Sunday, 26 February 2012
Zamper, by Gareth Roberts (Virgin New Adventure)
It's commonly stated that Zamper has a poor reputation among fans. Personally, I rather enjoyed it. While I loved Tragedy Day, I was not massively impressed by Highest Science, the Gareth Roberts novel that fans seems to love. I don't think Highest Science is particularly better than this novel.
Zamper sees the return of the Chelonians from The Highest Science. They are as well presented here as they were in that novel and the two main Chelonian characters are nicely characterised. Their anthem is really funny.
On the whole, the cast of characters are interesting, though a few are a bit lacking in depth. Smith was interesting at first, but then turned into a generic pseudo-companion. I was a bit bothered by the fact that the author killed off so many of them and his decision to give the two female villains very gruesome deaths.
The companions are handled really well here. I actually found myself liking Bernice, who I normally despise. On the other hand, the Doctor comes across in this story as incredibly bland and colourless. Roberts was never great with the Seventh Doctor, but he really failed to get him right here.
The Zamps were nicely creepy and there was some thoughtful exploration of the arms trade from the author's typically left-wing perspective. It's not one of the highlights of the New Adventures range, but it's certainly not one of the worst.