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Review: The Gulf by Cody Quijano-Schell March 19, 2016

Posted by sjroby in Book reviews, Doctor Who.
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105coverHere’s a niche item. It’s the first of a series of ebook original novellas combining Mexican luchadors (masked wrestlers) and science fiction — and it’s a spinoff of a spinoff from the Doctor Who tie-in novels.

Cody Quijano-Schell introduced the protagonist of the series in a short story in an Obverse Books anthology devoted to the character Iris Wildthyme. (Iris sort of first appeared in non-Doctor Who fiction by her creator, Paul Magrs, but Iris as she is known these days then appeared in a few Doctor Who novels by Magrs. It’s a long story.) Anyway, Señor 105 (a.k.a. Señor Cientocinco) made a definite impression. He had a short story collection of his own and then a series of ebooks starting back in 2012.

The Gulf picks up where the previously published stories left off. Señor 105 was mentored by wrestlers who named themselves after the classical elements — Agua, Fuego, etc — but believes that a wrestler in the Atomic Age should look to the elements of the periodic table (hence the series title, The Periodic Adventures of Señor 105). He has masks for each element and changes his name as new elements are discovered. He is a scientist, an adventurer, an explorer. His companion is a sentient sphere of gas contained in a balloon.

The Gulf is named after Chicxulub, where the asteroid impact believed to have killed off the dinosaurs occurred. An evil group known as the Terrible Lizards are rescuing ancient alien technology from the Gulf — the asteroid impact wasn’t quite what it seemed — and using it for evil acts when not auctioning it off to the highest bidder. Señor 105 and Sheila, the intelligent helium, are dragged in to the story when they’re rescued from a trainwreck by a mysterious woman. The trainwreck was, of course, the work of the  Terrible Lizards. On their way to investigate, they encounter a woman in a Royal Canadian Mounted Police uniform and her horse. She’s an investigator and crime fighter trying to prove that the RCMP should allow women to join. The four team up to work together, with occasional assistance from the mysterious woman.

The story builds on an altered version of Doctor Who history involving the lost twin planet of Earth, but instead of providing thinly disguised Whoniverse worlds and cultures, it puts a spin on them. It distances Señor 105’s world a bit farther from the Doctor’s reality.

The story is entertaining enough, but Quijano-Schell comes off as a bit of a new writer. He isn’t in full control of tenses or point of view, and he seems to forget about a character or two for a couple of chapters. Overall, though, it’s a quick and fun read. Definitely recommended for Doctor Who fans without enough to read, and for people looking for something very different in their pulpy SF adventure.