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Reviews for Shada

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The Dream Team

By:Trevor Smith, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Date:Wednesday 13 June 2012
Rating:   10

The dream team to which I refer are the writers of this wonderful book, Douglas Adams & Graham Roberts. Graham has done a marvellous job in finishing off Douglas Adams unfinished masterpiece in this wonderfully funny book. He has really captured the sprit of the times it was written & would have (should have !) been broadcast as well as capturing Adams's weird & wonderful writing style. There are lots of wonderfully funny laugh out loud moments (warning: if you read this book in public, be aware that other people may look at you strangely when you are laughing uncontrolably) and Roberts has filled in some gaps in the plot as well as fixing things that didn't quite make sense. A total triumph and I think the forthcoming Shada DVD is going to struggle to be as entertaining as this magnificent book.

Simply beautiful

By:Matt Saunders, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom
Date:Wednesday 17 October 2012
Rating:   10

This novel is such a stunning novelisation of the Shada story, and is well told by Gareth Roberts - the great author of many great books and episodes. The whole plot feels very Douglas Adams (especially if you have read Dirk Gently, which Adams wrote after Shada with many of the ideas copied over....), but also very Gareth Roberts too. Unlike in the Target novelisations, Roberts feels no need to describe the Doctor (which is good), and just gets on with the plot. I don't want to say any more, because it just needs to be read - please do it today!

Definitely Novelized

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Sunday 20 August 2017
Rating:   8

Gareth Roberts really loves the Williams/Adams period of Doctor Who, perhaps more than just about anyone on the planet. He tries very, very hard to attain the same flavor of that period in his novelization of the unproduced (in its originally intended form) season-ending epic from Douglas Adams. The 1992 VHS fix-up of Shada and the Big Finish cd audio substituting Paul McGann for Tom Baker both stay very faithful to the original shooting script. This was problematic because, as Roberts points out in his afterword, Adams had rushed the script after holding out in a lost battle for a different story he had in mind, and Adams was quite dissatisfied with the script he turned over to be filmed. With access to production notes and a shooting script incorporating last-minute changes to Shada, Roberts set out to write the story as he thought Adams might have liked it to go. This meant changing several scenes, beefing up the character of Clare Keightly, adding a few scenes of his own, and straightening out some of the script logic. The resulting novel is more satisfactory than a straight Terrance Dicks' style novelization of the script would have been, and probably more satisfactory than a finished episode of Shada would have been. Because Roberts is so in love with this period of Doctor Who, the dialogue of the novel would easily have fit the episode. There are no lines where the reader would think, "Hey, Doctor 4 would never say that." He softens Romana's character a little, making her just a little more fond of The Doctor than what we saw on TV. He throws in numerous in-jokes and references for fans, changes the character of Skagra's ship quite extensively, but keeps the sensation that everyone barring the villain responds to stress with light sarcasm. Indeed, very often in the Williams/Adams era what made the villain a villain was his/her total lack of a sense of humor more than that character's evil intentions. Roberts has kept this and worked it hard, constantly reminding the reader of how humorless and unaware of his own ridiculousness Skagra is.

For all the virtues of Roberts' version, the same sources of the virtues are the sources of the flaws. The scenes are often played too jokey, and some scenes are there purely to deliver the joke after a long delay. If the audience is not meant to take the villain seriously, then it becomes very hard to believe that The Doctor and Romana are taking him seriously, or to think that he was ever any real threat at all. Thus, many parts of the novel that should be intense and suspenseful lose that aspect in favor of a few punchlines. Those who love the Williams/Adams approach to Doctor Who will undoubtedly love this novel. Others who come to Doctor Who without introduction to that period, or who were always dubious of the value of the Williams/Adams approach will likely find this novel to be an excellent homage to that period, but less-than-satisfactory because of it.

Ovation is the New Shada

By:Earle DL Foster, Invercargill, New Zealand
Date:Wednesday 15 May 2019
Rating:   10

What you are now perusing online is the methodically and harmoniously conceived summarisation of what the like-minded reader would doubtlessly classify as the most indispensable publication ever crafted within the currently functional universe (hence this individual's attempted homage to the original writer of the hitherto original epic story. Not that the most modernistic writer of the aforementioned hasn't produced a first-grade effortless homage to the aforesaid original writer, either).

The person known as Mr Gareth Roberts has majestically and magically compacted literally countless eons of history, creative production, and now successfully fulfilled ambition into what the invaluable right-thinking bibliophile would most likely recognize as a page-turning triumphant tribute towards a true galactic event. Formerly ravaged by an incalculable meteorite incursion of socioeconomic magnitude, this event has eventually achieved an absolutely astronomical rebirth.

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