Goodbye to Liz Shaw, hello to Mike Yates,
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Scales of Injustice: The Monster Collection Edition (Doctor Who (BBC)) (Paperback)
The Silurians (or whatever you wish to call them – this book is certainly unsure as to how they should be referred to, making it part of the story) have never been out and out villains. They may have been a bit more aggressive in later television stories but in ‘The Silurians’, which takes place shortly before this book, it was more a lack of understanding and a subsequent mistrust between individuals, human and Silurian, that caused violence. The Silurians of this book are in much a similar vein. As you might expect there are those that wish to exterminate mankind, those who consider peace and those who wish to experiment on humans. Auggi is particularly aggressive for a Silurian, however. Her character is somewhat similar to Broton. Perhaps that is because a few elements of ‘Terror of the Zygons’ have filtered into this story, including the use of a large beast mistaken for the Loch Ness Monster. These Silurians are unique in a certain way though (or at least some of them are). But that is basically the case to some degree with every colony of Silurians.
For some years this novel had been a difficult book to obtain. Because of this it was made available in PDF format upon the Doctor Who website. It is, therefore, good to see it republished as part of the Monster Collection. It is good to see it back in print for other reasons as well.
Firstly, although the Doctor is reasonably well characterised and has plenty to do in the story, the focus is probably more on some of the more familiar members of UNIT. This is a particularly good story for Liz Shaw, the Brigadier and Yates. The novel offers a good insight into their personal lives and aspirations. Partly this is due to their being a noticeable gap in events between the first two years of Jon Pertwee’s tenure. Russell attempts to address this by providing explanations for Liz’s departure and Yates’ arrival and appointment as the Brigadier’s second (although I’m not sure how Yates’ situation works out in relation to the Big Finish audio ‘Vengeance of the Stones’, which covers similar ground). Naturally this allows for more background on them and for more of the story to come from their perspectives. Liz’s situation is particularly well dealt with, especially her anxiety over whether or not she should remain with UNIT.
There is quite an influence from outside the confines of the programme in these matters. Liz certainly seems to be more like the older version of her portrayed in the straight to video PROBE series and much of the Brigadier’s life outside of UNIT seems to have been influenced from the Yeti spin-off ‘Downtime’. The Brigadier’s daughter, Kate, who appeared in ‘Downtime’ is featured in this novel as a young child. From these humble beginnings she was, of course, to finally appear in the programme in 2013 and featured in the fiftieth anniversary special.
The novel is quite heavy with continuity references. Sometimes these are a little frivolous or the author showing off his knowledge, but at other times they are put to good use. They are at their best when used to attempt to tie up all the threads of the seventh series. Predominantly this is to do with Liz and Yates as stated above. However, the use of various bits of technology and knowledge obtained from UNIT’s encounters and their adoption and misuse by government bodies is also a very important aspect of this book.
There is a lot going on in this novel and sometimes things seem to lack the attention they deserve like the Stalker (who seems a bit irrelevant) or Marc Marshall (whose role is little callously down played). Mainly, though, there are a lot of interesting aspects that make a fairly good story.