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Reviews for Zeta Major

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Oh dear

By:Adrian Sherlock, Melbourne, Australia
Date:Friday 28 June 2002
Rating:   3 was innoffensive in the beginning and the premise was passable, though there are SO MANY stories that deserved a sequel more than the very average Planet Of Evil! Basically this book gets off to a fairly solid start, not exactly mind blowing excitement or anything but then NO book in the series has ANY of the pure excitement of the actual TV series, so...go figure! Is it just me or when you were a kid watching Dr.Who, did you not often say "Oh, wow, wouldn't it be great if the Doctor met...or if the Daleks did...or if they did a story where..." and yet the writers who now write the books, former fans who grew up with the show, seem to come up with ideas like...wouldn't it be great if the Doctor went to the home world of the Morestrans from Planet of Evil and it was like the catholic church? Well, pardon me, but that would have to be the LAST thing I was wishing and hoping for when I was watching the series. A clash between Daleks and Cybermen, yes, a return of the Terileptils, perhaps, a story where the Zygons used their shape changing powers to infiltrate Gallifrey perhaps...but THIS? Sorry! To say the first third of the book is okay is generous. But to be blunt it becomes painful to even read to the end after that. This could have been a lot better. Pity, as the opener of the Doctor dreaming of a tidal wave of black antimatter felt like it was going to actaully happen later in the story, but it did not. Bit sad, but THIS got published! Hmmm...

Underrated Classic

By:Peteley, London, England
Date:Thursday 24 October 2002
Rating:   10

This is an underated book all the main Characters are well written, with Tegan getting a strong indepenant role and Nyssa'a torment great (thought sad) to read. The villians were sinister but not one dimensional monsters that had one aim to life (i.e. distroy/kill) and were believable people instead of automations. Well recomended

Too Many Balls In The Air

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Wednesday 2 March 2005
Rating:   7

This novel, for the first 3/4 of it, reads like a political thriller. I happen to like political thrillers, so I enjoyed that part of the book immensely. One of the previous viewers remarked on the strenghts of the villains, and I agree with that statement. Even the most evil of them, Krystian Fall the Zero Man, is not made out to be a raving nut bent on universal conquest. I also agree that the companions get very strong parts in this story. I would have liked to have seen this Tegan in the TV series. She is much smarter in this book.

Here are my knocks against the book. First, its premise is another of the "it's all the Doctor's fault" ideas. That idea was done well in "The Face of Evil," but it is now time to move on, and I am getting quite sick of its showing up again and again in the BBC novels and Big Finish CDs. In this case, it turns out that the Doctor's proposal to Sorenson in "Planet of Evil" to harness the kinetic energy of planetary motion was a blind alley. As a result, the Morestrans have wasted 2000 years (interesting number there and more about it later) building a gigantic "Energy Tower" to make that possible. In the process, Morestran society has split into an Imperial faction and a Church faction. This society is apparently based upon Renaissance Italy, principally, and Messingham does an interesting job of converting the historical society into a future society. This offers Messingham the opportunity to take some swipes at organized religion, particularly those based on prophecy, hence the 2000 year number. As I said, this part of the book works well for me. What happens, though, is that now that the deadline for the Energy Tower to be switched on has come up, the entire society falls apart into civil war. At this point, Messingham loses control of the story, mainly because he has too many things going on for a novel of this length, too many characters, too many motives. If the novel were twice as long, and much more detailed, these complications could have been worked out. As it is, the novel ends in a great bloody mess of bodies, and so many names thrown out that it becomes impossible to keep track of them in a single reading. Tighter control of the story would have made the last 1/4 as good as the first 3/4.

Taut thriller

By:Siskoid, Moncton, NB
Date:Friday 14 October 2005
Rating:   8

I really liked Zeta Major, but usually when it wasn't a Doctor Who story. Everything in the Morestran Empire was great, from the political stuff to the various document inserts to the violence and retro-science. Very cool, and a number of memorable characters (though a lot of generic clergy).

The Doctor, however, doesn't do much. He caused it, isn't that enough? ;-) Well, at least Tegan and Nyssa get to be a lot more active, the story spanning a much longer time span than most adventures. Oh, and I did enjoy the cameo by the actual television series.

As the story comes to a head, it loses focus. By this time, the supporting characters are dying like flies, and then the supposedly grandiose ending is half reset button, half comic book. Not quite up to par with the rest of the novel, but adequate.

Overall: The Morestran society is well drawn and the thriller aspects gripping. As Who fiction, maybe it fails. As straight fiction, it reads much better.


By:justin wayne richards, swansea, wales
Date:Wednesday 18 October 2006
Rating:   3

Why is the question in my mind when i read this, very boring to much about the state the empires become and how the church has turn into a goverment thank god for the end which was good far play, but to sit through the middle was a struggle not the best sequel by far (and why are all of the morestrans named like italians).

To Long

By:Trevor Smith, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Date:Monday 28 January 2008
Rating:   5

An ok sort of story. Not enough Doctor, to many other charcters. Very long & slow. More straight fantasy than Sci-Fi.

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