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Friday, July 10, 2015

Mark Platt on Gallifrey & Baked Alaska

For twenty-six years, viewers watched Doctor Who's adventures on their TV screens. Several years into the series, during the final Second Doctor story, they learned that he was a Time Lord, and that he came from the planet Gallifrey. After that, the Time Lords occasionally intruded in the Doctor's life, sending him off as their unwilling agent to a planet in need of his help. Occasionally he visited Gallifrey, and fans learned a little about life there. But with the cancelation of the series in 1989, writers and fans began to wonder exactly who it was who had departed their TV screens. So when the Virgin series of New Adventure books began in the early 1990s, it wasn't long until writers began to delve into the Doctor's character and history more thoroughly than in the past. 

In Time's Crucible, Marc Platt shows us Gallifrey's distant past: specifically, how the Time Lords came to be. We witness a fight between the prophetess Pythia, who rules Gallifrey through her oracular powers, and the reformer Rassilon, who desires a more ordered system of government. It is Rassilon who commissions the first Time vessel experiments, and the people Ace meets in the novel are the first Chronauts. These early Gallifreyans possess psychic capabilities, with the most powerful of them able to burn out others' minds. But don't let me tell you too much about this novel. After all, if you're a Doctor Who fan, or merely a reader who enjoys challenging Science Fiction, I want to leave you with more to discover and enjoy when you take up the challenge of reading Marc Platt's novel. Then you can write to me, and answer all my questions about Time's Crucible.

While I enjoyed reading Time's Crucible, I wish I understood it better. But then, walking away from a painting by Salvador Dali, one scratches one's head, and wonders at the imagery one has just tried to comprehend. The most compelling visions stick with you, and I have no doubt that the imagery in Marc Platt's novel will remain with me well into the future. I just wish I understood it better now

Perhaps, as with a fine wine, my appreciation for the novel will grow with Time.

Only one thing remains to be done. I need to find a recipe for Baked Alaska, and try my hand at this new treat I've discovered. Imagine a layer of sponge cake or Christmas pudding topped with ice cream, covered in meringue, and baked long enough to harden the meringue, but not melt the ice cream. As someone who loves ice cream and English desserts, it's a delicacy I must try. Ace may not have gotten to eat hers, but now that I know what it is, I'm determined to get my hands on one. But I would not have known what Baked Alaska was, or had a compelling reason to eat one, had I not read Marc Platt's amazing and challenging novel.

Thanks, Marc Platt. Cheers!

Dragon Dave

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