Testing the TARDIS' capabilities, the Doctor takes Fitz and
Anji into the far future, to an impoverished and polluted
world called Endpoint. Here, the hybridised remnants of various
cultures - including humanity - are being threatened by a
secret enemy that is carrying out violent serial beheadings...
this, Clapham's first solo novel, the Doctor travels possibly
as far forward in time as he has ever done, almost to the
end of the universe itself. The only other time that he travelled
this far into the future was in the New Adventure, Timewrym:
appropriately named Endpoint is, quite literally, a dump.
Once used as a solar system's tipping ground for waste materials
and chemical pollutants (like the Earth itself in Rob Grant
and Doug Naylor's Red Dwarf novels), it is now the
only available refuge within that system, since the other
planets were devastated by the crossfire of an interstellar
war. Unlike our own society, the people of Endpoint have learned
to make use of whatever is available to them, recycling everything
and wasting nothing.
this depressing setting comes the Eighth Doctor, who is feeling
dejected enough already. Unlike last month's novel, Paul Magrs'
Mad Dogs and Englishmen, this book addresses the Doctor's
feelings of inadequacy following the loss of one of his hearts
(in Lawrence Miles' The Adventuress of Henrietta Street)
which effectively rendered him more human. He draws hope from
the example of the Endpointers, who have admirably made the
most of what little they possess.
author also touches upon the controversial subject of human
cloning, covering similar moral ground to the recent BBC2
documentary series How to Build a Human. Both the series
and Clapham argue that it is futile to attempt to bring a
person back to life by cloning their DNA. We can only hope
to create another version from the same template, a version
that will lack the specific experiences and environmental
influences that made the person unique.
plot structure of Hope is peculiar, practically drawing
to a close two-thirds of the way in, with all apparent threats
having been neutralised and the TARDIS crew all but ready
to be on their way. But then a different kind of threat is
its odd structure, Clapham's novel makes compelling reading
throughout. There's plenty of life in Hope.
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