The Coming of the Terraphiles Cover

Michael Moorcock
BBC Books

“Hadn’t you noticed?”  His eyes twinkled for a moment.  “We’re living in a permanent melodrama.  I’m the madman with the box, remember?”

Miggea – a star on the very edge of reality.  The cusp between this universe and the next.  A point where space-time has worn thin, and is in danger of collapsing… And the venue for the grand finals of the competition to win the fabled Arrow of Law.  The Doctor and Amy have joined the Terraphiles – a group obsessed with all aspects of Earth’s history, and dedicated to re-enacting ancient sporting events.  They are determined to win the Arrow.  But just getting to Miggea proves tricky.  Reality is collapsing, ships are disappearing, and Captain Cornelius and his pirates are looking for easy pickings.  Even when they arrive, the Doctor and Amy’s troubles won’t be over. They have to find out who is so desperate to get the Arrow of Law that they will kill for it.  And uncover the traitor on their own team.  And win the contest fair and square.  And, of course, they need to save the universe from total destruction.

It’s another long dry spell, waiting for new Doctor Who episodes (as I write this, the big anticipated 50th Anniversary special is still a good four months away), so I once again have taken up scoping out the various Doctor Who medias to get my much-needed fix while waiting not-so-patiently.  Recently I came across this title in the BBC Books series of Doctor Who titles used for $5 locally, so I had no choice but to liberate the hardcover from the book store and devoured it accordingly.

This being my first outing with anything written by Michael Moorcock (stop it), I think I may have to find some more of his books to read, as he has an interesting style that is very dry, very British, and very much engrossing, something that has made me a fan of Douglas Addams, Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore.  Matter of fact, there’s a blurb on the front cover by Neil Gaiman reading, “My debt to Michael Moorcock is unrepayable.”.  Quite the endorsement, there.

As a Doctor Who story, The Coming Of The Terraphiles is epic, spanning different universes, planets, several multiverses, and involving oodles of different alien species (including the Judoon), space pirates, black holes, antimatter beings, and the imminent collapse of reality as we know it.  And all of this hinges on a kind of intergalactic Olympic games played on a planet that travels through all the different realities, and a shiny arrow.

Yeah, that’s a lot to take in.  But the whimsical and dry nature of the authror’s style makes it work, painting a rich tapestry and creating characters that are quite delightful for The Doctor and Amy to interact with throughout.  Of course, once again this caused me to devour this book in a handful of hours spread out over two days.  This is far from a mere Terrance Dick-style adaptation of an episode; this is a richly imaginative yarn that stuck with me long after the last page was finished.  Again, I’m going to have to check out some more titles from Michael Moorcock (stop it).  In the meantime, I do so recommend The Coming Of The Terraphiles for a good Doctor Who tale to help while away the days until November.  Cheers.