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Reviews for Cat's Cradle: Warhead

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Looking For The Connection?

By:bruce klopfstein, superior,wi usa
Date:Tuesday 26 April 2005
Rating:   7

While being a good read, it is definatly the the best. Strong charactors but with each page I was waiting for the tie in to the first book. O.k the cat was in both books but there is not a plot conection. I liked the postwar type scene played out in NYC. I wish it had be explored and developed more. Too much dancing around in bad guys (or girls) heads just to have them die insignificatly. Not enough time building the story. Instead, just kept being dropped into the middle of things after the character, mostly ACE, had been there awhile.

Not bad, not great

By:Kenny Rutgers, Woodridge, IL, USA
Date:Wednesday 17 May 2006
Rating:   6

I would have like this book a lot more if it were not for chapter 4. I mean how many times can you use the name Bobby Prescot in one chapter? It annoyed the heck out of me!

An OK read

By:Mark List, Midland, United States
Date:Saturday 6 March 2010
Rating:   6

This book was only OK. It was a great idea for a story, but I was bored with the jumping it did.

It didn't follow a coherent track. It could have been better if it had followed a clear path.

Sometimes mystery and not stating what is going on works in a story. In this one it didn't.

Perplexing Mix of Good and Bad

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Thursday 13 October 2022
Rating:   7

The second of the Cat's Cradle trilogy is written to be a taught thriller, James Bond style. It conforms to Cartmel's view of The Doctor from the time Cartmel was script editor. The Doctor here is a kind of criminal mastermind working on the side of good. Thus, there is a running conflict between the questionable morality of The Doctor's methods for putting together a "team" and the supposed larger morality of the cause he uses the team to bring about. As with Doctor Who 1988-9, it appears in this novel that Cartmel has not thoroughly thought through the ethics, nor has he thought through what this portrayal does to perceptions of The Doctor's character. Basically, I really don't like this Doctor as a person. He's superficially charming while being mostly callous and insensitive. I also have some troubles with how Cartmel characterizes Ace. In this novel, Ace is basically the James Bond character. Thus, she acts as commando, spy, streetfighter, and wisecracking badass throughout the novel. She gets beat up, knocked down, bruised and abused. Cartmel seems to forget that she is a small, teenaged girl from Perivale without any of the formal training necessary to do what she does in this novel. And then, there's the cat. Or rather, there isn't. As a middle novel in a trilogy, the book should move along the arcing plot. The cat from book 1 appears briefly in the first few chapters of Warhead, to no discernible purpose, and then vanishes without any more mention. What Warhead has to do Time's Crucible is anyone's guess.

The plot of the novel itself has some interesting features that would work better if Cartmel had not force-fit Doctor Who into it. Basically, in the near future (2020s or 2030s), the world is a burning mess. Nature is in collapse, pollution covers everything, humans are dying in the millions because of diseases caused by environmental toxins, national governments are useless, and corporations run everything. In the background of all this is the corporation Butler Institute, run by a cold, humorless man named Mathew O'Hara. The Butler Institute has been buying out virtually every tech company, sending agents to collect bodies and even living specimens from among the homeless and imprisoned, and has been carving some giant project into the side of the Catskill Mountains. O'Hara is a kind of Ray Kurzweil as Bond villain, a man who believes that the only salvation for humanity is for the rich people to all upload themselves into computers, thus "live" virtually forever and never have to suffer from the problems of the body. O'Hara is willing to sacrifice anybody to achieve this end, even his wife and young son. The Doctor's project is O'Hara, stopping him from achieving his goal of computer utopia for the rich. Apart from O'Hara's methods, there does not seem to me to be reason enough to bring down O'Hara, or for The Doctor to go to such elaborate lengths to do it. Yes, O'Hara is a murderer, and a murderer with power, but in the world that Cartmel depicts, that does not make him all that much worse than thousands of others. The plan for computer utopia itself is riddled with difficulties that make it unlikely ever to succeed, and on the face of it is dubious practically rather than morally. Again, O'Hara's methods are the problem, and the "evil" plan really is not all that evil. So, in the end, it is not clear just exactly what The Doctor has accomplished.

To give credit where it is due, Cartmel handles the pace of the novel very well. He writes action scenes so that a reader is not confused by all that is going on. He knows how to keep relevant details hidden in plain sight, so that a reader is unaware of their relevance until they become relevant. Apart from the cat there are no loose ends. On the whole, Cat's Cradle: Warhead is a decent action-adventure spy thriller, but it is problematic Doctor Who.

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