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The Pirate Planet

by David Bishop

Book Review by David Lawrence

During WhoCon, I bought one of the few copies of this book available. As Paul Scoones said, the copies on sale were just the galley proof, which means there may be some changes in the new edition.

It's a while since I last watched The Pirate Planet, so I was looking forward to the novel, and I was not disappointed. Initially the cover looks slightly bare (perhaps something in the background may be in order?), but the next 87 pages are not, Of the four JPS books, this is the longest, but only because David Bishop has used double-spacing on the text. This makes the book easier to read, but as Paul pointed out, impossible to staple!

The narrative is light and extremely well done. At times it is amusing and at some points there are some very good puns - I loved the Citizen Enak joke! Having a script by Douglas Adams meant that it was off to a good start, and David has improved on this admirably. The prologue is great, the additional material behind the rebellion is even better. However, the idea of the Captain perceiving Xanxia as an Angel of Death is an addition I'm not entirely keen on. Initially it is a good idea, but through the course of the novel it is used to overkill, something my City of Death manuscript also does continually.

Nevertheless, the book goes along at a nice pace and the characterisations are well done. However, I would have liked to have seen some of the story through the eyes of the Mentiads, or perhaps Mr Fibuli. I'd have also liked to have seen the relationship between Kimus and Mula develop a bit further.

The Pirate Planet is an excellent read, and well worth the $8 I paid for a preview copy. It's probably the best of the JPS/TSV books so far, but will it remain the best? My money's on Resurrection of the Daleks by Paul Scoones. I guess we'll just have to wait and see (in other words, hurry up, Paul!).

This item appeared in TSV 21 (February 1991).

Index nodes: The Pirate Planet