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Mission: Impractical

By David A. McIntee

Book review by Paul Scoones

I had serious reservations about this book. Not being a great fan of Frobisher the shapeshifting penguin I wasn't looking forward with much pleasure to this Antarctic fowl making the leap from eighties DWM comic strip to BBC novel.

I'm therefore pleased to report that the comic excesses of this character have been subdued and the improbable prospect of a walking, talking penguin is not unduly distracting from the plot. A plot, which, I hasten to add, is remarkably straightforward and uncomplicated. An important relic has been stolen, and the Doctor and Frobisher are forced to join forces with a band of rogues to effect its recovery. These rogues include Sabalom Glitz and Dibber, both of whom McIntee has brought to life with the strength of characterisation which could only have come from close study of their television appearances. Cohn Baker's Doctor is equally well defined; not the angst-ridden, Valeyard-fearing Time Lord of earlier novels but a refreshingly adventure-seeking character more in tune with his Season 23 television counterpart - or indeed the comic strip adventures in which that penguin was a constant companion.

McIntee freely admits to being a bit of a continuity buff, so in addition to Glitz, Dibber and Frobisher, we are provided with the story of the acquisition of the Nosferatu, an explanation of sorts for Glitz's escape from the Time Lords, and a parting of the ways for Glitz and Dibber to set the scene for Dragonfire. Added to the mix are the Ogrons, who are every bit as comically stupid as we've come to expect, and the return of the Veltrochini, a memorable race of creatures created by McIntee for the Virgin Missing Adventure The Dark Path.

David A. McIntee has to be admired for having the ability and the confidence to write some very diverse novels, from grim thrillers like White Darkness and First Frontier to refreshingly light-hearted space opera like Mission: Impractical. [3/5]

This item appeared in TSV 55 (October 1998).

Index nodes: Mission: Impractical