When 400-year-old tribal mummies inexplicably return to life
and begin murdering tourists on an exotic alien island, the
Doctor's urge to investigate lands himself, Jamie and Victoria
in the middle of a jungle holocaust. Why are the usually peaceful
natives reverting to long-forgotten head-hunting practices...?
Rock is an odd choice of title. It would have suited last
month's "past Doctor" novel, Ten Little Aliens, quite
well, that book's particular "combat rock" being an asteroid-based
army training ground. The relevance of the title of Mick Lewis'
novel only really becomes clear on page 213.
aside, this is an engrossing book. The setting, the planet
Jenggel, may be alien, but the author's allusions to the subjugation
of tribal cultures by more technologically advanced civilisations
on our own world are plain for all to see. The Papul represent
marginalised native Americans and rainforest tribes whose
homes are threatened by deforestation, while the Indoni symbolise
European colonists and their descendants, who simultaneously
fear the "savage" races while seeking to exploit them. Prevalent
phobias about such "primitive" societies and their natural
environments are brought to the fore by Lewis, who includes
reanimated mummies, cannibals and deadly jungle creatures
- ranging from poisonous snakes to more outlandish beasts
that would have fitted in well amongst the mutations of Skaro
in The Daleks.
are a lot of grim and gruesome goings-on in this novel, including
deaths, dismemberment, prostitution, torture and a thoroughly
unpleasant band of mercenaries, whose misogynistic leader
is the worst of the bunch. The quaint trio that comprises
the Second Doctor, Jamie and Victoria sometimes seems out
of place within such a grisly narrative, although the inclusion
of Victoria makes sense. It is entirely appropriate that she
comes to question the righteousness of her own imperial upbringing
as she witnesses some of the horrors perpetrated by the Indoni.
The Doctor is also well characterised, given ample opportunity
to utter panic-stricken Troughtonesque catch phrases such
as "Oh, my giddy aunt!"
tale is certainly not kid's stuff, but is nonetheless an entertaining
rumble in the jungle.
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