The novel “Paradox Lost” by George Mann was published for the first time in 2011.
The Tardis suddenly appears to be in a frenzy to reach her destination. When she materializes, the Eleventh Doctor, Amy, and Rory are in London in 2789, where they discover a group of people recovering an android from the Thames. Intrigued, the Doctor manages to pass himself off as an inspector and examine the android, which turns out to be centuries old despite having been built using the most advanced technologies of that period.
The Doctor manages to reactivate the android who, before running out of all his remaining energy, reveals that he has been waiting for him for over a millennium and warns him that the Squall are coming and that Gradius’s timeship caused a hole in time. To solve the mystery, the Doctor must go to 1910, where he enlists the help of Professor Angelchrist while Amy and Rory continue their investigation into the origins of the android in 2789.
“Paradox Lost” is part of a series of novels connected to the new “Doctor Who” series. They’re targeted to a wide audience by being linear enough to be appreciated even by very young readers but sophisticated enough to interest more mature readers. With the adventures of the Eleventh Doctor, there was a small change in the size of the novels about “Doctor Who” new series’ adventures, which have become slightly larger.
George Mann wasn’t entirely new to writing “Doctor Who” stories because he had already collaborated with Big Finish on the production of some audio adventures and had written short fiction related to this saga. “Paradox Lost” was his first novel, in which he shows his knowledge of the protagonists and the mechanisms of a story in which time travel plays a central role.
The author invented the enemies featured in this novel, the Squall, a species with a collective mind that feeds on psychic energy. They’re parasites always looking for creatures to use as food, and discovering a populous planet like Earth is for them like discovering a lavish feast.
George Mann also created a couple of interesting characters such as the android Arven and Professor Angelchrist. Arven, officially designated as RVN-73, is at the center of the mystery uncovered by the Doctor, proves to be very sophisticated, and offers some food for thought into the boundary between machine to be used as a tool and sentient being to be used as a slave. Professor Angelchrist is a former secret agent who has seen a lot of strange things in his career, so much so that I initially thought he might have been a Torchwood agent.
The combination of a good use of the protagonists, two good characters created for this novel, and the temporal interweaving is what gives strength to “Paradox Lost” even if at times the plot was a bit predictable. In the end, the links between the two different periods are easy to follow for the readers with a minimum of familiarity with the “Doctor Who” saga.
Instead, the Squalls didn’t convince me very much as villains because they seemed a bit generic, a threat created by putting together two elements like the hive mind and feeding on psychic energy. They’re functional to the plot as a threat, but, because of their nature, they have no real depth.
Maybe “Paradox Lost” isn’t the most brilliant novel among the ones connected to the “Doctor Who” saga, but it’s overall well packaged. In essence, in my opinion, it’s a medium-high level product and above all a pleasant read for fans of this saga. It’s a must-read for fans of the team formed by the Eleventh Doctor, Amy, and Rory.