Doctor Who and the Dinosaur Invasion by Malcolm Hulke

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Doctor Who and the Dinosaur Invasion by Malcolm Hulke

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Category: Science Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: Very good fun, as Pertwee's Doctor goes up against the unlikely appearance in an abandoned London of a host of prehistoric creatures.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: April 2016
Publisher: BBC Books
ISBN: 9781785940378

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What effect do you think you'd have if you were to time travel? I dare say it depends who or what you were to begin with, and when you went and what you did. The creatures in this story only seem to stay in the same place, and do just what comes natural – but as they're giant rampaging dinosaurs and they suddenly appear in the middle of modern-day Central London they do kind of get noticed. As a result the entire place has been evacuated, all ten million people shipped out, and the Government resettled in that hotbed of politics, Harrogate. As a result, when the Doctor and Sarah Jane turn up they immediately get accused of being looters – and UNIT are just a touch too much out of contact. What is causing time to leave the dinosaurs moving around London, and what is a mediaeval man, complaining of witchcraft under King John, doing there too?

You can also manage your own bit of time-travel with this book, which will take you back to the mid-1970s and the era when Doctor Who bigwigs were nothing if not ambitious. It seems nobody had a kind word to say, ever, regarding the visual effects in Invasion of the Dinosaurs, as this novel was called when broadcast. At least in Malcolm Hulke's own novelisation, produced just as soon as the series was being wiped by the BBC (although, happily, not successfully) you don't see the dinosaur suits and dodgy FX. You don't get anything describing the dinosaurs, beyond tiny hands here, big heads there and big, big teeth everywhere – which is probably a good thing as the flying ones are deemed featherless and leathery, which is a brave decision according to the time travel that is modern science.

Beyond the descriptive failings (which to be fair I am coming up against more and more in revisiting these books) you do get a rollicking read. From a darkly moody look at an abandoned London, we soon enter the UNIT/military/political machinations, and once you add in the baddies there are lots of humans to keep track of, but always an attempt to turn the drama into something more satisfying and fantastical. Like I say, this was an ambitious story. The telling here is more than up to it, allowing the reader to make the modern-day London here practically anybody's contemporary London (although the young will have to ask what a milk float was), and making this one of the more timeless, adaptable and worthy-of-revisiting Who books. It's noticeable how the chapter breaks don't marry up with the TV episodes (six into ten don't go), meaning the story takes its natural, novelistic form. BBC Books have decided to give us one of these novels fresh from the vaults for all of the first seven Doctors, and the fact they look superb together on a shelf has to be noted. The go-to-guy Justin Richards gives us some small notes for each book, as well. My only note here is – well done!.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

Doctor Who and the Zarbi by Bill Strutton is where these reprints start.

Buy Doctor Who and the Dinosaur Invasion by Malcolm Hulke at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Doctor Who and the Dinosaur Invasion by Malcolm Hulke at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Doctor Who and the Dinosaur Invasion by Malcolm Hulke at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Doctor Who and the Dinosaur Invasion by Malcolm Hulke at Amazon.com.

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