THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
NOVELS "PRIME TIME"
AND "LOVING THE
OFFICIAL BBC 'PAST
RELEASED IN OCTOBER
Nobody EVER visits
Heritage. Why would
they? Dry, dusty and
hot, it’s nothing but a
failed mining colony
too stupid to realise
that it’s actually
dead. No-one wants
to visit, least of all
Ace. But the Doctor’s
got his hearts set on
a flying visit. That’s
when he finds out
that Heritage wants
visitors just as much
as visitors want IT.
AND SECRETS DO have
a way of unearthing
THEMSELVES when the
Heritage is a thought-provoking and absorbing tale, full of kitchen-sink angst
and plenty of atmosphere to boot. Against the back drop of a Western-style dry county in space, here Dale Smith explores what it must be like to be the Doctor; what it must be like
to bear the weight of all the things that he has done, not to mention the weight of the things that he will have to do.
I like how the playwright picks up where Mike Tucker left off in Prime Time - i.e. with the Doctor having dug up the body of Ace’s dead future self - and really runs with the ball. The Doctor’s struggle to deal with the inevitable is truly fascinating to read about, especially
when contrasted with the harsh reality of Mel’s death (which we learn occurred long after
the events of Dragonfire and, if I’m reading between the lines correctly, Head Games too -
at least from Mel’s perspective. From the Doctor and Ace’s perspective, Head Games hasn’t happened yet!).
“That’s the trouble with time travel; you never quite know all the answers...”
The nuts and bolts of Heritage work pretty well too. Bernard the bastard killer dolphin is
an absolute gem of a character, and I also liked Cole, the semi-robotic barman. I’m less
sure as to the wisdom of giving Mel a daughter - especially one sickeningly christened ‘Sweetness’ - but within the confines of this story, the reveal serves as a beautiful coda
to the Doctor’s quandary.
I don’t know why I picked up Heritage with relatively low expectations – perhaps the below-par cover illustration and rather dreary blurb had something to do with it – because on the whole I was really rather impressed with it.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
This novel’s blurb offers no guidance as to its placement, however the story itself makes it explicit that it is set after the Doctor’s discovery of the near-future Ace’s corpse in Prime Time, but prior to his investigation into her death as depicted in Loving the Alien. We have therefore placed it between the two.
As well as telling of her death, this novel also suggests that Mel time travels again following the events of Head Games, which for the Doctor hasn’t happened yet (“That’s the trouble with time travel; you never quite know all the answers. I’m still not entirely sure how she ended up in this time period, you know. Maybe it means I’ll meet her again...”) That novel saw Mel return home to 20th century Earth having lost faith in the Doctor and Ace.
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