THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
NOVELS "SET PIECE"
AND "HUMAN NATURE."
OFFICIAL VIRGIN 'NEW
RELEASED IN MARCH
Kelzen, a chaotic
force in the mind
of an unborn 20TH-
Jirenal, intent on
conquering a future
society of dreamers
Shanstra, evil - the
tragedies of humans
are her SPORT.
While Bernice faces
struggle of war,
the Doctor must
confront the all-
I found Infinite Requiem to be a bit of a disappointment overall. It contains all the same flaws that plagued Daniel Blythe’s first New Adventure, The Dimension Riders, but sadly it has far fewer redeeming qualities.
My biggest problem with this novel is the narrative – for the most part, it’s just not very good,
and even those parts that are have a decidedly familiar whiff about them. The Doctor faces Kelzen, Jirenal, and the evil Shanstra - “the all-powerful trinity” - a gestalt entity that seeks to turn the entire universe into one gigantic consciousness. Sound familiar? It should. In The Dimension Riders, the author recycled many elements from Douglas Adams’ aborted serial Shada, and even gave a few nostalgic nods to that infamous, unfinished story. Here, he just plagiarises half the plot. A little harsh? Perhaps, but after about 250 pages and a ‘seen it all before’ kind of ending, I can’t help but feel a little cheated.
That said, Infinite Requiem isn’t a complete disaster. The Doctor himself is handled well by the author, especially in the passages where he dwells on Ace’s recent departure. Indeed, the plot may not be all that enthralling, but Blythe certainly handles both regulars very well,
as well as creating some fascinating characters of his own. Suzi Palsson, on whom a great
deal of the plot hangs, is a particularly interesting character. Especially towards the end of the book there are some wonderful twists and turns for her, but even at face value one can sympathise with her obsessive, lovesick character.
Indeed, although most of this novel is set in either the 24th century or later, many of the early chapters are grounded in the present, and these are the ones that I enjoyed the most. Blythe introduces us to Tilusha, a young woman estranged from her devoutly religious family and trapped in a violent relationship. It’s particularly interesting to look at her through Benny’s eyes; it’s hard enough for most people to get their heads around why someone would stay
in an abusive relationship like that, so from a more enlightened, 25th century perspective it must appear positively preposterous. Unfortunately though, the 1997 segments feel rather short and before long Bernice is being packed off in the TARDIS with only a holographic Doctor for company (presumably Blythe had been watching Star Trek: Voyager in between his repeat viewings of the Shada VHS!)
However, no matter how well written the characters are, if the plot doesn’t cut the mustard the reader isn’t going to get much out of the book. Still, Infinite Requiem is worth a look if for no other reason than to spot how many song lyrics the writer manages to quote. Last time it was Nirvana, this time we have nods to tracks by Pink Floyd and U2. Even if originality isn’t on his side, at least Blythe has taste.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006
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