on 7 July 2011
'There are some corners of the universe... which have bred the most terrible things. Things which are against everything we have ever believed in. They...' he shivered in spite of himself,'... must be fought. To the death.'
I do like it when the Cybermen are sneaky. They really can be quite creepy as they infiltrate their targets, keeping hidden as they undermine and convert. All this stomping about in formation they do nowadays just doesn't have the same scare factor. But I'm a long way from nine years old now... so what do I know?
Script Editor Gerry Davis on the 1967 story transcribes the Kit Pedlar script to novel pretty much word for word. He does add a strong narrative though and there are also a few references to the real moon landing which hadn't taken place when the episodes were first shown but revisiting the script in 1975 gave him the chance to arm Ben and Polly with knowledge that would back up their new 1970s origins overwriting their 1960s one from debut story 'The War Machines'. It's a nice touch. The story relies on the often used 'base under siege' story template so often employed during Pat Troughton's era, though there's little attempt to keep the Cybermen under wraps as the tv episodes did. No mystery threat here. It's the Cybermen - woo-hoo. They're on the cover and we get a little origin prologue to kick off. With half of the serial missing reading this rereleased novelisation is probably the best way to either relive the adventure or discover it for the first time. Great stuff.
This new edition includes an introduction by Gareth Roberts, the original illustrations by Alan Willow, profiles of gerry Davis and Kit Pedlar and a look at the changes made to the tv script and the novelisation.
on 25 March 2009
In the dim and distant past, when Doctor Who was a man with a deeply lined face and a shock of white hair, someone wisely (?) bought me a copy of "Doctor Who in an exciting adventure with the Daleks" and I was hooked. The first dozen or so Target editions were published with the Doctor Who logo in thick black text and it is those volumes - Daleks, Crusaders, Zarbi, Cybermen, Abominable Snowmen, Auton Invasion, Cave Monsters, Doomsday Weapon, Daemons, Day of the Daleks, Curse of Peladon, Sea Devils - of which I am fondest, dating from a time before the range became a monthly production line and the "arc top" logo became standard. But "Doctor Who and the Cybermen" remains a favourite. Maybe it was the black spine, or maybe the rather brilliant (if wrongly referenced) cover, but actually, I think it was just the story that stuck with me at a very impressionable age.
I was so looking forward to this one getting the audiobook treatment, and I wasn't disappointed. The text by Gerry Davis always improved admirably on the limitations of the television production (of which only 2 episodes still survive - available on "Doctor Who - Lost in Time" on DVD, but the entire story is available as "The Moonbase" in the BBC soundtrack CD range) and created a gripping and entertaining story with some wonderful embellishments (as well as the idea of the second Doctor wearing a cravat) which carried me along through a long train journey and didn't disappoint me after 35 years.
Anneke Wills is an enjoyable voice to listen to (I would recommend her audio memoir "Self Portrait" if you want to hear more) and some of her dialects (Jamie's Scots, Hobson's Yorkshire) are simply a delight. Wisely, the Cybermen voices have been supplied by the voice of the modern Cybermen, Nicholas Briggs which adds an authentic air, and the whole package, including small reproductions of the illustrations from inside the original novelisation, has an air of genuine care about its production that really shines through.
Over a twenty period Target books realised novelisations of nearly all the original Doctor Who stories. The only ones that were not released were due to right issues with the original writer. All the Cybermen serials were adapted, and the novel version of The Moonbase, confusingly renamed Doctor Who and The Cybermen as a book, even though it was not the original television story to feature the Cybermen, now comes to audio CD.
The early days of the target novels was the golden period for the book range, and this actually matched a great period for the programme on tv, with the early Tom Baker serials generating huge audience figures, and this audience then hunted down the books available. With no videos or DVDs back in the mid 70s, for many fans the closest they good get to seeing the earlier serials was to read the novels. This novel featured the Second Doctor, alongside companions Ben,Polly and Jamie - who had just joined the crew. It was originally on tv in 1967 some 8 years earlier.
In the early days the novel size was not restricted so here we have Gerry Davies giving an indepth description of a moonbase in 2070 coming under attack from Cybermen. All the characters are well developed and the novel really keeps your attention. I am also pleased that the original superior cover is kept on the CD, even if it does feature an incorrectly designed Cyberman. This type of Cyberman not coming into the series until the end of the 60s.
Anneke Wills proves to be an excellent reader, and it was an inspired idea to get the voice of the Doctor Who monsters from the current stories, Nicholas Briggs, to come in and do the Cybermen voices.
This is very hghly recommended.
on 4 May 2015
I have just recently returned to vintage Who Target novels thanks to this cheap selection on kindle. As a child I owned a few that included the "Loch Ness Monster" and the "Yeti" and I think I still own my Mother's copy of the "Crusaders" somewhere too.
As a child it was the only way to enjoy the past adventures of Who, before the invention of VHS, DVD and now Blu- ray. They were, and I'm glad to say, still are great reads, rich with excitement and well rendered characters that have in this day and age thankfully become a lot more accessible thanks to the technology I mentioned earlier, the many repeats on TV have also let us take adventures once again with the early Doctors.
I have never seen this story, and this is the first time i have read the book, and it suffers from only one negative, that to be honest will not bother most readers except myself, I found the writers "style" hard to follow. I don't know if anyone else suffers this oddity of nature but on occasion I have a little trouble catching the flow of particular writers. Steven King and Douglas Adams being two examples, much as I love and have read to death all of the "Hitchhiker" books, I find it hard to catch their flow.
Aside from that here is a great novel that manages to capture suspense, action and the classical resourcefulness under pressure that is the very trademark of Dr Who. The Cybermen are at their best, emotionless, ruthless, logical, and show powers of adaptation in taking a stealth approach after their head on tactics in "tenth planet" failed to achieve their goals.
The human characters are well crafted and fit into the grand scheme, all having parts to play. The Dr's companions, all have their moments to shine in this story, although little is seen of Jamie at the start.
It's good to see some original illustrations included here from the book, and I think helps to set the scene somewhat as to which era of costume the Cybermen where in during this story, even if in my own head all Cybermen look like their 80's incarnation!
To sum up its a great read, very enjoyable and a pleasure to see Trouton's second Dr galloping around space and time again. For the cost of it, buy it and experience some wonderful Cyber action that will take you back to when you used to read under the sheets by touch light!!!
This BBC Book edition lovingly restores the feel of those old Target editions of Doctor Who. In the 70's they were my and many others only route to past Doctors and their adventures, beyond rare tv repeats. This fragile connection is touched on by Gareth Roberts in his introduction to this edition of Doctor Who and the Cybermen (keeping the Target novelisation's title for the tv adventure `The Moonbase'). This fragility, and the attendant value of the Target novelisations, is largely lost today with our dvd and digital restorations (although I am no luddite and am grateful for these restorations as well).
This book is a pacy and exciting read. Gerry Davis, co-creator wit Kit Pedler of the Cybermen, knows how to bring the second Doctor and his companions to life, conjures up a claustrophobic and memorable setting with the Graviton centred Moon-base, and paints the Cybermen as a truly scary foe, both keeping to the shadows with sneak attacks, and showing an implacable military force and threat with wave after wave of Cybermen marching across the lunar landscape.
The Graviton, a device piloted on the base by a multi-national crew to control the weather on Earth, is a concept that has not dated too badly, but then going with the flow of out-dated visualisations of the future in older sci-fi and fantasy is part of the fun, as long as it has a reasonably coherent central logic and integrity as an idea, which this does.
As stated, this copies the Target original, with its title, cover design, and illustrations. The latter provided a further valuable bridge to 70's readers like me in reimagining these old adventures, and the ones here are a superb addition to the text. Standouts for me are a Cyberman in shadow looming over a terrified man, and the Cybermen in free-fall from the Lunar landscape when the Graviton is turned against them.
This edition also has some great `dvd extras' in a short `between the lines' section at the end, pointing out key behind the scenes differences, including changes made from the screenplay and screen when writing the novel, and background information on the Cybermen and their creators.
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.
on 17 August 2010
If you can get past Anneke Wills' atrocious attempt at replicating the voice of Jamie McCrimmon then this is another highly impressive audio reading of a classic Target Doctor Who novelisation.
In this story we get a prologue recounting the rise of the Cybermen and how they began as ordinary humanoids. I always found these additions to the televised stories fascinating, and although Gerry Davis is no Malcolm Hulke he still creates a novel that is both faithful to its TV original and pleasingly beefed up.
Another interesting reminder of old Doctor Who is that Patrick Troughton played the Time Lord as very alien - initially unconcerned by his companions' injuries when the TARDIS has a 'wobble', he is far more interested in the cause than its effect. This is very much the pattern followed by all of the first four Doctors, as well as Colin Baker, Chris Eccleston and Sylvester McCoy, and is a welcome reminder that this is indeed an alien being and not a jovial uncle.
on 15 June 2012
I bought all the 'Target' Doctor Who novelizations when I was a kid. This was before the VCR so the only way to re-live Doctor Who was to read it in novel form. I can honestly say that it was the desire to read these stories that was my prime motivation to learn to read when I was in junior school.
I'm so glad these literary treasures are being released on the Kindle. I've bought all of them so far and will probably buy all the subsequent releases. My young son loves to have them read to him for his bedtime stories.
In this 2nd Doctor (Pat Troughton) story, the Cybermen try to infiltrate a weather base on the Moon to destroy the Earth's weather to soften it up ready for an invasion.
on 20 May 2013
In 2070, the Earth's weather is controlled from a base on the moon. But when the Doctor and his friends arrive, all is not well. They discover unexplained drops of air pressure, minor problems with the weather control systems, and an outbreak of a mysterious plague.
With Jamie injured, and members of the crew going missing, the Doctor realises that the moonbase is under attack. Some malevolent force is infecting the crew and sabotaging the systems as a prelude to an invasion of Earth. And the Doctor thinks he knows who is behind it: the Cybermen.
This novel is based on 'The Moonbase', a Doctor Who sci-fi story that was originally broadcast from 11 February-4 March 1967.
Featuring the Second Doctor as played by Patrick Troughton, and his companions Polly, Ben and Jamie.
Another one of the early 1970s Target Doctor Who novelisations now in eBook form, based on the 1967 Patrick Troughton story The Moonbase. The book expands a little on the TV version, especially in demonstrating a little more fully the multinational nature of the Moonbase crew, but lacks the depth of the David Whitaker and Malcolm Hulke novelisations. The original illustrations are a great bonus in these editions.