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Not so creepy mechanical men,
This review is from: Doctor Who: Corpse Marker: The Monster Collection Edition (Paperback)
This book works as a sort of sequel to `Robots of Death'. The Doctor and Leela encounter the same civilisation (one that relies on the use of robots to the point of indolence) as they encountered in the televised serial. It must be quite a few years later for this civilisation but not that much longer in the time streams of the Doctor and Leela. Thus the Leela portrayed is very much an early version recently removed from the Sevateem. This is the Leela which the author is most familiar with as he scripted the story in which she made her initial appearance, `The Face of Evil'. He splits up Leela and the Doctor quite early on so that Leela is allowed to make full use of her martial abilities without the Doctor looking on disapprovingly at her behaviour. It also gives her a lot more independence in events than she ever had in `The Face of Evil' or `Robots of Death'. Leela's portrayal within the novel is very convincing and the author languishes plenty of attention on continuing to develop her character from the above mentioned television stories, especially the development of her trust for the Doctor. However, the characterisation of the Doctor is a little shallow at times.
The novel also continues to follow the lives of Poul, Toos and Uvanov, the three other survivors of Storm Mine Four alongside Leela and the Doctor. Each are trying to move on with their lives since the events of the `Robot of Death'. Toos seeks wealth, Uvanov seeks power and Poul seeks sanity. Because of their previous acquaintance and involvement in past events all three of them become involved in the various convoluted plans of Carnell. These were all characters created by Boucher. Thus he knows them well and continues to develop them.
`The Robots of Death' has always been one of Doctor Who's highly regarded stories, and deservedly so. A major reason for this is that eponymous robots are so successfully realised in both design and performance. Such is their impression that, after only one onscreen appearance, they manage to qualify for this Monster Collection series alongside such frequently recurring monsters as the Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, etc. It is such a pity then that all that made the televised robots great is basically absent from this novel. Obviously the lack of their visual impact is excusable. But it is the way they are utilised that really lets them down. They aren't really that important to the story. The Vocs, Dumbs and Supervocs of the programme are little more than scenery in the background for most of the book. It is a great shame that they lack the presence they previously possessed. The `creepy mechanical men' are no longer creepy. The actual robot antagonists in this story are a new development of cyborgs that to all intents and purposes are visually indistinguishable from humans in appearance.
One of the most interesting aspects of the novel is that it links Doctor Who to Blake's 7. This link unfortunately doesn't come through the Daleks as Terry Nation intended but through the character who manipulates events behind the scenes in `Corpse Marker', Carnell. Carnell was originally created by Boucher for the Blake's 7 episode `Weapon'. This novel thus also acts as sequel to his story as he escapes the Federation. This tenuous link does eventually go on to be responsible for the audio series `Kaldor City' which features both Carnell and Uvanov as well as more of Boucher's creations.
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Initial post: 24 Mar 2014 13:44:08 GMT
Last edited by the author on 25 Mar 2014 08:04:22 GMT
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