By Mike Tucker & Robert Perry
Book review by Brad Schmidt
The most memorable aspects of Mike Tucker's and Robert Perry's previous Who novels, Illegal Alien and Matrix, were the detailed and atmospheric portrayals of London. However, I soon began to wonder whether it was any mean feat on behalf of the authors, or whether I was simply conjuring up in my mind known images from previous Who, or any fiction, of the city.
The answer is apparent in their latest novel, Storm Harvest, featuring the Doctor and Ace once more - this time on the alien waterworld of Coralee (the first in a series of increasingly cringeworthy “exotic” names, bringing to mind Marinus and Aridius). The island on which the action takes place - a section of the small amount of land actually available on the ocean planet - presents a culture that is superficially convincing; although it soon becomes apparent it is simply any idyllic Earth setting renamed, with a few extra-terrestrial appendages.
It's hard not to think “Jurassic Park” during a hurricane that destroys the resort's defences while the vicious Krill attack from all sides. Thankfully, the BBC thought to provide us with a rather amusing cover picture of these nasties, as they're almost genuinely chilling otherwise. The Krill are mindless killing machines, and join many of the ‘main’ characters of the novel in experiencing sudden and lengthy disappearances from the action. Also vying for control of the Krill are the Sontaran-like Cythosi, but in the best Seventh Doctor-fashion, masses from all sides die horribly. Including intelligent dolphins, which are a nice touch - surprisingly rarely presented in Who before - but they are all incredibly sarcastic, making one long to punch their stubby little snouts.
So, before Greenpeace hunts me down, are Tucker and Perry really capable of creating convincing settings? Yes, but only terrestrial settings, leaving a rather watery sense of conviction behind Storm Harvest and a bland sense of familiarity on a new alien world. [3/5]
‘So what did you think then?’
- Rochelle Scoones
This item appeared in TSV 58 (September 1999).