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Three spinoff books from the Tom Baker era of Who.

12) The Second Doctor Who Monster Book, by Terrance Dicks

The Second Doctor Who Monster Book, from 1977, is simply a very brief retelling of the stories from the first three Fourth Doctor seasons, from Robot to The Talons of Weng Chiang. It is prefaced by character sketches of the Fourth Doctor and Harry, Sarah and Leela, which are I guess potentially important source material for interested fic writers. There are copious illustrations - mostly black and white photos with a few colour two-page spreads. Mostly the choice of pictures is good though there are some very odd exceptions - the illustrations for Revenge of the Cybermen appear to be in fact from Tomb of the Cybermen, and in one or two other cases we just have the book cover. Still, as an update to The Making of Doctor Who it must have served a purpose.

13) The Adventures of K9 and Other Mechanical Creatures, by Terrance Dicks

The least impressive of these three is The Adventures of K9 and Other Mechanical Creatures, from 1979. The first half of it is a summary of (most of) the stories between The Invisible Enemy and The Armageddon Factor, as narrated very briefly by the Doctor in rather twee first person. The second half mixes a rather context-free listing of the other robotic creatures encountered by the Doctor (going from the Ice Soldiers in The Keys of Marinus to the eponymous Androids of Tara, though in somewhat jumbled order) with puzzles, quizzes, and a cut-out K9 for you to make at home. I am sure that it is no reflection on the librarianship skills of previous owners that it also reached me in much worse condition than the other two.

14) Terry Nation's Dalek Special, compiled and edited by Terrance Dicks

On the other claw (or plunger), Terry Nation's Dalek Special, also from 1979, is much more interesting. It starts with "The Secret Invasion", presented as "An Original Story" by Terry Nation (though in fact it's obvious from a crack about it being "Mr Wilson's turn this month" that it dates from the second quarter of 1974, when it was first published in the Evening Standard), in which four children avert the destruction of London (ie the world) by the Daleks. It's a fun little novella, as anyone who has read Rebecca's World would expect, and it's a matter for regret that Nation never tried his hand at any Who novelisations himself. Then there is a factual bit about how the Daleks took the world by storm in the mid-60s (which is interesting reading for us cultists, but must have left the target audience of the book a bit bemused). Finally there is a decent summary of each of the canonical Dalek stories up to Destiny of the Daleks, intermingled with more quizzes, puzzles and the inevitable cut-out Dalek model. If you have the chance to get any of these three books make it this one. (Of course, the completist will want all of them.)

Anyway, thanks go once again to cassiphone for donating these to my library.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
parrot_knight
Aug. 10th, 2008 10:04 pm (UTC)
One interesting credit in both the 1979 specials is the acknowledgement to Jeremy Bentham of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society. I wonder whether DWAS interest in recovering the history of the programme in the 1960s ended up skewing the content of the Dalek book in the way that you describe?
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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