(ISBN 0-563-53829-5)







 Imagine a world

 where death has

 meaning, where God

 exists, WHERE faith

 is untested, Where

 people die with the

 their lives' PURPOSE

 made clear to them.

 Such a world exists,

 hidden on the far

 side of the universe,

 where a blue police

 box has just faded

 into being...

 But unknown to the

 populace, unknown

 even to the Creator,

 an alien evil has

 stalked this world

 for CENTURIES. When

 the Doctor, Fitz and

 Anji arrive, they ARE

 SOON embroiled in the

 alien's plans for this

 planet - and the hunt

 for a murderer who

 can't possibly exist...

 Unnatural deaths

 are being visited on

 the people. Campaigns

 of terror threaten

 to tear this world

 apart. It seems that

 the prophecy where

 all life shall meet

 all death under the

 Creator's aegis is

 coming to pass.


 For when God exists,

 prophecy, however

 fantastic or deadly,

 is fact.


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Vanishing Point

APRIL 2001






Vanishing Point has one of the most ambitious premises of any Doctor Who novel

published to date. Rather than telling of an alien offensive on Earth, be it outright or insidious, or of adventurous antics on some far-flung alien world, Stephen Cole’s third contribution to the range is about God. About death. About ascension. It tells of a world where such things are incontrovertible fact and faith is therefore redundant, until one day an extraordinary blue box appears out of thin air, bringing with it three strange folk with some very unusual ideas about faith, hope and charity…


Sadly though, Vanishing Point doesn’t even come close to living up to its colossal potential. Buried beneath the prose’s discordant derring-do there is a challenging and provocative tale desperately trying to get out, but unfortunately every time that the author even comes close to bringing it to the surface, a wrestler will sit on Fitz, or the Doctor with topple over the edge of a cliff, writhing in the clutches of some hackneyed megalomaniac.



The characterisation is equally apathetic, the former range editor presenting hazy outlines of the Doctor and Anji, who not only find themselves adrift on a sea of ciphers, but curiously at ease in one another’s company, as if they’ve been travelling together for many years. After scintillating turns in both Escape Velocity and EarthWorld, Anji suddenly feels flat and non-specific; even Cole’s volley of references to Dave’s death lack the sting that the e-mails of EarthWorld did.


Cole’s portrayal of the Doctor is

even more disappointing though,

particularly coming so soon after

his exceptional handling of him in

The Ancestor Cell; a novel which

Vanishing Point seems terribly

keen to distance itself from in just

about every sense. The narrative is abounding with opportunities for Cole to highlight the Doctor’s lost memories and have him press Fitz for answers, none

of which are seized, leaving us with a gaping chasm in the range that Nick Wallace would have to come back and fill in four years later. Worse than that though, the Doctor of this story is almost schoolboyish in how he eggs Fitz on, winds Anji up, and even makes wisecracks about a genetic pedigree that he’s supposedly forgotten all about. Indeed, save for a fleeting reference to waking up in a Victorian Hospital, I can’t see any trace of the revitalised Doctor that had been painstakingly built up from The Burning onwards. In fact, it is only his intrinsic sense of righteousness that renders him even remotely Doctorish.


Fitz, admittedly, is much more engaging to read about here, but even he’s relegated to the role of a fall guy (often literally). Cole only seems to allow us into the character’s head at the most inauspicious of moments, as he nurses an injured appendage and laments his own tomfoolery; inexpertly tries to execute a take-down that he once saw on television; or even allows himself to be seduced by a woman who very probably didn’t have the mental capacity to consent to sexual relations in the first place.


In the end Vanishing Point is bog-standard matinee stuff; an uninspiring tale of transgenics, “mooncalves” and raving loonies with delusions of Godhood that had the potential to be so much more. Had the Doctor and Anji been handled a little more pleasingly, then it just might have turned out to be a passable romp, but as it is, my advice would be to skip this one and treat yourself to Cole’s second book of April 2001, the absolutely spellbinding Shadow in the Glass, which leaves this lacklustre effort in its wake.


Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2010


E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

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