Imagine a lost story, somewhere in the Seventies and Eighties, filled with Adventure, Suspense, Travel through Time and Space, Aliens, Scientists and much more.
Lost especially because it was developed as a script for the small screen and canceled during production. All the people – with exception of the author – were sad that it had to be shut down. Legend says that Douglas Adams, who happened to be the author was not happy with his story. Why? I cannot imagine.
The story starts with the entry of a book titled “The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey”, the entry is written in Gallifreyan and translated it means
“If this book should care to roam, box its ears and send it home.”
Right after that we learn about Skagra, an intelligent, resourceful and determined scientist who works – without showing any sign of emotion to become godlike.
At the age of five, Skagra decided emphatically that God did not exist. This revelation tends to make most people in the universe who have it react in one of two ways – with relief or despair.
Only Skagra responded to it by thinking, ‘Wait a second. That means there’s a situation vacant.’
The results of his work show him the way and it leads him to Earth.
On earth, we learn about Professor Chronotis, an old Time Lord in Exile who happens to be in his last incarnation and mostly forgets where kept his glasses some seconds ago. Some visitors arrive, the Fourth Doctor and Romana tell him that they received a signal, a message of urgency but the Professor doesn’t even remember what it was about. So, they decide to have some tea.
From this point on the story between the characters collide regurarely and we learn that it circles about the whereabouts of the book that was mentioned within the beginning. Professor Chronotis lent it from the Library on Gallifrey, a book that is dangerous in case it is in the wrong hands. So it is said, funny that nobody knows how and why. As you may imagine by now the wrong hands are the one’s that are used by Skagra. The first third of the story plays within the University of Cambridge, the book itself changing his owner very frequently. Skagra – in the end – gets it and leaves off to use it for his own purpose.
At first the book feels like the script from an old Doctor Who Episode – as it was originally written. It is filled with cilffhangers and funny dialogues and one crazy situation after the other. Especially the feeling you get that every main chapter feels like a twenty something episode. It felt strange at the beginning but – the fact that I watched a lot of stories from those times – surely helped.
What amazed me was that the characters were so amazingly well written, the pictures of the Fourth Doctor, Romana, Professor Chronotis and Skagra immediately appeared in my head.
Apart from all that the story offers it all, we get Time Lords in Exile who discover a threat, try to solve the situation, meet an adversary who has no conscience and works hard to reach his goal. Being a Whovian myself it made a lot of fun and I can imageine that it will offer a lot of entertainment to fans of the works of Douglas Adams because it ist filled with so many funny moments, even some references to his other works. Furthermore we have some quite and joyful moments, some action paced moments of two TARDIS’ within the howling space-time vortex.
Gareth Roberts delievered an amazing job by writing this story in a book, at which last pages we learn about the original script, about the production time and what happened then. I am quite sure that I may have loved it when I would’ve seen it on the small screen but in the end I am just grateful, the pictures in my head because of the book will endure.
It is a fun to read, wether you’re a Whovian, Fan of Douglas Adams’ works or love a good SciFi Story.