Reviews and Commentary

 Adventures on Henrietta Street 
BBC: 8 Doctor Books
Lawrence Miles
November 2001

This reviewer has the short term memory of a gerbil and reads 8doc books by accident. Don't let this fool you though because the reviewer in question is fairly unbiased. On the other hand, she does talk about herself in the third person and that's always a bit suspicious.

For anyone who doesn't want to read paragraphs of negativity, you may wish to click "delete" now. I didn't like this book and I'd like to explain why.

To begin, let me make fun of the whole grandfather paradox thing. Now see, science ultimately relies on commonly accepted assumptions. In this case, our assumption is that Bob the Younger is the same person as Bob the Older. That's us human folks being linear in our thinking. As a result, when the Faction Paradox folks come along and mysticise Bob the Older killing himself when he was Bob the Younger we get all wonky with our logic as if somehow Bob Older is the same person as Bob Younger. We see a paradox in infinite regression.

That's just it; they're not the same person. Bob the Older might not even be from the same future. We see Bob and Bob as the same individual, but they're two different objects in space and time. A Grandfather paradox is still just a paradox. Like all paradoxes, it will resolve itself and end up a small snarl off the main timestream.

So how's about them Babewyns? Scary stuff eh? Not really. There are lots of cultural myths and "ghost stories" about demons preying on young woman who behave in socially (generally sexually) inappropriate ways. Everything from paintings about demons hovering over sleeping women to the big bad wolf. They were used as warnings/threats against misbehavior. That doesn't mean there are apes in the Vortex, but I suppose it was a creative application of those old stories.

Then there was the writing style. I'm no stranger to old books. I like them well enough to get a real kick out of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (that's a comic book). I accept the writing style in them because that was the proper and accepted way to write. Back then. But trying to read a modern sci fi, using that baroque writing style in addition to journalistic method, made all the characters seem distant and more fabricated than they already were.

The seemingly gratuitous use of sex as a plot device. Don't get me wrong, you won't find a more avid fan of erotic fiction. Of course, that does mean I'm picky. So when an author attempts to write sexual scenes in a depressing, hypnotic, revolting sort of way, I am not impressed or shocked or entranced against my will. I'm simply bored. I begin skipping ahead to find some interesting details that might be buried in the mire of repetitive words.

In conclusion, despite my curiosity about Scarlette and the whole decaying heart business, those three basic elements brought me to a grinding halt by page thirty.

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