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Reviews for World Game

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WARNING - Spoilers Ahead!

By:Paul Dyason, Stevenage
Date:Saturday 22 October 2005
Rating:   7

Have just finished reading World Game and I have to say I enjoyed it immensely. After a slowish start it soon picks up and becomes a great rollercoaster of a ride through the history involving Napolean, Duke Of Wellington, and Nelson. I had never read any of the stories from the so-called 'Season 6B' and approached this with a sense of trepidation that the continuity may bog it down, but in hind-sight I needn't have worried too much. It's not to say that there isn't any continuity at all, it's just that it doesn't detract at all from the plot of the book. There's also a link leading in to The Two Doctors towards the end!

Terrence Dicks portrays the second doctor to perfection here, which isn't too surprising really given he worked on the later Troughton TV shows. Plus, the fact a new companion is presented to the reader at the start of the story, coupled with the fact that you feel rather saddened at her demise later in the book shows how well she is characterised by Dicks throughout via her growing relationship with The Doctor.

You feel that Dicks has done his historical homework for this book, a theory supported by the presence of a section at the back of the book called 'Historical Notes' which gives annotations regarding some of the characters involved in the plot. You are left with the impression that Dicks has tried hard to base the events in the story as close to the historical reality as possible. As someone who loved the 'early historicals', this appealed to me greatly. What a coincidence that the day I finised reading it, I later found out was the 200th anniversary of Nelson's death at the Battle Of Trafalgar! Could this be a Doctor Who novel that is trying to mark this occasion, given it's release so near to this anniversary. In my eyes it did it proud, and I think I may now go and try to get a copy of 'Players' and read that to!

Splendid History.

By:Mike McGovern, Edmonton, Alberta
Date:Monday 27 March 2006
Rating:   10

Terrance Dicks appears to have devoted himself to novelizing the great periods of history using the Doctor Who format. The most interesting historical novel I have yet seen.

The beginning is a little stunted, with Terrance quoting directly from other novels of his, with minor changes. A bit slow here. Knowledge of his other novel "Players" is necessary to make sense of this.

The very first section of the book actually comes verbatim from his Target novel "The Spearhead From Space," but interestingly, the ending is different.

The book really begins to hum when the Doctor confronts a phony official in France. (This is not a spoiler.) Each man produces more and more papers, authority documents, identifications, trying to convince the powers that be that they are who they say they are. All the while they grow angrier and angrier with each other.

I laughed out loud with the momentum of it all. Terrence may be older, but he has not lost his flair for character clashes.

Terrence has achieved something which no other author, to my knowledge, ever has. He has made history fun. He has brought it to life so we can see what Napoleon saw, feel how Wellington felt on the battlefield, experience the tension of famous battles that have long since become dry and stale in history books, their essential life forgotten.

I actually believe that books like Terrence's matter more than traditional historical accounts. "World Game" was obviously well-researched to make it as close as possible to reality, but you learn tons more by seeing great history in action, start to finish, than by reading disjointed academic fact books.

I have read of the Battle of Waterloo for years, but every one of the learned history texts I used completely failed to give me the rich experience that Terrence produced in this novel. I learned things about the actual process of battle that were never even hinted at in other writings, but which Napoleon and others with him really would have experienced.

Someone should recommend Terrence for the "Distinguished Contribution to English Letters" award. Recreation of genuine historical events deserves more recognition, and one must never underestimate the value of being able to tell a good story with flair and charm.

The general stuffiness of real history is one of the big reasons most people have a hard time learning about their culture and its past - historians make it sound so boring. It is hard to approach something which seems boring.

Excellent book, excellent story. Some genuine brainwork went into this. Read it for the fun.

Good Fun

By:the Traveller, Nowhere...honestly
Date:Sunday 4 June 2006
Rating:   8

An easily readable page turner that, although is very predictable is also great fun to read.


By:Hatman, The void (physics lab)
Date:Monday 3 July 2006
Rating:   4

predictibility. this book has it in spades. garlic, hmm... what happens next I wonder? Oh no, we're being attacked. let's use this nearby torpedo! the list goes on...

for a couple of centuries.

An excellent link

By:Trevor Smith, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Date:Sunday 1 July 2007
Rating:   9

Between The last second Doctor TV story "War Games" & "The Two Doctors" as well as an excellent & exciting story.


By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Friday 18 April 2008
Rating:   10

Terrance Dicks has only gone and done it again. The man never seems to run out of steam. This book is the best doctor who novel ive ever read so far. One, because its got my fav doctor, and second, because its a darn fine yarn i can tell you.

The era of the doctor number 2 brings back some of my all time favourite who memories. Pat always enthralled me as a child and i still love his performance now. This story weaves once again all his isms and quirks finely into a tale that is wonderfully paced and full of many good moments.

The war bits are very realistic, and I love the new time lady companion: it genuinely is a shock at the end when she dies. Totally unespected. I was thinking all along oh please make her a continued companion for the Doctor, this girl makes Romana pale into insignificance. I loved the character a lot.

And the raston warrior robot part is great too. The return of the most undervalued and underused of the doc's enemies indeed.

Gallifreyan time lords are up to there usual with hypocrisy too. Got a nerve those time lords, saying the doc interferes too often, when half the time its on their request! flipping cheek!

Yes, this story is the best doctor who novel out there, go and buy it, you wont be dissapointed at all...

Very Terrance Dicks

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Monday 1 April 2013
Rating:   7

Most the reviewers in this forum really liked this book, yet it has only a 6 rating overall. Peculiar. I note that Dicks' other original novels are also in the mid-range of the ratings. I suspect that maybe people see the name, know the connection to Doctor Who of old, and expect something more than they get. Whatever the reason, the book is definitely better than a 6. This novel is very "Terrance Dicks." If one has followed his interviews and read some of his various work, one will notice that Dicks sees himself as a "jobbing" writer, someone editors can count on to produce a workmanlike job within the budget. Dicks clearly also admires other writers with similar credentials, often answering the question of why he chose this or that writer during his days as script editor and producer that so-and-so was a working professional of known abilities and thoroughly reliable.

"World Game" delivers what Dicks does well. Fast-paced, easy-to-read, and amusing to just the right degree, the novel makes for an entertaining pastime. It is not deep, nor all that original, but it does have its background and rationale carefully worked out. Doctor 2 is in prison, an "oubliette," and awaiting his execution when the Celestial Intervention Agency calls upon him to complete a mission for them in return for some different kind of sentence. Someone is messing around with the lives of Napoleon and Wellington (and Nelson), and the Doctor must discover who it is. He gets a new assistant, a beautiful and untrained Gallifreyan aristocrat. The setup allows Dicks to tie up many loose ends in the series, most especially the rationale for "The Two Doctors." He also gets to use bits and pieces from his Doctor Who scripts. He gets to indulge his love of British history. He gets to borrow from other Who writers, such as the Immortals from "Enlightenment" and the psychic paper from the new series. And he gets to replay and revise, in a way, "The Key to Time." (It is interesting that Dicks most "interferes" with the scripts of Robert Holmes, one of his preferred writers and the only other writer from the classic Who period of equal involvement and stature.)

As far as it goes, there are indeed things to question or dislike in the book. As one reviewer here remarked, there is a bit too much plot by convenience. Also, his companion Serena is not as interesting a character as she could have been. The villains are rather flat and obvious. Yet, given what Dicks has set out to do, the book works rather well. In a way, this is perhaps the best example of classic Who as a novel. Apart from the battle scenes, the story could have been produced on television. However, Dicks has used the novel format to widen the scope and especially to provide the historical background that justifies its setting. The plot runs like a television serial, but the book reads like a novel.

Readers should take "World Game" for what it is, an entertainment fun most of the time, serious when it has to be, and subtly educational.

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