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TV Zone intends to review television episodes as soon after their US broadcast as possible. As such, the reviews are liable to contain plot spoilers. Episodes and merchandise are given a mark out of 10 by our reviewers. If you don’t agree with the mark, why not write in and tell us so? Episodes are coded by season and episode, eg E8 is the eighth episode of Season Five. The date following episode titles is the first run broadcast in the US, unless stated.

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This month's selections:
- Enterprise hits the traditional zone
- Roswell plays to its strengths
- a new Doctor Who range launches
- and more Star Trek Gateways books

Time & Relative - order it at amazon.co.uk
doctor who:
time and relative
novella by Kim Newman, Telos Publishing
Plain or Deluxe edition available
Reviewed by
David Darlington
Out: 23 November 2001
Order it from Amazon.co.uk

Those on restricted budgets might be permitted a cynical groan. Yet more Doctor Who to keep up with. It's shorter than the other books. And it's much more expensive. One step beyond saturation point, surely?

Apparently not, and, it has to be said, Time and Relative seems as likely to revitalize the franchise as anything BBC Books will produce over the next year. It's about the length of a Target novelization – but, importantly, it's of greater depth, and it's a nice change to read what one might call the literary equivalent of the TV two-part story, especially when it's of the quality of, say, The Awakening rather than The King's Demons.

Bringing writers unfamiliar with Doctor Who into the franchise is not without dangers, though – however accomplished they may be. One can't expect even many of those devoted to the TV show being familiar with all the novels already produced. This might introduce problems not so much of continuity – effectively dismissable as unimportant, few will care that Time and Relative breaks a tacit taboo about setting stories prior to An Unearthly Child – as of repetition; it becomes more difficult to come up with a truly original idea. The pre-TV series setting allows Kim Newman to, basically, do as he pleases; and what he pleases to do is a neat little tale, told in diary form, of Susan's reactions to alienation, both physically from her own society, and socially within her adopted one.

There is a light Science Fiction story here too, but essentially Time and Relative focuses on the relationships formed in the face of the adversity the SF threat imposes, and it does so very well. It's not the best Doctor Who story ever told but, rather crucially, it is the best launch book for a literary Doctor Who range since …in an exciting adventure with the Daleks over 30 years ago, and Telos Publishing can be quietly proud of that. I just hope Telos can maintain this standard with future releases.

Whether it's worth the added expense is a different matter… 8

More Doctor Who material reviewed in #145: David Darlington on Richard Bignell's On Location and Lars Pearson's I, Who 2; David Miller on The Daleks' Masterplan, and Richard Atkinson on the Colditz CD adventure

Star Trek Gateways order this at Amazon.co.uk
star trek:
gateways 5 & 6 –
No Man's Land / Cold Wars
Novels by Christie Golden and Peter David,
published by Simon & Schuster
Reviewed by
Megan O'Neill
Out: 5 November 2001
Order it from Amazon.co.uk

The next two installments in the Gateways series, Christie Golden's No Man's Land and Peter David's Cold Wars, are stand-alone novels, although each sort of furthers the story. In each, Gateways appear, exacerbate galactic chaos, and manage to trap assorted innocents, the occasional bad guy, and, consistently, the captains of the various Starfleet ships. All these disappearing captains will be restored, one assumes, in the final volume, due next month. In the meantime, the disappearances wind up slightly convoluted stories that pit Starfleet crew against several sets of aliens.

Golden's Voyager novel puts Janeway in command of a fleet of ragtag alien ships, clustering together for protection as they traverse an area of space rife with distortions, nebulas, and black holes. The journey's complexities are compounded by the makeshift fleet's members, all stranded in the area by randomly appearing gateways: a Hirogen ship, two species long at war with each other, an unnoticed species which can only communicate telepathically – and one small affectionate dog, eagerly adopted by the Voyager crew despite their inability to explain where it came from.

As Janeway struggles to maintain peace among the fleet, her diplomatic abilities are sorely tested, and I must say she doesn't manage as well as Picard does in Gateways 3. Still, she defends the unjustly accused when murder takes out an entire ship, and she manages to cow the Hirogen Alpha most effectively. Kathy is rarely strong without being abrasive when she's dealing with other species, I've always thought; Golden's novel continues that tradition. Keep your eye on that dog, though: ‘Barkley' may seem a diversion, but he's not.
– No Man's Land: 7

In a much longer but less unified novel, Peter David's Cold Wars casts Mackenzie Calhoun as a desperate mediator: two bloodthirsty species, long separated by a third, more powerful species, have now been reunited in warfare by the appearance of a Gateway between the two worlds.

With Elizabeth (TNG's Best of Both Worlds) Shelby's help, and by blustering a lot, Calhoun manages the conflict, but David's best moments are the incidentals, not the Gateway story itself: a major scene from Gateway 3, shown from yet another perspective; the squabbling married couple of Shelby and Calhoun, clear soulmates; and the return of two fan favourites from Trek's animated series: M'Ress, the feline Caitian, and Arex, the three-armed orange navigator, both brought to this century by accidental encounters with gateways. Still, despite the leavening of humour, it's risky to work in this many tangents; while David's novels often pull it off, the attempt doesn't work too well here, even given 364 pages (compare with Golden's at 231).

As with the previous Gateway novels, each is enjoyable on its own, but one loses a sense of coherence when each novel ends on a cliffhanger. After the fourth abrupt ending, one begins to long for complete resolution. On the other hand, I'm sure I'll have to re-read all six novels to make sense out of the seventh, and how bad could that be?
– Cold Wars: 6

Also reviewed in this issue - Enterprise, episodes A3 - A5
selected from TV Zone #145
© Visual Imagination Ltd 2001. Not for reproduction