How much do monsters have a choice about being monstrous, and how much can they outgrow their natures?Getting the year off to a good start with Graham Sleight's analysis of 29 of the Doctor's best known monstrous adversaries, and what they actually mean in story terms. Fellow fans will enjoy Sleight's take on the various creatures, whether we agree or disagree - for instance, he argues that if Kroll had been realised better on screen, The Power of Kroll might have a far better reputation as a story. But mainly he looks at the effect of monsters on the other characters in the story, on the viewer and to an extent on themselves. The people who will really get something out of this book are those with a strong interest in cinematic and television depictions of monsters, combined with a passing familiarity with Who, rather than the other way round.Having said that, the book looks very much at Who in its own terms without tying it particularly to other screen sf or fantasy, and jumps around quite a lot in historical timeline (which I think was a good way of getting the Whovian reader to think about it a bit more; the non-Whovian reader won't care). The Daleks get four separate chapters - original story, pre-Davros, post-Davros and New Who - and the Cybermen get three - up to Return of the Cybermen, Earthshock to end of Old Who, and New Who.
My copy unfortunately was marred by production errors, including a complete lack of page numbers. The material deserved better from the publisher (I.B. Tauris), but Who fans and media fans more generally will enjoy it anyway.