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|By:||Luca Signorelli, Italy|
|Date:||Saturday 16 April 2005|
|Rating: || 10|
By far the greatest Dr. Who - related book ever, and by far Lawrence Mile best work so far, "Dead Romance" is a splendid, mindtwisting, moving and horrific tale about the last days of Earth... in 1970! Narrated from the POV of Christine Summerfield, a drugged out girl living in 1970's London, the tale moves from he meeting with Chris Cweji (yes, that Chris Cweji - very different but also very recognizable), her struggle to understand the nature of time and space, and her witnessing of a series of of event (both on Earth and outside) culminating in one of the most terryfing description of the end of the world, I've ever read. Actually, I've never been impressed like this by a SF novel since PJ Farmer "Inside Outside"
This is a real mindbender, but is also a very accessible book, who's going (once again - it's Larry Miles!!!) turn your view of the Whoverse upside down. In fact, it's the perfect book for someone who don't know anything about Dr. Who and couldn't care less. A must buy if ever was one
|Daring, Original And Brilliant!|
As the forward by author Lawrence Miles says this Mad Norwegian Press reprint of his 1999 novel Dead Romance is really for two groups of people those who are Virgin New Adventures fans who missed it the first time round and those who’ve been reading the Faction paradox books. Well I fall into the first category having come into the Virgin New Adventures very late. I came to Dead Romance aware of its reputation as one of (or even the) best of that book range. So in short: Dead Romance is what Doctor Who is at its best: daring and original even a decade after its original publication (and five years after this reprint).
Perhaps the most refreshing element of Dead Romance is its narrator. With the character of Christine Summerfield and her notebooks Miles brings a refreshed air with a first person take on the Doctor Who universe. Christine is a much different character then her better known “sister” Bernice yet she retains the characteristic wit and sarcasm of Bernice even when the end of the world is literally at hand. The success of Dead Romance lies mainly in the characterization of Christine and how she interprets both the world and the incredible events around her.
Yet while Christine is the novel’s emotional and physical center there is her relationship with Chris Cwej. Making a welcome return after last being seen in the final seventh Doctor New adventure Lungbarrow here is a Chris Cwej considerably different from the one of earlier novels. While he is definitely a continuation of the companion he is a changed man with distorted memories and now working for a mysterious group of time travelers (as they’re referred to in this edition) By novels end is almost unrecognizable and the result is one of the Doctor Who ranges most disturbing looks at life after the TARDIS.
What makes Dead Romance stand out is its format and its plot. In an unusual twist Dead Romance is told from a first person perspective. As I said earlier much of the novels success is how the narrator Christine Summerfield interprets both the world and the incredible events around her. That helps make the novel’s plot even better. Inside Dead Romance is an incredible tale of universes and worlds on the brink of destruction told from the perspective of a 23 year old drug addict forced into an incredible world of aliens, time travel, and universes in bottles. Add on some frank takes on sex, drugs and the end of the world and the result is one of the most daring Doctor Who related novels.
A quick note on this edition though. While the original Virgin edition references Time Lords and other elements of the Doctor Who universe this edition doesn’t so much. This is due to the fact that this novel is put into a place in the Faction Paradox universe. While some of those who read the original might be annoyed, as someone who didn’t I found it interesting and far from annoying. In fact for those readers in the know, capable of reading between the lines or proud owners of Lars Pearson’s I, Who 2 it shouldn’t be hard to figure out.
Included in this reprint are two shorts stories and an essay by Miles related to his creation Faction Paradox. While I read each of these I admit to being just a bit bewildered by the first short story entitled Toy Story, baffled by the essay on the workings of the Faction Paradox universe (though that could be from not reading any of the books related to it) and enjoyed the final short story entitled Grass. My thought on these is that if you know quite a bit about Faction Paradox who should enjoy them otherwise you might want to skip them.
Dead Romance has earned a reputation over the years as one of the best Doctor Who related novels. With its characters, fresh narrative approach and fantastic plot Lawrence Miles shows us what Doctor Who is capable of at its best. Whether you are a fan of Doctor Who or science fiction or something else this is a novel that must be read to be believed. In short: it’s brilliant!