Monday, 24 August 2015

Station of Critical Review by Kennedy Hiscox-Wormegay with Dex Diabolo: The Hunt for the Ptero-dactyle Apostates by Former Doctor Peter Davison

A Note From Beware!

Long-time subscribers to Beware! The Zine will note a different tone in today's article. Unfortunately our full-time reviewer, Kennedy Hiscox-Wormegay, is currently receiving treatment for the effects of marsh fever and opium abuse. Whilst we are pleased to report that he is responding well to treatment, it will be some time before he is able to pen reviews again. Until then, we'd like to introduce our guest reviewer, Dex Diabolo, who is on loan to us from crappy ufology conspiracy blog, The Silver Disc - which we're not going to link to. You know the kind of head-case who sits next to you on the bus and insists on telling you how and why 9/11 was an inside job? They almost certainly subscribe to The Silver Disc. And as much as we didn't want to hand over the reviewer reins to Dex, he's all we could get. And, unlike Kennedy, he can string a sentence together.

From Timelord To Fringe Scientist

Up until the mid '80s, Peter Davison was best known as the fifth incarnation of The Doctor, titular character of the BBC science fiction series Doctor Who. However, since surrendering his position as 'gorgeous, young thing' to Colin Baker, Davison has cultivated an unhealthy interest in alternative-scenario palaeontology, penning several books on the subject and maintaining several blogs dedicated to the rapid publication of his unusual ideas. He has attracted much criticism, with dinosaur and pterosaur workers claiming that he is simply bi-passing the peer review process, though he has, on occasion, achieved in this area. Davison has also capitalised on his popularity with his legions of Doctor Who fans in order to force his unusual ideas out into the mainstream; after all, if they'll buy it...

Trash Fiction

The Hunt For The Ptero-dactyle Apostates is Davison's first foray into fiction and, if we're honest, it's mind-blowingly odd. We at Beware! HQ wouldn't have been too surprised if Davison had penned a story about oddly-proportioned aerial reptiles, zipping around the skies of an alternative-timeline Great Britain during the 1940s, but what we got was something entirely different. Davison offers up what can only be described as a semi-autobiographical medieval thriller, where he occupies the role of 'Witch-Finder General', tasked with rounding up those pterosaur workers who fail to adopt his take on palaeo research, putting them on trial and torturing and executing people as he sees fit. It's something of a bloodbath: his constantly-updated findings - and his certainty that each update is correct - mean that it's difficult for other workers to keep up with what is palaeontologically 'legal'. Many of them fall foul, and are subsequently put to death. Adorning the pikes of 'The Tower Of Lagerstatt', we find the heads of notorious traitors and heretics Marcus Wittleton, Bishop Darryl Gnash, Sir Michael Harb-Beeb and the mad monk, David Aherne. It's very much like Game Of Thrones, but with more violence and the flying reptiles are less convincing.

Thinly-Veiled Recruitment Literature

The pace falters about halfway into the first chapter as the tone shifts from trashy novel to political manifesto. One anonymous reviewer remarked that The Hunt For The Ptero-dactyle Apostates was "reminiscent of Cornwall's Camelot Castle Hotel. People book into the hotel for a bed for the night, are subsequently forced to endure terrible, terrible artwork by one of the hoteliers, and are then bombarded with Scientology recruitment literature. Castle Camelot Hotel and Davison are two baby legumes from the same troubled pod."

The Hunt deviates so violently from B-movie-esque storyline to paranoid rant that it's as if two different books have been spliced together, almost mid-sentence. Unfortunately, it remains stuck in this pseudoscientific rut for the remainder of the book, painstakingly dissecting every remark, email, blog article and manuscript ever released by conventional scientists, naming and shaming throughout. It's a long and tedious effort; Peter Davison clearly suffers from some serious science envy. Maybe it was his years as a sci-fi poster boy which led to his inability to distinguish fact from lunatic fiction, or that he had spent every waking moment surrounded by legions of fanboys and yes-men. Whatever the reason, the former-Timelord-turned-internet-pest has been the scourge of conventional science for the last decade, and The Hunt appears to be one last ditch attempt to discredit professional rivals and win over those who hadn't already declared their unconditional love during his stint in Doctor Who.

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