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Reviews for Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible

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Brilliant, intricate science fiction!

By:Mike McGovern, Cold Lake, Canada
Date:Saturday 8 June 2002
Rating:   10

This is the most astonishing book ever written. Hands down winner. The technical details of the TARDIS have never been finer. The visual details are the richest I have ever seen.

Marc Platt is a genius. There is no other word for it. Reading this book is like watching an astonishingly well-made movie, instead of struggling to fit words together on paper.

The sentences are definitely the shortest I have ever come across, and certainly the strangest. The sweeping perfection of the story and the incredible inventions of the author (ie. the Watch Tower, the Process, the grey city formed by the sundered TARDIS) stand out in my mind with haunting technical clarity.

In short, the book is an absolute triumph, even on the symbolic level. Every paragraph has a symbolic meaning, even every sentence. The story is stunningly detailed in the direct visual sense, but works on so many differnet levels of symbolism that I still haven't figured them all out, even after ten years of study.

My favorite parts are the TARDIS bits near the beginning, particularly the part where the scrolled plans of the timeship pop out of the console at Ace. I am a TARDIS fan, and I resent the fact that so few Doctor Who stories give such vivid descriptions of the interior workings of the craft.

An absolute stunner of a story. An absolute stunner.


By:bruce klopfstein, Superior, WI, USA
Date:Monday 28 March 2005
Rating:   9

An excellent story that draws you in and keeps you wanting to read just one more page. Once you pick this book up you will not want to put it down.
Very well written. A well developed and original story line. And finally a story that gives you a little better understanding of the TARDIS and its relationship with the Doctor. I also enjoyed the fact that ACE was written as a very strong character. Not a whinney "what have you gotten us into now Doctor?" character. I am looking forward to the next book. I hope it is as well written.

High weirdness works well in Who

By:Siskoid, Moncton, NB
Date:Friday 14 October 2005
Rating:   7

Though the novel is oddly Doctorless, it still works as an Ace story, and as an exploration of Ancient Gallifrey and how Rassilon came to power. Marc Platt has an immensely strange and wonderful imagination, creating images even when his concepts aren't entirely explained.

I find that high weirdness works very well in Doctor Who, even if the tv series couldn't really do it because of budget constraints. And Platt definitely does this. The main idea of an inside out TARDIS and time seen as a space is interesting, and the paradoxes are well worked out.

But it's not perfect by any means. I don't mind the absence of the Doctor, so that's not the problem. The prose can be confusing at times, especially as reality is falling apart in the beginning, and you never really get to know what the Process was/is. Strange, fine, but let's have the strange elements backed up. Still, if I'm reading about Gallifrey, Marc Platt's my man.

Overall: The good definitely outweighs the bad, and Ace has a good role.

enjoyable but hard to follow in places.

By:C G Harwood, Dunedin, NZ, New Zealand
Date:Saturday 15 December 2007
Rating:   6

My summary pretty much says all i have to say about this book. I loved the concept of what would happen if the TARDIS got turned inside out, i mean if it happened in your home town how much ground would it cover.
The plot was good and well writen and the Prosecces were a interesting baddy (if there big giant leches why not just grab a big bag of salt in throw it at them). Also the stuff on Galifray with rassolon was worth reading the book on its own (he realy was a bastard, wasn't he.) It was also nice to see that the 7th Dr and ace are evolving nicely into the new books.
The only real problem i had with the book was that it was hard to follow in places. particulay when the survivors and the proceses started meating there other selves, it was hard remembering who was from the future, past or present survivors. The other problem i had with it was there was nothing leading me into the next Cats Cradel book. so do i have to read it or can i go and read a book from the missing adventures or BBC stuff first.
In conclution this was a good book, but wasn't great. And if your new to Dr WHo fiction I sugest you leave this one for another time. 6 out of 10

Enjoyable but a tad disjointed.

By:Mark List, Midland, United States
Date:Wednesday 30 September 2009
Rating:   6

After reading the previous book in this series, I was very hesitant to start another multi-book, multi-author story line, however, this book wasn't bad.

The story was somewhat confusing and disjointed in places, but overall I liked the concept and thought that the writing was quite good.

The Process was an interesting concept that wouldn't have worked in some situations, but it worked fairly well in this story.

The backstory of Gallifrey was intriguing and I hope that it gets built on.

While this isn't the best book I have read, it was entertaining and kept my interest.


By:Joseph Kemp, Killem, Canada
Date:Monday 5 March 2012
Rating:   10

This is a brilliant book. Very dark. Twisted. Surreal.

Almost baroque. And very gothic.

Some people have difficulty with it. The writing is the most precise I've ever seen. Almost Dickensian, but more exact. The author has an astonishingly powerful brain. Very bizarre and unique, and his imaginative vision remains, to my mind at least, utterly unparlleled.

Unfortunately, my experience reading this novel seems to have been unusual.

Nobody I know can read this book. Everyone I give it to has difficulties with it. The colossal visions it contains remain locked away in the dust.

The huge two-headed worm of the Process. The vast dead grey city. The rearing tower of metal refuse that squeals with machinery at the center of it all. And of course, the wondous powers of the TARDIS.

I have never seen such writing. It is the pinicle of human achievment. Marc Platt possesses an extraordinary intelligence. One that comparably few people seem to understand.

Several people have complained about the ending of this book. Some have said that when you figure out what's going on, you just shrug, and say: "It makes sense, but what was all the fuss about?"

I cannot understand this attitude. This book is so intricate it beggars the imagination. The end has implications for the beginning. The middle is echoed throughout. And the ending is a mystery hidden in an emigmatic image that must be reasoned out to be understood.

I firmly regard this book as THE novel of twentieth century literature. Even today, I have never seen writing or imagination like it. It is completely unique. Monumental complexity and originality that is found nowhere else.

Read it for the brilliance and the weird.


By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Wednesday 24 August 2022
Rating:   7

Just about any reviewer of this book is going to say how weird it is. There is no doubt about the weirdness, but then weirdness is Marc Platt's schtick. The plot, and it is very thin, seems to be that some kind of space data leech has invaded the TARDIS and caused it to go into an emergency collapse. This collapse throws The Doctor into total discombobulation. Just as the TARDIS is falling to bits, it crashes with a primitive, experimental time vessel from Ancient Gallifrey, when Rassilon is just coming into power (and a right little Napoleon he is, too, down to being short in a society in which men are short and women tall). The resulting time crash plops Ace into a gray world in which the twisted remains of buildings form a kind of surrealistic empty city. The only living creatures there are the crew of the Gallifreyan Time Vessel, herself, and the information leech, now calling itself Process, turned gigantic, and using the time crew to find the Future, which has somehow gotten lost. Oh, and there is a silver pussy cat roaming around that seems inordinately interested in Ace. The city is divided into time zones in which the characters keep meeting earlier or later versions of themselves in what seems to be an endless loop. It is all extremely clever, and reasonably well described. However, the whole thing seems to be that Platt likes taking widely disparate elements, throwing them together, stirring vigorously, and seeing what comes out. What is missing from all this is the Why. This is very important for making the story cohere and giving the reader some kind of payout. The book is very light on explanations. Why are these specific elements thrown together? What is the relationship between them? Why does the leech thing invade the TARDIS in the first place? What is it, exactly? Why does the TARDIS react this way? One can go on for many more questions and be begging for many more answers. It is this lack of explanation that drags down my valuation of the novel. Had Platt been more forthcoming with the reasons and less determined to show off how well he can describe weird, this could have been a quite excellent novel.

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