April 18th, 2008

doctor who

April Books 17-18) The Last First Doctor Novelisations

And so I reach the end of the first phase of this insane project, the last two novelisations featuring William Hartnell's incarnation of the Doctor.

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So, that's it for the First Doctor novelisations. The best ones are David Whitaker's original Doctor Who and the Daleks, Ian Marter's Doctor Who - The Rescue and Donald Cotton's Doctor Who - The Romans, with honorable mentions to the other four by those three authors, John Lucarotti's Doctor Who - Marco Polo and the three Dalek novelisations by John Peel. None of them is quite the real thing though: Hartnell's performance was so strongly visual that it is impossible to catch on the printed page. The only way to really get a flavour of early Who is to watch it.

On to the Troughton era now...

April Books 19) True History of the Kelly Gang

19) True History of the Kelly Gang, by Peter Carey

This was recommended to me by someone about six months ago, I think after I was a bit unimpressed by the same author's Oscar and Lucinda. It really grabbed me; I was only vaguely aware of the story of Ned Kelly, but Carey has given him and his country (the Australian state of Victoria in the 1870s) a resounding voice. The story is dramatic and moving; the underlying theme of the book is the injustice by which Kelly and his family, and their community, were shut out of having their voice heard, and had to submit to the lies and distortions of their more powerful enemies. Kelly becomes a robber and a murderer, but only after the authorities have made him so; he is motivated by love and loyalty for his family, and comes across as flawed but in his own way noble. I believe this won the Booker Prize? A decent choice if so.