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|Two, Two, Two Plots For The Price Of One
|David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
|Saturday 6 September 2003
Jones has written a thoughtful novel about gay experience and made it fully Doctor Who. That is a tough job well done. On top of that, he keeps two plots going that seem to have no direct connection until they collide about 2/3 into the book. This one makes me wish there were more Doctor Who novels from Matthew Jones.
This was a very small-scale story. Very tepid and uninvolving. Quite a few people have reviewed this book positively elsewhere. I just couldn't get into it.
It's not that it isn't well-written. It's just that it didn't have anything really unique to say.
Matthew Jones actually seems to be a fairly good writer, when he puts his determination to it. He penned the tenth doctor two-part episodes of The Impossible Planet and The Satan Pit, respectively; two of the finest episodes of the new series I have yet witnessed. Wonderfully phobic and closed-in.
Both those episodes involved the Devil. This book, also, involves the Devil, but not so directly.
Jones seems to have a thing for the Devil. It's interesting how his concepts have evolved.
But apart from this angle, I found little else to appreciate.
The black man-eating street cab threatened and menaced effectively. But this was the only other thing. Perhaps it was all the character work. It was a bizarre take.
I personally find sexuality of any kind rather irritating in Doctor Who. People look at me oddly when I say this, but I don't care. I've been described as rather emotionless, which may or may not be true.
Perhaps I'm too much of a rationalist. Too analytical. Too much like the Doctor. Whatever.
The in-depth descriptions of Jack's 16-year old lusts simply dragged with me (no pun intended.) I couldn't see the point of them. Which wouldn't be much of a problem, except they take up most of the book. They seem to be the author's rationale for writing.
I just kept waiting for something deeper to happen. Some clever fathom-plunging logic or creative strangeness. But there was nothing. A low-key, strange little document. It didn't seem to have much point at all.
In fairness, I *suppose* that this book is meant for gay people. Those who can see the point of musing on a teenager's weird emotions. I wasn't much of a teenager, even when I was one. So I guess this book isn't for me.
I try to see things from everybody's perspective. But for those who are not of that (sexual) persuasion, it simply seems baffling to write a novel this way.
I've always regarded Doctor Who as a vehicle for rationalism, twisted with adventure. The resulting spiral was remarkably enthralling. Very successful. Call me a traditionalist, but I enjoy the clear intellectualism of the Target range.
Maybe I should read something else? May I'll just raise chickens.