January 6th, 2008


January Books 2) Doctor Who - Fury from the Deep

2) Doctor Who - Fury from the Deep, by Victor Pemberton

Ian alerted me to this novelisation (published in 1986, of a 1968 story) as being possibly one of the better ones of the later Target run, and I got it off eBay pretty easily. I admit I (and even more so my wife) had found the original story a bit lacking; since then, however, I've seen the few surviving clips on the "Lost In Time" DVD and it really does look much better than it sounded. Also, in the context of a Doctor Who which was moving more to contemporary England as a setting, it makes more sense; it is a successful (and maybe in some ways better) prototype for some of the Pertwee stories. (Drilling-awakes-ancient-enemy of course goes back to Lovecraft and before, but reappears in Who in Inferno and The Power of Kroll at least.)

Anyway, the book is OK, and as you can see has prompted me to re-evaluate the original story, but it is not a great work of literature. As with too many of the Target novelisations, it is mostly narrated as if the author were simply writing down what is visible on the TV screen, and Pemberton's occasional excursions into tight third are actually jarring and often unsuccessful. The Doctor and companions get apparently killed so often that it loses dramatic impact (and this occasionally calls forth thunderously bad prose, citing for instance pp 129-130). On the other hand, the book does make more sense than the original story and fills in some of the plot gaps and backgrounds to the characters, and Victoria's decision to depart is decently foreshadowed. And the monster, as so often, is more convincing on the printed page. So I don't regret buying it.
white house

Presidential meme

84% Dennis Kucinich
81% Mike Gravel
80% Chris Dodd
78% Barack Obama
77% Joe Biden
74% John Edwards
73% Hillary Clinton
73% Bill Richardson
39% Rudy Giuliani
35% John McCain
32% Ron Paul
25% Mike Huckabee
25% Mitt Romney
15% Fred Thompson
14% Tom Tancredo

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

Not a huge surprise; though I'm actually furthest from Kucinich on his foreign policy positions, where he is (as far as I can tell) pretty isolationist.

Myself, I've been very much influenced by the Washington Post piece in October about who is advising the front-runners on foreign policy. Clinton and McCain have easily the most heavyweight lists of experts, but Obama's list includes my former colleague Rob Malley and several others with whom I feel instinctively in sympathy - Samantha Power, Dick Clarke, Ivo Daalder. (The Edwards team seems surprisingly mil rather than pol in balance; perhaps they have been updated since?) It is of course wrong to assume that because X is advised by Y that X will share Y's views; but if Y is someone whose judgement I respect, and has chosen to support X, that counts for something too.