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Book Review

Book Cover

Doctor Who
Snowglobe 7


Author: Mike Tucker
BBC Books
RRP: £6.99, US $11.99, Cdn $14.99
ISBN: 978 1 84607 421 9
Available 10 April 2008

Earth, 2099: global warming is devastating the climate. The polar ice caps are melting. In a desperate attempt at preservation, the governments of the world have removed vast sections of the Arctic and Antarctic and set them inside huge domes. The Doctor and Martha arrive in Snowglobe 7 in the Middle East, hoping for some peace and relaxation. But they soon discover that it’s not only ice and snow that has been preserved beneath the dome. While Martha struggles to help with an infection that is sweeping through the dome, the Doctor discovers an alien threat that has lain hidden since the last ice age - a threat that is starting to thaw...

Before you get too excited, there are no Ice Warriors in this book, though the premise of a deadly alien creature surviving in deep freeze inside a glacier since the last ice age is obviously very similar to that of the Martians’ first television appearance.

This time, the climatic crisis is not a new ice age, as in The Ice Warriors and The Day After Tomorrow, but the more obviously topical global warming. In total, 12 SnowGlobes (yes, in the narrative the word is given a capital G, even though it’s lower case in the book’s title) have been set up around the world to preserve vast tracts of the diminishing polar landscape.

The aliens in this story are a new creation, the Gappa, spider/monkey/bat-like creatures (not simply giant spiders, as suggested by Lee Binding’s cover illustration). It may or may not be a coincidence, but monsters called Gappa, a rather different beast resembling a bird/lizard hybrid, appeared in the 1967 Japanese movie Daikyojû Gappa, which is also known by the alternative English-language titles Gappa the Triphibian Monster and Monster from a Prehistoric Planet. Remarkably, Mike Tucker has resisted making any jokes along the lines of “mind the Gappa” (though I haven’t).

The author borrows from the movie and TV series Alien Nation by including a species of alien refugees, called the Flisk, who suffer from the intolerant attitudes of certain members of the human population. However, the Flisk, and especially their telepathic abilities, appear to have been included in order to facilitate a particular plot point rather than to convey any conclusive moral messages about racism.

As usual, Tucker has written a readable narrative, though there is little mystery surrounding the presence of the creatures in the ice, a fact that is established at a very early stage. Rather more mystery surrounds the nature of the illness that is spreading among the staff of the neighbouring SnowGlobe 6.

Rather confusingly, I’m going to give Snowglobe 7...


Richard McGinlay

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