After a break, the BBC return to releasing three original Doctor Who novels in one go. They are the same size as previous Eleventh Doctor ones, but feature slightly different cover designs, with painted rather than photo covers.
One of this latest batch is the Dalek Generation, which is written by Nicholas Briggs. Better known as the Voice of the Daleks [and various other monsters] on TV, and for overseeing the range of Doctor Who audios from Big Finish Publications.
The book runs for two hundred and fifty three pages. It is divided into a prologue and sixteen chapters. It is suitable for readers of all ages. And the Doctor's dialogue is perfectly well written, with lines that you can imagine Matt Smith saying.
The story features the Doctor travelling without any companions.
And it also features the Daleks.
Yes, the Daleks. The benevolent beings who founded the Dalek Foundation worlds. Planets where the poor and dispossessed from other worlds were offered new homes and new lives. Planets where nothing bad ever happens, and people live in peace and harmony. All thanks to the Daleks.
In the meantime, receiving a message cube [as seen in the tv episode 'the Doctor's Wife'] leads the Doctor to find a spaceship and three orphaned children on board. Their parents died to prevent the Daleks from getting hold of something. But what? Can the Doctor convince people who owe everything to the Daleks what they're really like?
Because they must be up to no good, right?
Or are they just being very cunning indeed?
There's some clever plotting in this that hooks you from the off, and it does do radically different things with the Daleks that have never been tried in a story before. There's also something that will come us an interesting surprise to listeners to the audio range, but you don't need to have heard those to get into this.
The three children are quite prominent characters and could be annoying, but never quite get to that state. Certain scenes and actions of the Daleks are a little grim, but not enough to put younger readers off.
And it does feel as if it's written by someone who knows the Daleks and their stories of old well. With a few character names that could have come out of something written by Dalek creator Terry Nation.
It does threaten to lose it's way slightly in the second half as the action tos and fros a lot, but it is well worth hanging in there, because it pulls some superb surprises in the final fifty two pages. Everything - including a few early scenes that you may have been left wondering about the relevance of - does turn out to be relevant. And important. It's all very clever and cunning indeed. Just like the Daleks.
It's not quite the best novel in this range, but it's a decent read and it's well worth a look.
on 20 May 2013
The Daleks have always been used more sparingly in the Doctor Who novels than the programme. This means that a new Dalek novel is met with a certain level of anticipation. Written by the current Dalek expert and actor who voices them on screen, it would be easy to expect that this is going to be a novel concerning sweeping Dalek forces and invasions. It is a lot more toned down than that and the Daleks actually hardly kill anybody. Rather than warmongering this book features Daleks showing their more cunning, manipulative side. There is an echo of `Power of the Daleks' in this story. Although it is always a bit difficult to believe that any human can so easily convince themselves that the Daleks are a force for good or that they can be controlled, this story still manages to be convincing. It also gives the reader the sense that they are sharing something with the Doctor because it is only the Doctor and the reader that know that the Daleks are not really benevolent philanthropists.
It isn't the most original plot, with the Dalaks trying to track down and utilise an archaic device that will bestow great powers, but there are enough `timey-wimey' elements to keep the storyline interesting, if at times a little predictable.
Without any of the usual on-screen companions to assist him, the Doctor is teamed up with three young children. Despite their ages all three have clearly defined personalities and are the better characters in the book. The Doctor himself is portrayed quite well but he doesn't always seem to be the Eleventh Doctor as played by Matt Smith. And there are certainly some slight elements of other Doctors occasionally.
Despite this being a Dalek story, the Daleks are actually quite low key. For most of the time they have to maintain the appearance of generous benefactors. Thus their natural nature is rarely given the chance to be let loose. These are Daleks relying upon strategy rather than force. This is poignantly reflected in the exchange between the Paradigm Dalek Supreme and the Dalek Time Controller (this also irritatingly makes the Dalek hierarchy even more unfathomable). As the novel's main antagonist, the Time Controller is the only Dalek that really has any substantial role to play. His portrayal has, perhaps, more in common with Davros than the various Dalek Supremes or other leading Daleks. There is something quite unnervingly evil about him and he is definitely a character that is unique enough to crossover into the television series.
This novel is a reserved performance from the Daleks, but they are no less menacing for it.
on 7 October 2015
Having listened to and enjoyed Nicholas Briggs' previous ventures into the Whoniverse with his excellent Dalek Empire audio series from Big Finish (highly recommended!), I nevertheless approached this book with some caution. Much as I enjoy Mr Briggs' work, his stories tend to be a) very depressing, b) very slow and c) rather devoid of fun. Sadly, this novel embodies pretty much all of the above.
Don't get me wrong, here. He knows the Daleks better than almost anyone writing today, and does a terrific job of portraying their xenophobic evil and cunning. It's just that he's so keen on making them overwhelmingly powerful and evil that his characters are normally drained of all hope, reduced to moaning about how screwed they are and waiting (and often looking forward to) death. It's not fun reading.
Fans of the audios will also be surprised at the appearance of a character from those stories, who rather feels as if it's been shoe-horned into the novel in order to give the character some legitimacy, without considering that it screws up the characters (and the Doctors) continuity.
It's worth a read if you're a fan of the Daleks, but it's ultimately a very forgettable tale. in fact, after finishing the book I had to re-read the last few chapters because I couldn't remember how it finished. I still can't; it made that little of an impression.
on 29 July 2013
Like the iconic sound effect (created by Dick Mills of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop) of the Dalek Control Room, low-toned rhythmic almost mesmeric drone that drills beneath your skin, clawing at your soul, instilling fear & apprehension, Nick Briggs' latest DOCTOR WHO tie-in novel, THE DALEK GENERATION is remorselessly hypnotic in its intent that skilfully weaves itself in to a character-led adventure that echoes the `Dalek Master' himself, Terry Nation, their true creator. And with such `Nationian' names & titles as Gethria, Terran & Alyst, Carthedia, Hogoostra, Briggs' novel is, at times, almost an appreciative and unabashed love-letter to the author himself.
Released in two formats, a hardback novel from BBC BOOKS and a six-disc audiobook from AUDIOGO, THE DALEK GENERATION may disappoint some reviewers as, like the televised story REVELATION OF THE DALEKS (1985), Nation's creations are noticeable by their absence throughout the narrative with Briggs concentrating on delivering a character-led piece consumed in a mystery within a conundrum for the Time Lord to solve.
And the biggest, most extreme, mystery to solve is why were the Daleks being hailed as heroes in having created `...paradise..." within the galaxy?
For me, this conceit is most interesting and aims develops the battle-armoured travel machines machinations from one of pure energy weapon dispatching to a diligent, covert manipulation through strategic entrepreneurial enterprise and, yes, kindness that is far more intelligible for a `hive' (read: Dalek PathNet - semi-telepathic connection ) driven alien race. Kindness of the Daleks but, here, is more substantial that having a Dalek serve Tea or Coffee beverage (see VICTORY OF THE DALEKS). And as Briggs' story unfurls, not overly quickly but steadily, page-after-page (or disc-after-disc) the true nature of the Doctor's oldest enemy is revealed; a crusade to locate an archaic device with which... well, spoilers..!
"I did a wee in my pants."
And we are introduced to several new Dalek formats: Dalek Litigator and the Dalek Time Controller. The latter is chillingly defective with a clinical edge of logic that would not be out of place in the televised series if Davros was not to return it in the future. In many ways, Brigg's storyline & plotting echoes the (excellent) BIG FINISH Doctor-free spin-off audioplay series, DALEK EMPIRE, focussing upon the extent of the Dalek's exposure throughout a galaxy not so far away as they subjugate humanity and the resistance they encounter. Sometimes, less of the Doctor (and the baggage that the character brings with it) is more DOCTOR WHO. Emulating the CLASSIC SERIES' episode, MISSION TO THE UNKNOWN, I wonder if the NEW SERIES would ever have the confidence to broadcast an episode sans Time Lord with only the Dalek (or another alien race) as a prelude to future encounter.
Devoid of a regular companion, the Eleventh Doctor is - thankfully - given space to explore his own relationship with how he regards himself within the universe and with the Dalek race itself. Was he mistaken for once? Were the Daleks true saviours, creating `sun-made worlds' for humanity to thrive upon? Were they created `humanity farms' to be harvested from? However, he is given a handful of child orphans that ensure we see the plot from the innocent point-of-view but it is not overly sentimental, sickly or naïve, and under another author you'd might wish that the rapscallions would choke on their `Jelly-blobs' confectionery.
However, Brigg's characterisation of the Time Lord is a mildly irritating as it feels as if it's been written for Tennant's Tenth as opposed for Smith's Eleventh (and, for the audiobook, the author's `performance' is definitely more Tenth than Eleventh, though his could be something down to Brigg's own maturity).
Like Quicksand, THE DALEK GENERATION audiobook is irresistibly fluid, irrevocably trapping you in Nicholas Brigg's authentic reading, assiduously delineating each character in a seemingly effortless tour de force. With relish, and with the aid of an `electronic voice modulator', Briggs' owns each Dalek tonal screech that aurally penetrates like a feral cat attempting to claw itself across a classroom's Blackboard. Basically, unpleasant.
Overall, whilst the novel marginally waivers in its third quarter, DOCTOR WHO - THE DALEK GENERATION is pure escapism that is easily accessible for readers (and listeners) for all ages (and understanding for the DOCTOR WHO canon and backstory) that could be the plotting genesis for transfer to the BBC ONE drama series.
Given that Nicholas Briggs has a long association with Doctor Who, I expected this to be a solid Doctor Who / Dalek novel. But sadly I was rather disappointed. The story revolves around the Daleks and a long-term plan which sets them up as the good guys, with the Doctor trying to convince others that their aims are really evil and bad. Along the way the Doctor finds himself acting as guardian to three young children whose parents have killed themselves to attempt to stop the Daleks finding some information they have. All well and good, but I found that none of the characters, or the story itself really had credibility. The characters seemed all rather one-dimensional and shallow, and the story didn't seem to know quite what to make of itself as it unfolded. I found the Daleks really unconvincing. The Dalek Litigator seemed a good idea, and the Dalek Time Controller seemed like a well thought out idea as well. But I really had to draw the line at the Dalek Litigator saying to the Doctor "Enough ... You are upsetting the child". I cannot ever envisage any Dalek - ever - saying that. This book has the germ of a good idea, but it is never really brought to fruition. A pity.
on 18 June 2013
This book Is unusual for a dalek story it's a sweeping romp that never dips in its intensity I loved the bittersweet ending although I'm sure some whovians will hate it. Dr 11 grabs you from the start in this post pond era incarnation
on 19 January 2015
There are no such things as...Good Daleks..by the population of The Sunlight Worlds think there is...The Doctor,as always is suspisious..and he has reason to be..Answering as destress call he is sent off course..but at first doesn't know why..He becomes surrigate father to three children..Ollus,Sabel and Jenibeth..Thier parents defending a secret and killed by The Daleks..An emtional bond soon binds them..The Doctor..again knocked off course by now whom he knows to be The Daleks ends up on Getheria.where he meets Hogoosta an alien archeologists and friend to the child and their parents..The Doctor finds out he works on a monument called The Crade Of The Gods containing emence power The Doctor knows The Daleks should never get hold of..But The Daleks seem always to be one step ahead of The Doctor..because of The Dalek Time Controller...The odds are against The Doctor as he tries to puzzle everything together before The Daleks gain The Power Of The Cradle Of The Gods...A brilliant..moving and action packed story...The Doctor being on his own you route for him all the more..The Children deverstated by the death of their parents..you feel so much emotion for them..When they are locked in the orphanage you feel so deeply for them..The Doctor is in trouble to and you feel sorry for him even and later one in the story when Hogoosta is murdered by The Daleks..you get chocked again..and throughout the story noone believes The Doctor not even Lillien the reporter on Sunlight 349..that The Daleks are evil..The ending of the story was as strong as the begining..Moving and Brilliant..Nicolas Briggs has produced an amzing..touching..fantastic story..One that every single Doctor Who fan should read and own...I can't recommend this story high enough...
on 9 June 2013
I really enjoyed this and appreciated some of the darker plot elements. This would make a great TV parter, though I doubt some of the trauma the children go through would be allowed on screen.
Thwres a lot going on here. Unlike other doctor who novels, this one focusses a lit of the action on the character drama that unfolds between the doctor and the people he encounters. You won't find a lot of dalek action here. But this is much closer to the TV series. Some readers might find this novel has too much focus on the characters emotional roller coaster journey.
Great story, good use of daleks, some wonderfully dark moments for the children, oh and I love the jelly blobs.
Loses a star for being a bit long and overly descriptive at times.
on 24 March 2014
Really good CD.
Great story line, read by the wonderful Nick Briggs.
Arrived in great condition. I have listened to it twice already and it is as always a true Dr Who adventure against the Darleks.
on 18 April 2013
I like a good doctor who story as much as the next fan, especially if it features the daleks, but this was so ridiculous, its not even funny. are we really expected to believe that so many people would be taken in by the daleks considering their murderous past? highly unlikely I think.
considering this is a doctor who novel, the doctor doesn,t really do anything. he spends the entire book being outwitted by the daleks at every turn, and the resolution, when it comes, is at the hands of 3 grown up children, and a mysterious bit of alien tech which can apparently reorder matter on a grand scale.
speaking of the resolution, is that the best the author could come up with? tragedy and doctor who go hand in hand with each other, you expect it, so this sort of sickly sweet ending is just wrong on so many levels. using an alien device to recreate the childrens dead parents? really?
to make matters worse, the daleks, when defeated, simply get in their spaceship, and leave, no reprisals, no attack on the sunlight worlds, nothing. lame lame lame.