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blow your mind

By:justin richards, swansea
Date:Saturday 20 June 2009
Rating:   10

oh yes its the story you have been waiting for oh yes the land of fiction reterns and with a bigger bang than the creation of the univerce sorry omniverce buy this book

Excellent First Novel

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Saturday 3 February 2024
Rating:   8

Steve Lyons' debut for Doctor Who is quite unlike anything else written for Doctor Who. It is both metafiction and not, humorous and dark, violent and sentimental. What makes it work is the overarching trope. He places the TARDIS crew in the Land of Fiction, from The Mind Robber. The unknown enemy of The Doctor who has been plaguing him with alternate time lines for the last four or five novels has resurrected this pocket universe and found a new Master of Stories to run it. This new master is not a bookish early twentieth-century writer of light, popular works, as was the previous master, but a boy in his late teens from the 1990s who devours fan fiction, comic books, and the like, and thus populates his fictional world with all of these late twentieth-century popular media tropes in the little town of Arandale. What makes this work is the way that Lyons tells the story. He has chosen to make the new Master of Fiction the narrator, and to have him narrate in "real time" so to speak. Thus, everything that happens is filtered through his perception, and so it is never fully clear whether the TARDIS crew are acting and speaking as they really do or as the narrator perceives or wants them to do. It's a tricky exercise in dramatic irony for the reader. There are a couple of aspects that trouble me about the book, though. One is not really Lyons' fault. He was given a brief about how his novel would fit into the ongoing story arc and how the TARDIS crew ought to behave. That means we get more of the same, tiresome, infighting that has been going on throughout the New Adventures. We get the same tired and totally untrue argument that The Doctor is just "playing games." Ace is particularly annoying. The new shoot anything that moves Ace is boring, full of herself, angry all the time for no good reason, petulant, and not in any way a pleasant person to be around. Every time she comes into the story I am begging, "Please, bring back the old Ace." The other bothersome aspect to me is Lyons' fault, and it is the amount of brutal physical violence directed at women by powerful men. The detailed accounts of these incidents are disturbing. I cannot tell what Lyons wants the reader to think about them. Is this a commentary on the type of schlock media that the Master of Fiction admires? If so, then Lyons should make that point more clearly. Is it Lyons' accidentally letting out something in himself? Hard to tell. So, two demerits, but otherwise Conundrum is the best of the early run of New Adventures.

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