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Review — Death of Art

First Published:
Sonic Screwdriver #99

Publish Date:
January 1997

Um, I’d like to retract my statements below on Christmas on a Rational Planet. Reread it three years later and found it quite palatable. I mean, Lawrence Miles wrote it, for flip’s sake! Still, I really like this review for the sheer bile it throws around. By the way, if you have the original Sonic Screwdriver, Andrew Deans is mistakingly noted as the author!

Good news, dear readers. Daniel Payne has recovered from the illness that saw him see merit in that claptrap Christmas on a Rational Planet. He now sees how very sick he was and acknowledges it was one of the most garbled, unstructured, wandering and grossly unreadable pieces of dross that has ever seen the light of day. However, it does have one slight forgiving factor in that it leads into one of our latest missives, The Death of Art. Which, admittedly, it doesn’t do all that much. OK, I concede it has no saving graces.

The Death of Art is Simon Bucher-Jones’ rst intrusion into the now rather large series of New Adventures. It takes us back to France in the 1880s (well, primarily) courtesy of a rather interesting message sent by Ace — sorry, Dorothée — to our TARDIS regulars (which, incidentally, is largely responsible for the new look to the TARDIS interior as seen in the Fox movie). She calls them back as psychic powers seem to running amok in France — and they shouldn’t be. So we see Chris getting to pretend to be a gendarme, Roz gets to see lots of gooey things, and the Doctor gets to run around Paris claiming his head hurts because the psychic just won’t shut up!

The link back to the afore-mentioned text (I daren’t say the title, after all) is the reintroduction of the Shadow Directory, who played a small and seemingly inconsequential part in that rag (then again, every part of that collection of pulp fibres seemed to do that). This Shadow Directory is split into two feuding families, both with members with rather strange powers — powers that they really just shouldn’t have. How have they acquired these powers, what is the Quoth Space and its inhabitants, and will Simon be able to top his succession of gory scenes?

The book is a bit of a messy mixture of threads and ideas, but at least the individual parts make very good reading. There’s a competently written and thankfully fairly small cast, which gets steadily smaller as the book progresses, normally in rather messy fashion. Admittedly, you need to have a rather twisted mind to keep up with the mess that passes for a plot, and the denouement is rather a sudden one. Methinks Simon came up with a cool idea (and it is), and then struggled to put a plot around it.

And the other reason that The Death of Art kicks ass over that puerile pre-pubescent puked-up pastiche of poorly performed picaresque pineapple is that its cover is actually in the bloody book!

End of Review

Here’s the list of the Doctor Who reviews available here:
Benny Adventure: Beyond the Sun
Benny Adventure: Deadfall
Benny Adventure: Ghost Devices/Mean Streets/Tempest
Benny Adventure: The Sword of Forever
Fanzines: Mag Bag #1
Fanzines: Mag Bag #2
Fanzines: Mag Bag #3
Fanzines: Mag Bag #4
Fanzines: Mag Bag #5
Fanzines: Mag Bag #6
Fanzines: Mag Bag #7
Fanzines: Mag Bag #8
Fanzines: Mag Bag #9
Fanzines: Mag Bag #10
Fanzines: Mag Bag #11
Fanzines: Mag Bag #12
Missing Adventure: Dancing the Code
Missing Adventure: Downtime
Missing Adventure: Invasion of the Cat-People
Missing Adventure: Lords of the Storm
Missing Adventure: Scales of Injustice
Missing Adventure: Shadow of Weng-Chiang
Missing Adventure: System Shock
New Adventure: Bloodheat
New Adventure: Death of Art
New Adventure: Dimension Riders
New Adventure: Eternity Weeps
New Adventure: Falls the Shadow
New Adventure: Legacy
New Adventure: No Future
New Adventure: Sleepy
TV: The Curse of Fenric
TV: The Greatest Show in the Galaxy
TV: The Happiness Patrol
TV: Season 25 Review
TV: Season 27 Review (the 2005 return)
TV: The Twin Dilemma
→ Or just head back to the Doctor Who Index

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This page last updated by David J Richardson on Wed, 20 Apr 2005.