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Twilight of the Gods

By Christopher Bulis

Reviewed by Robert Boswell


Twilight of the Gods is the latest in a long line of sequels to well-loved TV stories from Virgin; the TV story in this case being, of course, The Web Planet. While the very idea of this sort of sequel generally leaves me cold, I am willing to be won over if the story is well-written and justifies its existence beyond merely cashing in on its parent story. Unfortunately, Twilight of the Gods does not fulfil either of these criteria.

The first problem is that The Web Planet is not a story which is exactly screaming out for a sequel. This means that Bulis has quite a job on his hands to justify his story's existence. He attempts to do this by providing explanations for the anomalies which cropped up in the original story (such as the Menoptera's ability to fly in defiance of the laws of aerodynamics), and by importing his own creations, the Rhumons, to Vortis.

Sadly, his explanations, while perfectly logical in their way, serve only to detract from the original magical atmosphere of the planet; and the Rhumons fail to either spark the imagination or mesh effectively with the original inhabitants of Vortis.

The second problem is that the story itself lacks the spark which makes for a good novel. It starts out badly, with opening chapters that are so confusingly written that they need to be read at least twice before any real sense can be made of them. Thankfully, the style does settle down after this, but the story which Bulis tells is rather average and uninvolving.

But the largest problem with the novel is that its last fifty-odd pages contain the most blatant case of padding I have ever come across. Possibly the worst thing about this padding is that it isn't even needed for Bulis to reach his word limit - the novel has already passed the length of the shortest New/Missing Adventures when the padding starts.

Actually, in a way, this final section rather sums up the novel as a whole: tedious and unnecessary.

This item appeared in TSV 49 (November 1996).

Index nodes: Twilight of the Gods