Skagra adjusted the controls again. "When I was born, this is what Drornid had become," he said gravely.Shada: The Lost Adventure by Douglas Adams, is a Tom Baker-era Doctor Who script resurrected by Gareth Roberts. It's a smart story that could be easily appreciated both by Douglas Adams fans who are not aware of his Doctor Who involvement and Whovians who could care less who scripted the story (though the existence of such a person strikes me as having a high improbability factor).
Romana turned her eyes back to the screen, expecting to see some hellish, blasted wilderness. Instead she saw lush, tropical beaches, and wide tree-lined boulevard though which people in shorts and sandals walked happily.
"It looks quite nice," said Romana.
"Nice?" said Skagra. "This is the sick, degenerate, purposeless world I was born into. Drornid, the so-called top holiday destination of Galactic Quadrant 5. Primary export, beachwear. Primary import, ice cream. The Planet of Fun."
"It must have been awful for you," said Romans.Skagra searched her face. "Do you mock me?"
"Of course not," said Romana.
"Nobody was interested in the past," Skagra went on. "Nobody was interested in anything but their mindless, futile diversions. It was I who unlocked the secrets of the planet's history. I who excavated the site of the great Statue of Thorac. I who discovered the abandoned papyri in the ruins and restored them."
It's funny. It sounds like Douglas Adams. Roberts respects Adams's voice, and there are several nods to Hitchhiker along the way. And Roberts obviously respects books, as his Who credits clearly attest (he scripted the episodes in which we encounter literary icons Shakespeare and Agatha Christie, among others).
Indeed, the plot centres on a book, The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey, one of the Artefacts of the Rassilon Era, hidden and misplaced.
The book was impressive. Much more impressive than the books he'd actually meant to borrow from old Chronotis, which now sat abandoned on a table top, in their disappointingly papery ordinariness.The book is found and stolen and key to all sorts of nefarious dealings.
Skagra entered the room, and winced. He was seeking one book. Here there were many, but they had all been scattered carelessly around in no particular order, with creased and cracked spines, dog ears and — most horrifically of all — many, if not most, of them were adorned with dark brown ring-shaped stains, as if some beverage vessel ad been placed on top of them. I was a place of vile untidiness and confusion.You can read up on the plot details elsewhere. This read was all about voice for me. And pure joy! Oh, and there's K-9!