REVIEW: "Timewrym: Genesys" Doctor Who Novel
18 December 2000
Peel, John, _Timewrym: Genesys_, (London: Doctor Who, 1991)
[Image of Book]
RATING: 9 (of 10)
When the series ended in 1989, no new _Doctor Who_ adventure
had yet been written in novel form and released as
officially-licensed merchandise. There had been novelizations of
the televised serials, spin-offs, un-televised scripts, radio plays,
and records. There had been 'Create Your Own Adventure' paperbacks.
There had been novels featuring companions, but not the Doctor.
There had been numerous short stories and comics. There had been
With that in mind, the release of John Peel's _Timewyrm:
Genesys_ (Doctor Who : 1991) was an important event in the history of
fandom. It set the stage for what has become a decade-long
publishing juggernaut of officially-licensed new adventures novels.
Mr. Peel proved himself up to the task. It is an excellent adventure
in the classic _Doctor Who_ tradition of historical stories. It is
also a delightfully well-crafted example of the art of writing,
marred only by the occasional misspelling and typos that seem to
plague many of the past decade's novel releases.
The adventure opens amidst a great space battle. Qataka, a
cybernetically-enhanced humanoid from the planet Anu, has destroyed
her homeworld with a cobalt device. She is being pursued by Anu's
now space-bound survivors. Qataka, alone in an escape pod, flees the
destruction of her vessel and crew. The pod barely manages to make
landfall on a nearby planet, ancient Earth. The pod lands
specifically in Mesopotamia, then just beginning to establish
humanity's first city-state. Qataka quickly sets herself up in a
temple of the city of Kish as nothing less than the goddess Ishtar
The Doctor, meanwhile, has been alerted to a threat by a message
he left himself during a previous adventure. He had learned of the
threat during union with the Matrix, and though the memory of what he
had learned faded quickly, he managed to leave the cryptic message
"Beware the Timewyrm." Having long since forgotten that he'd even
left the message, the Doctor has no idea what a Timewyrm is. Next,
the Cloister Bell sounds, indicating imminent doom on a grand scale.
The TARDIS telepathic circuits indicate coordinates for Earth, and
the Doctor and Ace are off to face the unknown.
On Earth, the Doctor and Ace quickly encounter Gilgamesh, King
of Uruk, and are greeted by him as Ea, God of Wisdom and Aya, Goddess
of the Dawn. Together with Gilgamesh's right hand man, a Neanderthal
named Enkidu, a priestess of Ishtar named En-Gula, a minstrel named
Avram, a princess of Kish named Ninani, and the leader of the surving
remnant of Anu, Utnapishtim; they attempt to thwart the plans of
Qataka/Ishtar to gain mental control over humanity.
When the dust settles, the Doctor and party can claim victory --
or can they? Qataka/Ishtar, cast into the Vortex to be torn apart by
the time winds, manages to adapt to it's forces and emerge as a new
and stronger entity: the Timewyrm.
_Timewyrm: Genesys_ is the first of a four part series
featuring the Doctor's struggle to defeat the Timewyrm, the other
three being _Timewyrm: Exodus_, _Timewyrm: Apocalyspe_, and
Timewyrm: Revelation_, also published in 1991. These titles are now
out of print.
The release of _Timewyrm: Genesys_ was not without some
controversy. The book contains some sexually-oriented content,
to which some readers objected. Though by no means pornographic --
at least, in my opinion -- such content clearly indicates that this
book, and those to follow, were marketed towards a young adult and
adult audience. Such content was included by Peel in situations
where it was clearly an integral part of the narrative. Gilgamesh,
for example, is the classic Warrior-King. His reign is one centered
on conquest, both military and sexual. He is not used to being
denied anything, and when he turns his attentions to Ace, he is
frustrated by her continual disinterest. En-Gula, as a Priestess of
Ishtar, is duty-bound to give of herself sexually to male
worshippers. This is no contrivance of the author, this is
simply historical fact. As was always the case with the series,
the Doctor remains sexually aloof throughout the book.
Though I recommend this book to readers without reservation, I
refrained from giving it a 10 out of 10. This is simply because it
is the first of a four part series, and the rest of the series fails
to inspire the same level of praise, no doubt due to each installment
being written by a different author. I, for one, would have
preferred that Mr. Peel had written all four books.
(c) Copyright Z1R0, 2000.
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Last Updated December 18, 2000