16 June 2014

Review: Dead Romance by Lawrence Miles

Trade paperback, 321 pages
Published 2004 (contents: 1999-2001)
Previously read May 2005
Reread May 2014
Dead Romance
by Lawrence Miles

For this Bernice Summerfield novel, I have the 2004 reprint, not the original 1999 publication. It's the third book in the "Gods" arc, and the first to offer real explanations (or at least hypotheses) as to who the Gods are and what they want. The scale of their threat is reinforced a lot here; back in Where Angels Fear, the Time Lords recalled Braxiatel's TARDIS, but here we see them sending Chris Cwej to negotiate treaties with the Daleks and the People, allowing them to possess the technology of time travel. Things are getting serious.

Bernice, of course, is not in this novel-- the main character is Christine Summerfield, a young woman from the 1970 London of a bottle universe. There are some who hail this as the greatest Doctor Who novel, but I don't see it. It's a decent novel, with amazing ideas and an intense apocalyptic mood but nothing much seems to actually happen, and what does happen is a distraction. It stands out from its surroundings, sure, but being better than The Medusa Effect or Dry Pilgrimage is not enough to trumpet, exactly. I remember enjoying it when I first read it, but the subsequent nine years of trumpeting by Miles fandom led me to expect more than I found on this reread. (The back cover proclaims it as "novelist Lawrence Miles' greatest work," as if that is somehow significant.)

The Gods arc really has given the New Adventures some energy and focus, but I look forward to seeing that actually imparted to Bernice, as this is the second novel she's been (largely) absent from. Hopefully she's more of a presence in Tears of the Oracle.

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