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Amorality Tale A really creepy tale with The Third Doctor and Sarah Jane Set amongst the backdrop of the London smog and West End gangs Bishop wonderfully transports the read back to the 1950’sA great Doctor Who novel I don’t think ‘Doctor Who’ likes the 1950s It’s understandable really – the show was created in the 1960s and was a product of its time Let’s face it the 60s were a reaction against the 50s so wherever a story is set in that decade we’re treated to a remarkably similar look and feel – the threat of WW2 may have abated but the atmosphere is repressive depressing and dark The TV episode ‘The Idiot’s Lantern’ is the same – despite the ever present sunshine something which as this novel points out is at odds with the actual weather during the Coronation the tale is far from free easy and cosy Here – in a book published four years before that story was broadcast – this AMorality Tale is set in a smog filled gangster ridden east end dominated by a character who also seems to be based on ‘The Idiot’s Lantern’s Jamie Foreman For that reason I’m glad this remains a novel rather than a TV episode – it would be too easy to send aspects of this story up which would be a shame because it deserves far betterDavid Bishop has a gift for communicating a setting through an economical use of language He also succeeds far better than most in allowing a moral standpoint to shine through without seeming overly preachyIt is ironic how the aspect that would doubtless form the main hook of the story today – Sarah becomes the girlfriend of an east end gangster – is buried within the book as a whole Of course BBC Books didn’t need a hook to keep their readers interested – this was a niche market where the audience had little choice but to buy the novel anyway as it was one of the few ways they had to maintain their addiction I doubt a casual viewer would choose to seek out and read this book nowadays If they did I think they’d find much to appreciate in this tale of an alien tribunal poisoning the bread the church is distributing to the poor and using police officers to send countless innocents to their deaths Yes – an atypical book in many ways But in Bishop’s hands it works very well It’s coherent well plotted and concisely told giving a chilling meaning to the phrase “Bread of Heaven”Good stuff While investigating the deady 1952 smog that killed thousands within only a few days the Third Doctor and Sarah Jane contend with mobsters and morality as they fight to stop the XhinnMorality was indeed lacking within this tale but so was a point The Doctor had strong opinions on morality in regards to the mobsters The mobsters had their own view of morals as did the cops and the church I have my own personal opinions on each of the characters and their actions and views I recognize everyone has their own opinion of the characters' morals and deeds but with the oversaturation of death among the cast does it matter? After everything was done and finished Sarah was content enough to look around and say they won up until hearing about Mary Only then did the numbers actually mean anything to her And then she condemns Tommy for saying they won something she herself was just saying before hearing of Mary Mary hid her daughters and walked willingly into her death to save them and now Vera is probably telling the little girls she took in that their mother Mary and their dead younger sister are both burning in Hell for not being baptized as she walks them to church each week Frank Kelly hadn't loved his wife since before he was forced into a shotgun wedding and creeped on Sarah Jane to the point that she didn't feel safe taking a bath in the house but in the gaschamber with Rose he tries to shield her from the crushing mass and truly feels affection for her And then they both die PC Hodge was a good cop who was brainwashed into being a cog in the murder machine helping to slaughter people his body carrying out horrifying deeds as his mind helplessly watched out of his control Once he was back in control of his body he risked himself to go back to save others but after the dust settled he couldn't live with what he did under the Xhinn's control and killed himself What was the point of it all? What is supposed to be the take away message of this story? Of the few survivors has anything actually changed? Was there some big picture to see?Honestly it was the blatant Holocaust imagery that was most off putting to me It was so vividly saturating the pages that it was uncomfortable to read The coppers in uniform dragging people out rounding them up sueezing them in their small transportations then literally herding them into actual gas chambers where not only the gas but the crushing mass of bodies killed the victims Then coldly stripping the bodies before putting them on the convayerbelts sp? to move them Was it necessary? The two little girls hiding away under the stairs trying to keep uiet from the policeman as their mother bravely goes to her death welcoming her end once she is in the gas chamber with everyone else who uietly ueued up to their death Honestly why? The work camp factory where armed guards beat and killed anyone not working fast enough replacing them with the next prisoner out of the cages to keep the flow of work from stopping Why Talking about Superior and inferior species The whole affair is just so overwhelmingly depressing that even after the day is saved it just feels dirty When Sarah Jane Smith discovers a picture from 1952 of the Doctor shaking hands with an East End mob boss the two travel back in time to investigate events They arrive in a London on the eve of an environmental disaster and a neighborhood on the brink of a turf war But who is organizing the homeless young men into a new gang? And how is it related to the American priest whose sermons are galvanizing the community against the sin in their midst?Given the Doctor's propensity to become entangled in key moments of British history it was probably inevitable that at some point he would make an appearance during the Great Smog of 1952 when thousands of Londoners died as a result of air pollution concentrated by weather conditions And by thrusting the Third Doctor one of my favorite incarnations and Sarah Jane Smith easily the all time best companion into a situation mixing gangsters and aliens into a historical event the stage is set for a memorable adventure Yet in the end it's a mixture that doesn't uite catalyze Perhaps this is because of the mobsters whose involvement often distracts from the activities of the Doctor and the main threat he is addressing Or perhaps it is the aliens Bishop creates which prove a curious combination of power and triteness But in the end it's a novel that doesn't live up to expectations given the elements involved and wastes a prime historical moment in the process returnreturnPast Doctor Adventure taking Three and Sarah Jane back to December 1952 where smog East End gangsters and aliens form a deadly brew I thought it was pretty poor The East End gangsters talk like college students The portrayal on the Church is anachronistic and unrealistic There are some good desriptive moments and some elements of pathos but it's really not great returnreturnIn particular the aliens' evil plan is uncomfortably close to the Holocaust As has been discussed at length by people better ualified than me this is one of those topics that Who can never really do Doctor Who however seriously we may sometimes take it is fundamentally entertainment; the Holocaust is not The book has a gross error of taste and judgement at its corereturnreturnI have enjoyed Bishop's later work particularly the second series of Sarah Jane Smith audios but this is a wobbly start to say the least How very English Mary thought Forming an orderly ueue for your own death She was sure they were all going to die But she felt no tears no regrets She just couldn't bring herself to care any As long as Jean and Rita survived it didn't matter what happened to her now Mary still cradled the lifeless body of her youngest child in her arms Bette would always be the youngest now never grow up never grow any older Frozen forever as a coughing wheezing six year old eyes uncomprehending and confused as life left her frail bodyAmorality Tale begins as a gritty British 1950s gangster tale albeit a generic one with cardboard characters It is a complete tonal whiplash to abruptly shoehorn in three voiced aliens with stilted dialogue to accommodate the gimmick clock hypnosis zombies of inconsistent sentience and unfunny action zingers These ideas don't flow together; two entirely different stories are cannibalising each other competing for page space A book this short and simple to read has no right feeling as long as this doesThe framework for this book is The Great Smog of London which resulted in the deaths of at least 4000 people and the illness of a hundred thousand The setting is grim and at times the novel acknowledges that respectfully with powerful descriptive writing However extending that into outright Holocaust imagery with genocidal aliens with no sympathy for 'savages from a backwards species' and rounding people into literal gas chambers is distasteful at bestAlso highly uestionable was the decision to have a character in all but the word itself threaten Sarah Jane Smith with rape and multiple other characters purposefully and accidentally leer at her in varying stages of undress Is this in any way tied into the theming of the story or used to advance the plot? No Not at all It's cheap titillation at the expense of a female character At the very least in all but one example it is explicitly highlighted as perverse in text This novel pairs up the Thrid Doctor Jon Pertwee with Sarah Jane Smith Elozabeth Sladen Although Sarah Jane was only with the Third Doctor for one season they really make a good pair There are lots of great scenes between the two of themThe story is a average Dr Who story entertaining with a good feel of the era it is set in just after World War II in LondonRecommended for any Dr Who fan but strongly recommended if you were particular fans of Jon Pertwee or Elozabeth Sladen's characters When gangster Tommy Ramsey is released from prison he is determined to retake control of his East End territory But new arrivals threaten his grip on illegal activity in the area An evangelical minister is persuading people to seek redemption for their sins A new gang is claiming the streets And a watchmender called Smith is leading a revolt against the Ramsey Mob's protection racketWhen Tommy strikes back at his enemies a far terrifying threat is revealed Within hours the city's air turns into nerve gas and thousands succumb to the choking fumes London is dying An adventure set in 1950s London featuring the Third Doctor as played by Jon Pertwee and his companion Sarah Jane Smith A wonderfully chilling tale set in a not too distant past with plenty of morbidity and dark imagery This story was bound to become one of my favorites It had so many elements working in it's favor; it features my top favorite Doctor 3rd and 5th share that status for me it is a Historical setting set in a period that I find fascinating – the break between old school and modernity and it involves a real historic mystery – even one I’ve worked with myself at University Plus it took place in the area of London that I’ve lived Therefore overall it had to be really bad for it to fail in my books For a long time it really looked like it would become my new favorite Doctor Who book it didn’t hurt the story in my world that the alien elements apart from the Doctor took than a third of the book to materialize That is just proves that Doctor Who can be so much than sci fi But where the story took a hit in my opinion was when it turn horror in a matter of one page Suddenly everyone was dying – and in horrific ways too It was just too much I know that Doctor Who has always had a will to go dark with no warning and genocide is nothing new to the universe but this book should come with a warning; IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH KZ CAMPS DON’T READ THIS BOOK The inspiration from the death camps are crystal clear in this story and it comes out of nowhere Okay not nowhere in the historic events of December 1952 people did die from gassing but as a natural phenomenon so I really didn’t think the book would go there but it did – BIG TIME

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