Reviewed By: catten666
Review Date: 5/5/19 6:58 pm
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The moment has arrived, it is finally my time to read the opus that is Interference by the brilliant Lawrence Miles, the guy who wrote the best book of the range so far, Alien Bodies. So what do I know about Interference before embarking on the mammoth of task of reading it? Well for the first and I believe only time, the novel is spread over two books. If that wasn’t long enough for you, each book is night on 310 pages, and has writing so small, your Nan would struggle to read it even with her bifocals. From a story point of view it features both the 3rd and 8th Doctors and is Sam’s final story. I just punched the air with anticipation.
The main plot of Shock Tactic is that aliens have come to Earth to try to sell a new weapon to the humans, a substance called Cold. The authorities are suspicious and call for the Doctor who brings Sam and Fitz along for the ride. The story then heads off in various threads, with a future Sam, Fitz and Doctor all working on their own. Where this sort of writing normally bugs me, Lawrence Miles does it in a way which doesn’t. Everything is clear as day and you don’t have a “what the hell is going on?” moment. Just as things start getting interesting however the story stops and a whole other one is started.
The second story tells us of a planet called Dust, and the arrival of the 3rd Doctor, a blind man, and the Remote. Whilst not quite as interesting and enjoyable as the Earth based part, it still manages to entertain. Again, as soon as the plot gets interesting the book ends.
The Doctor doesn’t really get a lot to do in Shock Tactic, spending the majority of the novel locked up, however his pieces are brilliantly done. The IM Foreman bits add to the intrigue of the series as a whole as this is the name on the junkyard in Totters Lane. The 3rd Doctor doesn’t make an appearance until late on though, which is a shame, I’m sure it will be rectified in book 2 though. I was a little let down by Fitz, his bits with the others seemed to rely on him being asleep or almost asleep and his chapters were all rather short. In my eyes Fitz is the saviour of the range, so for him to have a backseat in what is the most pivotal novel thus far borders on criminal. An older Sarah Jane Smith also features and she brings K9 along too. Like Sam her bits are fairly prominent and she takes on the role of the Doctor seeing as he is absent. An earlier version or herself with the 3rd Doctor is also present. Miles has both versions down perfectly.
The main focus of Shock Tactic however is Sam, and despite my despair at too little Fitz, this is probably the way it should be. At the end of Autumn Mist she made it clear she wanted to leave the Doctor for no real reason and now that the TARDIS has landed back on Earth, in a time frame close to her own, she’s leaving after helping the Doctor with this one last thing. Miles makes her likeable, he has her berate protesters and at the same time realise she would have been with them at one point.
True to form Miles has created some wonderful support characters. Llewis is basically any office worker under the sun, moaning how Peter bloody Morgan always gets the good jobs, but when he has a chance to shine throws it away spectacularly. Compassion, Kobe and Guest are interesting as the villains of the piece and the gradual introduction to them being the Remote is great character building. The fact that they tie into Faction Paradox also helps.
So Interference is half way done and in all honesty Lawrence Miles has cemented his place as top writer for the range already. An interesting story, meets brilliant characters with plenty of in-jokes and references to the show littered throughout. The few minor niggles are easily negated by the sheer brilliance of the rest of it. All in all it’s a joy to read. Roll on book two.