Doctor Who and the Daleks (A Target book) Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jun 1985
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The First Doctor, his first encounter with the Daleks - and the first ever Doctor Who novel back in print! --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
'The voice was all on one level, without any expression at all,
a dull monotone that still managed to convey a
terrible sense of evil...'
The mysterious Doctor and his granddaughter Susan are joined
by unwilling adventurers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright in an epic
struggle for survival on an alien planet.
In a vast metal city they discover the survivors of a terrible nuclear war -
the Daleks. Held captive in the deepest levels of the city, can the Doctor
and his new companions stop the Daleks' plan to totally exterminate
their mortal enemies, the peace-loving Thals? More importantly, even
if they can escape from the Daleks, will Ian and Barbara ever see their
home planet Earth again?
This novel is based on the second Doctor Who story which
was originally broadcast from 21 December 1963-1 February
1964. This was the first ever Doctor Who novel, originally
published in 1964.
Featuring the First Doctor as played by William Hartnell, and his
companions Susan, Ian and Barbara --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
In some ways, these books are better than the original TV stories on which they're based as there are no dodgy special effects to contend with. Your imagination can provide the best special effects ever.
This story of course is the first Dalek story and the second ever Doctor Who story and what a story it is. Suspense, tension, excitement, action. Has it all in spades. Do yourself a favour and buy this and any and every original series Target novelization that gets released on Kindle.
Unlike the majority of the Target books this is not only a novelisation of the televised serial. It is more of a re-imagining of how the programme begins. As such it encapsulates the first two stories into one. Much is the same in attitude and outlook but the events of `An Unearthly Child' are reduced and re-jigged to form the start of the Dalek story. Ian doesn't previously know Barbara and neither work at Cole Hill School. Instead he meets her, Susan and the Doctor as a consequence of coming across the scene of a car crash. This may seem very different in terms of events but the story maintains the same essence (and indeed many of the same lines of the script from `An Unearthly Child'). All the cavemen/Tribe of Gum stuff is dropped. In this way the Doctor and the Daleks both come into Doctor Who's first ever story.
There are many other changes throughout the book but these generally lessen as the story progresses, usually coming more in line with the televised version of `The Daleks'. Many of the differences are outlined and considered in the appendices to this novelisation which is a worthwhile and useful addition to the book. Neil Gaiman's modern introduction, although at times heart-warming to read, isn't quite so informative.
The introduction of a Dalek leader is worth pointing out, however. The televised version of this story appeared to lack one but virtually every story since, including the AAru movie adaption of this story, gives the Daleks a leader in some form or another, whether Emperor, Supreme, Prime Minister, Davros or Time Controller. This novel, published before the `Dalek Chronicles' or the showing of `The Dalek Invasion of Earth', gives the Daleks a leader first.
The other major difference in this novelisation from the Target series is that it is written utterly from the viewpoint of Ian. Other Doctor Who novelisations often make use of showing things from the companion's perspective but this novel is written entirely in the first person so that the reader is always seeing things through Ian's eyes. Admittedly this means a certain amount of material is lost as it is difficult to include any scenes in which Ian didn't feature. But on the plus side it does offer an insight into the development of the romantic side to his and Barbara's relationship and provides a differing approach to getting to know the Doctor. Whether this first person perspective is a reflection of ideas of where the show might have gone, with the possibility of the character of Ian being more the leading role than that of the Doctor, makes this a very intriguing read. It is an example of what might have been.
Of course `An Unearthly Child' as per the televised version was eventually novelised. How the canonicity of that works I'm not sure, but it doesn't really matter. This book is its own take on the beginning of Doctor Who.
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