42) Doctor Who and the Dalek Invasion of Earth, by Terrance Dicks
Two quite different Terrance Dicks novelisations here. Doctor Who - Planet of Giants was literally the last First Doctor story to see print, in 1990; Doctor Who and the Dalek Invasion of Earth was from much earlier in the sequence of publication, in 1977. In fact they are respectively the last and the first Dicks novelisations of Hartnell stories.
I’m slightly surprised to report that Doctor Who - Planet of Giants is the better novel, perhaps because it had only three episodes on TV rather than six and therefore Dicks has had to pad rather than summarise; and his own powers of invention, once brought to bear, are helpful. We do miss out on the broadcast story’s key selling point, the visual special effects of the Doctor and company miniaturised to an inch in height, but the plot as a whole does hang together, though fans of Barbara will (as usual) complain that Dicks doesn’t do her character much justice. And once again, as with Doctor Who and an Unearthly Child, Dicks finishes by telling us that the Daleks are out there waiting to start the next adventure which is a bit tedious second time round..
Doctor Who and the Dalek Invasion of Earth leans a bit on the Peter Cushing film as well as on the originally broadcast story. Its most remarkable innovation, and improvement on the screen version, is the Daleks’ pet monster, the Slyther, which is much more terrifying on the page. But unfortunately a lot of the good bits of the TV story – the desperate chase across a deserted London in episode 3, and even the Doctor’s farewell to Susan at the end – are truncated and lose their effect. It’s still a good story but this comes across rather in spite of than because of Dicks’ efforts.
I’ve already read Doctor Who - The Rescue – probably Ian Marter’s best book – so will head for Doctor Who - The Romans by way of Venusian Lullaby.