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Review of Timewyrm: Apocalypse by PalindromeRose

3 May 2024

Virgin New Adventures: Timewyrm Arc

#003. Apocalypse ~ 5/10

◆ An Introduction

When I first attempted to make my way through this range, before giving up after completing the fifteenth novel, I found that it was a range of peaks and troughs. You had some utterly dreadful adventures, like our trip to Mesopotamia and whatever the hell ‘The Pit’ was supposed to be. On the other hand, you also had some incredibly well-written and detailed adventures like ‘Nightshade’.

We’re about to encounter a novel which falls into neither of those categories – one which fails to do anything particularly original, yet manages to be just written competently enough that I can’t call it dreadful. Yes, we are moving onto a pretty bland affair.

◆ Publisher’s Summary

The end of the universe. The end of everything.

The TARDIS has tracked the Timewyrm to the edge of the Universe and the end of time — to the lush planet Kirith, a paradise inhabited by a physically perfect race.

Ace is not impressed. Kirith has all the appeal of a wet weekend in Margate, and its inhabitants look like third-rate Aussie soap stars.

The Doctor is troubled, too: If the Timewyrm is here, why can't he find her? Why have the elite Panjistri lied consistently to the Kirithons they govern? And is it possible that the catastrophe that he feels impending is the result of his own past actions?

◆ The Seventh Doctor

‘Apocalypse’ is certainly not without its issues, but Nigel Robinson does a fairly decent job at characterising our regulars. Nothing particularly deep or exciting, but the Doctor was solidly written here.

The Doctor, now in his seventh incarnation, prided himself on his level-headedness and command of the Tardis, so different from that of his previous selves. He doesn’t like perfection because it dulls the spirit and numbs the mind. If everything is perfect then there is no need to progress. He believes that everyone needs the right to be unhappy with their lot from time to time.

◆ Ace

‘Apocalypse’ features some pretty good characterisation for our companion too, though it definitely feels like Nigel Robinson was more concerned with fleshing out the girl from Perivale than he was the midget manipulator.

Ace isn’t what you would call impressed by the planet Kirith, comparing it to a wet Wednesday in Margate! Much as she trusted and respected her mentor, there were times when his insistence that she find out things for herself reminded her a little too much of school. In her admittedly limited experience, she had found most alien races to have an innate distrust of strangers coupled with an annoying wish to make her and the Doctor’s life as uncomfortable as possible.

◆ Story Recap

Prior to the destruction of their homeworld, caused by devastating solar flares, eighty-four of the Panjistri were selected to embark on a mission to prevent the end of the universe. They collected samples from every surviving species and cultivated them to create a race that was perfection incarnate, allowing them to colonise the long-dead world of Kirith.

Several thousand years have passed, and the Kirithons are positively thriving – a race of supermodels who want for nothing, who have their every need met by the Panjistri. It is a great honour for any of the Kirithons to be summoned to Kandasi Island, the residence of their great benefactors, but those who leave never return… and are soon forgotten by their friends and family, as though they’d never even existed.

There is trouble in paradise, and this race of supermodels are supposedly key to stopping the complete collapse of the universe… but the Doctor and Ace suspect something far more sinister is afoot, and that the Timewyrm can’t be far away from it all.

◆ This Book Has The Same Artistic Value as Television Static

‘Apocalypse’ completely failed to engage me throughout most of its chapters, which is the biggest red flag a novel could possibly throw up. I was practically falling asleep trying to write this review, because the story itself has such little substance that I can basically sum it up in a sentence – the Panjistri have essentially been selecting the wisest and most talented Kirithons to distil their essences into one omnipotent and omniscient being, hoping that it can somehow prevent the end of the universe once it is completed.

There is just nothing memorable about this adventure, whether it be the bare-bones story or the completely one-dimensional characters. It also happens to be the shortest novel in the ‘Virgin New Adventures’, which you could argue means there simply isn’t enough time to give all the inhabitants of Kirith a personality. Nigel Robinson tries to make you care about one character in particular, a bloke named Raphael, but I only finished the novel yesterday and I couldn’t tell you a single thing about him!

◆ Conclusion

The end of the universe. The end of everything.”

The Doctor and Ace find themselves in a society consisting of beings genetically engineered to be perfect, all so a more advanced race can distil their essences into an all-powerful God Machine that will somehow prevent the heat death of the universe. The Timewyrm is also here, but she feels like a complete afterthought.

‘Apocalypse’ very nearly sent me to sleep, because there is so little substance to the whole adventure. It saddens me because I know that Nigel Robinson is capable of creating some incredibly interesting stories (see my review of ‘The Emperor of Eternity’). You could genuinely skip this novel and head straight into the concluding chapter of this mini-series, and it would make absolutely zero difference. I’m so incredibly bored now that I’m off for a nap. Au revoir!

Review created on 3-05-24