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41) Doctor Who - Planet of Giants, by Terrance Dicks
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.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 31st, 2008 04:49 pm (UTC)
I have a memory that the Slyther was based on a description of a monster from The Chase on the grounds TD was send the wrong production still. Which suggests he didn't/couldn't watch the original tapes.
Mar. 31st, 2008 05:05 pm (UTC)
Hmmm... the monsters in The Chase were very crap indeed, but there may well be something in that.

Having said which, the Slyther would probably not look too bad in a still photograph taken the right way; it's only in motion that it becomes obviously a bloke in an ill-fitting rubber suit.
Mar. 31st, 2008 10:56 pm (UTC)
It was only as I hit send that I remembered that The Dalek Invasion of Earth was the first Doctor Who novel I read. I have a vague feeling that Genesis of the Daleks would have been the second. 1976 or 1977 would be my best guess.
Mar. 31st, 2008 11:10 pm (UTC)
Not 1976, it turns out. It must have pretty new, though.
Jul. 11th, 2015 04:32 pm (UTC)
invasion of Earth
Hi, Nicholas. I read your review on the Daleks invasion and found it interesting. I recall the same effect in my youth after reading the target novelization; the slither being of aggressive tendencies and better portrayed in the book form to greater effect. And I did feel it needed more emotion to put the doctor's loss across. I did this myself when I wrote my own version; plagiarised if you could call it that. Mine differed that it was done to my own specs and I reinforced it with my own brand of emotional scape. I Wrote it purely as an exercise and made it to suit my own process of adventure, writing it with a more futuristic setting but still in keeping with the TV version and the characters. With new sections of story and plot, the introduction of new characters and done in a fast pace. I think I was successful in that. so successful in fact that I decoded to write two other dalek epics to coincide with this one
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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