FOR THE SEVENTH
DOCTOR, THIS STORY
TAKES PLACE BETWEEN
THE BIG FINISH AUDIO
DRAMA "THE GENOCIDE
MACHINE" AND THE
OFFICIAL BBC 'PAST
RELEASED IN JULY 2003.
The year is 2539.
Arriving on Axista
Four the Doctor, Zoe
and Jamie find the
colony in a state of
chaos. A breakaway
group of colonists -
the ‘Realists’ - has
Back to Basics ideals
and is creating a new
The ‘Loyalists’ who
remain FACE TOTAL
Meanwhile, a ship
from Earth has
arrived with news
that 80,000 refugees
are about to descend
upon the planet; the
Realists are staging
raids on the wreck of
the colony ship, and
in a secret bunker
Who are the dog-like
What is the secret
agenda of Federation
And what really
happened when the
colony ship crash-
landed on Axista
Four 100 years ago?
The Colony of Lies
It’s never a good sign when an author tries to justify the merits of an underrated preceding novel in his author’s note. This little trick came very close to putting me off Dave Stone’s Death and Diplomacy, and Colin Brake pulling the same stunt here damned near did the same. Fortunately though, I can sympathise more with Brake and Escape Velocity than I did Stone and Sky Pirates!
Nevertheless, The Colony of Lies is actually better than I expected it would be. Although it’s
far from anything to write home about, it’s a sound enough stand-alone outing for the second Doctor and, more fascinatingly, it also serves as a delightful examination of the differences between the Doctor’s second and seventh incarnations.
“I just wanted to remind you of something…
We were more curious in your day, more prone to improvise and hope for the best.
But sometimes you need a plan my friend, you really do.
So when the time comes…”
After reading the book’s prologue, I half-expected the seventh Doctor and Ace to be used
as little more than padding – a gimmicky bookend to a middling novel. However - much to the second Doctor’s disgust - the seventh Doctor actually gets involved in events part-way through, albeit indirectly. Seeing his scheming future self throwing all the Laws of Time out
of the window is really a sobering experience for the ever-improvisational second Doctor.
“If we start doing this where will it all end?
I could be revising my own history for eternity…”
That said, why the seventh Doctor chooses to get involved is not fleshed out all that well by Brake; indeed, the events here certainly do not seem momentous enough to justify such a flagrant disregard for the Laws of Time. Further, thanks to the seventh Doctor’s role in the proceedings, the whole adventure feels like it’s being told in flashback, effectively killing the propinquity of the drama.
What’s more, Brake’s storyline is
markedly average. So soon after
Heritage, another space-Western
was always going to feel a little derivative, but even so the extent of ‘homage’ to be found within the pages of The Colony of Lies is really rather staggering. Though the problems stemming from the ‘Back to Basics’ philosophy of the Axista Four colonists had the potential to be reasonably interesting, simply reducing the issues to Loyalists v Realists – or Billy Joe v Grandpa Kartryte – is hardly spellbinding. Indeed, it’s just the Gungans and the Naboo all over again, battle droids and all.
The Colony of Lies does capture both Jamie and Zoe very though (even if it does little of significance with either of them) and for once the episodic structure works rather well too,
the six-part format of course being very evocative of the Patrick Troughton era.
There are also few Stargate SG•1 in-jokes to snigger at for those that way inclined (Major ‘Cartor’ indeed!), and in fairness the canine Tyrenians do have a nice twist in their tails, but beyond that there’s little else to note about this one.
All told, The Colony of Lies is not a book that I would recommend to anyone other than the most ardent Troughton (or indeed McCoy) completists. It’s certainly not a case of ‘avoid at all costs’; more a matter of ‘is it really worth six quid of my hard-earned money?’ That’s six pints in our Student Union, see...
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 when it takes place from the second Doctor’s perspective. Given
the companions used and how they are portrayed, we suspect that this story is set somewhere between the television serials The Invasion and The Krotons. Within this gap, we have placed it after the novella Foreign Devils, which was released earlier.
This novel’s blurb offers no guidance as to when it takes place from the seventh Doctor’s perspective. As the Doctor and Ace are portrayed much in line with how they were on television, we have arbitrarily placed this adventure here, amongst the BBC Books and early Big Finish audio dramas.
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