Dead Romance, by Lawrence Miles

Second paragraph of third chapter:

If you‘d asked me that at the time, I probably would have answered by staring at you. Blankly. Well, why shouldn’t I have been there? That was the way we were, before the end. Me, and Cal, and Dorian, and all the others. No job, no routine, just starting my fourth year at an art college I’d actually been to only once. (My family had been middleclass for only a couple of decades, in case you were wondering, and none of them had ever even seen London. They didn’t have a clue how higher education worked, which is why I could get away with telling them that it could take me anything up to ten years to get my diploma, and why they kept sending the money for whatever it was that art students were supposed to need. Yes, it worked. Really.) The point is, I didn’t have any reason to be anywhere. I was a goddess of the new bohemian age, remember?

I don’t quite get the immense reverence shown to Lawrence Miles and the Faction Paradox concept by the more literary end of Whovian fandom; on the other hand I thoroughly enjoyed this, even though it is a book in the series of Bernice Summerfield novels where she doesn’t appear at all except as a personality of the far future, the Doctor appears only in distorted form, and the one continuity character is Chris Cwej. Paradoxically, this makes it a rare case of a Who book that one can readily recommend to non-Whovian readers because it is so very detached from the main narrative – indeed, Miles stresses that it should be considered as taking place in a pocket universe detached from the main timeline of the Whoniverse.

That’s all beside the most important point, which is that it’s a really good read. Christine Summerfield, the slightly reliable narrator, fills up numerous notebooks writing about how the world ended in October 1970; there are many many references to the pop culture of the late 1960s, in a slightly different timeline to our own; the Time Lords are restored to their original position of dubious god-like beings, manipulating the physical forms of their allies (that’s a new one) and much else; the whole universe is a grim place, and yet I found myself immersed in it. It’s a rare example of a diary-format novel where the narrator actually survives; but to what end? I found it a complex, multi-layered story, but one that did at least keep me reading with satisfaction to the final page.

Next in this sequence is Tears of the Oracle, by Justin Richards.

One thought on “Dead Romance, by Lawrence Miles

  1. I remember how excited everyone was about the movie. I think I still have the free poster I won in the Radio Times competition.

    Despite everything, I still like Eric Roberts’s version of the Master.

Comments are closed.