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Doctor Who: Cat's Cradle: Times Crucible by…

Doctor Who: Cat's Cradle: Times Crucible (edition 1992)

by Marc Platt

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A story featuring the further adventures of the time traveller Dr Who, as he journeys through time and space with a variety of companions.
Title:Doctor Who: Cat's Cradle: Times Crucible
Authors:Marc Platt
Info:Dr Who (1992), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:doctor who, fiction, new adventures, novel, science fiction, seventh doctor

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Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible by Marc Platt (Author)


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An odd one, ultimately another example of a great visual idea that doesn't come across on the page. The scope and ambition of this novel is extraordinary and the central concept - the city and a journey between the past, the future, the past future, and the future future - is divine. But the writing is a bit stodgy, the character work uninteresting, and generally just a slog to get through.

Still, this is clearly the start of where a lot of the modern Gallifrey myths come from - the idea of Rassilon and Pythia, the discovery of time travel (if nothing else, the opening sequences are fascinating in reminding us that the Gallifreyans must once have been adventurous travellers, not the boring cloaked guys they often are in the series) and other such joy. Great ambition that doesn't translate. Here's hoping my slow journey through the "New Adventures" brings greater delights. ( )
  therebelprince | Aug 4, 2019 |
It was either this one or Deceit that was the first of the New Doctor Who Adventures that I read, and I cannot really say that they got me addicted to them, they really did not, but I did decide that I would include books from this series on my reading list, if I was able to get my hands on them. Some I did buy new, but a number I simply scoured second-hand bookshops for. In particular I tried (and succeeded) in getting my hands on the four Timewyrm books and the three Cat's Cradle books, though the ones after them did not really get my attention all that much (that is until I discovered that one of my friends also had a collection of them).
The Timewyrm books seemed to run like a novelised Doctor Who serial, however come the Cat's Cradle trilogy, the writers seemed to begin to try to experiment with the style of writing and the story that would eventually evolve. The original serialised Doctor Who stories nominally consisted of four 20 minute episodes each of which would end in a cliff hanger. They were always science-fiction, and while there was no over arching story arch (as has come about in the more recent TV series) there was at least some attempt at continuity. However, like these books, the TV series were written by different writers, so there would need to be some collaboration somewhere.
This story goes back to Ancient Gallifrey, but is also set on an alien planet that is ruled by a huge sea-urchin like monster called The Process. This second aspect of the story seems to follow on from the style of story from the original series, however it appears that the authors and the publishers are wanting to develop some of the history of Gallifrey. In this particular book it involves the development of time travel and the first journey. Somehow the Doctor is involved, but I cannot remember how.
I did keep on reading other books in this series (and some of the other series) however it was difficult breaking away from what I expected from the classic Doctor Who (the TV series began to decline in quality near the end of the Peter Davidson era, and had pretty much collapsed with the introduction of Colin Baker). In many ways I was looking back to the hey days of Tom Baker and Jon Pertwee, but unfortunately, they are gone, never to return (I loved Bessie, the Doctor's car). ( )
  David.Alfred.Sarkies | Apr 26, 2014 |

It's actually rather fascinating, just after watching The End of Time, to experience a completely different reinterpretation of the Time Lords and Gallifrey, the combination of Cartmel Masterplan and Marc Platt's imagination which culminates in Lungbarrow (which is itself mentioned here as a concept for the first time). Like a lot of Platt's writing it is eerie and confusing, early Gallifreyans and peculiar deserted cities, but with some fascinating insights and ideas, and some decent character development for Ace who has to carry most of the plot with the Doctor being in cold storage for much of the book. I do wish I'd been picking these up when they first came out in 1992. ( )
  nwhyte | Jan 17, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Platt, MarcAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Elson, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Cradles for cats
Are string and air
If you let go
There's nothing there.
But if we are neat
And nimble and clever
Pussy-cat's cradle will
Go on for ever.

- Myfanwy Piper
the libretto to Britten's opera
The Turn of the Screw
For Andrew and Kate and their pale cat
First words
The Doctor dropped a slice of stale bread into a battered electric toaster and pondered what to do next.
'[The TARDIS is] not an orthodox machine. It has little idiosyncrasies, especially when it's in trouble.'
    'Just like its owner.'
    'Exactly.' He looked directly at her. 'Just like anyone who travels in it.'
'The door. Wherever you stand, it's always on the next side round. The TARDIS dimensional defence systems are being altered from inside. It's been called a tomorrow conundrum.'
    'OK.' Ace wondered if the Doctor was delirious or just normal.
A selection of her clothes, much in need of laundering, loitered menacingly behind a threadbare antique chesterfield. The Doctor had given up complaining about them, since she would only point out that he had not changed his own clothes for weeks.
'What are you doing, Professor?' said Ace.
    'I don't want that thing in here. Whatever it is.'
    'But where's it going to go?'
    'Anywhere. It's not staying in my ship.'
    She listened to the persistent scrabbling for a second. 'But you don't know what it is. You can't just flush it out here. It's Perivale.'
    The Doctor looked at her with a cold detachment. 'Afraid of what your mother might say?'
Ace was dazzled by this. It was exactly the sort of thing she had wanted the Doctor to show her. Well cosmic. As a kid she had looked up at the night sky, dull in the glare of the street lamps, and said, 'Listen God, if you want to prove you exist, show me what it's like on another planet. I want to dream it tonight OK? Then I'll know you're really real.'
    She never dreamt it, but God might've just been playing hard to get. And now the Doctor had gone too. So it was up to her.
    'You're on your own again, Ace,' said God.
    'Thanks for that, God. Cheers.'
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