1) Doctor Who – The Aztecs, by John Lucarotti
2) Doctor Who – Galaxy Four, by William Emms
Starting my month’s reading with two of the old Doctor Who novelisations, both First Doctor stories, both written up by the author of the original TV script, in both cases over twenty years after the story was first shown.
I was disappointed by Lucarotti’s novelisation of The Massacre, which stuck much more closely to his original script than the show as broadcast. Here again he has added bits and pieces which presumably were in his original concept, and I was again disappointed, but for a different reason: the narration is strangely flat, and you really miss the performances of the actors breathing life into Lucarotti’s lines back in 1964. One cannot help but feel that the production team on the whole did Lucarotti a favour by editing his material. Also he has a really annoying habit of mixing indirect speech with direct speech, which reads like a desperate attempt to make a novel out of a TV script.
Galaxy Four was the first story from the third season, shown in 1966 (odd to think of it as the Classic Who equivalent of Smith and Jones). It’s the only one from that year I haven’t yet seen/heard, but I got the novel for free yesterday with the SFX Doctor Who special and read it pretty quickly. It’s actually rather good, up there with the average Missing Adventure of the Virgin series. with Emms (who wrote nothing else for Doctor Who) letting us inside the mind of the Doctor very convincingly, and also attempting to flesh out his rather one-dimensional villain, Maaga, leader of the female Drahvin warriors. Must try and catch up with the actual series now, though I have a suspicion this may be one of the cases where the novel is better than the story.