Kursaal.

Books  I've been a bit distracted. Half way through Alien Bodies I discovered that my application to return to university had been accepted. About forty pages into Kursaal my course began and only today have I had the time to sit down and hammer through the final hundred pages. If I was feeling cruel, I'd say that if I'd really been enjoying the book, I would have made the time. I'm going to tread cautiously with the criticism and talk about the good bits.

It's fairly obvious from the cover who the big bad aliens are at play here. The deployment is quite interesting however, closer to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Identity Crisis that Buffy: The Vampire Slayer's Oz. This is lupinism by disease rather than heritage with zombie and sentient breeds being created from the dead and living all over the places. Some of the descriptions of the change are perfectly creepy, especially in the minor characters.

The book has an interesting structure which mimics the old Hartnell story The Ark as The Doctor and Sam's first adventure on Kursaal ends midway through the book, then continues fifteen years later on the same planet. This offers the chance to see a theme park before and after construction and also how The Doctor's interaction with the past changes the proposed future. There is some mileage in the characters, fifteen years after their first meeting with the timelord trying to cope with his continued youth, but unlike Carolyne's distress about the passage of time in Vampire Science, it's largely played with humour 'He would have to have had two or three facelifts...' and so on.

If there is an issue it's that the support characters don't seem too memorable. The main bad person Kadijk is a bit threatening, but no Master -- closer to a Van Statten level of villiany. Cockaigne too is difficult to put a hand on, especially when it isn't clear who is was actually supposed to be (he kept changing his identity I think).

Oddly, the times when the book really works are when The Doctor and Sam are together chatting and waiting for the next bit of plot to come along. Towards the beginning of the book, after the TARDIS has landed, the couple spend what seems like pages looking for a way out of some cave they're lost in and the dialogue just hammers along. Similarly, after the change in time periods, when they're simply enjoying the theme park and there is a real sense of the two as a unit. Much of the rest of the time, The Doctor is stalking around with a flashlight like some Anglophile Fox Mulder knockoff and Sam is making some big speeches which are all well and good but don't sound right.

See I've tried not to be negative, but you know, it just didn't feel very good. I'm probably wrong but it just felt a bit average. I'm sure I just didn't spend enough time with the book to appreciate its nuances and I'm sorry for that.

Time to move on.

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