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Reviews for Lungbarrow

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By:Simon Ferns, Sydney, Australia
Date:Tuesday 26 March 2002
Rating:   1

Overblown, overegged, overlong. As pretentious and as bad as Ghostlight and Cat's Cradle. Get me an aspirin.

Curtain: McCoy's Last Ride

By:EDL Foster, Invercargill, New Zealand
Date:Tuesday 11 March 2003
Rating:   10

Having seen the television adaptation of Mervyn Peake's gothic epic "Gormenghast", I certainly could recognise the comparisons imbedded within Marc Platt's swan song novel for the Seventh Doctor. I only wish that the BBC could have produced this story for the big screen, a movie in its own right.
A great achievement for both writer and series, as it clearly succeeds in several fronts. It provides a grand finale for McCoy, it introduces the synopsis for the upcoming regeneration (and the introduction of McGann), and it brings in plot elements and attributes in line with the Eighth Doctor era.
Best of all, the book attempts to answer the questions which have permeated through the reign of this particular incarnation, while also portraying a psychological redemption of the Doctor (he comes to terms with his actions, especially the given role of "chess player" upon other races and individuals).

So long, Sylvester. God speed and Adieu.
At least you still maintained the mystery around one important remaining sociological factor:

Can't Afford This Book?

By:Yumchan, Doncaster, England
Date:Tuesday 22 April 2003
Rating:   9

Available Now From Kazaa!

Loved It!!!

By:Enki, Arcadia, Wisconsin, United States
Date:Friday 26 December 2003
Rating:   10

The best Doctor Who novel yet!

Just Who Is The Doctor?

By:Matthew Kresal, United States
Date:Tuesday 2 September 2008
Rating:   10

Lungbarrow: The last of Virgin’s New Adventures to feature the seventh Doctor that is perhaps the rarest Doctor Who novel ever and deservedly so! Lungbarrow is an epic conclusion not only to the New Adventures of the 90's but to the seventh Doctor era in general. It is an epic journey into the question at the heart of the series: just who is the Doctor?

Like Marc Platt's TV story Ghost Light which was an alien invasion story wrapped up in a ghost story, Lungbarrow is a "who is the Doctor really?" wrapped up in a murder mystery / conspiracy thriller. In fact Ghost Light evolved from what would have been the TV version of this story which is interesting to note because of some of the similarities between the two. Both stories find a central character (Ace in Ghost Light, the Doctor here) to a house that hides of the darker aspects of their past. Here though the Doctor is accused of not only causing the house of Lungbarrow to fall into chaos but accused of killing its leader as well in his first incarnation (the Hartnell one). While it is a murder mystery with the Doctor and his companion Chris seeking to prove the Doctor’s innocence, there is also a conspiracy story unfolding on Gallifrey with Romama, Leela, and Ace as the Celestial Intervention Agency puts some plans into motion of their own which also include the Doctor’s past. Yet while all this is going on there is a running question throughout: who is Doctor and where did he really come from? By the end of the novel there are plenty of answers and a few more questions raised as well. It’s a complex story that means that unless you have a very good knowledge of the series (or a good reference work like Lance Pakrin’s Ahistory near by) you may get a little lost But don’t let that deter you.

Platt seamlessly, and epically, brings together elements from the entire history of the series up to that point. There are appearances or references to companions from throughout the New Adventures run plus plenty of references to the books and TV stories as well. Here we finally get to see the background of the first Doctor’s “granddaughter” Susan and discover how she fits into the entire equation of the series as well. Platt is dead on in his characterization of each of the TV characters which helps to make Lungbarrow one of the truest to screen Doctor Who novels of all time.

One of the true highlights of Lungbarrow is Platt also gives some much needed back story to the Time Lords, their home world Gallifrey and to the Doctor himself. Platt takes back to the founding of Time Lord society to reveal few surprises. We get to see the much fabled “dark times” of Gallifrey’s past and finally meet the mysterious co-founder of Time Lord society known simply as the Other. The Other in fact has a strong connection to the Doctor’s past which is only revealed as the novel is coming to its climax in one of the best pieces of Doctor Who writing ever. Plus Lungbarrow makes a nice intro for the 1996 TV movie as well making this the last true story for the seventh Doctor. While it is loaded with enough connately references to make any new fan scratch their heads this is novel that any serious Doctor Who fan should enjoy

It is the broad range of things brought together that makes Lungbarrow is the true epic that it is. It is the culmination of the (nearly) first thirty-fve years of the series in all its forms. With its answers to some of the show’s fundamental questions, to the reappearance of old characters, to the “dark times”, the revealing of the Other and the lead in into the TV movie Lungbarrow covers a lot of ground and covers it brilliantly. Lungbarrow is an epic story that only a handful of other Doctor Who stories can come close to matching its scope, characters, and (for lack of a better word) brilliantness.

Sadly it is (and almost certainly will remain) out of print, a hard copy of this will cost you a chunk of money. Is it worth that chunk of your money? Well worth the price of buying it in my opinion because if you love the series then this is a must-have.

Expensive, but you don't have to buy it

By:Adam Bewley, England
Date:Thursday 4 December 2008
Rating:   10

First, remember that this is a great read, but if you don't want to have to spend £50 on it, the e-Book of it is available on the BBC website, for free, the whole thing.

Lives up to reputation...

By:Heidi Atwood, Vancouver, WA, USA
Date:Wednesday 7 January 2009
Rating:   9

I'd love to have a copy of this to read and re-read, especially since as a fairly new fan, I'm sure a lot of the more esoteric references flew over my head. But I feel this truly is a

Black Illumination

By:Michael McGovern, Lac La Biche
Date:Tuesday 3 March 2009
Rating:   10

Effervescent yet heavy. The rich and the old. Marc Platt writes like a technical mathematician. A completely unique slant into the Doctor's cloaked self.

The house that listens. The Cousins who want revenge. And the faceless bleak shadow who speaks in the Doctor's voice long before the Doctor was born.

It is the metaphysical equivalent of the TARDIS. A box inside a box. Inside the Doctor is something else. And what is the Other? An angel, perhaps? In another Platt short story, his companion - Peri - meets one of those, too.

The early conversations in the book veer toward slight stagnation. But there are moments. The Doctor explaining where he was to Innocet and to the Family. And to the House. The climax where the Other debates Rassilon. One of the finest dialogue achievements in any medium. The discipline of the writer mints gold.

And of course, the wording. The tiny, cold sentences. The clarity of the bizarre.

This book is a twisted diamond. The adumbrate outline of the past captivates, especially when Rassilon and the Other speak. I usually read my books in small starts and halts. But that section trapped me till it was through.

No sex or stereotyped violence. Just mystery piled on mystery twisted in mystery. A layered texture of greys. And the references intrigue and pull at the intellect.

It is interesting to watch a creature like Doctor Who. An entirely differnt universe that doesn't exist, but is real anyway. To its initiates, its founders - Omega, and such - are as real as the line of the American Presidents. And its towering history rivals that of most countries.

Blackend and brilliant. An achievement that stuns with its strangeness and its strength.

Weird and wonderful

By:Leon Coward, Sydney, Australia
Date:Friday 29 January 2016
Rating:   10

This is an odd novel and isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea.... it's even odd for a Doctor Who story... but AS an odd novel and an odd Doctor Who story, it is fantastic!

It has a lot of quirky ideas, and a sense of the gothic, sublime and romantic. There's definitely some Mervyn Peake in it, some Neil Gaiman, some Terry Gilliam.

The backcover blurb sums it up nicely - the Doctor has been recalled to Gallifrey, to his House and all of his Cousins awaiting his return... so that, after hundreds and hundreds of years, they can finally resurrect their frozen head of house, to read his dying will. Except... the Doctor has been accused of murdering said fellow.

This general plot is woven throughout, and you're continually waiting to find "whodunnit" (all puns intended).

There are two things I admired most about this novel.

The first is the care Platt has taken in ensuring the reader is satisfied. There are many things that are either briefly mentioned (such as a Ghost shimmering frozen in a booth; or some kind of giant beast locked in a kitchen) and one half waits for these things to be left unexplained. Platt does an excellent job at tying up all of the loose ends he creates - he delivers, and makes it seem effortless. He plotted and planned this novel exceedingly well - when to drop hints, when to introduce elements, when to resolve them, when to introduce new elements. Platt also does a satisfying job to integrate the novel with so many other backstories from Doctor Who's history. (Platt also deserves praise for his handling of the Doctor and his companions --- too often, especially in the Eighth Doctor novels, one can feel like "who is this companion? I'm so lost!!!!" --- this didn't occur even though this is the first time I've read a story featuring the companion Chris, references to other companions I have encountered either, and so forth. Platt does a good job at making the reader comfortable).

The other thing I admire is the sense of the fantastic. Giant wooden handshaped chairs which can crush their sitter; 'Drudges' - tall wooden house servants which stalk spookily; the House - the idea that Time Lords grew houses and that these domains are living organisms with thoughts and emotions and can bear witness to events within them; and the "Looms" in which Time Lords are born; and even the concept of a 3D painting - you can step into Monet's garden. ("The Day of the Doctor" is only about 16 years out!)

One of the great charms about Doctor Who is its ability to retain a sense of identity, but still provide a variety of stories, handled in varied ways. This book is a delightful discovery.

Lungbarrow is hard to find, and expensive. View it as an investment - it is worth saving up pocket money to find a copy.

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