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Doctor Who: Conundrum

(Virgin New Adventures #22)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  219 ratings  ·  17 reviews
'Doctor, we’re talking about an old man who used to dress up in a skintight white jump suit and fly around New York catching super-villains. Don't you think there’s something just a bit unusual about that?'

A killer is stalking the streets of the village of Arandale. The victims are found one each day, drained of blood. And if that seems strange, it’s nothing compared to th
Paperback, 1st, 256 pages
Published February 1st 1994 by Virgin Publishing (first published January 20th 1994)
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3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  219 ratings  ·  17 reviews

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Christopher Buchanan
Great book! A revisit to to the land of fiction with lots of meta-references and self-deprecating humor. Gotta love a book where the villain is the author. Really fun book. Bonus: Big Finish is making an audio of this.
May 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: doctor-who
The central conceit of this NA is hardly original - indeed, it's not even original to Doctor Who, as it revisits the setting of a Second Doctor story (The Mind Robber) but adds a literary twist to the idea.

The idea that the book is portrayed as very clearly a novel, with the "author" making frequent asides to the "reader" works very well, especially with the occasional bouts of frustration that the "author" isn't completely in control of his own characters, let alone the interlopers from outside
Apr 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Probably my favourite of the Virgin New Adventures. A fun story, full of references to earlier Doctor Who stories and a dozen other genres and their tropes. The central idea is really interesting and the possibilities and implications are well thought out and developed. The characters of the TARDIS crew ring true and the resolution is completely satisfying.

The only problem with it is that as its the fourth in the story arc, you have to read the first two to really get the most out of it (not com
Em Parrott
Mar 29, 2019 rated it did not like it
The real conundrum is why would anyone write this book.
David Sarkies
Jan 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Doctor Who Fans
Recommended to David by: My friend Paul
Shelves: sci-fi
The Doctor returns to the Land of Fiction
25 January 2012

This is one of the books in the Alternate Universe story arc of the New Doctor Who Adventures. I believe that it is the forth of the story arcs, the first being the Timewyrm and Cat's Cradle story arcs, and then the Future History story arc. This particular story arc involves the Doctor arriving in a parallel universe where in a previous adventure the Doctor failed which resulted in a substantial change in the direction of history. I have
James Barnard
Jan 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Steve Lyons is, for me, one of the most consistently excellent writers of Doctor Who fiction.

With that in mind, it's interesting to go back to his first novel 20 years after it was published. Many first-time writers seem so delighted at being commissioned that they throw everything at the first book and then can't match it the next time around. Lyons, on the other hand, works tentatively with a strong central idea, but doesn't develop it anywhere near as much as my memory told me he did.

Maybe it
Nov 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Doctor, Ace and Bernice arrive in an American town and meet real and proper super heroes and super villains and get caught up in between. A murder mystery is floating around, too. And after things get totally improbable and implausible, the place gets revealed as the Land Of Fiction, and the book as a sequel to "The Mind Robber". Heh.

Tie-in novels for TV shows or movies are rarely any good, if at all okay at best. The plots are usually lacklustre, the characters written as cardboard copies
Adam James
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, doctor-who
The only reason why I bought Conundrum is because it was the cheapest classic Doctor Who book in my friendly neighborhood's used book store.

There's absolutely NO way that any of these ridiculous 80's and 90's paperback sci-fi books could ever garner a 5 star rating from anyone...except this one.

Conundrum's author Steve Lyons takes concepts whispered from "The Mind Robber" and screams them - expertly detaching Doctor Who from its narrative and dissects its characters, its cliches, its tropes, a
May 17, 2012 rated it did not like it
Hideously dull, tedious, and annoying story. One of the worst in the Dr. Who New Adventures series. Most of the characters were not interesting at all. I am very tired of the bickering between the Doctor, Bennie and Ace. It is a terrible dynamic for the TARDIS crew and makes the stories less appealing. Also, when are going to be done with this irritating "alternative universe/altered-past" story line? With an entire universe to explore, why are we revisiting old villains? The writing of the New ...more
Daniel Kukwa
Jan 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: doctor-who
This is one I skimmed in its day, as I impatiently waited for Paul Cornell's "No Future" to finish off the New Adventures' Alternate History story arc. Going back to it all these years later, I find much to like (the omniscient narrator, the fascinating, archetypal characters populating the village), and much that makes me uncomfortable (the tension between the TARDIS crew is laid on a bit too thick for my liking, especially compared to other NAs like "Lucifer Rising" & "The Left-Handed Humm ...more
Nicholas Whyte
Apr 08, 2009 rated it liked it

Steve Lyons is always interesting if not always completely successful, and this Seventh Doctor novel is a great idea which is not perfectly executed. The Tardis, with Benny and Ace, lands in an English village where mysterious things are afoot, but what appears at first to be a murder mystery turns out to be a return to a situation from the Doctor's past. This was Lyons' first Who novel (indeed, I think his first published work), and his prose style is sti
Michel Siskoid Albert
Jan 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
A massive change of pace (there's a four-color supervillain on the cover), Lyons offers a sequel of sorts to The Mind Robber (not much of a spoiler, since I guessed it within a few pages) acting as rather amusing meta-textual narrator. It's a send-up of Who fiction and yet the stakes remain high. It's the kind of thing I could see Steven Moffat pulling off in the television medium, and in fact, hits some of the same notes Silence in the Library does. A lot of fun.
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: doctor-who
This is a brilliant, funny and clever book, that makes full use of the form and Doctor Who's history to really create a unique tale. The only criticisms I would have of it are that there are perhaps a few too many nodding in-jokes for my taste and that the level of angst in the TARDIS team is at its peak (which is necessary for the completion of the arc in the sequel but is irritating here). It is for these kind of books that I remember why I enjoy reading the Virgin era.
Tom Denham
Weird, zany and fun.
May 29, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a Seventh Doctor adventure with Ace and Bernice Summerfield. I really enjoyed the continuity references, but the ending got a bit meta for me.
Susan Mazur Stommen
He gets things rightish and wrongish -- a popular book, quick read, some good insights.
Shannon Appelcline
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
A fun story that gets away with a lot of metacommentary because of its setting. There's also some good character depth, but as with Lyons' other works, it's a bit slow.
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Steve Lyons is a science fiction writer, best known for writing television tie-ins of Doctor Who for BBC Books, and previously, Virgin. The earliest of these was Conundrum in 1994, and his most recent was 2005's The Stealers of Dreams. He has also written material for Star Trek tie-ins, as well as original work.

Other books in the series

Virgin New Adventures (1 - 10 of 61 books)
  • Doctor Who: Timewyrm-Genesys
  • Doctor Who: Timewyrm-Exodus
  • Doctor Who: Timewyrm-Apocalypse
  • Doctor Who: Timewyrm-Revelation
  • Doctor Who: Cat's Cradle-Time's Crucible
  • Doctor Who: Cat's Cradle-Warhead
  • Doctor Who: Cat's Cradle-Witch Mark
  • Doctor Who: Nightshade
  • Doctor Who: Love and War
  • Doctor Who: Transit