Doctor Who and the Web of Fear by Terrance Dicks

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Doctor Who and the Web of Fear by Terrance Dicks

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Category: Science Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: This reprint series reaches Doctor Two, who is already looking back to prior adventures, as those pesky Yetis get a reboot and strike Londoners where it hurts – the Tube.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 160 Date: April 2016
Publisher: BBC Books
ISBN: 9781785940361

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What do you look like if you time travel? Perhaps like a lunk-headed Austrian, naked and with fizzy blue stuff all over you. Or perhaps, to the confusion of Professor Travers, you look exactly as you did when he met you in Tibet forty years ago. That escapade has had a legacy, as he has brought back a deactivated robot Yeti – and has mistakenly managed to reactivate it. Or perhaps, you look very much like yourself if you're a time traveller, for just by reading this book you won't change your appearance, but you'll be sent back to 1968, by way of 1975, when this book-of-the-series was first published.

I said last time in this reprint series that the book smacked of being a straight transcript of the series. Well, this is much shorter, and probably is just as slavishly following the shooting script, but damn it it's a lot better. There's much more of a snappiness, and just a better, more enjoyable story all round. Previously it was the work of a chap who only wrote the one (used) Doctor Who adventure, and the novel version was probably very much an afterthought in his mind. By the time this came round, Target Books were happily giving the task of the novels, if the screenwriters weren't up to it, to ace writers, and the brevity and charge of the story is much to the fore as a result. It only helps that Dicks was closely connected with the series.

It's not a perfect story – you need a working relationship with the military to keep in your mind every soldier's name, rank and status, and anyone not au fait with the geography of the London Underground will not be able to work out the progression of the Yetis and the mysterious, all-absorbing, accompanying mist. But it is a noted tale for bringing Lethbridge-Stewart to the Whoniverse for the first time, so even if it is a sequel (and a book that's able to look forward to future stories, by dint of being published several years after the TV event) it's worth being included in this series of reprints. For BBC Books 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.


As regards this novel, it's enjoyable. With so many people doing so much haring about in the Underground there's not quite enough chance to see the Second Doctor at work, apart from his ability to fit innocently in, be accepted wherever he goes, and have a dab hand with electronics. But what you get is a time-traveller's glimpse back to when, way before CGI and the Queen having cameos in Doctor Who, the series was more than able of placing highly dramatic genre adventures in a well-realised Britain. Only good fun results, leaving in fact a time traveller whose appearance does change – there's a pleasurable look on your face as you read this fun little novel.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

Take on board what became before and after this story with the help of Doctor Who: 365 Days of Memorable Moments and Impossible Things by Justin Richards.

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


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

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