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Doctor Who and the Cave-Monsters

4.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Allan Wingate (1974)
  • ISBN-10: 0855230363
  • ISBN-13: 978-0855230364
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,977,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was one of the earliest Target books I ever read back in the early 1970s. At the time I'd never seen the serial it was based on. I loved it. The cover promised great things for my young mind. Doctor Who - of course, strange green monsters, a volcano spewing lava (not in the story but volcanoes and dinosaurs equals Doug McClure fun to most kids of that era), and a Tyrannosaurus Rex - the gold standard in the children's league of dinosaur.
The story is largely exactly the same as the serial though the dialogue is completely different. I get the feeling that Malcolm Hulke wasn't really expanding on the tv script but rather going back to one of his earlier drafts before it was pummelled into shape by the script editor of the time Terrance Dicks. Whatever the case it seems to be a complete rewrite. There is no attempt at all to conceal the Silurians or generate suspense by making them half glimpsed creatures, Hulke introduces them on the first page with a prologue describing how they first entered their hibernation to survive the drawing off of Earth's atmosphere by a small rogue planet. We get backgrounds to many of the main support characters, Dr Quinn, Major Barker, Miss Dawson, Dr Lawrence etc. It's noticeable that most of them are even pottier than their tv counterparts in particular Major Barker/Baker - his military obsessions and his desire to restore the British Empire as he fights to stop the Silurians from regaining their own lost mastery rather hammers the irony onto the pages. In contrast Dr Lawrence is level-headed and reasonable and displays none of the histrionics that made his eventual wig-out and downfall so entertaining on screen. Here he's a sad career minded victim of circumstance.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Malcolm Hulke's first solo script for Doctor Who, transmitted in 1970, was released by Target Books in 1974. As with Hulke's other Doctor Who novelisations he added numerous additional touches, so that whilst the basic story is the same as on television, he was able to use the printed word to shine a light on his characters.

For example, Major Baker, renamed for no good reason Major Barker in the novelisation, is given a back-story which enables the reader to discover why he left the army. This helps to round out his character wonderfully. He's not the only one to benefit, as even minor characters have their moments. In addition, like the original television script, Hulke's story doesn't have goodies and baddies, every character has their own motivations, both the humans and the Silurians, with each character behaving in a rational way, at least rational in their own eyes.

When mysterious power failures occur at the Wenley Moor research centre, UNIT and the Doctor are called in to investigate. The Doctor finds that a race of reptile creatures, who have been in deep hibernation, are beginning to wake up. They regard the Earth as theirs, and the human race as nothing more than a bunch of apes who have risen above their station. Can the Doctor find a way to negotiate peace between the two sides or is violence the only answer?

The reader is the late Caroline John, who played Liz Shaw throughout the 1970 season. It's fair to say that her readings are an acquired taste, as some of her vocal choices did verge on the caricature. But of the three recordings she did of Target novels, this is the best, as her vocal eccentricities are more reigned in.

So, this is a good reading of one of the best entries in the Target range. For anybody who's looking to pick up a selection of these audiobooks, then this, as well as any of the others written by Malcolm Hulke, is a good place to start.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have the original target book so it was nice to revisit this beautifully written story again on kindle. Disappointed with the new paperback version though. Whoever prints these made sure that the cheapest materials were used. No expense spared.....
More reissues please but quality print - Sort it!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Novelised by the writer of the original script, Malcolm Hulke, this deservedly regarded as one of the classics of the Doctor Who Target range.

In main this is due to the brilliant depiction of the Silurians. Although they were portrayed more than adequately in the televised version, the novel further emphasises that they were not merely the aliens/monsters of the week but a much more complex and varied species. Hulke really gives the impression that this reptilian species were once a highly developed and cultured civilisation. The individual Silurians that the story chooses to focus on are well thought out and rounded characterisations with their own distinct personalities, reasoning and aspirations. This is initially reflected in the names Hulke chooses to entitle them with that were sadly absent from the televised version. The novelisation uncannily captures the fact that despite the fundamental difference in being mammals and reptiles the humans and Silurians are, in essence, much more similar than either species would care to acknowledge.

Hulke provides an interesting compare and contrast between the two species with his focus on individuals that weren't quite so developed on television. At times the story is provided from the perspectives of Quinn, Dawson, Barker, and, to a lesser degree, Lawrence. This provides an insight into their actions and choices through a greater exploration of their aspirations and motivations.
Likewise, the Silurians receive the same treatment. In fact Okdel is easily the most sympathetic character within the book.
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