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Creatures in the ice
on 10 May 2012
The Doctor arrives on Earth in a future beset by a new ice-age. Scientists struggle to find a way to hold back the inexorable advance of the glaciers. Meanwhile a strange humanoid figure is discovered trapped and perhaps preserved in the ice.
I guess I was around ten when I first read this in the 1970s. I'd been far too young to catch The Ice Warriors when first broadcast in 1967. And I'd have to wait another 25 years or so to finally get my hands on the specially reconstructed edition on VHS to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Doctor Who. I hold The Ice Warriors in very high esteem, ranking it in the higher echelons of Patrick Troughton stories; it's hugely atmospheric, surprisingly arctic for the budget, well cast, funny, dramatic and a good script. The book is all those things, with a no limits effects budget and if it differs in small ways from the original production it's mainly due to what the actors brought to the characters themselves, most notably the humour and goofing of the Tardis crew in the first episode. Britannicus Base is realised better on the page. Finally that image of a full on country house, complete with lawns and terraces sheltered by an environment dome is achieved. I'd like to proclaim that this book introduced one of the great Who 'monster' races to me but I'd actually already encountered the Ice Warriors on tv via their Peladon appearances (also penned by Bryan Hayles). The book did spark a bit of interest in what glaciers were to my young mind. Previously glaciers were the bit of the dinosaur encyclopaedia that I'd been a bit dismissive of. Arden's very funny line,"Oh, not another Mastodon," wasn't in the book or I'd have certainly sympathised. I was disappointed to learn that glaciers weren't quite as sprightly as the Doctor Who variety. There are a lot of conflicts of opposites going on throughout, transforming the now familiar base under siege Troughton plot into a crackingly fascinating story; science against nature, the clash of personality between Leader Clent and temperamental scientist Penley, not to mention the mammalian v reptilian stand-off between the Humans and the Martians. Even through my rosy nostalgia haze I have to admit that at times the pseudo science jargon is sometimes a bit much and too much time is spent rationalising the science. Though in its defence it does make the science guff exceedingly convincing guff. But that's an impression that I have reading it at age 45. At age ten the main thought that was in my mind was finding more Target novelisations.
Original artwork , features on script to novel, Brian Hayles and a new introduction by Mark Gatiss.