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21) Doctor Who - The Twin Dilemma, by Eric Saward

It's not a big secret that the TV original of this is by far my least favourite Classic Who story. I am none the less utterly amazed by how much worse the novelisation is. Saward attempts to channel Douglas Adams by giving us lots of extra humorous background detail, but it doesn't work for two reasons: less importantly, because he does significant violence to continuity (especially in the back-story for Azmael) without putting anything more interesting in its place; but more crucially because he simply isn't very funny. The strangulated sentence structure and poor proof-reading ("gawdy" for "gaudy", "balk" for "bulk" and at one point "Meersham" for "Meerschaum") further detract from the presentation of what is an unattractive story to begin with. By the law of averages, there must be some turkeys among the various spin-off novels but I would be astonished if any were quite as bad as this. Doctor Who and the Visitation is so much better than this that I had difficulty believing that they were by the same author.

22) Doctor Who - Attack of the Cybermen, by Eric Saward

I braced myself for more horrors with the next book in sequence, especially given that the TV version was pretty dire; but actually it is nothing like as bad as I feared. Indeed, in some respects it scores over the original - no awful music, no wobbly sets, and a significant rearrangement of the narrative to put (quite sensibly) all the scenes on Telos together in the second half; and even a decent attempt at creating sympathetic viewpoint characters. It still has some awful flaws - again, a lack of proof-reading ("wrung" for "rung" is a particularly good one); too much pointless, inconsistent background rambling; plus, even with structural improvements, the basic story remains rather dire. So I wouldn't recommend it to anyone but a completist. (Unlike Doctor Who - The Twin Dilemma, which I wouldn't recommend to anyone at all.)

So basically my reading of the Sixth Doctor novelisations has not got off to a promising start.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 19th, 2008 05:51 am (UTC)
He puts the same joke into Slipback, if you've heard/read it.

Other cases of the Doctor getting drunk: Five with Shakespeare in The King Maker (audio), Ten with Renette in The Girl in the Fireplace; can't think of any others though almost all of them enjoy the odd glass now and then.
Aug. 1st, 2008 08:19 am (UTC)
Solon slips him a roofie in his wine in The Brain of Morbius, FWIW
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

November 2022


Page Summary


  • nwhyte
    29 Oct 2022, 16:28
    Now I know that "psephologist" is a word.
  • nwhyte
    9 Sep 2022, 11:19
    That would make things less awkward.
  • nwhyte
    9 Sep 2022, 05:02
    Long after!
  • nwhyte
    8 Sep 2022, 17:37
    Were your 5X great-grandparents related at the time, or did their descendants get together after the duel?
  • nwhyte
    22 Aug 2022, 11:53
    I wonder why they attacked the guards instead of just claiming they were making a TikTok video or something. Having weapons on their person just makes it obvious they were spying.
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