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Customer Review

on 7 July 2011
The word for today is 'sphere'. This book introduced that word to my vocabulary over 35 years ago. Terrance Dicks got the novelisation job for this one even though it's a story from before his involvement with the show. For the most part he sticks with the Mervyn Haisman/Henry Lincoln script. He lets the dialogue drive the action with the bare minimum of descriptive narrative. We certainly don't spend much time in anybody's head. There's very little of Dicks' attempting to expand on the story. Travers gets a bit about him being mocked by the Royal Geographical Society and he gets a few little amendments to scenes like tricking the gate guard. To me the book is more notable for what was left out. Only the second episode and audio of the broadcast episodes remain but if you ever get a chance to listen to them you'll realise at once how much more sparkier Patrick Troughton's dialogue is. The scene with the Doctor sounding out Thonmi in the cell is a really strong dramatic scene but in the book it is insipid by comparison. Some of the other dialogue that didn't make it into the book was probably added quite late in the production so probably was never included in the script prints. You could argue that Dicks may have just been editing out some of the humour such as the very funny routine the Doctor has with Jamie when he comes up with a plan to trap a Yeti, or the classic 'They came to get their ball back' line. I didn't know any of this when I first read this book though in the early 1970s. All I knew as a 8 or 9 year old was I was getting to read a past Doctor Who story that I had almost no chance of ever seeing. I was enthralled with the Yeti. Not seeing them waddling down a hillside like a cuddly friendly CBeebies monster has its advantages I suppose. I also didn't notice how thoroughly annoying Victoria is in this adventure. She's dubbed 'that devil girl' by the monks and rightly so as she either whines on about being bored or tries to wander off and get into trouble. It might sound like I don't like this one but I assure you I do like it. Long before I eventually got to watch and listen to what remains of The Abominable Snowmen I'd already burned this book with the heat of nostalgia onto my memory. Those damned monks and that snowy mountainside are going to be with me to the end.
This new edition has an introduction by Stephen Baxter, a between the lines feature about the script to novelisation process, original illustrations and an about the authors spotlight of Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln.
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4.9 out of 5 stars