Doctor Who and the Genesis of the Daleks by Terrance Dicks

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Doctor Who and the Genesis of the Daleks by Terrance Dicks

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Category: Science Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A great page- and clock-turning adventure, as we go back in time with the Doctor to the birth of his greatest enemy.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 176 Date: April 2016
Publisher: BBC Books
ISBN: 9781785940385

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If you were to randomly travel in time and space, where would you end up? Well, if our own battle-torn history was anything to go by, you'd like as not end up in a time and place of war. The thing is, however, the Doctor is not, for once, travelling randomly – he's been charged with carrying out errands for the Time Lords. And the most tricky of those is to go the planet Skaro, deeply enmeshed in a thousand year war, and put paid to one of the most heinous plans that could risk the universe – that of Davros to create his Dalek race.

This is the Doctor Who series revisiting its own history in sterling form. Terry Nation, having invented the things in the first place, had created more Dalek stories in the interim, but here takes us back to the second ever Who story, and the battle between the Kaleds and the Thals. As a result a lot of the story is familiar to us – we know what the Daleks will come to look like, as do the Doctor and Sarah Jane. We know the tribal differences between the two species on the planet, and we know genetic mutation and radiation will play a part in the adventure. At the same time it's also familiar because of what followed on. I can't remember a time I didn't know Davros, who makes his debut here, but being two and a half when this was first broadcast I doubt I watched it. There is a lot to explore, whatever level of Whovian expertise you have.

And, of course, this is BBC Books revisiting its own history in sterling form. They have decided to give us one of these books 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. And this was an obvious inclusion, for apparently it had the greatest print run of any Who novel of its time. It's one of the more metaphor-charged – it's blindingly obvious here that Davros' intentions and inventions make him look like a Hitler parallel (he has a fanatical desire to perpetuate himself in his creation. He is without conscience, without soul and without pity, and his creations are equally devoid of his qualities…), and the mutated outcasts are any form of earthly victimised society. The allegories don't make it any the less readable, however. And it being such a key story in the canon you really can see the Doctor interacting with the galactic mythology, meaning this has given the character more oomph.

Oomph is once more to the fore with Terrance Dicks' writing, not hindered by the adventure leaping full-throttle from site A to location B to place C and back. All of the drama comes across most coherently, everyone has a lot to do whether they be established companions or new one-off, disposable characters, and it's just great, PG-friendly, sci-fi fun. Rated from the point of view of a Who fan, this is most eminently worthy of a reissue.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

The same author also has The Web of Fear in this reprint series.

Buy Doctor Who and the Genesis of the Daleks by Terrance Dicks at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Doctor Who and the Genesis of the Daleks by Terrance Dicks at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Doctor Who and the Genesis of the Daleks by Terrance Dicks at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Doctor Who and the Genesis of the Daleks by Terrance Dicks at Amazon.com.

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