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There are some corners of the universe that have bred the most terrible things
on 14 September 2014
In attempting to reach Mars, the Tardis crew accidently end up visiting the moon. There they soon discover a weather control station manned by an international crew who one by one are contracting a strangle plague or disappearing altogether. It soon becomes apparent that the moon has other, more sinister, visitors.
This is a novelisation of the televised serial originally known as the ‘The Moonbase’, written by the co-writer of said serial and co-creater of the Cybermen. It is another example of the Target series randomly changing the title of the story for no apparent reason. Why ‘The Moonbase’ should have been renamed the more generic title ‘Doctor Who and the Cybermen’ and not ‘The Tenth Planet’ is a bit of a mystery. Of course ‘The Tenth Planet’ is an intriguing title whereas ‘The Moonbase’ does sound a little dull. More than likely though it is just simply due to the release schedule.
As novelisations go it is a fairly standard account of the televised version. Often the text is a little dry, lacking in atmosphere and pace and there are few embellishments or deviations. Some of the minor characters receive a little more attention but the only significant additions involve the Cybermen themselves. Unlike the televised version, the Cybermen are given a Cyberleader (along with the now familiar black highlighting to the head). Interestingly this looks forward to the colour Cybermen stories where virtually every story features a Cyberleader with black head handles or faceplates to signify their rank whilst at the same time harking back to ‘The Tenth Planet’ by providing the Cyberleader with a name, Tarn. In this way the novelisation seems to be more of a transition phase in the development of the Cyberman than the televised version which always felt a little to me that it was more of a throwaway story than ‘The Tenth Planet’ with its marvellous ideas or the very excellent ‘Tomb of the Cybermen’ that virtually sandwiched it. The reference to these Cybermen being Telosians as opposed to Mondasians adds to this.
It is not the most thrilling of the Target novelisations but it does possibly contain the best introduction to any of them. The brilliant prologue establishes the Cybermen perfectly and is so good that is re-used in every subsequent Cybermen Target novelisation. And, like the television version, it contains those famous lines about the universe breeding terrible things that probably sum up the essence of the program better than any others.