Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

May Books 10-14) The Season 8 novelisations

Five more Who books, of which three are decidedly skippable and two rather good.

10) Doctor Who and the Terror of the Autons, by Terrance Dicks

This is one of Dicks' better efforts - introducing three new regular characters (Jo Grant and the Master both get good introductions here, Mike Yates rather less so) and bringing back the Autons. The Doctor is an inveterate name-dropper, and basically more fun than the character as actually played by Pertwee. It is a very rare case of Dicks actually improving on a Robert Holmes script - certainly when I eventually saw the original TV version I was disappointed that the 'orrible squamous Nestene Consciousness does not actually materialise in sight of the viewer. And it is a taproot text for much else in the later Doctor/Master stories - the radio telescope in Logopolis, the phone call in Last of the Time Lords. A good one.

ObNI: McDermott, who is the only identifiably Northern Irish character I know of in Doctor Who, here becomes a "Northcountry man".

11) Doctor Who - the Mind of Evil, by Terrance Dicks

As often happens with stories from this period, we lose the action sequences which made the original story watchable and the confusion of the plot is therefore mercilessly exposed to the reader. Three different strands of action (Master/Keller machine; nerve gas nuclear missile; peace conference) all combine here rather confusingly.

12) Doctor Who and the Claws of Axos, by Terrance Dicks

As often happens with stories from this period, the printed page is able to compensate for the ropy special effects and less convincing performances of the original. The story is still pretty silly though.

13) Doctor Who and the Doomsday Weapon, by Malcolm Hulke

This was one of those books which, on rereading, failed to live up to my fond childhood memories. Hulke irritatingly switches between writing down for a younger audience and meandering into heavy-handed political parable. For whatever reason, it is written as if it were Jo Grant's first story; and the introduction is much more clumsily handled than in Doctor Who and the Terror of the Autons. The back-story of the human colonists is ripped off unimaginatively from dozens of better sf books about future dystopias. And the whole plot basically makes no sense. The least good of the Hulke books so far.

14) Doctor Who and the Dæmons, by Barry Letts

This was one of those books which, on rereading, very much lived up to my fond childhood memories. It is funny, witty, adds bags of backstory to both minor and major characters (the account of the Doctor and the Master growing up together on Gallifrey ought to be canon for all interested fanfic writers), substitutes far better special effects on the page for the end-of-budget ones we got on-screen, and is generally a good read. My favourite Third Doctor book so far.
Tags: bookblog 2008, doctor who, doctor who: 03, doctor who: novelisations, writer: barry letts, writer: malcolm hulke, writer: terrance dicks
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