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Sky Pirates! or the Eyes of the Schirron (The New Doctor Who Adventures) by Dave Stone

Sky Pirates! or the Eyes of the Schirron (The New Doctor Who Adventures)
Sky Pirates! or the Eyes of the Schirron (The New Doctor Who Adventures)
Dave Stone
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Science Fiction
Virgin Publishing; paperback / softback edition (September 1, 1995)
256 pages
PDF size:
1111 kb
FB2 size:
1193 kb
EPUB size:
1997 kb

  • Mr_Jeйson
As a fan of Doctor Who, the Seventh Doctor especially, I was eager to dive into 'Sky Pirates'. 40 pages in, and with only a brief scene with the Doctor, and I was ready to put the book down. Yes, it is one of those expanded universe books, where the author is more interested in writing for the characters that he created for the story, rather than the character that drew us to purchase the book in the first place.

The writing is overly thick with descriptions of various and disgusting aliens. I don't know if Virgin paid Dave Stone by the word, but he sure wrote like he was. I get the feeling he was doing his best to write a Doctor Who story in the vein of Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett, but there's the thing - Adams already wrote a Doctor Who story and if I wanted to read a Pratchett book, I would have read something he actually wrote. The book is supposed to be funny, but any humorous notion is lost under paragraphs upon paragraphs of Stone trying his best to gross readers out with various descriptions of the aliens biological behaviors. The whole book comes off as a bloated attempt of someone trying too hard to be witty.

The story, such as it is, concerns a race of shape changing alien blobs bent on conquering an isolated group of planets. The Doctor and Benny, after being separated from the TARDIS, falls in league with a band of space pirates as they pursue the fabled 'Eyes of the Schirron', a legendary item that may hold the key to thwarting the aforementioned invasion force.

Just stay away from this book. There are better New Adventures out there.
  • Kabei
Having heard a lot about SKY PIRATES! over the years, but never having previously read the book myself, I admit to having had certain expectations going into it. This one certainly seems to be a love-it or hate-it novel; at least, that was the impression that I got from various on-line discussions. So, it was a bit of a surprise when I actually got around to reading it and found myself being quite bored with long stretches of it. Of all the things I was expecting, boredom wasn't one of them.
Yes, "boredom" adequately describes my reaction to the first hundred or so pages of SKY PIRATES!. Now, I have to keep in mind that while reading those opening sections, I was far too busy with a number of unavoidable activities, and the time I had during the day for reading was drastically reduced. But with this as my current book, I never felt that I was missing anything. I never felt the overriding need to sneak more time from some other activity in order to get through a few more pages. I only had time to read one short chapter an evening, and I really never felt the need to read any more than that.
For a book that is based upon a treasure hunt of sorts, it takes a considerable amount of time for the characters to actually get around to it. Until the voyage actually begins, the book consists of a whole lot of throat clearing. There are a lot of pointless interludes, random observations, and passages that aren't nearly as funny as they're supposed to be. Some of the jokes are indeed hilarious. Some of them are just tiresome. Despite the deliberate wackiness, the plot points are built up in a relatively logical manner (once one works through all of the distractions); the only problem is it just takes too long to get to each one.
Fortunately, my interest gradually increased as the book moved further along. Once Stone gets around to actually telling the story, he puts a lot of fun things into it. Of particular note are the alien Sloathes, a species who talk like how one would expect Yoda to sound if that little, green, Grover-voiced guy had been born with a touch of Tourette's syndrome. They're utterly hilarious, and it's no wonder that I heard much about these creatures years before I actually read the book.
But, in addition to the comedy, there's quite a dark story being told in here. It almost feels like a Jim Mortimore novel at times; it includes an all-powerful alien menace (putting millions upon millions of people in danger), a manipulative, amoral Doctor, and an ethical decision affecting the lives of every population within a certain astronomical region. Not exactly the sort of thing I was expecting given the goofy illustration of Sylvester McCoy on the cover.
I'm not quite sure how to sum up SKY PIRATES!. "Uneven" would probably be the word I'd attempt using to describe my overall reaction. Despite the tiresome beginning, I did end up enjoying the book. But there are too many little awkward pieces (including "funny" pieces that aren't, well, funny) for me to truly say that I thought it was a very good novel. Looking around at other reviews, it seems to be held as common wisdom that this book could have done with some serious editing, taking it down from its larger-than-average 337 pages to a more reasonable 250-275. I can't say that I'd disagree with that view. While fifty pages may not seem like a lot, if the story hadn't taken so long to get to where it was going, I probably would have felt more of a desire to pay attention during the middle and end.