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Two good ones among this lot, and one total dud.

39) Doctor Who - Castrovalva, by Christopher H Bidmead

This is rather good: Bidmead has a convincing intensity as he takes us through the narrative, and while it would be going too far to say that it all makes sense, it does at least hang together: there is a feeling that this is the beginning of a new era. The story is very much about the Doctor's regeneration, and somehow this comes over better on the printed page. An impressive start for the Fifth Doctor novelisations.

40) Cold Fusion, by Lance Parkin

Just to divert for a bit into the Virgin Missing Adventures, here we have a novel mainly about Five, Adric, Tegan and Nyssa, but also involving Seven and (rather more so) his companions from the Virgin New Adventures, Chris Cwej and Roz Forrester. There are some very nice character moments, especially for the Doctors and the female companions, but the plot was not particularly special, and I don't think a tetrahedron of the size specified in those planetary conditions is very likely. There are some nice nods to continuity as well, as you would expect.

(And apparently, "Ανδ Ι τυρνεδ αρουνδ ανδ τηεψ ωερε αλλ ωεαρινγ εψεπατχηεσ" is a Gallifreyan greeting of some kind, and definitely not a well known Nicholas Courtney anecdote in a funny font.)

Oddly enough I also just listened to The Veiled Leopard, which rather more successfully unites Fifth and Seventh Doctor companions (Peri and Erimem, Ace and Hex) but I'll leave that to my imminent giant audio catchup post.

41) Doctor Who - Four to Doomsday, by Terrance Dicks

A standard write-up from Dicks, losing the fairly impressive visuals of the original and thus exposing the weaknesses of the plot more visibly.

42) Doctor Who - Kinda, by Terrance Dicks

Another standard write-up, not doing any favours to a story whose impact was visual and implicit.

43) Doctor Who - Black Orchid, by Terence Dudley

Two-part stories give a lot of space to add more to the narrative when it comes time to write the novelisation, and this has been done well (Ian Marter) and badly (Nigel Robinson). This is definitely more at the Marter end of the spectrum. Dudley adds much detail about the cricket match (as incomprehensible to me as to Adric and Nyssa) and roots the story in the class structure of the Britain of the period, the Dowager Marchioness coming across as a particularly memorable personality. He even succeeds in giving Adric a couple of memorable character moments.

It's a good book - my favourite Fifth Doctor novel so far - but let down by lousy proofing: repeated references to "Portugese" and "Venezuala" (and by the way, the first is not actually spoken much in the second); also we have someone dressed as "Marie Antionette". A shame that Target couldn't take more care.

The next in sequence, Doctor Who - Earthshock, is one of the Ian Marter novels - indeed, the last of them in broadcast order - which leads us then to:

44) Doctor Who - Time Flight, by Peter Grimwade

A terrible adaptation of a bad story. Wood and Miles rightly mock one of the particularly bad lines in About Time 5, but actually get it wrong; the full quote in all its glory is "'Eevanaraagh' cried out Kalid, as the Plasmatron cumulation entered his chamber." Truly dreadful and over-written.

I've been in the habit of writing up each companion as they leave the sequence of novels. Adric really makes very little impression. His tendency towards siding with the baddies is almost his only interesting characteristic. Terence Dudley does make him rather more filled out in Doctor Who - Black Orchid but that is about the high point of his printed career. (And of course the Seventh Doctor and companions acknowledge his coming fate in Cold Fusion but apart from that he doesn't get much to do.)

Edited to add: I see I forgot to include Eric Saward's Doctor Who and the Visitation in this batch. Nt rushing to it, I must admit.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
parrot_knight
Jun. 28th, 2008 05:36 pm (UTC)
Somehow I was never convinced by the Cranleigh peerage being a marquessate - they don't seem grand enough on television to carry that rank, somehow. (Dudley also changes the family name to Beauchamp from Cranleigh for the novelisation, I think.)
nwhyte
Jun. 29th, 2008 06:35 pm (UTC)
Yeah, but they might have declined since the title was granted!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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