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Independence Day

By Peter Darvill-Evans

Book review by Paul Scoones

Yet another Seventh Doctor and Ace book. Haven't we had rather too many of these already? This novel holds a particular fascination though because it comes from the pen of the man who masterminded Virgin's New Adventures. Perhaps fittingly, the book reads as though it's eight years out of its time and is really a ‘Missing New Adventure’ perhaps best slotted between Nightshade and Love and War on the bookshelves.

There's nothing overly remarkable about Independence Day. The Doctor arrives in the Mendeb system to return a device he took under the flimsiest of pretexts years earlier — a device, I hasten to add that is conveniently forgotten as soon as it has served its purpose to give the Doctor a reason for returning to Mendeb.

The twin worlds of Mendeb Two and Three are populated by a Ruritanian civilisation in which kingdoms and duchies sit uneasily alongside modern technology such as rocket ships and a space station, such technological advances understood only by a few individuals. It's all a bit like The Androids of Tara, but with none of the whimsy.

Independence Day is unashamedly a run-of-the-mill adventure in which the Doctor and companion become separated and pursue their own adventures. The Doctor sides with the oppressed underclass and inspires them to rise up against their cruel overlords. That's the plot in a nutshell, however it's a reasonably well-written and engaging story — and after the more convoluted and post- modernist tales BBC Books' Doctor Who range has been serving up of late, it's at least refreshing to briefly revisit formulaic Who. [2/5]

This item appeared in TSV 61 (December 2000).

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