Allyn Gibson wrote:
Why not start the book at that point? Because there's a reason for the first hundred pages. Moorcock is setting up his world and the way it works. It's very Robert Holmesian, in a way, not unlike the first episode of "Caves" where you spend most of your time learning about Androzani Major and Androzani Minor.
I've considered that. I've tried 5 times to read the Lord of the Rings too and find Fellowship so boring that a few people have suggested I skip it and just read the other two. You and I aren't the first to note the "first 50" hurdle with this book (which I have to say makes the book a fail, I'm afraid, even if the rest of the book is fine). I'll probably end up doing what you suggest. I feel the book - what I've read of it - also suffers from the fact it was written before Matt Smith's Doctor was really established so I didn't think Moorcock got the voice right for him, at least early on. But that's not a huge deal as the same could be said for all of the Ninth Doctor novels, which would have been written before Eccleston appeared on screen, and they turned out fine in the end.
I guess I just expected Moorcock, being the first huge name in ages (ever?) to write a Who novel to hit the ground running a bit more. I'm not a fan of the "Start the story in the middle, then rewind to 'Three days earlier' and see how we got there" storytelling cliche that has invaded modern television, but I'd actually have gone for that with Terraphiles. Thing is, and I speak here as a professional book editor, it doesn't matter what your intentions are, if the reader is only 50 pages in and decides "I have better things to do with my time" which is exactly what my mindset became, the manuscript is a fail and probably should be rejigged in some way to address the issue, and it usually can be done without sacrificing the actual content. (Having not read the whole book, of course, I don't know if the "Three days earlier" format would have even been possible in Terraphile's case).