Scurra's Reviews > Doctor Who: No Future

Doctor Who by Paul Cornell
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May 31, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: doctor-who
Read in January, 1994

...and once again, Paul Cornell shows us how a NA should be done.

This is spectacular from start to finish. It evokes a period that is integral to the history of Who - the Pertwee / early Baker UNIT years, but combines it with an approach to the political and social history of the era that takes the whole spirit of the seventies and spins it around.

I can imagine that for those readers who weren't even born in the 70s (or even the 80s come to that!), then a lot of this will make very little sense indeed, particularly the slightly self-indulgent "Mediasphere" episode. But for those of us who grew up at that time with Who - and everything else on tv, this is terrific. And only Cornell could get away with "Chap with Wings, five rounds rapid!" (although "Don't tell him, Pike!" comes close.)

On top of that, he delivers a genuine character-based story. We finally meet the antagonist who has (theoretically) been behind the whole recent story arc, and even though most fans will have guessed that it was the Meddling Monk, one of the first other Time Lords encountered in the original series, there is room to explore his character properly, and for us to almost sympathise with him (unlike "Epsilon Delta" from The Dimension Riders, who was merely a plot device.) And Bernice (who Cornell originally created) gets her own fifteen minutes of fame too.

But this story is all about Ace. And it delivers in spades. Like a good whodunnit, all the clues are hidden in plain sight, so that when the showdown finally takes place, it all works even though it still seems properly surprising. And she gets proper closure to the story that Cornell himself started back in Love and War.

I think you can tell that I loved this one. It's everything that the NAs had shaped themselves into by this point and yet still manages to be innovative and unexpected. Almost perfect.
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Paul Flint absolutely love it, paul cornell is the best


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