8) Doctor Who – Remembrance of the Daleks
I was goaded into reading this by a) Dale Smith’s essay in the David Butler book stating that it was the best of all the Target novelisations and b) my own discovery that the author had done me the honour of putting my name on “the list” on his own website, presumably a reaction to my disparaging remarks about his scripts for this Doctor Who series and the later Battlefield.
Well. It’s not the best Target novelisation – realistically, that honour might go to one of Terrance Dicks’ early efforts, before he got into the habit of just doing it by the numbers, or to one of the David Fisher or Donald Cotton books, or possibly Ian Marter’s novelisation of The Rescue – but it’s not at all bad. The flaws, to get them out of the way first, are too much use of commas where semi-colons or even full stops would have done, and a confusion about the spelling of “Alsatian”. But where I felt the TV version of Remembrance of the Daleks failed – in its unconvincing attempt to portray England of 1963 – Aaronovitch is able to push his vision rather better on the printed page. He also is able to show much more of the back story of the Time Lords, the Daleks, and perhaps especially the contemporary human characters, so that the whole thing hangs together much better.
It still doesn’t quite work for me (so I suspect this review will not be sufficient to remove me from Aaronovitch’s “list”) but it all makes a lot more sense now.