‘Mission to the Unknown’ is a bit of a misnomer for this book. It is not merely a novelisation of that one part story shown between ‘Galaxy 4’ and ‘The Myth Makers’. Instead it is roughly the first half of the twelve part serial ‘The Dalek’s Masterplan’. Of course, ‘Mission to the Unknown’ served as a taster for the forthcoming Dalek epic, creating anticipation and expectation. As such it is virtually a prologue to ‘The Dalek’s Masterplan’, hence their amalgamation within this novelisation.
The author has combined the two in an interesting and successful way. Rather than taking the more obvious route of just pinning ‘Mission to the Unknown’ at the start of ‘The Dalek’s Masterplan’ the author opens with the final events of ‘The Myth Makers’ where the Doctor and his companions are fleeing from the fall of Troy. He then embarks on novelising the events of ‘Mission to the Unknown’. In a certain way this rearranges the running order of ‘Mission to the Unknown’ and ‘The Myth Makers’. This gives the overall story a better flow and allows for it to begin with the Doctor and his companions rather than not have them appear until considerably later in the book.
The irritable, tetchiness of the First Doctor is extremely well grasped in this novelisation but the slightly cheeky, amused edge isn’t done so well. Steven is quite accurately portrayed but it is short term companion Katarina who probably gets the best treatment. She appears to be a more fleshed out version than her onscreen counterpart and quite a few of the early stages of the book are written as if from her perspective. It is quite interesting to see how she adapts to the wonders of the technology around her, how she overcomes her fears and trepidations by converting what she sees and experiences into an explanation that fits her knowledge and the society she comes from. How else would an ancient Trojan perceive the Tardis but as a magical temple of the gods?
The Black Dalek, also referred to as the Dalek Supreme, is one of the best realised Daleks in the Target novelisations. The cold, calculating aspect of the Daleks is more apparent in his portrayal and the way he seems to somehow exhibit contempt for Mavric Chen without seeming to say anything or having any facial expressions is one of the highlights of the book.
The author has also made a couple of retrospective additions to the story which weren’t even conceived at the time when the original serial was broadcast; such as a reference to the Movellan War being in the past. These are quite nice nods to fandom and continuity that don’t disrupt the original story.
It is a shame that ‘The Dalek’s Masterplan’ is probably the least likely story to ever be rediscovered intact. At least this novelisation provides some insight into this twelve episode Dalek epic.
This book is the novelization of what might be termed the first half of the classic Dalek Masterplan story from the William Hartnell era. The serial on television of this story was my introduction to both the Doctor and Daleks. I was too young then to appreciate it then, but I do remember a scene described in this book where Daleks burn down a forest.
Sadly, the tapes of the television serial were mostly wiped by the BBC. Though a few episodes have resurfaced since, it looks like most are lost forever. Thus this this may be the only way Doctor Who fans will ever get to know that particular story
And the story itself is epic with a grandeur. The Guardian of the Solar System has treacherously joined forces with the Daleks to conquer the Universe. At this point the Doctor and his companions arrive on a planet where there is a conference of the villains. On discovering the nature of the plot, the Doctor and his companions escape but are separated from the Tardis. There follow a number of adventures as they attempt to reach Earth to warn of the danger.
The novel ends after several of these when the travellers manage to return to the Tardis at a significant moment. This is not on a cliff hanger, as such. The Doctor and his companions escape into space and time. The novel itself is written to be read in its own right without needing to know the events in the second part, though it does end with unfinished business.
The story is told with pace and is easy light reading. There are many twists and turns. Many Whovians rate this as the best Dalek story ever which makes it a pity that the story is only available, at present, as a second hand book. Maybe, this will be amended in due course with the reissue of some of the old Target paperback titles- perhaps even with this story in a single volume.
Excellent Part 1 Dalek novel. Ashamed the story has missing episodes but truly for younger and older fans who just the story. However the problem is that Mission to the Unknown is included as well. I believe the story should being a separate one but never mind. Also, the ending to the television of the Myth Maker is reused at the beginning then the end of the novel version. You must buy it as the price are low.
If 106 episodes of the Original 6 Seasons are missing. I recommend the novelisations of the missing episodes. Only 3 Parts of The Daleks Masterplan ('Day of Armageddon', 'Counterplot' & 'Escape Switch') exist in the BBC archives. This story covers episodes 1 to 6.
This book & it's sequel "The Mutation of Time" after it, cover the entire Masterplan serial.
Not only does it cover Daleks Masterplan, It also covers the Missing Episode "Mission to the Unknown"
Another brilliant Terry Nation Dalek story. It has everything you would want in a Dalek story, a nightmare jungle, a Dalek city and a Dalek Masterplan. It is so unfortunate that this story does not exist in its entirety as it is perfect. But at least it can still exist in our imaginations with this excellent telling of the Dalek Masterplan by the excellent John Peel who has novelized many Dalek stories. as this stoy no longer fully exists this is the perfect way to complete the fictional history of the Daleks for fans like me who were not around for the classic series but who love to watch the old stories, (William Hartnell is my third fave Doctor after Tennant and Eccleston!)