Dan Schwent's Reviews > Shada (Doctor Who) The Lost Adventure by Douglas Adams

Shada (Doctor Who) The Lost Adventure by Douglas Adams by Gareth Roberts
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bookshelves: sf, 2012, doctor-who, confession-time

The Doctor and Romana receive a mysterious distress signal, leading them to Cambridge University, home of The Doctor's old friend and fellow Time Lord, Professor Chronotis. Chronotis inadvertantly lets a Time Lord artifact, a book entitled The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey, pass into the hands of a clueless young student. Unfortunately, an egomanic called Skagra also has designs on the book and will do anything to get it. Can The Doctor find the book, stop Skagra's nefarious scheme, and unearth the secrets of Shada?

I have a confession to make. Before getting hooked on the adventures of the eleventh Doctor and began backtracking, my only exposure to Doctor Who was on Sunday nights, waiting through Pertwee and Baker episodes for Red Dwarf to come on. I've since mended my ways.

I recently read Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles and was disappointed with it despite it having been written by Michael Moorcock. I'm happy to say that this one was loads better.

Crafted from mostly unfilmed Douglas Adams's scripts, Shada is the tale of three Time Lords against a man with a sphere capable of absorbing people's minds. Skagra, the villain, manages to be simultaneously menacing and somewhat ridiculous. From his first appearance at the Think Tank, Skagra presents a capable threat to the Doctor. The subplots involing the unspoken feeling between the grad students, Clare and Chris, as well as Professor Chronotis and his place in the secret history of the Time Lords, kept things from being The Doctor running from enemies on every other page.

The meaning of the title, Shada, is only revealed about 75% of the way through. I don't want to spoil anything but I would love to see Shada depicted in a future Doctor Who episode. I guess I'll have to settle for watching Tom Baker's run as the fourth Doctor.

The writing was very engaging. There were tastes of Adams' style throughout but without as much absurdity as the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The Guide was even mentioned once in the text. References to past and future Doctor Who episodes were littered throughout, even mentioning edible ballbearings. I loved when Roberts had the Doctor poke fun at his supposed reliance on the Sonic Screwdriver. "I'm about to not rely on it for everything again in a moment" or something to that effect.

In conclusion, Shada is everything Coming of the Terraphiles wasn't. There's plenty of the Doctor and the Sonic Screwdriver gets a fair amount of use. While there is a lot of the Doctor and companions running from enemies, there's a good amount of humor and dramatic tension as well. I wouldn't say it's a must read for Doctor Who fans but it's a lot of fun.
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Quotes Dan Liked

Gareth Roberts
“At the age of five, Skagra decided emphatically that God did not exist. This revelation tends to make most people in the universe who have it react in one of two ways - relief or despair. Only Skagra responded to it by thinking - 'wait a second. That means there's a situation vacant!”
Gareth Roberts, Doctor Who: Shada

Gareth Roberts
“The more the merrier. Too many cooks spoil the broth of destruction.”
Gareth Roberts, Doctor Who: Shada


Reading Progress

September 28, 2012 – Shelved
October 3, 2012 – Started Reading
October 3, 2012 – Shelved as: sf
October 4, 2012 –
page 8
2.09%
October 5, 2012 –
page 17
4.44%
October 5, 2012 –
page 25
6.53%
October 5, 2012 –
page 33
8.62%
October 8, 2012 –
page 47
12.27%
October 8, 2012 –
page 63
16.45%
October 8, 2012 –
page 63
16.45%
October 8, 2012 –
page 77
20.1%
October 8, 2012 –
page 86
22.45%
October 8, 2012 –
page 94
24.54%
October 8, 2012 –
page 107
27.94%
October 8, 2012 –
page 176
45.95%
October 8, 2012 –
page 232
60.57%
October 9, 2012 –
page 270
70.5%
October 9, 2012 –
page 290
75.72%
October 9, 2012 –
page 309
80.68%
October 9, 2012 –
page 318
83.03%
October 9, 2012 –
page 331
86.42%
October 9, 2012 –
page 343
89.56%
October 9, 2012 –
page 345
90.08%
October 9, 2012 – Shelved as: 2012
October 9, 2012 – Finished Reading
October 11, 2012 – Shelved as: doctor-who
October 15, 2012 – Shelved as: confession-time

Comments Showing 1-13 of 13 (13 new)

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message 1: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason Koivu I love the old Doctors, Pertwee and Baker, equally as much as I do Red Dwarf. It's all good fun!

I vaguely remember seeing the Adams penned series that they did shoot and I recall it definitely feeling more "Hitchhiker" than regular Doctor Whos in the way that it joked around cerebrally.


message 2: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent I'll be tracking down some Baker and Pertwee Doctor Who episodes once I finish up the Tennant years.

Also, the four Red Dwarf novels are all pretty funny. The first episode of Red Dwarf series 10 aired last week in the UK.


message 3: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason Koivu Dan wrote: "I'll be tracking down some Baker and Pertwee Doctor Who episodes once I finish up the Tennant years.

Also, the four Red Dwarf novels are all pretty funny. The first episode of Red Dwarf series 10..."


What was the deal with that feature length movie they were making? Did that ever happen?....Why am I bothering you with this? *heads off to IMDB*


message 4: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Red Dwarf: Back to Earth had its moments but wasn't great.


message 5: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason Koivu Did they fall into that trap of being self-deferrential while relying on old gags, as did Black Adder: Back & Forth? It's sort of like "let's get the band back together!" and a bunch old, fat dudes who you hardly recognize take the stage and murder your favorite songs?


message 6: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent The group has aged fairly well. Rimmer was the best, as usual. However, there were way too many Bladerunner references to make it feel like a Red Dwarf episode. Also, it was a retread of a couple classic episodes.


message 7: by Kaethe (new) - added it

Kaethe Douglas Professor Chronotis! I'm readingDirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency right now. We've blazed through all the new Whos, but have so far only watched a couple of the old Baker ones, one just because Adams wrote it.

It just feels like all the pop culture of my life coming together in one book I must read now.


message 8: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Kaethe wrote: "Professor Chronotis! I'm readingDirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency right now. We've blazed through all the new Whos, but have so far only watched a couple of the old Baker ones, one just becau..."

I meant to mention that Adams used some elements of Shada for Dirk Gently in my review.


message 9: by Bob (new)

Bob Shada is everything Coming of the Terraphiles wasn't

That, right there, is what I needed to know. I would have been all over this, were it not for the disappointment that Moorcock dumped on us. Knowing we're of the same mind there makes me a bit more excited to give this a read.


message 10: by Ritchie (new)

Ritchie The first episode of Red Dwarf series 10 was pretty funny, more optimistic about the rest of the series than i had been.


message 11: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Ritchie wrote: "The first episode of Red Dwarf series 10 was pretty funny, more optimistic about the rest of the series than i had been."

That's excellent news!


message 12: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Bob wrote: "Shada is everything Coming of the Terraphiles wasn't

That, right there, is what I needed to know. I would have been all over this, were it not for the disappointment that Moorcock dumped on us. Kn..."


The easiest way to say it would be that this novel feels like a Doctor Who novel through and through while Terraphiles felt like a Moorcock novel that happened to have The Doctor in it.


message 13: by carol. (new)

carol. Seeing this review of Dr. Who reminds me--have you heard the podcasts by the Incomparable? They love all things geeky and the latest was a Dr. Who podcast. While I'm not a Whobie, I especially love their Star Wars and Hugo reviews.
http://5by5.tv/incomparable


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