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The Janus Conjunction

By Trevor Baxendale

Book review by Brad Schmidt

Had the TV movie spawned an American co-produced television series, The Janus Conjunction would be nominated alongside Longest Day and Vanderdeken's Children as a prime example of the new style of Doctor Who. The plot presents paradox aplenty, the Doctor and Sam become separated and fall into the hands of opposing factions, and Sam fairly constantly faces death.

The Doctor travels to Menda, a planet diametrically opposed in orbit to Janus Prime (on which the TARDIS arrived). Arriving in the quasi-American agrarianism that is Menda, a fairly simplistic but engaging plot unfolds, threatening not only the whole colony but the Galaxy - and, most importantly for the Doctor, Sam.

As if Trevor Baxendale were some parallel of Lethbridge-Stewart, the battle begins immediately, the questioning appearing later. I think the novel's redeeming qualities lie in the fact that it isn't a dull, pulp addition to the series, like one of those filler X Files episodes, but it's not phenomenal either, like The Scarlet Empress before it. A decidedly average read, there are clichéd themes, but nothing's predictable. Sam gets to challenge the military mind; whilst supporting character Julya - like Grace and Caroline before her - is a compelling love interest for the Doctor.

And the Doctor himself is amazingly on form - singing of leaving his heart in San Francisco and gulping cups of tea, he's a perfect portrayal in a fairly perfect book. Never has the Eighth Doctor been so consistent than in these past six months - and The Janus Conjunction is seemingly a culmination of all those victories. [5/5]

This item appeared in TSV 56 (October 1998).

Index nodes: The Janus Conjunction