Fiction Reviews

Dr Who: Big Bang Generation

(2015) Gary Russell, BBC Books, £6.99, hrdbk, 239pp, ISBN 978-1-849-90991-4


Borrowing from wording for my review of the first book in the 'Glamour Chronicles' series of which this is one, these books are based around 'the Glamour', an entity in question is described as “the most desirable—and dangerous—artefact in the universe” and provides a link to this and two other novels (Royal Blood and Deep Time).

It is 2015 and in Australia, a mysterious pyramid has materialised in Sydney harbour. If that was not enough to deal with, Cyrrus 'The Mobster' Globb, Professor Horace Jaanson and an alien assassin by the name of Kik arrive. And just to make things even more interesting, another group arrives to see what they can turn to their advantage.

The reactions in the Sydney area when the mysterious pyramid arrives very much set the scene, and the observations of the pyramid, its appearance and the nature of it. Given that a number of Doctor Who episodes are set in Britain, it made a change for Sydney to be used, and for familiar landmarks to be used as a backdrop for something mysterious and potentially world-threatening. World threatening in the way that someone accidentally awakens the Ancients of the Universe and regardless of who is on whose side, everyone is aware this is not the greatest move to have made.

There are several groups of characters at play here – the (Peter Capaldi) Doctor and his group – Legs, Dog Boy, Shortie and Da Trowel, Bernice Summerfield and her associates, and Cyrrus 'the Mobster' Globb and his entourage. Bernice Summerfield will be familiar to anyone who has heard the Doctor Who audio adventures she has featured in and, while I am not familiar with these stories, she came across as a likable, interesting and well rounded character with her own definite way of doing things. Members of her group also have their own little back stories revealed as to why they are travelling, what their pasts are and why they came to be where they are. The same can be said for Cyrrus Globb, a character not short on size whose name seems appropriate, phonetically.

It is very much a romp through various times and places, with the Pyramid Eternia in the backdrop. There are dashes of humour which help the story along but given the sheer amount of characters and locations, it was a little hard to keep up with exactly what was happening where and when.

The disadvantage with so many characters is that some end up very much in the background, and I had to keep going back to refresh myself on who was doing what. As the plot came together, things became clearer and a little easier to keep track of – and the aforementioned humour lent a strength to keeping up with the drama unfolding. It would probably be beneficial to have more of a familiarity with the character, which I don’t have, to fully understand some of the references made.

It was a little hard to work out where the Glamour fitted in with this story with so much going on. I was not entirely convinced that this was the perfect story for the 12th Doctor as some of the characterisations felt a little off and worked into the story to fit what was going on. This is probably a better read for someone with more of a familiarity of Bernice Summerfield – but that being said, I do find myself tempted to check out some of the stories she appears in.

Sue Griffiths

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