Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Complete Wildthyme I: "Suitors, Inc"

[With Wildthyme on Top due out (hopefully) very soon, I'm about to re-read all of Paul Magrs' Who fiction, starting with the short stories.

And as I happen to have just posted a review of Paul's latest short story to the Iris/Paul newsgroup, I thought I might as well post it here to get things started. So...]

Suitors, Inc (Seven Deadly Sins, Big Finish, 2005)

Some things are anathema to all right thinking people - the Daily Mail, Ant
and Dec, and the use of short sentences ending in exclamation marks are
surely amongst most people's top three such irritations.

Imagine my surprise therefore when I came to read Paul's latest Iris short
story, 'Suitors, Inc' and found the damn thing was littered with them. Short sentences that is! Ending in exclamation marks! Not Ant and Dec! Or the Daily Mail!

Less surprising though is the fact that this otherwise horrendous practice
works perfectly here. 'Suitors, Inc' - for all its subject matter of
anatomically correct sex robots and shanghaied horny pensioners - is a story
from an alternative universe where Target kept the Who fiction license and
started publishing short story collections for younger readers. And in that
context the plethora of exclamation marks serves to give the dialogue a
certain zip and dash and imbdues Paul's prose with an engagingly dynamic
quality. This is a story which rattles effortlessly along and which
manages - in the space of a dozen pages - to feature four Time Lords, a
couple of assistants, an enemy from another book and what seems to be the
Obverse version of a certain well-known robot dog. The dialogue is as crisp
as you'd expect and catches the tone of the respective TV characters well
(particularly the fourth Doctor), the plot is completely nuts (and the
ending is left unresolved, with absolutely everyone heading off together
into further thrilling adventures) and there's even time for an amusing
metafictional reference or two. If you had to sum 'Suitors, Inc' up in a
word, that word would be 'joyous' because you really do get a feeling of
Paul's joy in writing for this particular era of Who and as a result it's an
absolute joy to read.

Apart from a bizarre typo at the bottom of one page where a meaningless word
has been added to the end of a sentence, this is well nigh perfect and
confirms that Paul is the pre-eminent writer of short Who fiction. Lovely
stuff.

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