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|Entertaining But Full of Holes
|David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
|Sunday 31 January 2021
The concluding story of Season 24 was probably, in retrospect, the best of the four, mostly because it is the least silly or camp. It still has significant flaws. The story, such as it is, involves The Doctor taking Mel to Iceworld, a trading center for different types from across the Twelve Galaxies. There, they meet Sabalom Glitz again, who has gotten into some trouble with the boss of Iceworld, the mysterious cold, hard Kane. It turns out that Kane has ambitions that run far beyond just managing an unusual space mall, and has tricked Glitz into getting Kane what he wants to spread terror across the galaxy. There are other wrinkles in the plot that one need not go into here. The main additional consideration is the meeting of the soon to be new companion - Ace. The story is far more complicated than the meager space of three episodes or 120 pages could provide. Too much background is left out; thus, the plot holes. Just as a for instance, what in the Twelve Galaxies is a criminal mastermind who has waited around for three thousand years doing running a space mall? How did he get to be in charge of a space mall? Why, if he wanted to leave, did he not just hop on the nearest freighter with his cold storage equipment? If the dragon is Kane's jailer, how come it is locked up in the lower levels, and why has it taken Kane three thousand years to come up with even the one half-baked plan he uses in this story to get to it? On and on it goes. Ian Briggs, writer of both screenplay and novel, has introduced some structuring touches so the story does not totally fly apart. The best of these is the use of three females at different stages of life - Belasz, Ace, and Stellar - and the way Kane manipulates their imaginative lives. In writing the novel, Briggs has added many novelistic touches using narrative description to give flesh out minor characters. It is a pleasant and quick read as long as one does not think too hard about it.