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By Paul Scoones (TSV Books)

Book Review by Clinton Spencer

This 72-page book starts with a foreword (nicely done in a true 'Paul Scoones style'), then a short Historical Note (the right length, too), and then we rip into the actual story.

I must truly congratulate Paul on his excellent style of writing which succeeded in keeping me hooked right until the end. Descriptive and narrative passages are kept equal to create a nicely following story. It is only when the action reaches Shada that this falls down slightly, needing a bit more detail to keep it balanced. This is just a minor hitch though.

The characters of the Doctor and Romana come out very much like they are on screen, and Paul captures the outrageous style of Tom Baker far better than any of the Target writers could. With these two main characters in the right style, everything begins to fall into place.

Professor Chronotis is quite a classic Time Lord (he's so absent-minded!), and shows a new twist in Gallifreyans. I was sad when the sphere 'noodled' him (such a classic word, though I'm glad Paul didn't use it!), but it was good to see that he returns later. His 'death escape' reason isn't too well done, but maybe it was like this in the scripts.

Skagra is an interesting enemy and his plan to 'rule the Universe' is nicely different. Good to see his future undetermined - maybe we'll see him again (Shada II: The Sequel? - Go for it, Paul!).

All of the other general characters that make up the story are extremely interesting. Chris Parsons is very believable - a nice change from the usual Doctor Who characters. The best by far has to be the Ship. It's so funny that I'd recommend Shada to anyone just for the Ship scenes. The best line it delivers has to be 'Dead men do not require oxygen...'.

Having read Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, it is fun noticing the bits that have been transplanted. I think the characters of Richard MacDuff and Chris Parsons act a lot like each other. I love the comment about Liz Shaw.

Paul's own handy Shada article in TSV 26 nicely helps you to get a bit closer to the book. When TSV 26 first came out I thought 'what an over-long boring article', but now that I have the book, the article is like a companion. Maybe if Shada is reprinted in the near future the article should be included in the back of the book. This would help the reader with the story as so little is known about it.

I love this book and would recommend it to anyone. Don't waste your money on anything else, buy Shada. You won't regret it.

I'll leave you with my favourite quote from the book. Skagra has just scorned the Doctor for thinking that he wishes to rule the universe. The Doctor replies: 'Exactly! That's what I keep on trying to tell people. It's a troublesome place, difficult to administer, and as a piece of real estate it's virtually worthless because by definition there'd be no one to sell it to.'

This item appeared in TSV 29 (July 1992).

Index nodes: Shada
Related Items: Doctor Who and Shada novelisation