough. Of course it didn't help that the e-book suffered from some very bad formatting, the title showing up in the middle of sentences all over the book. It definitely did not add to my reading experience but at the same time, this book was so bad already that it just added to my already bad experience. This is one of very few books that I wouldn't recommend - the only other one I can think of is The Tommyknockers by Stephen King. It's been several years since I've read it - or I should say tried to read it - and I couldn't finish it. This one I finished - but it really wasn't worth it.
A garbled distress call sends the Doctor and Amy to PeersTM a holiday planet based on the works of P.G. Wodehouse. The Doctor believes that the dangerous Frank/Freddie Force and his Antimatter Men have crossed into this universe, searching for the Roogalator, a device which controls the black hole at the centre of the multi-verse. This device is possibly disguised as the Silver Arrar, the trophy which three teams of Terraphiles (fans of Old Earth culture) are competing for. In order to prevent the end of everything, The Doctor and Amy must ensure that their team wins fair and square whilst encountering amongst others the fearsome Mrs B C, Peggy the Invisible Thief, Captain Aberbly and the Bubbly Boys, Bingo Locksley and several off-duty Judoon. Not to mention the mysterious pirate Captain Cornelius.
I can't think of another book I've read in the last twelve months or so that I've flip-flopped over as much as Michael Moorcock's contribution to Doctor Who. There are passages which are some of best I've read in any DW novel, but then there are sections which are deeply frustrating. Even now I've finished it I can't decide if it's a daring fresh look at the show or something that belongs with the mad stories of the infamous 1977 annual. This is definitely a Michael Moorcock novel in which the Doctor is a guest star and that's better than the author trying to write to a BBC template.
As you might guess from the above plot the whimsy-o-meter is set for maximum. Moorcock does love his eccentric names and I've not even gone into all the alien ones. The first third of the book is set in a pastiche of Wodehouse, a bit like one of those Star Trek episodes where they beam down to the planet of the Nazis. Sadly it only shows that P G had a genius for writing comedy in that world of silly asses and eccentric authority figures, that Moorcock comes nowhere near. Matters improve once the team set off across the galaxy in ship captained by a centaur-like alien, because the author is now in his own territory.
Fans of tautly written plots or mysteries with enough clues to enable a clever reader to solve the crime will be frustrated by a very random series of incidents. In fact a lot of major events happen off-page and the Doctor is just told about them later, even the final confrontation with Frank/Freddie Force. Most of the typical parts of a DW adventure, such as a traitor in the team, a robbery, obtaining a vital McGuffin, are set up and then seemingly forgotten about. Meanwhile we spend an awful lot of time reading the commentary for the made-up sports in the competition. It's like a Harry Potter novel that's fifty percent Quidditch. I wonder how much of this approach is Moorcock sending up the pulp adventure formula of the TV series?
There's plenty of psychedelia involved in this journey and its hear that Moorcock creates scenes which could only take place in a novel. Trips through dimensions where all the senses are recombined, vast multi-coloured skies, a hundred singing planets and villains dressed as Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club band exuding a scary wrongness. The actual writing is as literate as you would expect from a multi-awarding winning author. Yet good language doesn't automatically make a good DW novel. Despite a few continuity references the Eleventh Doctor is pretty generic and could as easily be the Fourth or Seventh, whilst Amy is unrecognisable as the cynical Scots lass we know. She comes over more like a cheerful Romana.
There's no other DW novel quite like this one and it deserves some brownie points for that. Existing admirers of Moorcock, especially if you've read his Dancers at the End of Time trilogy, will enjoy this one a lot more I suspect than readers looking for a story that fits into Series 5. Who would have thought that the Doctor Who it most resembles would be a mish mash of Black Orchid and The Ultimate Adventure!
Moorcock's The Coming of the Terraphiles -- a full-scale hardback novel visibly marketed with the view that the words "Michael Moorcock" on a book are just as much of a draw as the words "Doctor Who" -- is fast, bold and colourful. Indeed, it reads quite breathlessly at times, as if it were written in a tearing hurry in one draft, but by a genius. Which is quite likely to be true.
Moorcock's career has effortlessly embraced high and low art, and The Coming of the Terraphiles links his Doctor Who source material with all kinds of other British popular culture, from Robin Hood to P.G. Wodehouse, from sea-tale and space-opera to public-school cricketing story. Indeed, the mishmash is part of the point, the "Terraphiles" of the title being sincere but hilariously confused Ancient Earth reconstructionists of the distant future, whose hybrid of cricket, archery and tourneys has become the galaxy's most popular sport.
The novel is unapologetic about its series affiliations, foregrounding the Doctor and Amy Pond throughout, and making conspicuous use of the rhinocerid alien Judoon, with whom Moorcock's obviously rather taken. (There are also some nicely quirky references to the Daleks and the Time Lords.) Equally though, it's a Moorcock book through and through, part of his massive, multi-million-word Multiverse / Eternal Champion saga. (In particular, there's a character called Captain Cornelius, a space-pirate who wears iron commedia dell'arte masks, whose original conception suggests some interesting connections between the vaguely messianic characters in Moorcock's and the Doctor's universes.)
Admittedly everything Moorcock's written has been tied to this gigantic metaseries one way or another, but the connections here are explicit and inextricable, to the extent that Moorcock has actually recommendedThe Coming of the Terraphiles to a reader as a source for some of the background informing his series work. From the point of view of Doctor Who continuity, this is a sabretooth amongst the pigeons, upsetting huge swathes of the established history, physics and metaphysics of the Doctor's universe, but from the point of view of even a casual Moorcock fan it's a thing of glory, beauty and wonder.
In plot terms, the novel is pretty much bonkers, with entirely new elements, characters and ideas cropping up nearly every chapter, apparently at random. The ideas are huge, intricate and very silly, and their wild profligacy would keep most writers of the standard post-2005 Doctor Who tie-in range in book proposals for a decade. While the plot manages to be recognisably pulpish (which is also to say, given Moorcock's habitual concerns, archetypally mythic) it also mostly eschews Doctor Who cliche in various refreshing ways.
If I had to choose one aspect of this book to improve, it would be allowing Moorcock to work with a Doctor he was already familiar with, rather than having to learn the character of Matt Smith's eleventh Doctor. I love Smith's mercurial portrayal, and Moorcock writes him well, but I can imagine that a version of this book with William Hartnell's Doctor in central position could be utterly majestic.
Ever since I saw the original press release announcing that Michael Moorcock was writing a Doctor Who novel, this has been my most anticipated read of the year. While the book contains numerous "WTF" and "I don't get it" moments, the end result is extremely satisfying and well worth the expectations. Having said that, I can see where the casual Dr. Who fan looking for just another safe little Time Lord adventure would be put off. Getting Michael Moorcock to write a media tie-in novel of any kind would be like getting Tolkien to write a Forgotten Realms novel where a bunch of Dark Elves sit around for 300 pages reciting poetry.
While Terraphiles comes across as a stylistic mash-up of P.G. Wodehouse's "Jeeves and Wooster" and Moorcock's own multiverse stories, what it reminded me of the most was John M. Ford's brilliant Star Trek novel, How Much for Just the Planet? Moorcock's love for Dr. Who is obvious, as is his understanding that the Doctor's adventures need not be taken too seriously. If anything, the book's initial weakness is that the characters - a band of "Earth reenacters" cast in the mold of effete, inbred, brain-dead British aristocrats - are hard to relate to or care about. What shocked me later in the book was the realization that I did care after all, especially when the doofiest of them makes an unexpected and poignant sacrifice.
I guess what the hardcore Whovian needs to understand is that this isn't a novel about the TV Dr. Who. It's the Moorcock Multiverse Dr. Who, and he's a glorious, mind-twisting thing to behold. Good show, what!
I have read most everything Michael Moorcock has written. I am deeply versed in the vagaries of the Eternal Champion and the struggle of the Cosmic Balance. I have been a Doctor Who fan since the age of twelve (I am now nearing my fourth extant decade) when I saw "Robot" the first Tom Baker Doctor Who serial on local public television and am equally as deeply versed in all things Whovian.
Admittedly there were fanboy palpitations on hearing that Moorcock had written a Doctor Who novel. This is probably why the disappointment has such a sting.
I am not sure what I expected; something epic, something outré, something sneakily subversive, something that would take Doctor Who to places and themes it would be unlikely to visit on the small screen.
What I got instead was a thinly veiled Eternal Champion novel masquerading as Who and both universes lacking for the effort. Now understand, I expected some of Moorcock's themes to be visited, there is little reason to read Moorcock otherwise, and was fairly sure readers wouldn't get Elric lopping off Dalek eye-stalks with Stormbringer or some such. I suppose my disappoint lies in that I expected to see the Doctor dealing with more complex ideas of Order and Chaos, and dealing with things different than his televised adventures. But there is very little of the Doctor here, and even less of Amy Pond who seems very uncharacteristic.
I can't say the book is bad, if you can get past that it is meant to be a Who novel it probably sings. Unfortunately I couldn't.
I don't have high expectations for series or film tie-ins as they are usually not on par with their original source, but they can still be enjoyable reads.
This Doctor Who book has been touted as an event novel, which is why it is in a different format and more expensive than the usual range brought out by the BBC.
Sadly, if this is an event novel, I would rather stick to the 'run of the mill' releases. Michael Moorcock is a respected sci-fi author, but it seems here that instead of trying to work within the framework of the Doctor Who verse he has decided to play around with the worlds of his own and try to shoehorn The Doctor and Amy into it. The characters that we love and know are secondary players in this tale - over half of the novel is focused on other characters that, quite frankly, I couldn't care less about. After all, we're here for The Doctor and his companion.
I don't mind if the genre is played with in these novels but when it comes across like the author has taken an already-written manuscript and then chucked The Doctor into it in the editing process, the result is jarring to say the least. Judging by other reviews, it seems I'm not the only one to feel this way.
Harumpf. Everything that has made The Doctor a wonderful character, and everything that has made Michael Moorcock a great author, has been watered down and camouflaged in this novel. Mr. Moorcock has attempted to frame great sweeping cosmic challenges with absurdist characters and settings, and it just doesn't work for me.
A "SF&FBC Read All the Books The Fifth Season" book, and for me, a "SF&FBC 2018 TBR Clean-up Challenge" entry for "book written by a young buck or geezer" (Mr. Moorcock was 70 when he wrote this. Men over 65 are my definition of a "geezer".)
Moorcock tries to channel P.G. Wodehouse and Douglas Adams but filters it through his Eternal Champion character and sprinkles a little Doctor Who on top like cinnamon. A very sparse sprinkle. I felt kind of like Dr. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park, “Now, you do eventually plan to have dinosaurs on your dinosaur ride, right?” https://youtu.be/otptS-eOXvI
It has some mildly amusing bits, but it doesn’t feel like much of anything, ultimately.
I quite like Doctor Who, I quite liked the Moorcock books I read ... so, a Doctor Who book written by Michael Moorcock, what could possibly go wrong? Well, quite a lot actually.
For quite a while, the Doctor and Amy are treated like secondary characters, while the story is all about the actual secondary characters. It wouldn't be so bad, if these were characters I actually liked, but I didn't.
However, my biggest problem is the generic Doctor and companion. If it wasn't for the physical descriptions and the name (in Amy's case) it could have been pretty much any Doctor and any female companion. I know some people complain about generic writing on the series, but it has never bothered me there, since you still have the actors who bring their interpretation of the role with them ... with a book however, you are out of luck.
Then there's the story. Nut cracking contests and the thefts of a hideous hat? I just couldn't care less. Douglas Adams might have been able to make this work. Maybe. But we will never know. And talking about Douglas Adams - I have never really enjoyed a science fiction story that tries to sound like Hitch Hiker's anyway. That kind of humour works for Terry Pratchett because he's writing a different genre ... but whenever someone tries to insert it in their science fiction story I can't help but think of it as a cheap copy.
I bought this book thinking: "I love Doctor Who! I love Michael Moorcock! This'll be cool!"
Not so much.
The story, what there is of it, is bogged down in a failed attempt to create a very Wodehousian setting--with the requisite zany plot--that under-utilizes the Doctor, Amy, and Moorcock's own Captain Cornelius. Instead, I know far too much of the personal lives of various Terraphile twits that make up the main characters.
I think Moorcock may have been going for the zany Doctor Who that Douglas Adams once wrote for. But when it comes to Wodehousian plots and sci-fi comedy, Moorcock is simply not Douglas Adams or Wodehouse.
I was very, very disappointed in what amounted a very boring book. I nearly put it away about three times before deciding to finish it, hoping that it would get better. It did--but not better enough.
This was something of a let down... I've been a Moorcock fan since The Doctor was working for Lethbridge-Stuart and riding around in a little old yellow car with Jo Grant, and a Whovian since Moorcock was editing New Worlds, but the two together in this volume just didn't have any magic for me. The book had a little bit of The Dancers At the End of Time flavor, and a little bit of a taste of the Doctor, but they never came together in a way that did justice to either. I didn't think Amy sounded much like Amy, nor did Cornelius ring true. I don't think Moorcock was able to subdue his own narrative voice enough to do a good media series character adaptation in this instance. There were some neat bits here and there, but overall it was a bit too long and promised surprises that never were realized. It wasn't a bad story overall, but lacked any zip.
One admires the prowess if not the prolificity of our own dear Mr Moorcock, said admiration bequeathed in the formally distant third person, so as to varnish oneself in British semblance false in its expression as a warthog in mink stole. Hark, for in the message is the median, suitable one would think to admonish this tale of The Doctor, without resorting to overt hostility, for its shall we say Trojan qualities; Trojan, that is, in reference to antiquity rather than prophylacticity, though one supposes either would suffice.
Here we have, in short, a Dr Who adventure in title, a tale content-wise of the Eternal Champion (more of whom...) in wodehousian drag dappled by the Light Fantastic. Inhale. Exhale. One remembers to breathe in these moments of reflection, lest one perish by maloxygenation. Yes, and so on. The book is a mismash of, ahem, Moorcockian dimensions. Which is to say, rich in ideas. Wonderfully rich. An enjoyable occult exercise in channeling PG Wodehouse; one might argue the channeler is being channeled as well, for just as there is a Who on the book's jacket there is named an author who may or may not be entirely responsible for what it contains. One is suspicious of authorial veracity.
Having a more than passing familiarity with Mr Moorcock's, ahem, prodigious output, one has never encountered meager metaphors. Quite the opposite, in fact. How, then, does one attribute the following: "'We have plan B.' She added, changing the subject so violently it left skid marks in the air." Inhale. Exhale. Vomit. Sigh. "She added..." is the start of an infant's first sentence in their second language. We won't make further mention of the metaphor other than to say it reeks of editorial jiggery pokery and should be excised from any and all future editions.
While one does not adore every Moorcock novel, cherishing a handful but as previously stated admiring the lot, none has been marred by remedial expression. It seems likely the author is responsible for the book's primary concepts and some of its dialogue, draped over the rest like gold lame on a mannequin; the balance was very likely churned out by some punter. So it goes. Nothing is shocking. One remembers learning that William Shatner did not literally write the Tek War books bearing his name. Such a blow left us stronger in the end, thus depriving this latest of its strength.
Of note, even so, is the addition of The Doctor to Moorcock's Eternal Champion pantheon. Every book features a protagonist who is in fact The Protagonist, tying together the Moorcock ouevre, if you will, into a cohesive unit. Signaled in the prologue by a pirate named Cornelius, the savvy reader knows at once that herein shall lie another tale in similar vein to all that has gone before. Among Mr Moorcock's better realised champs, Cornelius is a smart choice to pair with The Doctor. ultimately, however, it is Who himself who plays the role usually reserved for Cornelius; that is, to provide levity to otherwise sober, high-flung, lengthily-explained derrings-do. a queer reversal, that, yet hardly a shock. Whomever he is meant to be, The Doctor is most certainly less himself in this tale than elsewhere. Too bad the same can be said of the author as well.
There are two scifi tv shows I have enjoyed ever since I was a wee lad, and still do up to this day. Star Trek the original series and Doctor Who, and the latter still continues to grace our tv-sets even today. We just had the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who and he is still going strong. Not too bad for what is a really British institution in scifi and unlike nothing that the competition has to offer.
The Doctor & Amy Pond (as I am writing this Amy and her husband have already left the Doctor and the new kid Clara is travelling with this Doctor) are contacted and end up in situation where they have save the multiverse. And the way to do it is through a rather large tournement based upon old earth games, at least that is what they are seen as so many millinia later. Both the Doctor & Amy find their place among one of the teams and travel to the place of the tournament in order to obtain the price which has something to do with saving the multiverse. It is all about hats, and it being stolen all the time, pirates & games.
This novel somewhat baffled me in its story and approuch towards the Doctor Who universe. The Doctor & Amy are part of a large group of odd characters that do seem to interest me even if the first 75 pages made me doubt if I wanted to continue this experience as it was as far removed from any Doctor Who story I had read or seen before. Other folks have mentioned the writings of P.G. Woodhouse as source material, and indeed I do recognise the style and mad way of interaction between the various persons in this book. While I did enjoy it it also made me really work while reading, it is not one of the easiest books and as such an odd one out in the Doctro Who literary experience I had so far. But I do recognize that this book is easy to dislike but as Neil Gaiman is one of the fans of this writer I find that perhaps I will have to read some more of this writer of his own works.
Not the regular recipe that the Doctor ordered but a book that needs your attention and a love of a style of writing of long ago.
Really funny and enjoyable to read. Michael Moorecock is a good storyteller but seems to miss the female presence completely.
Amy Pond's character fades into the background of the story. She seems to be missing so much so that it is more believable to pretend she is a different companion than the real Amy Pond. This is not the woman who would have survived on Apalapucia tooth an nail – she would have simply curled up and accepted death as the outcome.
Moffat and Davies have cultivated several strong female characters, some of whom are Amy Pond and River Song. Moorcock seems to miss the importance of these personalities and the dynamic that they bring to the story. It is possible that this is simply the result of his background in fantasy writing. I see it as the blending of two historically male dominated genres into one for the telling of this story, but frankly it is out of style and makes significant aspects of the story cliche.
Moorecock resorts to charactachers and stereotypes for all his females and their diminishment is really disappointing. The story is, however, funny and entertaining -although may only be so for those who appreciate nonsense, Doctor Who or Moorecocks other writings. As my first introduction to him as an author it still had me looking for more works, hoping to find them equally funny, but with full knowledge that it will most likely be the weak damsel in distress storyline.
This book is based on the television series. In this one the Doctor and Amy are in the future. They have to enter a tournament of sporting events so they can win the Silver Arrow. This artifact is the key to saving the universe.
I am not a fan of this book at all. My first gripe is the two main characters of the Doctor and Amy. When one reads a media tie-in novel, the reader is expecting the characters to resemble the ones from the show. Sadly, this did not happen in this book. There was not enough time spent on them. Since this is suppose to be Matt Smith's Doctor one would expect his quirks. There were none and the only way to tell which Doctor was in the book was because of his companion. Speaking of Amy I have no idea what the author was trying to convey with her character. Several times Amy did not understand the Doctor's explanation and she just nodded like she was a moron. As of the story I did not care for this author's telling of it. He would spend more time on the sporting events like nut cracking while not bothering to build up the crisis. I never felt the drama in this book.
I was hoping for the feeling when I get when I watch the television show. One expects to have a visual of the characters running around trying to save someone or rectify a situation in the nick of time. This never materialized in this book and this did not feel like a Doctor Who novel.
I did enjoy this quite a bit. Moorcock said that he'd been asked to write "A Michael Moorcock novel with Dr who in it" and he did. (Though this was much more of the comedy Cornelius Moorcock and much less of the eternal sufferings of Corum and Elric.) I have to say that the biggest impression I got while reading this was that Douglas Adams would have loved it! For a Doctor who novel written by an American this wasn't bad. (Though it did make me make a face when Amy made a joke referring to American sports teams!) The biggest problem it had was that Moorcock wrote the majority of it before he'd seen any episodes of Matt Smith as the doctor, therefore as this was supposed to be 11 and Amy, the language and mannerisms were so much more like 10, I found I mostly picturing David Tennant in my head, and only occasionally Matt. The book had a nice big multiverse where Law and Chaos fought each other and balance was needed to be maintained. There was a nice variety of Moorcock characters from other dimensions. A big space feel to parts while other parts were very much sending up modern culture, and in particular "Anglophiles". I can't say this made me want to read any more modern Dr Who novels, but it did make me want to go back and re-read a bunch of Moorcock. Unfortuantely all my copies have dissapeared so I'll have to keep an eye out in the 2nd hand bookshops.
I enjoyed the hell out of this book, especially more so because I am a Moorcock fanboy. There are references to other literary agents, and characters of his other novels as well. Small inside jokes, and a lot of other things I probably missed. I'm not very familiar with the Doctor, but I found this version pleasant. The terraphiles are hilarious with their misinterpretations of Earth's cultures. The ending is vintage Moorcock conclusion, with a muddled event leading to joygranit for all.
In almost all of his Multiverse novels, the danger is an universe annihilating one, and the heroes in each story manage to stave it off through their heroic actions. It makes me wonder whether it is not a series of apocalypses, but the SINGULAR one in which each story plays a part. I would think that TERRAPHILES is the crux of it all...
Bertie Wooster in the 50,000th Century. Written very much in the Dr Who style and in parts very amusing. Captain Cornelius is probably the most interesting character. The physics/metaphysics explanations of what is happening in the Universe/Multiverse are mystical bordering on the incomprehensible but this appears to be deliberate and is a characteristic of some of Moorcock's other books and also the Doctor Who series. Fun but not his best.
This is a tough one to review. I wanted to read a Doctor Who novel and thought I love Michael Moorcock so this should be great. What I got was a Moorcock novel that he changed a couple of the characters to the Doctor and Amy. I can't recommend this as a Doctor Who novel.
This book has had some stinking reviews, and I was dumb enough to read a few of them before starting the book, which biased me against it. I started highlighting perceived flaws immediately I began reading.
But you know what? The book's charm won me over. And that takes some doing when you start out with a preconceived bias.
To be honest, it's very unlike most Doctor Who, and it's very unlike most Michael Moorcock. But it's not the weirdest or whackiest Doctor Who ever. In the books, titles such as 'Sky Pirates!' or 'Parasite' are at least as weird as it; TV shows such as 'The Mind Robber' or 'The Happiness Patrol' are equally out there. Doctor Who can be anything, and this is Doctor Who. It is bursting with imagination, which is more than can be said for some of the novels.
The book is very whacky and very funny, but it works within its context. It is also very tense and exciting in places, when travelling through the storms caused by the dark tides, for example. The characters, whilst humorous, are very well drawn and engaging. The threat is huge, a truly cosmic cataclysm, and it feels huge too, with the lengthy space journeys between different systems and the wasting of whole planets. The locales are also gloriously well described and a real sense of alien place is established, sometimes gorgeously so.
Not your typical Doctor Who tale, but a refreshing change. Not your typical Michael Moorcock story, but why should he restrict himself to a single style? I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it is VERY well written!
I used to be a DR. Who (the TV series) fan until my teens. Grew out of Dr. Who and became a M. Moorcock fan in my late teens. I fell out with MM sometime around Mother London, because he stopped writing entertaining/humourous stories, and (to me at least) his work became too serious. Umpteen years later, I discover that MM has written a DW novel. Surely, this can't be serious - and I am correct, it's quite Light-hearted, entertaining and funny in parts. So what that the Dr is not the star of the first 3rd of the book; I read this for Moorcock's characters and he doesn't disappoint. The story is divided into 3 main parts- introduction to the characters, travel across space-time to planet of concern, the competition. Part 1 is the best part - concerning a lost hat, the tournament team members and how each is involved with the hat's disappearance. Part 2 not so good - the journey to the competition starts well, but becomes long, drawn-out and too many unlikely events happen. Part 3 is the summary of the hat, the tournament and what was going on with the universe in general (spoiler alert - the team probably wins the tournament and no spoiler alert - the Dr. saves the universe).
Summary - It's Moorcock's characters that make his novels. This book's story is about a team preparing to compete in a universal tournament. The Dr. being a member of the team. In order to understand the tournament rules (and they are referenced throughout), you'll need to brush up on terms used in cricket and darts (like whotsit, arrars, howzat and 380!)
Having read a little Michael Moorcock previously I'm not expecting him to turn out a light hearted, quick reading Dr. Who novel (11th, or Matt Smith Doctor for some of you). This ARC fell into my hands a little while ago, and I remember the uproar over one of the founders of New Wave science fiction choosing to write a tie-in novel.
The result is an excellent piece of fun. Yes, fun from the man who created the angst ridden Elric. The Doctor receives a mysterious message that presages the end of the multiverse. So the Doctor and Amy take off for the games on Flynn. Terraphiles are reenactors of ancient Terran games and customs-as seen through the prism of the 51st century.
Moorcock, along with DC Comics editor the late Julius Schwartz, can both take credit for the laying the foundation of the modern version of the multiverse. Moorcock sprinkles plenty of Easter Eggs throughout the book. The eggs aren't necessarily just for fans of the Doctor. Moorcock references Edgar Rice Burroughs and Leigh Brackett (hers is one people might miss, they won't miss the ERB references). Oh, yes Errol Flynn movies and Robin Hood. I still feel like I missed some.
There are chases, conflict, humor and pathos. Of course the multiverse is saved through a combination of a archery, a form of cricket, the Doctor's genius, and Amy's heart.
I'm usually not one to recommend tie-in fiction, but give this one a read.