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Millennium Shock

By Justin Richards

Book review by Brad Schmidt

Every now and then, I look at my Doctor Who merchandise and lament. Oh, the money. Then, I often proceed to a notorious Internet discussion group to reassure myself I'm not completely lost.

Millennium Shock is a novel perfect for such occasions. It's more Harry Sullivan than Doctor Who, more Tom Clancy than BBC, and more interesting than much of the Who published this year.

It's also more interesting than System Shock, to which it is a sequel. Justin Richards' wonderful half-biological, half-mechanical Voracians return to menace Earth in what is really a perfect vantage point for them - the collapse of the technological world at the end of this year; known more succinctly as the ‘Millennium Bug’.

Chaos does ensue; typically, it's centred around London, but we have already seen other Terran locations with far more chaos on this date. Auckland drastically loses power again, leaving another mark of New Zealand in the Who mythology, which is nice.

There are two main plot threads in Millennium Shock, which interweave rather uncomfortably. They make for intense reading, and before the Voracian threat is dealth with, the political problems are resolved in typically clever Richards style. The climax to chapter “1E” would be stunning on-screen, and creates a vivid mental picture.

The way in which the Mara-like digital serpent Voractyll is defeated is obvious before it happens - in retrospect, the simplicity being almost humorous - therefore confirming Millennium Shock's place as bona-fide Tom Baker. Richards handles Harry well, the Doctor less so, but in such a unique adventure for that era, it's barely worth mentioning. [4/5]

This item appeared in TSV 58 (September 1999).

Index nodes: Millennium Shock