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Review — The Dimension Riders

First Published:
Sonic Screwdriver #82

Publish Date:
January 1994

As the review states at the end, Dimension Riders is a largely forgettable book — and given I wrote that just after reading it, why do you expect me to come up with some topical comment now, years later?

With all the confusion over the hidden time meddler throughout the ‘Alternate Universe’ cycle of New Adventures, it seems hard enough to find any real link between this five-book series. Until the other day, when someone pointed out, maybe slightly tongue-in-cheek, what they thought the link was: the death of human foetuses. In Blood Heat Jo Grant loses her baby shortly before dying herself. The prelude to The Left-Handed Hummingbird has a psychic foetus overwhelmed by the Blue during one of the attempted takeovers of the Doctor. And The Dimension Riders has the most gruesome one of all: the rapid aging of mother and child together, with the child growing all the time, until it can no longer be encompassed by its mother, with predictable results. I wonder what they can come up with next?

But anyway, to the book itself. As with a number of previous New Adventures, I find myself torn on my verdict. Basically, I found all the Earth-based scenes of Benny versus the President fast-moving, amusing and really very interesting — I got very involved with the characters of Professor Rafferty, Tom and especially Amanda. Then are the scenes on Space Station 4; the ones with the Doctor set "a week ago" are completely forgettable. Then there are the scenes, primarily with Ace, as the Garvond takes over the Icarus, which swerve between fast-paced action and straight-out boredom.

The Garvond, if you ask me, is a complete flop. Yet another all-powerful being dating from the "Dark Times" of Gallifrey, and it’s the Doctor’s fault it’s on the loose. Oh please! This is not to say the Time Soldiers are not impressive; they are, very much so. Their aging touch, ability to phase through solid matter, seeming invulnerability and ghastly appearance make for a most scary "monster", yet the revelation that they are not mindless automatons is a shock. ‘How… long… do… humans… live?’ is a chilling reminder of the power they wield so casually.

There are parts of the book of worth. Surprisingly avoided is the problem of excess characters: with three main sets, it was likely to happen. There is near a score of named and developed characters — and none, save the cipher of the President, are wasted. The cover is a brilliant piece by Jeff Cummins (completely different to and far superior to his Blood Heat effort) which, like Revelation, boggles the mind as an actual scene from the book. But ultimately, unfortunately, it is a book which fades quickly from the mind. And that, ultimately, is the final damnation — I can’t recommend it on that basis, can I?

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.