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Doctor Who: Cat's Cradle: Warhead (Virgin New Adventures #6)

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  333 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
The place is Earth. The time is the near future - all too near.
          Industrial development has accelerated out of all control, spawning dangerous new technologies and laying the planet to waste. While the inner cities collapse in guerrilla warfare, a dark age of superstition dawns.
          As destruction of the environment reaches the point of no return, multination
Mass Market Paperback, 262 pages
Published April 16th 1992 by London Bridge (Mm)
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Brendon Schrodinger
It's probably been more than a decade since I have read this novel and while I could give a simple review on the book there are two aspects that I am really surprised about which come from a further 20 or so years of Doctor Who history after this publication.

This book is a statement about where Doctor Who was in the early nineties and it is very different from what had been Doctor Who before and what it has been since. Firstly it should be mentioned that this is penned ny the former script edit
Sep 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: doctor-who
I still can't believe I'm giving five stars to a Doctor Who novel, of all things. After the last DW I read, I figured I was done with such dreck. And yet here we are...!

For one thing, unlike the previous entry, this one avoids all of the schlocky things I dislike about sci-fi, and Doctor Who in particular. There's no fan-wankery about Gallifrey, the origins of the Time Lords, or any of that twaddle. It's also not a space romp about fighting space aliens in big space battles, full of sound and fu
Leo H
Jul 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Books like this make me annoyed at the 5 star rating system, because it's better than 3 stars but not quite 4 stars. Probably my favourite of the New Adventures I've read so far, it's a part cyberpunk, part Weird Teens with Psychic Powers, part corporate espionage thing that manages to humanise its characters in a way that is very prescient in comparison with New Dr Who.

A couple of things I didn't like, firstly there's a fairly creepy bit where Ace is naked after having just got out of a shower
Nov 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Certainly the best NA I've read so far. Characterising the 7th Doctor as the manipulator and using the ferocity of Ace to great effect. Their felt a certain disjointedness throughout the book as it went from character to character, plot to action, however the setting was bold for Doctor Who and after a few rather bad NAs this one was welcome.
Michael Holloway
This is a wonderful book.

But it is not a Doctor Who book. The characterisation, the tone, the structure are decidedly not Doctor Who; you could change the names of the Doctor and Ace, and it would not make any material difference.

It was still a fun read though.
David Sarkies
Feb 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Doctor Who fans
Recommended to David by: My sister
Shelves: sci-fi
Doctor Who gets environmental and anti-corporate
26 February 2012

Well, this is the second of the Cat's Cradle trilogy, and I have only vague memories of what actually tied these novels together. The Timewyrm series were tied together with the Timewyrm (and ended up being cyclical with the end of the series coinciding with the beginning) and I suspected that these were tied together as well but I simply cannot remember what the relevance of the Cat's Cradle was (and I suspect that it has nothing
May 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: dr-who
If Cartmel's plotting were as assured as his prose then we'd have a winner here. Doctor Who books shouldn't be so eloquently written surely? But then, they also shouldn't be so laborious either. Too much time is given over to intricate character and plot setups that ultimately drift away into nothingness and this novel becomes all anticipation with no payoff, the apparent detonation of the Warhead that the Doctor takes 160 pages to assemble is more of an indoor firework.

True, I never really work
Aug 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s
A reasonable novel, and certainly an improvement on the clunky "Time's Cradle". Cartmel was well known for his "masterplan" during the last years of the TV series, wanting the Doctor to become more of a malevolent and conspiratorial figure, and - while we don't see a lot of the Time Lord in this book - that characterisation comes through. Overall, the prose is more mature (although still fairly B-Grade) and, while there are probably two too many characters for them all to work as well as he woul ...more
Sep 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: doctor-who
Andrew Cartmel was the last script editor of "old" Doctor Who (the version of the show that ran from 1963 - 1989.) During his time in charge, the show began to introduce elements that would today be called "story arc", although this was still a pretty new concept in SF television. I note this because it is an important part of understanding why I felt Warhead was less successful than Time's Crucible in defining the Seventh Doctor as he would mostly appear in the NAs.

Cartmel had posited that the
Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The New Adventures still continue to fascinate me to no end. And this story really brings to light the approach and direction in which the series was taking the Doctor.

Written by Andrew Cartmel, the script editor on DW as the classic series wound to an end, this book shines some light on what he wanted the Doctor to be, molding him into a darker, manipulative and more mysterious character.

And the direction that Ace's character would have taken as a soldier/warrior and more independent woman is
Justin  K. Rivers
Nov 16, 2009 rated it liked it
Cartmel is probably the best prose stylist of all the Who novelists, with a deft cadence and a gift for concrete sensory details. It's poetic and painterly but in a way that fits in nicely with this era of Who.

This novel continues Cartmel's conception of the Doctor as chessmaster. It's a long and intricate game, and Cartmel gives us different perspectives within it.

Sometimes I think we are too distant from the Doctor and Ace, if only because, as the main characters, and however enigmatic the S
Nicholas Whyte
Apr 08, 2009 rated it liked it

I was rather impressed by this Doctor Who novel in the New Adventures series. The Seventh Doctor and Ace get caught up in the nasty machinations of a near-future biotech firm, variously in the US, London and a small island near Istanbul. Cartmel is a very good descriptive writer, both in terms of establishing the physical setting and in terms of getting inside the heads of Ace and the other characters. The Istanbul chapters in particular had some memorab
James Lark
Aug 08, 2014 added it
Shelves: doctor-who
I have a lot of time for Andrew Cartmel and this doesn't disappoint: this is stylish, tightly constructed writing, and the first New Adventure to show as much attention to story and character as it does to atmosphere. The structure is slightly strange - it feels like a lot of build up then the main story crammed into the final third with a rather rushed denouement, but when the build up is this involving perhaps it doesn't matter too much. The book also remains a fascinating insight into what Ca ...more
May 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Cat's Cradle: Warhead is the perfect distillation of everything author Andrew Cartmel was trying to do with Doctor Who during his years as showrunner: the Seventh Doctor as a master manipulator playing chess with the universe, willing to sacrifice people to serve the greater good; Ace as not just a companion but more of a field agent in the Doctor's private war; hints that the Doctor is more than just a Time Lord and that there's power in the universe that goes beyond science. I've read several ...more
Noah Spore
Apr 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was at a convention with Andrew Cartmel a little while back, and I remember that he said that this book is not called 'Cat's Cradle: Warhead', but simply 'Warhead'. This is rightly so. I find that I quite enjoyed that the novel barely had an antagonist, and I extremely like the rough landscape that the novel describes. I think this book is a great read after finishing the story-heavy 'Time's Crucible', and while this novel certainly has some dull moments, the character development for all the ...more
Feb 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: doctor-who
I barely made it through this one. Despite the whole host of interesting and deeply developed local characters, I couldn't really cope with the fact that there isn't a plot until the end of the book. Also, I don't see how this 'Cat's Cradle' series is connected at all. There was a shiny cat at the beginning, but no one bothered to explain it.
While I enjoyed aspects of the vivid futuristic dystopian society stuff, it just isn't really what I wanted from a Doctor Who book. The gritty reality of i
Adam Highway
Jun 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: doctor-who
Wow! I forget how very, very good the NAs could be. This is absolutely spot on; yes, it clunks a bit and shows its age from time to time (CDs!?) but we forgive that of all classics. Novels like this, so early in the series, are almost certainly why the books went so very much from strength to strength. And the NAs are probably why we have Doctor Who on TV now. Read this novel and tell me it's not the very pinnacle of what good Doctor Who can be, and I'll call you a liar.
Feb 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Well written, but the structure seemed a bit odd. I'm not used to reading a book where the protagonist already knows pretty much everything there is to know before the first page and the author only leaves the reader in the dark. It's usually more fun to discover things as the character does... Even if the end result is a similar narrative either way.
Daniel Kukwa
Jan 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: doctor-who
Dark, gritty, brutal, chaotic, and insidious? Is this Doctor Who? Is this pushing the boundaries a little TOO far into a different, almost unrecognizeable genre?

It's still debated to this day...but I will say this: it can be surprisingly exciting, and Andrew Cartmel has a very seductive writing style.
John Parungao
Jun 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-dr-who
One of the earliest of Virgin's New Adventures of Doctor Who, it's a fun read because The Doctor and Ace spend much of the story in the background convincing other characters to look into corporate intrigue and conspiracy theories. Fans of cyberpunk and Shadowrun should enjoy this.
Jan 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: doctor_who
Simple writing, but great story, interesting characters, and just enough foresight to display a frightening future that might be just around the corner. Also, the Doctor seems very much in the same line as the television Doctor from 1989. I really enjoyed it.
Doctor Who does gritty cyberpunk. This book really lets Ace, my favourite companion, shine. On the flip side, suffers from supporting character bloat and unnecessary backstories and flashback. And my god is it ever grim.
Shannon Appelcline
Jul 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
The dystopic Earth is well-developed and presented, and the way the book holds us a step back from the Doctor is quite clever. However, whenever Cartmel gets deeper into the action, the book drags.
Oct 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Doctor Who fans
OK. Fairly dark and dystopian.
T.j. Puls
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very dark! The setting is an extremely dystopian future, and The Doctor is almost sinister as he stays in the background manipulating events for all but the final act of the book.
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