Thursday, April 14, 2016

Time of Your Life by: Steve Lyons: And Now on the BBC, a New Four Part Adventure for Doctor Who

The Virgin Missing Adventure paired with Infinite Requiem is another second novel for an author, but this time there are two major differences in the way this novel came about.  First it isn’t a sequel to the author’s first book so it doesn’t suffer from the large chances of lower quality and second the author’s first book is one of the best Virgin New Adventures, Conundrum.  Yes today we’re looking at Steve Lyons’ second novel Time of Your Life which picks up right after The Ultimate Foe with the Sixth Doctor in fear that he is going to become the Valeyard, so he becomes a hermit and vows to never work for the Time Lords again or have another companion, especially any female computer programmers from Pease Pottage.  Lyons understands the Sixth Doctor’s character at this time which I find to be fascinating and every action of his feels like he is right off the TV Series and Season 23.  It also helps set up the version we see in both The Wormery and The Marian Conspiracy from Big Finish.


This story also sees the Doctor paired up with Angela who serves as the inciting incident of the story as she finds the Doctor after the first chapter sets her up as one of the drones who spends her days watching television all day.  She wants to go outside and see the large universe which she is able to convince the Doctor to let her after they take care of the broadcasting network which ends with her becoming part of the computer that is causing all the problems of the planet to actually happen which is the main flaw.  Angela is such a good character but she becomes a plot device and the computer being the villain is all really traditional for a Doctor Who story.  I also have some flaws seen with the actual companion introduced in this novel, Grant Markham who is just really bland and a bit too much of a goody two shoes.  I hope Killing Ground improves his character as it really became a bit of a problem with the story.  The writing itself is actually really impressive as to build the world he created, Steve Lyons includes scenes of people flipping through channels on TV which makes for some interesting prose.  The setting is also unique as it is one big set for the most part which allows for many different homages including Godzilla as seen on the cover of the novel.


You can also play a bit of a game with this novel as there are several dialogue homages to Doctor Who and its 1989 cancellation with a show called Timeriders which is basically Doctor Who.  The sections on the Network are definitely the best as they are a biting satire that becomes more and more relevant as time goes on.  The other characters seen in the novel are all greatly well done stereotypes of reality TV stars as the main premise of the novel explores what would happen if life was ruled by TV.  To think that this novel was written in the 90s and now the problem has only gotten worse with the development of the Internet and Social Media.  Lyons understands this and knows how to make a good story out of it.  Mention also has to be made of the Watchers who are a terrorist group which are all against the television, yet have taken their names from what they have seen on television.  It’s that type of dark humor that resonates in this story which I absolutely love.  The novel is also full of dialogue which I just don’t really want to spoil so you should definitely go and pick a copy of it up for yourself.


To summarize, Time of Your Life shows that Conundrum was not an outlier and lightning can strike more than once as the story is extremely fascinating.  The social commentary seen here is some of the best done by Doctor Who as it looks like it is going to become more of a timeless struggle to not become addicted to the idiot’s lantern.  Lyons knows how to write for Doctor Who and this is definitely the best Virgin Missing Adventure since Goth Opera and will go down as one of the classics if it wasn’t for the fact that this story isn’t very well known.  90/100.


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