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Revolution Man

By Paul Leonard

Book review by Brad Schmidt

Deceptive publicity led me to believe Paul Leonard's Revolution Man was to be purely terrestrial both in setting and in its plot devices. However, alien aspects are soon identified, the TARDIS is used often, and Fitz ends up in space without leaving Earth.

For a while, Revolution Man is brilliant, particularly through Fitz's viewpoint. Messianic icons in the nineteen-sixties bring to mind Salvation, and this novel is just as interestingly executed - until mid-mark. The prospect of out-of-body-experience-inducing drug Om-Tsor is chilling and exciting enough: it is obvious such a substance could threaten the world. So when Leonard ends a chapter with this revelation in a way that is obviously meant to be shocking, I only felt disappointment at this usually innovative author.

From this point, coherence is threatened, although I'm not sure if this is intentional or not. Fitz is effortlessly - but irrevocably - affected in ways that simply cannot be over-looked in forthcoming novels without challenging the credulity of his character, and continuity of his development. Which, in the obligatory tradition for the 'nineties companion, will now be imbued with liberal psychological problems. Heaven forbid the authors actually leaving a companion unblemished in their attempts to be gritty and realistic.

The most rewarding aspects of Revolution Man would be the numerous locations featured, which are undeniably beautifully or convincingly described - particularly Italy. Otherwise, it borders on being indicative of the most tiresome work Doctor Who literature can offer - alongside anything by Terrance Dicks, of course... [1/5]

This item appeared in TSV 57 (July 1999).

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