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First Frontier

By David A McIntee

Book review by Paul Scoones

This is yet another novel involving one of the Doctor's adversaries from the television series. The revelation of the character's identity two-thirds of the way through the book is set up as a surprise for the unsuspecting reader, so for the benefit of those who are not already in the know, I'll leave commentary on this important aspect to the follow-up reviewers in a forthcoming TSV. I do however believe that despite the late appearance, the book would be considerably the poorer for the absence of the main villain.

In brief, the book is about an attempted alien invasion of Earth in the USA of 1957. In the best tradition of a wealth of American fifties B-grade SF films, the aliens fly around in flying saucers abduct ordinary people and infiltrate the military forces. It reads almost as if the book was written as a tribute to these SF films without much attention being given to creating well-developed characters and, most importantly of all, an interesting plot.

In White Darkness, McIntee's first novel, the author displayed a penchant for including a wealth of historical detail. This is also the case in First Frontier, though the depiction of 1957 USA high-lights the inadequacies in the author's descriptions of the aliens and their spacecraft. I had considerable difficulty in visualising many vital scenes. The plot moved along at a cracking pace - but at the expense of good descriptive passages. This lack of cues for mental visual imagery probably contributes to my overall view that the book fails to make a lasting impression.

This item appeared in TSV 41 (October 1994).

Index nodes: First Frontier