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by Paul Scoones (TSV Books)

Book review by Fleur Hardman

I was somewhat hesitant at first to buy one of TSV's special novelisations. I guess I worked on the idea that no Kiwi could realistically hope to emulate the likes of Ian Marter or Ian Briggs (my favourite Who writers). I'm pleased to say that I was wrong in my prejudices. These books - or at least the one I've read - are really rather good. They're certainly better than some of Terrance Dicks' childish products. After a while I found that I'd forgotten I was reading 'just a clubzine product'. The dialogue (which can be attributed to Douglas Adams), and description of action (which is presumably Paul's contribution), are good, and help the book to flow well. The characters are well written and reasonably interesting. Probably the only complaint that can be made is that the characters' physical attributes are not described. I guess this can be partly excused by saying that the book is aimed at a fan market and we all know that this Doctor is the tall, curly-haired one with the scarf and that Romana is in her second incarnation. Despite this, I think a little description wouldn't have gone astray.

The story itself could be described as a typical Adams story with its characteristic weirdness and humour. Because of this, a large part of a readers' enjoyment of the book will depend simply on whether they find Douglas Adams funny. In fact one of the best 'characters' in the book is the computer on Skagra's ship which delivers such lines as ~~Dead men do not require oxygen.

I don't really want to go too much into Shada as a Douglas Adams story but rather to say that Paul Scoones's interpretation of the script makes for a surprisingly interesting book which is worthy of a place among any 'Target-based' Doctor Who book collection.

This item appeared in TSV 32 (February 1993).

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