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Reviews for Lucifer Rising

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By:Matt Bennett, Cardiff
Date:Thursday 25 August 2005
Rating:   9

Lucifer Rising is one of the chunkier NAs but seems to justify it's unusual length. It never drags or drops into clunky prose, and the writing really lifts off the page. The opening sequence is wonderfully written, and achieves a level of emotional potency that is sustained through the entire novel. Recommended.

Welcome back Ace

By:Clive T Wright, St Lawrence, United Kingdom
Date:Sunday 7 August 2011
Rating:   9

Lucifer Rising is a clever well thought out story, pulling Ace and the Dcotor back together, with good tensions as Ace has finally moved on an grown since her time away.

The images of strange worlds and aliens is excellent and all together a strong enjoyable read.

Good Start, Confused Finish

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Tuesday 23 May 2023
Rating:   7

The first half of Lucifer Rising gave me great hope that I was getting at last a hard science fiction story in Doctor Who. However, about halfway through it changes into a military-oriented gore fest that leaves the potential of the first half sinking to the bottom. The initial situation is interesting, and reminded me quite a bit of Clarke's Rendezvous With Rama mixed with Lem's Solaris and Asimov's "Waterclap." A scientific research team is examining the planetary system of Lucifer, one main planet plus two moons. The system includes the remains of technology left behind by an unknown alien race. The technology is far advanced over the knowledge of the scientific team trying to work out what it is all for. In the background is the political situation on Earth, desperate for new energy resources. There is a belief that the planet Lucifer may provide such a source. An additional problem is the indigenous alien species that the research team has called Angels, semi-corporeal beings living in the toxic and turbulent atmosphere of Lucifer. They just might be what remains of the aliens who built the marvelous technology, but they are not talking. All by itself, this situation would be enough to fuel the novel. There are plenty of discoveries to make, plus there's plenty of room for political and personal conflicts. To get the novel going, the writers supply us with a death, one of the researchers, daughter of the base commander, dying mysteriously in a lone trip into Lucifer's atmosphere.

The first half of the novel concentrates on this arrangement, and has plenty of what one is looking for in a science-based science fiction work. There are a couple of problems here, though, and these involve The Doctor and companions. Problem one is that while we get the scene of The Doctor and companions arriving in the Lucifer system, we do not get how they work their way into this community, other than a suggestion that somehow The Doctor hypnotizes everyone, how long they have been with the community, though it is long enough for our heroes to have developed friendships with team members, and what roles they have assumed within this community. It has a kind of Mission:Impossible sense that our heroes are just kind of magically in place. Problem two is the characterization of Bernice and Ace, especially Ace. Both seem to me to be unnecessarily confrontative, aggressive even, bundles of grudges that they constantly let out. Ace is particularly verbally nasty, constantly picking pointless fights with Bernice and The Doctor.

Then, we get to the second half. The writers introduce into the story the evil Interplanetary Mining Corporation (IMC), with their mercenary forces, sent in to clean up the Lucifer project after the collapse of Earth government and its takeover by a corporate conglomerate. From this point on, the scientific mysteries get mostly abandoned, and in its place are lots of running and shooting. Bodies pile up, and deaths are described in grisly detail. Ace becomes even more problematic by essentially turning traitor to The Doctor (because he "manipulates" her, you know), and throws in her lot with IMC. From the compassionate if confused, and highly moral young woman of the TV series, Ace has now become a ruthless killer contemptuous of everyone. The transformation is nearly as badly handled and unbelievable as Anakin Skywalker becoming a child murderer because his girlfriend left him.

Thus, the second half of the novel is a real disappointment to me, abandoning all that was interesting in the first half and substituting clichés, gore, and nonsense for it.

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