Sonic Screwdriver #83
Given the whole fuss of the tme as it capped off the "Alternate Universe" saga, this ranks, for me, as one of the forgotten stories. How annoying, now I have to find the time to go re-read this one!
After generally unsatisfying reads with the "Alternate Universe" cycle (save, obviously, for The Left-Handed Hummingbird), I was looking to Paul Cornell to bring it to a fine end with No Future — and that he most certainly has done. This is a New Adventure full of in-jokes, the return of some great characters, and some pretty shocking actions.
Since Ace returned to the fold in Deceit, the level of conflict between her, Benny and the Doctor has continually climbed. When I saw the back cover saying Ace had made murderous plans of her own, I didn’t think it was literal, and in regard to her TARDIS companions — needless to say, was I in for a shock! Halfway through No Future, I could see absolutely no way that she would be able to continue as part of the TARDIS crew — if indeed, anyone was left! The ironic thing is that because it is portrayed as retribution for the manipulations of the Doctor, we side with her.
As has been fairly widely known in Britain for many a month, the meddler of the "Alternate Universe" cycle is, indeed, the Meddling Monk, having enslaved the Chronovore Artemis (now you can go back, read all those parts of the previous books that were so frustrating, and put a context on them!). On top of all that, the Vardans, having given up on Gallifrey, have decided to invade the Earth.
One part of this book I enjoyed particularly was the return of the Brigadier. A far cry from the embittered character in Blood Heat, he is for once treated as intelligent, and is all the better a character for it. Benton is, well, Benton, and I’m glad for it. Yates seems forever damned to having mixed loyalties. The regular characters fare well, too. Ace is well devious, Benny gets a decent share of the script for once, and the Doctor, despite being stripped of all the clues he normally leaves himself, is still mind-numbingly astonishing at times — his escape from the Monk’s capsule is simultaneously ridiculous and absolutely brilliant. As for the other characters, save the Monk, who is a likeable rogue, they fade from the memory quickly.
Maybe the most satisfying part of this book — save the fact that the plot never lets up, and action is for once well realised in written form — is the never-ending series of one-liners and references. We have a record producer who has collected all the adventures of the Doctor (hello Ian Levine!), a group of punks throwing the desk of said producer out the window (a la the Sex Pistols), plus the obligatory ventilation shaft. The pattern of Paul Cornell’s previous New Adventures ’ final line continues — this time it is long ago in an English summer. The Brigadier gets the best line of the book, however, with his classic ‘Chap with Wings — five rounds rapid!’, applied this time to Paul McCartney.
Having been born in the Seventies, I can’t vouch for the authenticity of this book, but it certainly is convincing and captivating — politics, action, mixed loyalties and humour combining well. The great thing, for me, is that this time we only have to wait a few months for Paul Cornell’s next offering, Goth Opera. And having just seen the cover, I am looking forward to that very much indeed…
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
This page last updated by David J Richardson on Wed, 20 Apr 2005.