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Reviews for Imperial Moon

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Enjoyable Story, Good Characterization

By:Isaac Wilcott, Ridgecrest, California
Date:Friday 14 March 2003
Rating:   9

Although Bulis may not be the most creative author of "Doctor Who" books, his strengths in other areas far outweigh this one weakness, consistently and prolifically producing reliable and enjoyable novels. "Imperial Moon" is another example of Bulis at his best.

The story, though largely unoriginal, has a number of things to commend it. Details that other authors would gloss over, Bulis convincingly describes in full without being long-winded. He makes the most of the simple situation he's created, and doesn't rely on a pyrotechnic style and clever tricks to dupe his readers into believing he's created a fully developed plot. There is also a surprise revelation at the end of the book -- there are just enough hints for attentive readers to become suspicious, rather than making the clues too obvious or overemphasized. The most interesting part of the story involves the paradoxes created by foreknowledge of events and the dangers it creates -- the Doctor has the diary of one of the members of the expedition, describing events that have not yet happened. Bulis capitalizes on this situation to the utmost, as Turlough struggles (and sometimes fails) to resist the temptation of learning of his own future and faces the consequences of such an action. He also does a good job of tying up all the loose ends, and at the end he connects what seemed like minor plot elements together, which most authors would have used as mere throw-away ideas.

But, as always with Bulis, the best aspect of the book is the characterization.
Most "Who" novels either distort or ignore the characters, something which quickly becomes tiring despite the otherwise interesting plot and ideas. The Doctor, Turlough and even Kamelion (!) are faithful to their television versions while giving them the extra depth made possible in the written medium. Turlough especially benefits from this opportunity for depth by being presented with situations, making the ready privy to his reasoning and thinking, and finally seeing how he plays them out. The Doctor is well portrayed as having a serious side as well as boyish enthusiasm, which reminds me of Peter Davison's performance, particularly in "Kinda." Kamelion, a fascinating character too often relegated to the broom cupboard for most of his time during the TV series due to budgetary and technical constraints, is given a modest amount of wordage to shine on his own, and makes the most of his unique abilities. The cast is rounded off with a group of well-conceived and well-presented Victorians who consistently think and act like Victorians. And, even better, in the narrative Bulis neither condemns nor praises their points of view, nor does he have his non-Victorian characters do so. It is the true mark of a good author to present historical information without immediately having to trash them, or sing their praises, to agree with the reading audience's own beliefs. Doing so not only insults other views and other cultures, it insults the reader's intelligence, and thankfully Bulis has steered well clear of this all-too-common error.

So overall, this is an enjoyable traditional-style story with excellent characters, written by a truly skilled writer, and I recommend it above many other "Who" books that lack characterization and depth. It even has a really neat cover!

What a Lark

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Saturday 6 September 2003
Rating:   6

This is a really fun book. The idea is to set Doctor Who into a typical 1890s "scientific romance" as they used to be called. I have read several of these, most, except for Wells and Verne, unintentionally hilarious. Bulis does a good job of catching the spirit of these things (intrepid adventurers, honor of England, quirky scientist, stallwart scientist's daughter, amazonian maidens, giant bug-like creatures) while writing in a modern style. "Imperial Moon" is not a deep book, but it is a jolly good read.

The First Men on the Moon

By:Stephen Carlin, Bangor, Northern Ireland
Date:Monday 24 May 2004
Rating:   8

As Turlough points out at the start, this seems to be a fusion of Wells and Verne: three of Her Mjaesty's astral ships set off from a remote Scottish isle, destination - Moon. Its the 19th century and the impeller drive promises to expand the British empire beyond the confines of Earth.

When the TARDIS is caught in a temporal wake, the time safe opens and the Doctor finds a diary written by Captain Haliwell telling of the British expedition to the Moon. When he reaches a point in which Haliwell meets two travellers, known as the Doctor and Turlough, the Doctor stops reading and declares that they must go to the Moon and fulfill their part of this history. The question is - is it real history or is an alternate timeline about to be created?

I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable, well-written book. It is very much in the style of The First Men in the Moon with echoes of From Earth to the Moon. It is easy to imagine this as one of those 1930s cinema serials. It is also easy to imagine this as an actual Doctor Who adventure, displaying the imagination and sense of wonder that appealed to so many.

I only have one quibble - Kamelion pops up now and again but his use is very sporadic.

Nevertheless, this is an excellent book from Christopher Bulis, ranking alongside State of Change and Sorceror's Apprentice. It is highly readable and enjoyable - two major factors in any book.

walking on the moon

By:tom webster, London
Date:Sunday 23 January 2005
Rating:   8

finally we get to see what chameleon can actually do, instead of falling on the floor screaming like a cybernetic version of David Bowie ten minutes into the story. The Doctor's survival on the freezing dark side of the moon is exciting stuff, the scary Warden gave me nightmares and the Vrall are the stuff of nightmares. Very good.

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