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Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible

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Reviewed By: newt5996Review Date: 5/13/16 10:47 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

After getting through the Timewyrm series with ease, I was eager to move on to the next book in the Virgin New Adventures line. That book is able to boast the return of Marc Platt to the Doctor Who Universe and explores many of the ideas in the original pitch of Ghost Light and his other proposed story Cat’s Cradle. Cat’s Cradle has had its title expanded to Cat’s Cradle: Time’s Crucible and given a novel treatment for the Virgin New Adventures. The novel begins a trilogy of novels concerning a silver cat and what seems to be a malfunctioning TARDIS. The trilogy opens nicely enough with the Doctor and Ace having a nice lunch, interrupted with temporal interference. It isn’t long before they get back to the TARDIS for some Edge of Destruction style mind-trickery and they are whisked away to Gallifray. This isn’t the Gallifray we know, but ancient Gallifray while Rassilon and Omega were still youths and the world was ruled by Pythia and there are enormous wormlike creatures called the Processes devouring people. Pythia would eventually curse the Gallifreans with sterility after having a bit of a hissy fit after losing her power. This Gallifray is much rougher than the Gallifray we know as there aren’t any Time Lords. Platt uses it to full effect by building some really interesting characters and some really forgettable ones.




The biggest applause I give Platt is his handling of Ace who is the main protagonist for most of the novel as the Doctor gets amnesia. Ace has a role similar to Leela’s in The Invasion of Time, having to make friends with the locals of the planet, but can’t give too much away about the future unless she wants dire consequences. The Doctor is also pretty good in the last third of the book and the first couple of chapters when he actually bothers to show up. Now I don’t mind Doctor light stories as they often work very well, but I don’t like it when the Doctor appears he is acting like an idiot. Here he is an idiot as soon as things to upside down and he doesn’t truly return until the end. Platt tries to make it work but it kind of falls apart. The last third is also where I have most of my problems with the novel. It is way too cluttered as we have to deal with the Pythia story wrapping up and the plot with the Processes having to be finished. The book could have been split into two with a few edits and be much easier to follow. The novel is quite long and there is a bit of fat to be trimmed.