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Big Bang Generation by Gary Russell
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Showing 5 of 5
This is far more of a Bernice Summerfield & Crew caper than it is a Doctor Who book. So if you like Benny, this is the book for you.
  tldegray | Sep 21, 2018 |
This was a very entertaining read. The Character Bernice Summerfield, is out of the Doctor Who novelizations which begins with where Doctor who left off in the TV series with Doctor 7. I like her, she reminds me very much of River Song. ( )
  marysneedle | Dec 23, 2016 |

the only important thing about Big Bang Generation is that it brings Bernice Summerfield into contact with the Twelfth Doctor, and indeed into New Who continuity, for the very first time. And this isn't the early Benny of Justin Richards' 1998 novel, this is Benny after 23 Virgin novels, another 23 Big Finish novels and collections, and 16 series of Big Finish audio plays, now equipped with her half-human son and two sidekicks of her own.

I do wonder how readers who haven't previously encountered Benny will react to this. For my money, Russell writes her her with passion, wit and verve, and I think this may encourage a lot of New Who fans to get into her earlier appearances. As John Seavey writes, it's such a pleasure to read her interactions with Capaldi's Doctor that one barely worries about the plot, though I rate that higher than he does. (It's about interlocking cons and plots to unwind time, and a lot of it is set in Australia.) Anyway, nice to have a different archaeologist companion unexpectedly returning. ( )
  nwhyte | Dec 31, 2015 |
I’m long past the point where a familiar character returning is a cause for excitement; I’m far more interested in a well-told story than an icon coming out to wave to the audience. Such is the case here – I’m a big fan of Benny Summerfield, but her return in itself isn’t a cause for celebration in itself. Plus, as the book often reminds the reader, she’s very similar to that River Song.

The basic concept here is sound, even if the TV series did it last year – the Doctor does Hustle with an old friend and her gang (the tagline on the novel’s cover is a neon bright clue with arrows pointing to it and a big circle around it). Trouble is it really comes across as a cross-promotion for Big Finish’s Benny range with her friends and family dominating the storyline and the Doctor providing convenient time travel and plot resolution. This leads to the main problem, with the story stopping every five minutes for an infodump on the by now complicated background of Benny’s gang. In a story about conmen and time travel this is an unnecessary extra layer of complication which regularly brings the story crashing to a halt. Added to that, a confusing plot is resolved in a similar way to Last of the Time Lords but without even the emotional impact on the characters to avoid the accusations of a narrative cheat. In authorial terms it’s like Alexander getting bored with the Gordian Knot or Indiana Jones being tired of fancy swordplay.

So while it’s nice to see an old friend back and catch up with her we’ve both changed a bit and not quite as close as we once were. Speaking of returns, I’m not entirely sure what relevance the Glamour has to the storyline either; at this point it remains nebulous and fairly irrelevant to the story at hand and that’s not good two books into a trilogy.

(Russell Notes: In this one you’re watching for Duran Duran titles and in-jokes) ( )
  JonArnold | Dec 10, 2015 |
As I've mentioned in previous reviews, I never approach a Doctor Who book with the expectation that its timeless literature. All I want is some light fun in a quick and easy read that scratches the Whovian itch between new episodes. Doctor Who: Big Gang Generation did not satisfy that for me. While the plot was workable, if not a bit confusing, there were many other problems with the book.

I found it really hard to get past the writing style. There were random pop-culture references throughout the whole book, some of which were a bit obscure. It felt awkward. Like being the new guy at a party where everyone is telling insides jokes. Or hanging out with that acquaintance that tries to show how informed they are by making random half-references like you know what they are talking about. A subset of those references were regarding lots and lots of different Doctor Who trivia. Which leads me to the next issue...

One of the main characters is Bernice Summerfield. Having never appeared in the television show, she was a character during the 90's when the show was off the air and all that was being produced was books, comics and audio plays. Bernice and her crew were given minimal introduction and I feel like the novel would have read much better if I were already familiar with these characters and cared about them. Again, it felt like I was jumping into a party where I was the new guy and they were already playing a well established game. Most people who became fans after the television relaunch will not be familiar with a lot of material before that era, especially if it was from the time when it was off the air. I appreciate that this may have been nostalgic for any reader already familiar with the characters (and the author) but sometimes I had little idea what the characters were talking about. The last scene in the book doesn't mean much to me because of this but I got the feeling it was supposed to.

The last issue I had with the book was the characterization of the Doctor. Sometimes he was spot-on twelve, other times he was all over the place. I never got the feeling that his character was actually the twelfth Doctor.

With the annoying pop-culture references, too much nostalgia, and poor characterization of the Doctor I would have to recommend a pass on this one unless you are a huge Bernice Summerfield fan. Read Deep Time instead. It seems to be the only good one out of the current crop.

*I was provided an ARC of Big Bang Generation by NetGalley and Broadway Books in exchange for an honest review ( )
  iamjonlarson | Nov 23, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gary Russellprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bowerman, LisaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is, as promised, for Dai, Ed, Mike, Andy, James and Richie. Thanks for a fab Saturday afternoon in Maesteg.
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'You sent postcards? To her?'
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I'm an archaeologist, but probably not the one you were expecting. Christmas 2015, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Imagine everyone's surprise when a time portal opens up in Sydney Cove. Imagine their shock as a massive pyramid now sits beside the Harbour Bridge, inconveniently blocking Port Jackson and glowing with energy. Imagine their fear as Cyrrus "the mobster" Globb, Professor Horace Jaanson and an alien assassin called Kik arrive to claim the glowing pyramid. Finally imagine everyone's dismay when they are followed by a bunch of con artists out to spring their greatest grift yet. This gang consists of Legs (the sexy comedian), Dog Boy (providing protection and firepower), Shortie (handling logistics), Da Trowel (in charge of excavation and history) and their leader, Doc (busy making sure the universe isn't destroyed in an explosion that makes the Big Bang look like a damp squib). And when someone accidentally reawakens The Ancients of the Universe - which, Doc reckons, wasn't the wisest or best-judged of actions things get a whole lot more complicated.… (more)

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