The Fall of Yquatine
By Nick Walters
Book review by Brad Schmidt
As if to show that the Eighth Doctor story-arc of late has basically finished, The Fall of Yquatine seems to make a pointed return to tradition - basing its plot heavily around temporal issues, evading the Time Lords, and separating the novel into four parts.
It's this last move which is ridiculous - there's no need for this obvious allusion to televised Who, as cliffhangers at the end of chapters suffice. This attempt at making Yquatine somehow more convincing if it's more like a television show is undermined by a spaceship on the cover that is far beyond BBC's capabilities and an ambitious plot which would be rendered on the silver screen akin to Underworld with their budget.
The feeling of distaste Yquatine left is strange, considering the plot is very interesting and that I was genuinely unsure what was going to happen to the regular characters by the end of the story. Perhaps it is the regular characters that make the novel so unappealing. The Doctor ‘rapes’ Compassion, and Nick Walters really does not leave the reader feeling any more forgiving towards the Time Lord at the end, even if Compassion does. Fitz is one of the most three-dimensional companions of late, presented convincingly as a fickle sleaze. Yet another love interest of his is featured quite pivotally here, and hopefully sooner or later he will leave the series to stay with one of them.
Even with the exciting developments of late, Yquatine simply seems stale. There are various new alien cultures, which are interesting, but there are also cliched political scenarios that unnecessarily prolong the story. It's not an improvement on Walter's earlier novel, Dominion, but it's paradoxically a lot more straightforward - Fitz is trapped in the past, waiting for a doomsday he's already experienced to happen again - this time with no escape. The Doctor is dealing with the after-effects in the future, while Compassion is trapped, lost in time and space. It's ambitious, but in a 'nineties sort of way. [3/5]
This item appeared in TSV 60 (June 2000).