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Review — Scales of Injustice

First Published:
Sonic Screwdriver #96

Publish Date:
September 1996

Woohoo, he says, a positive review for a Missing Adventure for once — because they actually dared to add something to the mythos, not just trot out the usual formulaic crap.

It’s been a strange two months since I wrote my last review for Sonic; in that time, I’ve read new books by Gary Russell and Steve Lyons, and liked them both. Wow.

The one by Gary Russell is The Scales of Injustice, which you can think of as being set at the end of season seven, and featuring Liz Shaw leaving and the Silurians and Sea Devils returning (oh, sorry, should that be Earth Reptiles?). There mightn’t be all that much plot in this book, but it’s made up for with the detailed look it takes at UNIT and its members — in particular, but not limited to, the Brigadier (aka Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart — there’s a big difference, you know!) and Liz Shaw.

The basic plot should be familiar to anyone who have seen The Silurians or The Seas Devils — the scaly ones wake up, some have peaceful intentions, but others, who win out, don’t. The things that spice it up this time are the fact that this lot of Earth Reptiles are a genetic combination of the two races, a deep cancerous plot is brewing within UNIT, and there’s a detailed look at the individuals that make up the UNIT team. The latter two aspects of these three are by far the most interesting.

For those who have read the Who Killed Kennedy book of a few months ago, a lot will seem familiar in this book (Kennedy and Scales are excellent books to be read together, though each stands on their own ne). We see the return of the Glasshouse, a special hospital set up for quiet treatment of some of the more unusual military injuries, be they physical or mental. UNIT, as you might expect, ends up sending more than its share of broken soldiers there. But is the Glasshouse just that, or is it being used for darker purposes? And what, precisely, is C19? (C19 was first referred to briey in Time-Flight, as was Sir John Sudbury, who also features in this book.) What does happen to all the alien technology UNIT capture? Much of the book, like Kennedy before it, is a great conspiracy thriller, and very enjoyable for it. In fact, I like all this background stuff so much that I’m calling it canon from now on!

The other major area this book breaches is the personal lives of many of the UNIT staff. We gain a whole lot more information on the background of Liz Shaw, and why she ended up leaving (the nal scenes with the Doctor and Liz in Regent Park are very touching). Similarly, building on references from the past (especially from Downtime, the Yeti video story), we see the Brigadier’s rst marriage breaking down under the stress of his Ofcial Secrets Act-disguised job (actually, I should say Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart’s marriage. Alistair and the Brigadier are very different people). We also see a lot more of Corporal Bell, and we nd out how Mike Yates got to be a Captain instead of John Benton. All these personal details are mixed into the book processes beautifully, and this book will become just about the reference when it comes to writing the history of UNIT and the people in it.

So after the vapid piece of soulless crap that was the movie novelisation and Invasion of the Cat-People which I described as shocking, padded, annoying, grating, mediocre and a waste back in Sonic #92, Gary Russell has hit absolute gold with The Scales of Injustice.

I still don’t believe it.

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.